Friday, January 02, 2009
Now That's Real Change
Now when he saw the crowds, Jesus went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them, saying:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.
Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
It’s that time of year when we are tempted to examine ourselves and take note of things that you want to change or improve, we even elected our new president based on the promise of bringing change.
Certainly there was a need for change in the “religious” people of Jesus time on earth, way back in the Old Testament God had called his people to live a different lifestyle than the rest of the world but through the ages his people had gone astray. The people didn’t have any help from their leaders even if they wanted to live God’s way, there were few leaders willing to show the people how to live to please God. Just look at the religious leaders that Herod rounded up a few chapters back in Matthew 2:3-4, they were made aware that the Messiah was near but they had absolutely no interest.
Blessings and happiness were very foreign to the Jewish people. They were under persecution from the Roman government and they were forced to obey the strict, ungodly religious system that the Pharisees had invented.
So Jesus begins his ministry by getting back to the basics, showing the people the kind of characteristics that he takes pleasure in, he said “these are the kind of people that I am going to bless, these are going to be happy people.”
It is tempting to endeavor to make superficial changes to help make myself a better person, but are they the changes that will please God?
I will pray and work on the things that God says that I need to work on to become more like him this year. I will pray for my brothers and sisters that are persecuted for Christ.
Jesus I thank you that I live in a country where I am free, I have no idea what it is like to live in a country that persecutes your believers. I pray that you will show me the areas in my life that I need to change to become more like you.