Attitude Adjustment

adjustment

Our attitudes can sometimes use a little work.

As I was reading a devotional the other day, the following question was posed: “What one thing could you change to give those around you a foretaste of God’s Kingdom of peace?”

I don’t know about you, but I sometimes have a propensity to skip over these questions. This time was different, though. There was a subtle restlessness that came over me; I needed to have an answer for this one.

Finally, I asked the Lord, “God, what do you want me to change?” His response was expeditious and clear: “Change your attitude.”

While I was not quite thinking along those lines, this answer did not come as a total surprise. Much like the cars we drive, there is routine maintenance that needs to be performed on us. Our inner man is of utmost importance, and the reality of God’s Kingdom should be the determining factor in our internal dialogue and outlook.

In Matthew 5, Jesus begins his famous Sermon on the Mount with what are commonly known as the Beatitudes, with the word “beatitude” meaning “a state of supreme happiness.” Yes, Jesus wants those that follow him to be happy. In fact, the word “blessed” that he uses several times can be translated as such.

Here are the Beatitudes:

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you. (Matthew 5:3-12 NIV)

After reading, you’re probably wondering how some of these can produce feelings of happiness. When has anyone ever been happy that they were mourning, or being insulted?

The Kingdom of God has a way of turning things upside down. It is a place where the first become last, where children are honored more than nobles and where the smallest seed produces the largest tree. Ultimately, those that are described in this passage will be the happiest, because God will honor them.

While the call for joy and blessing to mark our lives is clear, I would suggest the attitudes of particular note are those found after the word “blessed.” Jesus uses this word to describe the state of those who carry such traits as meek, merciful and pure in heart, and attaches the promise of God to their lives.

Jesus was a counter-cultural teacher. For example, the temple, family and cleanliness were all Jewish mainstays, but Christ said things that conflicted with the idea of each (John 2:19, 4:21; Matthew 10:34-37; Mark 7:1-5, 14-15). In the Beatitudes, then, he is presenting attitudes that are contrary to the norm.

Those that exhibit these traits make known another kingdom. While the world majors on the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eye and the pride of life, Jesus says that a hunger and thirst for righteousness and poor spirit will be rewarded.

Practice these attitudes today, and give someone a foretaste of God’s Kingdom of peace.

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~ by christianballenger on November 29, 2016.

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