“Being What Jesus Taught”
Being What Jesus Taught
by Jeff Curtis
How does happiness to come to us? Is it someone else’s responsibility to make us happy? Does happiness come from having a high-income job, having a house that suits our desires, living in nice community, or having a nice retirement plan? No, it comes from none of these things. In fact, the search for happiness itself can produce the greatest unhappiness (1Timothy 6:9-10). Happiness essentially comes from inside us. A truly happy person lives a controlled and balanced life. In other words, true happiness comes from being in a right relationship with God and with the people around us. We are to be what Jesus taught us to be (Matthew 5:1-12).
The first four Beatitudes listed in Matthew’s account concern inner principles of the heart and the mind. The last four are showing the way we are to relate to other people. For example, when we are “poor in spirit” (5:3), we will understand God’s mercy toward us. And in turn, that should make us more merciful toward others (5:7). Recognizing our own sins and being truly sorry for them (5:4) should give us the desire to live purer lives (5:8). Being gentile in spirit (5:5) will cause us to seek after the things that lead to peace (5:9). When we truly “hunger and thirst for righteousness” (5:6), we will understand the price that must be paid to live as followers of Jesus (5:10-12). Paul wrote that those “who desire to live godly in Christ Jesus will be persecuted” (2Timothy 3:12).
Marten Lloyd James pointed out four important truths about the Beatitudes. (1) They are a description of how every Christian should live. (2) They are intended to be completely absorbed by every Christian. (3) They are not what we would call natural tendencies; they challenge us to the opposite of what may come naturally. (4) They call upon us to live above the world and its lusts and to be truly different and distinctive from those around us.
Too many Christians today, and even more congregations of the Lord’s church, waste time and money attempting to adapt and adjust to the environment of the world around us. Rather than doing this, we should do our best to stand out (James 4:4; 1John 2:15-17). We have allowed the world to invade the church, and the church has become too much like the world. Jesus said that His disciples, though they would be in the world, should not be “of the world” (John 17:15-17).
Job 5:7 tells us: “Man is born to trouble as surely as sparks fly upward.” Yes, suffering is the burden of humanity.
Perhaps, your heart is aching today, and you say, “What can I do with this burden?” Often God allows us to have burdens to exercise our faith. People who run from problems, for example, those who try to fill the valleys in their lives with drugs or alcohol, are really missing a blessing.
God works to make us more valuable through difficulties and hardships. A bar of iron may be worth $5.00. Make it into horseshoes, and it will be worth $10.00. Make it into needles, and it might be worth hundreds of dollars. Make it into balance wheels for watches and its value might run to tens of thousands of dollars. To be worth more, it has to be refined, superheated, drawn out, and purified.
Our faith is like that; it grows under pressure (disappointments, trials, difficulties) far more than when things are comfortable. Paul underlined this in Romans chapter 5 where he tells us to rejoice in our sufferings because they are good for us. They teach us patience, and patience develops strength of character and helps us to trust God more each time we exercise it until, finally, our faith and hope are strong and steady.
Accordingly, we’re able to hold our heads high no matter what happens. We know all is well because God loves us. Therefore, strengthen your faith, bear your burden gracefully; trust in God, and He will see you through to the end.