“the beatitudes”

It’s Friday…which means this morning I had Bible study!  Wow can I just say that it is so wonderful to dig deep into Scripture with other women who are in a similar “life boat” as I am?  It’s truly wonderful… and if you’re reading this, and not currently involved in a Bible study – this is my one-time plug to encourage you to get involved with one!  I’m personally biased to same sex Bible studies, but that’s just me 🙂  There are so many wonderful opportunities to plug into the Word with other people – so that’s my plug.  The end. 🙂

This morning we began our reading of Matthew chapter 5 – which famously begins with “The Beatitudes.”  The Beatitudes aren’t new to me but I’ve never intentionally studied them, so in a way they kind of are new in that sense.

We discussed how the main “negative” interpretation of the Beatitudes says that we must become like the blessed people in verses 3-10 in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven.  This list includes “the poor in spirit, those who mourn, the meek, the pure in heart,” to name a few.  I’ll admit that the few times I’ve read through Matthew 5 before, I interpreted in this way – that I must become these things in order to be blessed and inherit God’s Kingdom.

After reading through chapter 4 of “The Divine Conspiracy,” which unpacks the Beatitudes, and after discussion among the women of my Bible study this morning, I am happy to say that I’m looking at this particular passage with new eyes now.  First of all, nowhere does it say that this list of “the blessed” ones is exhaustive.  The Bible doesn’t say that you must have only these qualifications in order to inherit the Kingdom of heaven. Second, it helps to know the context of Jesus’ sermon in this passage.  It is important to be informed about who Jesus’ audience was for this sermon.  It turns out, Jesus was addressing “the least of these” in a way – people who could most likely immediately identify with being “poor in spirit” or being “mournful.”  The point of this passage is not necessarily to encourage us to strive to become these things – the point was to address people who are these things and express the greatness of God’s love – that these people, too, will inherit the Kingdom of heaven.

Which brings me to my last point, and my favorite.  After studying the Beatitudes passage more in depth than I ever have I’ve realized a way to look at this Scripture with new eyes, a new focus.  Instead of reading this passage and wondering what it says about ME and MY life – how I should act or what I should be or what I should do in order to be blessed – I’ve turned the focus and have reflected on what it says about GOD.  This passage is just one of many that demonstrates God’s great love – what He’s doing – and what His love means for “the poor in spirit,” “those who mourn,” “the pure in heart,” or “the peacemakers.”  This passage is not about what we should strive to be – it’s about who God is and His great love.

I’m starting to realize that all Scripture should have this “lens” of “what is God doing in this passage?” – but I think it’ll take one deep study at a time to really identify this.  All I know is the Lord is really moving and pushing in my heart and I can feel the growth.

How are you feeling God move in Your heart?  I would love to hear!  Happy Friday!

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