The pastor's Sunday school class has been studying Philip Yancey's The Jesus I Never Knew. We just finished "struggling" with Jesus' Beatitudes; the blessed are the...saying in Matthew 5. Below is a flavor of the class as Yancey personalizes the Beatitudes and offers us a fresh take:
- I am blessed because in my loneliness, my fear, and my inner struggles, God has promised me a beautiful future. That promise helps me see my struggles in a new way.
- I am blessed as I grieve. In the depths of my sorrow Jesus meets me and mourns with me, bringing comfort in unexpected ways.
- I am blessed choosing not to exalt myself. This means I get overlooked at times, but I'm living for God, not for the acclaim of men and women. Someday I'll be glad I chose the way of humility.
- I am blessed in my yearnings to live as Jesus did. God is faithful to me as I ponder Jesus' righteous ways and pray for the Spirit to guide how I live and who I am.
- I am blessed when I choose to show mercy, even when others don't really deserve it. I see much in me that is undeserving, yet Jesus has been merciful again and again.
- I am blessed because I'm careful about what I do, see, read, and think about. I want to be pure because this is when I can see God most directly. This is when I am closer to God.
- I am blessed because I long for peace among those around me. I desire to enter into the world of others to better understand and come alongside them. I'm willing to do what is uncomfortable for the sake of peace, following in the footsteps of Jesus.
Notice which one of these personalized Beatitudes speaks to you this week. Allow yourself to use them to guide you in your prayers.
Blessed are you who...