“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.” ~ Matthew 5:11-12 (NIV)
When I consider Jesus’ teaching on the “beatitudes,” his statements of blessing, I am amazed at the striking contrast Jesus presented. On the one hand, there was the way of the world which offered a life of self-indulgence, excess and unbridled pleasure. On the other, was the way of blessing which Jesus offered. His view of life was selflessness, sacrifice, and a potential for persecution.
While the world’s definition of blessing is very attractive, I need to understand it is what a moth experiences when it is lured to a flame. If it doesn’t turn away, it will be consumed. Instead of being consumed by life, Jesus offers contentment, peace and lasting joy. He even promises a life which ends with the reward of heaven.
What Jesus offers is completely different from what the world offers, because it makes me look past what the world can do to what Jesus has done for me. His blessing begins with the undeserved love which brought him to this earth and was guaranteed at the open tomb.
All along the way he reveals one blessing after another: his faithful life instead of my unfaithfulness, his innocent death instead of my guilt and punishment, his perfect payment instead of my imperfect righteousness, his promise of life instead of my sentence of death.
These are the blessings I desperately and daily need. They are also the ones which strengthen me and encourage me as I live for him. They even reassure me so I can look beyond the insults, the hardships, and even the persecution, and see the reward prepared for me in heaven.
Yes, what Jesus offers is completely different from what the world offers. It is this difference for which I long. It is also the difference from which I receive his promise of lasting joy and never-ending blessing.
O dearest Savior, I long for and need the blessings you offer in love. Give me the strength of faith to look past what this world offers and may even take away, and cling to the blessings you have prepared for me–now and forever. Amen