Blessed Are the Believers
Probably, one of the most calming verses in scripture is from Numbers 6
‘”The Lord bless you and keep you; the Lord make his face shine on you and be gracious to you; the Lord turn his face toward you and give you peace.”‘
It doesn’t shout, sneer, or condemn. It lifts up. It is easy to understand and applies to all. People have asked me what does it mean to be a Christian and I always tell them that it’s about a man — Jesus Christ.
I was born into a family of Protestant believers. We went to church on some Sundays, always Christmas and Easter, and we were all Baptized and Confirmed. My Dad and to some degree, my Mom believed in a “God”. They followed the golden rule as much as anyone of us can follow it and they believed it was important to introduce their beliefs to their children. Did that make my parents Christian?
Before I really had any kind of personal relationship with Jesus Christ, I looked at myself as a Protestant first and foremost. I knew all the details that technically made me a Christian. I went to church, I took Communion, I believed in God, and I believed in most of what I knew about the Bible. I had also introduced my beliefs to my children. Did that make me a Christian?
“If that is how God clothes the grass of the field, which is here today and tomorrow is thrown into the fire, will he not much more clothe you-you of little faith? So do not worry, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the pagans run after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them. But seek first his kingdom and his righteousness, and all these things will be given to you as well”.
It is one thing to check all the boxes as a religious person — following the rules. It’s comfortable to be a believer when it’s part of our routine. It’s comfortable to be a believer when surrounded by similar people. But do we act like believers when confronted with adversity? Do we stand up for Jesus when people scoff at our beliefs? Jesus told His followers that in order to be His disciples they, “must deny themselves and take up their cross and follow me”. A religious person checks the boxes. A Christian is someone who looks to Jesus Christ first. A Christian not only knows the Bible, but lives it. A Christian has the will of Christ in his or her heart.
“For the Lord God is a sun and shield; the Lord bestows favor and honor; no good thing does he withhold from those whose walk is blameless. 12 Lord Almighty, blessed is the one who trusts in you”.
We trust in the Lord because He is good. He cannot lie. His promises are set in stone. We trust Him because He blesses us. A close family member of mine shared that she has a hard time with Christianity. She believes that Christians scowl at others because of their behavior or lifestyle. She also believes that Christians don’t stand up for the oppressed. Her feelings are so sincere, I just don’t think she knows what Christians really believe. My knowledge of Jesus is that He only condemned the wicked and the hypocrites and He always stood for the oppressed. As a Christian, we are called to do the same.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy”.
Jesus inferred that the blessed were already blessed. They did nothing to attain this blessing. So, in this sense, the beatitudes (or supreme blessedness) are all declarations of God’s grace. They are not conditions to earn entry to God’s kingdom. Jesus was teaching His listeners and us about the character of the people in His kingdom. He never said blessed are the perfect or blessed are the rule followers. He was painting a picture of the condition of the heart of a believer. According to these words, someone who is blessed, will in turn be a blessing to others in this world.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God”
Jesus refers to our hearts as the root of our whole being. Our actions are not simply choices we make because they’re convenient, but they stem from our core. Our goal in life shouldn’t be about seeking God’s blessing. That’s more the fruit of our spirit. Being pure in heart is our target. God’s blessing will follow.
In today’s troubled world, it’s especially important for Christians to be as Jesus intended for us. We’re not supposed to be judges of others. We don’t embody, nor should we expect perfect behavior. As true believers in Jesus Christ, we have inherited His blessing. Our mission is to share it.
“For God so loved the world, that he gave his only Son, that whoever believes in him should not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but in order that the world might be saved through him”.
- What calms you? Are you more relaxed from things you do for yourself or the actions of others? Or are their bigger things that can control your anxiety?
- Read: Matthew 5:3–12. Do you feel that Jesus was talking to you?
- What does it mean to you to be or feel blessed?
- Read Psalm 23. How does it make you feel? Does it make you feel comfortable, loved, or protected?
- Pick the Beatitude that strikes you the deepest. Is it because of something you’re doing or not doing? Is it because of a past failure or problem? Pray about why it means so much. Surrender your own control over this issue to God.
- If you feel blessed, do something for someone else to show your blessedness. Even a small gesture can make a mountain of a difference in someone’s life. Share God’s blessing with the world. A mustard seed eventually becomes a tree.
Where else in your life can you live out the teachings of Christ? Look for next week’s Devotion.