Many of us will begin 2014 by making New Year’s Resolutions. These commitments, goals, promises, etc. often focus on bettering ourselves or impacting the world around us. Lots of people use this time of year to refocus their efforts in obtaining health, wealth or happiness.
As Christians, our focus everyday of every year should be to become more and more like the person God intends for us to be. Our only hope of success in this transformation is the goodness and faithfulness of God (see Philippians 1:6).
In Matthew chapter 5 (verses 3 – 10), as Christ began the Sermon on the Mount, He listed eight characteristics that lead to being blessed (or happy). This well know section of scripture is known as ‘The Beatitudes’. Perhaps a great way to step into 2014 would be to focus on ‘Being the Beatitudes’.
The call of the Beatitudes:
- Blessed are the poor in Spirit; for theirs in the Kingdom of Heaven.
- What I Have – Without God, I have nothing that matters for eternity’s sake; I am spiritually bankrupt; I must depend on Him for everything good and meaningful.
- Recognizing this, I turn to Him: for forgiveness, sanctification and purpose (Romans 3:23, 6:23).
- Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.
- What I Feel – I am broken over sin. I ache over the pain and sorrow and emptiness that consumes all who suffer the consequences of living in a fallen world.
- Real and lasting comfort comes only from God: His work in our lives and the indwelling presence of God’s Holy Spirit (John 14:27).
- Blessed are the meek; for they shall inherit the earth.
- What I Am – Gentleness may appear as weakness to some; but there is great power in restraint. God enables us to show love and kindness when we desire to lash out.
- Christ, the incarnation of God, was meek. I am called to be like Him (Matthew 11:29).
- Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness; for they shall be filled.
- What I Need – Restoration before a perfectly holy and righteous Heavenly Father. Salvation and righteousness before God come only through the blood of Jesus Christ.
- He calls and justifies those He knows will surrender to Him (Romans 8:29-30).
- Blessed are the merciful; for they shall obtain mercy.
- What I Give – Patience, forgiveness, love and hope.
- What God has done for me I am called to do for others (Ephesians 4:32).
- Blessed are the pure in heart; for they shall see God.
- What I Want – My thoughts and desires are focused on those things that please my Lord and Savior.
- Only a heart made new in Christ can be pure (2 Corinthians 5:17, Philippians 4:8-9).
- Blessed are the peacemakers; for they shall be called the children of God.
- What I Do – Vengeance belongs to God. As a follower of Christ, I must never stir up or delight in trouble, arguments, fights, etc.
- Christ brings peace to my life. Peace should characterize my interactions and influences with others (Proverbs 15:1, Romans 12:18).
- Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake; for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.
- What I Experience – Serving Christ will lead to persecution. The frequency and extent of that persecution is in God’s Hands. How I respond to it is in mine (by His grace, power and presence in my life).
- Christ, the only sinless man to ever live, suffered persecution. So will I (John 15:20, 2 Timothy 3:12).
May God bless you in 2014.
Holy, righteous, perfect Father, I long to be blessed by You by living my life for You. Enable me to become the man You have ordained me to be. May my life be a blessing to others as I surrender to You and show others the love of Jesus. I love You and Praise You in the name of Jesus Christ, Amen.