Early in His public ministry—after His baptism and temptation in the desert—Jesus gave the enduring Sermon on the Mount. He led His disciples up a mountainside and taught them practical principles for life in the Kingdom. His sermon began with eight Beatitudes (Matthew 5:2-12), sometimes called “rules of happiness.”
Interestingly, as we read through these principles today, we see how one leads to the next—how a progression is evident in the order. This can be used to help us assess where we are in the spiritual journey and determine what might be a best next step to grow in Christ.
Here is an opportunity for you to do a personal assessment. As you refect on the Beatitudes—each stage of the journey—ask the Holy Spirit to be your guide: “Where am I, God—close to Christ or far away? What is my next step going forward?” Put an “X” where you are, and ask God’s help in responding to the questions to consider at the end:
Poor in Spirit: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (v. 3). I am aware of the need for God in my life. I know I cannot go it alone. I need to take my eyes off myself—my worries and concerns—and see Jesus, the Son of God. I need to learn from Him. I long to enter the Kingdom of heaven. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Mourners: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (v. 4). I am aware of sin in general and my own sin in particular. I am truly sorrowful over it. I know there is no comfort apart from confession, repentance, and a right relationship with God through Jesus Christ. I have decided to follow Jesus—no turning back. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Meek: “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth” (v. 5). I am a member of God’s Kingdom and therefore I do not respond as I once did. I am gentle and self-controlled. I strive to obey God and to live a life led by the Holy Spirit. When I am treated badly I respond with gentleness. I seek to live humbly, like my Savior. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Righteousness-Seekers: “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfed” (v. 6). I have a strong desire for the things of God and to grow in intimacy with Him. I devour God’s Word, the Bible. I long for others to know how much God loves them and to see His justice prevail. I strive for love and justice and am satisfed as I see God at work. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Merciful: “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy” (v. 7). I am aware of my own need for mercy and freely extend it to others. When others treat me badly, I do not respond in like kind. Rather, like Jesus, I forgive and pray for others. I share the gospel. I gratefully receive fresh mercies from God each day. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Pure in Heart: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God” (v. 8). I am cleansed of sin and actively engaged in activities to keep my heart pure. I hear God’s voice and see Him better because He has forgiven me and removed any barriers that hinder relationships. I live in God’s presence. He is alive in my life and my world. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Peacemakers: “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God” (v. 9). I am at peace with God through Jesus Christ and actively help others fnd such peace. I am a child of God and long to see all in my circle of infuence come to fnd the same peace as they know and grow in Him. I build bridges between people and God. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Persecuted: “Blessed are those who are persecuted for right– eousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (vv. 10-12). I am experiencing the fruit of the Spirit (Galatians 5:22-23) despite outer circumstances, even suffering. I tell others about the gospel of the Kingdom and will continue to do so, come what may. In life or death, I am blessed to know that the Kingdom of God is my eternal home. Far from Christ ––––––––––––––––––––––– Close to Christ
Questions to consider:
- What did you discover about your life in the Kingdom?
- What might be your best next step in your spiritual journey?
- Who can help you along the way?