http://bible.com/116/mat.5.11-12.nlt God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
I see people twist this message so horribly that it is no wonder that people are confused by all of the false teaching out there. I hear people twist the beattitudes into a “if you do this, you will receive blessings” – as if God provided a magical recipe book for worldly prosperity. How deep into the darkness will the wolves lead the goats to slaughter?
It does not say “if you suffer, then you will receive blessing as compensation for your sufferings”. No, it says that God bless you WHEN these things happen to you. The sufferings are the blessing.
Yes, His ways are far above our ways.
The worldly look at this and say, but that is foolish, that is ridiculous, you are too radical, you are mistaken. Because they are still blinded by the sparkly allure of the treasures of this world. They still chase after the wealth and prosperity and pleasures of this world more than they chase after God. They build idols of their own making that are lifeless and powerless, and forget the living Almighty God who created them. They do not seek to follow Christ, they are just gathering to watch the show, to wait for the magic. They have no interest in following, they have no interest in participating, in surrendering their lives to bring glory to God.
You see, those sufferings are our greatest opportunity to witness and bring glory to God. What greater witness is there than to be upon your cross, suffering at the hands of your enemy, and pay aloud, “Father, forgive them. They know not what they do.”
You see, the disciples of Christ, the students of the Word of God, those who sit at His feet and who decide to follow Him – not just listen and be entertained by His perspective shifting teachings – those who will put it into action in their lives instead of just carrying it around in their heads – they know true blessings that last for eternity. They understand that many things this world calls blessings are actually curses and that many things this world considers curses that are, actually blessings.
“Rabbi,” his disciples asked him, “why was this man born blind? Was it because of his own sins or his parents’ sins?”
“It was not because of his sins or his parents’ sins,” Jesus answered. “This happened so the power of God could be seen in him.”
The world would see this man’s blindness as a curse, but this man was touched and healed by the hands of Jesus Christ. Not only did he experience the spiritual healing and born again renewal that is available to each and every one of us, he received a miracle at the hands of God come in the flesh. God loved him enough to come to where he was, to touch him, and to heal him. And now his miracle, his witness of faith, it lives on and teaches us.
Call to Action
How often do we find our perspective twisted and conformed to the way this world understands blessings and do we miss out on the real blessings? How many times do we face opposition or anger from another directed at us and we miss the opportunity to demonstrate or unique and strange perspective of what really matters?
Let’s open our eyes today, friend. If we say that we are His, let’s pick up our cross and bear it. Let’s be equipped and ready in all circumstances to praise God and bring glory and honor to His name. When we face our enemies, let’s repay their hate with our love. Let’s be the salt that still has its savour.
This is an impossible task if we do not have a Good centered perspective, if we do not have a reason worth suffering for. And isn’t that the test? Doesn’t faith have to be tested to be proven faithful and true? And isn’t Christ Faithful and True?
He lives in me. Not just in my head. I am no gnostic, just thinking about holy and pious things, but not letting them make changes and impact upon my life. Nor am I trying to work my way into heaven or buy reward, because I am living in grattitude for an inheritance already given and a healing touch laid upon my eyes to cure my blindness. Nor am I a hired hand looking to profit materially from this gospel.
I am the bride of Christ. Whatever you see of worth in my life is not my own, but is His glory shining through as a reflection of my love and my teacher, whom I am growing closer to each day. Moment by moment, breath by breath, I am growing closer to that previous moment when I will be reconciled to His glory.
Do you know my Lord? He is beautiful. He is the King of Kings and Lord of Lords. And He loves me. It seems to me that He has favored me above all, because He rescued me from the depths of the darkness. I have much to be thankful for, so I sing His praises. He came a long way for me. To lay His hands on my life and to change me.
I do not envy you for looking upon my Lord and longing for His touch. His kisses, His very breath upon my life has me up on my toes, leaning into Him, drawing ever closer to His presence. The whole world disappears when I am in His presence, the noise dies away, and I am captured in the still quiet of our time together.
Yes, He is mine.
Let’s remember, beloved. We are His. We have the opportunity today to testify in the way we react to life’s “challenges” – which are really our blessings.
Let’s see the blessings today, friends.