Jesus clearly described the heart attitudes that please
Him. Make the Beatitudes your goal in 2011.
I’m not a big fan of religious greeting cards, especially
the schmaltzy, pastel-colored variety that feature flowers and rainbows along
with an obligatory Bible verse. The verse often comes from Jesus’ opening words
in the Sermon on the Mount. We call this passage in Matthew 5 the Beatitudes.
These are weighty, gutsy, penetrating words—but they are
neutered when we treat them like sappy poetry. The Beatitudes are not
platitudes. Jesus was not tiptoeing through the tulips and mouthing pleasant
phrases so they could decorate crocheted pillows or stained-glass windows.
the Beatitudes, Jesus declared war on status quo religion and overturned the
world’s values. He outlined His plan for a new kingdom, and described the heart
attitudes we must have if we want to please Him.”
In the Beatitudes, Jesus declared war on status quo
religion and overturned the world’s values. These strong words are the muscle
and bone of the kingdom of God. With them Jesus outlined His plan for a new
kingdom and described the heart attitudes we must have to please Him.
Do you want to experience God’s blessing in 2011? Let
Jesus adjust your attitude. Here’s your checklist from Matthew 5:3-12:
This speaks of a dependent
attitude. Do you constantly acknowledge your need for God, even in small
things? Or do you only seek His help when you can’t figure things out on your
own? The path to true blessing begins when we acknowledge that God is God and
we aren’t. If your prayer life is weak, it’s because you really don’t believe
you need God’s help.
Do you have a repentant
attitude? Do you sense the Holy Spirit’s conviction immediately after you
sin? Or does God have to send three warnings and a sledgehammer to wake you up?
Are you painfully aware of your tendency toward sin, or do you make excuses for
it—or hide it? God does not look for perfect people—but He is attracted to
those who make repentance a daily habit.
We need a humble attitude.
The world teaches us to compete and win so we can be top dog. Jesus calls us to
take the lowest place. The world says it’s okay to fight and claw your way to
“success” at any price—no matter how many people you hurt along the way. Jesus
declared that the secret to true strength—and real leadership—is servanthood.
for they shall be satisfied.”
Do you have a
zealous attitude? You won’t accomplish anything for God if you are
half-hearted, smug or satisfied with the status quo. You must never get to the
point that you have “arrived.” Jesus calls us to be passionate. You cannot
settle for yesterday’s manna. If you allow the Holy Spirit to fill you
continually, you will fast, pray, worship and pursue God with increasing
Jesus calls us to have
an attitude of forgiveness. The world says we have a right to get
offended. But Jesus calls us to turn the other cheek and pray for our enemies.
Are you holding any grudges? Has your heart grown cool toward a family member,
a friend or a co-worker because of something they said or did? Jesus said His
love flows through the channel of forgiveness, and we cannot know His love
intimately if we refuse to forgive others.
Do you have a clean
heart? The world says sexual purity is passé. A million voices invite us to
indulge at Baal’s altar. Have you kept your conscience clean? If you have
sinful habits, have you confessed these to Christian friends and asked for
healing prayer? The world also says it’s okay to cheat and lie to get your way.
What’s inside your heart that others can’t see? Have you allowed the Holy
Spirit to refine your corrupt motives, or do you manipulate people so you can
accomplish your selfish agenda?
We need an evangelistic
attitude. Many Christians prefer to be spectators, never actually engaging
in the work of ministry. Yet God is looking for mature disciples who will share
the gospel, win souls, pray for people, use their spiritual gifts and actively
carry the message of reconciliation to those who need Christ. Are you willing
to swallow your fears, open your mouth and become His ambassador?
righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Do you have a
faithful attitude? Jesus said many people who receive the Word of God
eventually fall away from the faith because of persecution and affliction. Are
you holding onto Jesus no matter what happens? When life gets tough, do you
quickly lose heart and give up—or do you turn to Jesus for the grace He
and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of Me. Rejoice and be
glad, for your reward in heaven is great; for in the same way they persecuted
the prophets who were before you.”
Do you have a joyful
attitude? It is one thing to endure hardship; it is another thing to endure it
with overcoming joy. When you go though painful circumstances, do you choose to
rejoice—or do you whine and complain through the entire process? God does not
call us simply to tolerate the difficulties of life; if we rejoice in the hard
times we will emerge as more than conquerors.
The kingdom of Christ
is firmly built on these spiritual values. By His grace each of these attitudes
can be yours in 2011.
J. Lee Grady is contributing editor of Charisma. You can follow him on Twitter at leegrady. His new book 10 Lies Men
Believe releases this month from Charisma House.