27 “You have heard that it was said to those of old, ‘You shall not commit adultery.’ 28 But I say to you that whoever looks at a woman to lust for her has already committed adultery with her in his heart.” (Matthew 5:27-28)
God’s prohibition against adultery has always served to protect against the disintegration of the family as well as a shield against personal immorality. Jesus exposes the source of adultery: lust in the heart. The eventual violation of the honorable marriage bed begins in a heart that has already been conditioned to do so through evil desire (Heb. 13:4; Matt. 15:19-20). Guard your heart against the lusts of the flesh. Do not watch movies, TV shows and videos that peddle such defilement. Utterly reject the filth of pornography. You cannot absorb the refuse of the world into your heart without being contaminated with sin. Diligently guard your heart today (Prov. 4:23).
11 “Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. 12 Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:11-12)
Persecution for faith in Christ not only occurs through bodily threats and the actual infliction of physical harm. It can also come in the form of lies and defamatory words designed to accuse and discredit. Jesus was accused of having a demon and being insane (John 10:20). A king told the apostle Paul he was “mad” although he spoke “words of truth and reason” (Acts 26:22-25). Instead of being silenced by defamation, faithful Christians rejoice “to be counted worthy to suffer shame for His name” (Acts 5:41). Jesus endured the reviling of sinners for our sake. Now, let us endure the harsh words of sinners for His sake. Rejoice; you have a great reward in heaven.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:10)
Following Jesus Christ means making a clear, conscious decision to do His will regardless of pressure from others. To persecute means “to drive away” or “put to flight”. The idea is of one being pursued because he or she faith in Christ. The book of Acts tells of many early Christians who were threatened, beaten, imprisoned and killed because they were Christians. To put your life on the line for the Lord regardless of the pressures others put on you to recant and renounce your faith – this is a mark of a citizen of the kingdom of heaven. Make the decision today to pay whatever price must be paid to be faithful to Jesus. Do not deny the Lord and He will reward you with blessings from heaven.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. (Matthew 5:9)
The strife and turmoil in the world is the result of sin, not God. Sin disturbs and destroys peace with God and with others. God is the great Peacemaker and His Son is the Prince of Peace (by whom we have peace with God and with one another, Eph. 2:14-18). It is natural that God’s children “seek peace and pursue it” (1 Pet. 3:11). Today, you be the person who resolves the conflicts of sin. Be forgiving, be merciful, be kind and patient. Show yourself to be a child of God and “as much as depends on you, live peaceably with all men” (Rom. 12:18).
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. (Matthew 5:8)
The heart is the seat of our will, our values, our choices, our emotions and much more. The heart identifies us. Our heart generates our words and our deeds. It defines who we are, not only to others but most importantly, to God. He is the great heart-knower (Acts 1:24). We may fool people about what is in our hearts, but we never fool God. And so God pleads with us to “cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded” (Jas. 4:8). By following His word we are sanctified or set apart from sin (Jno. 17:17). Give your heart completely to God and live by His truth. Without holiness no one will not see the Lord (Heb. 12:14).
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy. (Matthew 5:7)
The world is a cruel place. Mercy does not cross the mind of the ruthless. But, citizens of the kingdom of heaven measure their actions and reactions toward others with this simple calculation: God has shown mercy to me, therefore, I will be merciful to others. Mercy is compassion put into action. Mercy acts to relieve what is unbearable as it has pity on one who is under a heavy load of sin. As God is moved with compassion and forgives us our debt of sin, we are being prepared to show mercy to others (Matt. 18:27-35). By showing mercy to others we reflect the heart and action of God toward us. If we cannot be merciful to others then we will not be forgiven by God. Be different from the world; be merciful in your treatment of others, as God has been merciful to you.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled. (Matthew 5:6)
Few of us know what it is to truly hungry. Oh, we know how it feels to crave our next meal, but our desire for food is quickly satisfied. We know what it is to be thirsty, but we may never have experienced its parching pain. As food fills the stomach and water quenches our thirst, righteousness satisfies the soul. By we must choose this righteousness by living a life of faith in God. When we do, the goodness and holiness of righteous living is our constant desire. As we crave righteousness the Lord promises to abundantly supply our needs: “The Lord is my shepherd, I shall not want. He makes me to lie down in green pastures; He leads me beside the still waters. He restores my soul; He leads me in the paths of righteousness for His name’s sake.” (Psalm 23:1-3).
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
The Christian’s inheritance is in heaven, so what does Jesus mean when He says the meek “shall inherit the earth” (1 Pet. 1:3-5)? Jesus quotes from Psalm 37:11, where David urged Israel to trust the Lord, fully confident that by doing so they would “delight themselves in the abundance of peace”. To “inherit the earth” is a way of saying God gives abundantly blessings to His people. Yet, only the meek will obtain the abundant spiritual blessings found in Christ (Eph. 1:3). Meekness is not weakness. It is the spiritual composure to be strong in faith while humble before God and men. Moses, who was no shrinking violet, was such a man (Num. 12:3). Be gentle toward others and confident in faith as you rely on the Lord and not yourself. That is the essence of meekness. Be that person and you are blessed by the Lord.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
Not a few express sorrow for their sin because they get caught. They are sorry for themselves. But, the one who is blessed by God directs his sorrow for his sin toward God and toward others. Toward God, because all sin is against Him. Toward others, because sin also hurts and harms other people. Godly sorrow for sin leads to repentance and God’s forgiveness. This godly sorrow is the mourning Jesus advises and blesses. Ask yourself this question: Am I sad and sorry because of your sin, or am I sad and sorry because you got caught in your sin? How you answer helps you know whether or not God will be bless and comfort you.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)
Only by recognizing and acknowledging your spiritual poverty will you possess the kingdom of heaven. Only by relying on God for spiritual healing from sin will you be fortunate and favored (“blessed”). The rule of God’s will in your life must prevail over self-importance and pride. If not, you will prefer to do your will instead of God’s will and miss eternal blessings. Be “poor in spirit” by depending on God to rule your life. Be sustained by Him each day and have heavenly riches.