The Sermon on the Mount begins with the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:1-12,) a series of “blessed are… for they will” statements. There are many ways to read this text; one way is to find yourself in the words. Meaning, is there a specific verse or phrase that describes who you are or where you are in your life?
Is your spirit weak? Are you mourning a loss? Are you weakened by any kind of pain? These questions ask us to be introspective and honest. Jesus offers us comfort after each statement; but his words do not negate the burdens of the situations in the present.
The following three blessings in verses 6-8 lead to further questions about our spirituality. Do you strive to be righteous? Do you forgive others? Do you act in a way that is pure? A more general way to summarize these questions is to ask; do you try and lead a Godly life? If you are these things, God will fill, forgive, and reveal himself to you.
Finally, the last three blessings found in verse 9-12 ask us if we have realized the cost of discipleship. Do you make peace or sow conflict? Are you steadfast in your beliefs despite persecution? Are there times others attack you because of your faith? When I ask these questions of myself, it is hard to find the relevance to my life. But I do think about our brothers and sisters in Christ on the other side of the world who are literally persecuted, attacked, and killed for following Jesus.
There is no simple answer to a situation where we are under physical scrutiny. We only can hold to the promise that our reward is coming; and in our lives now, through our following of Christ, we are catching glimpses of the kingdom of heaven.
Almighty God, continually make Your presence known so that I always have the strength to be Your disciple and example. Amen.