We live in a culture where being politically correct is valued more than being honest and not hurting any one's feelings is valued over sharing the truth of the gospel. We live in a culture where no one wants to offend any one and I will be honest in saying that at times I get caught up in that as well. It's a lot less awkward to share a watered down gospel so people will not get offended than to share with people the radical truth, that we are called to die in order that we may live. Jesus requires us to give up everything and follow him.
This week during my quiet times I have studied the Beatitudes. While I have read them many times before I had never truly meditated on the weight they carry in my life. As you read these words let them sink into your heart and pierce your very being.
"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called the sons of God.
Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you." Matthew 5:1-12
These words should not only bring you comfort, but also conviction, as they have for me. This world values money, strength, and pride but Jesus values the poor, weak, and humble. We rely more on Jesus when we have nothing than we have everything. When we are weak He makes us strong and when we are humble God raises us up. If we are truly honest with ourselves we will see that Jesus and the gospel are counter culture.
It is in our nature to seek the approval of our fellow man, but man didn't create us so we should seek the approval of the one who did, God. He is the one who gives us life and the one who deserves all of our praise. He is the one who has promised us eternal glories in heaven so we can REJOICE when trials come for He has promised comfort. We can be GLAD when persecutions come because our reward is not on earth, but in heaven. We do not answer to man but to God. So press on towards the goal that is waiting for us in heaven, and let us live our lives according to what Jesus has commanded us. He has commanded us to love all people and if we truly love people then we will not withhold the good news of Jesus Christ, even if it is offensive. After all, Jesus himself was offensive.