Kris did not know what he wanted. It took going to prison for him to find it. He spent his entire life fighting, clawing, twisting, and manipulating people and circumstances. In his own words, “that’s what it takes to build your kingdom.” Years of justification, bargaining, and manipulation finally took their tole. Kris’s kingdom crumbled. He gave up.
Hopeless and destitute he made one last-ditch effort. Kris turned to God. He opened a prison Bible and read Matthew 10:39. “Those who try to gain their own life will lose it; but those who lose their life for my sake will gain it.” Kris’s foundational thinking cracked. He began to realize how much he needed God’s Kingdom. All he had to do was get lost in God. He pored his life into scripture, prayer, and fellowship with others that wanted to know God.
The Kingdom of God became more than just words on a page. Getting to know God through Jesus’ saving grace, His Word, and a Community of Believers changed his perspective and gave life meaning. After all, that’s what it takes to enter God’s Kingdom. Sense those early days, Kris has helped countless others, in and out of prison, find the Kingdom of God.
Kris’s story is not that different than ours. We all want the best we can get. A better house, car, status, or health. We all want our kids to be smart, lives to be blessed, and things to go smoothly. We all want to build great kingdoms, and we’re willing to do whatever it takes to manufacture them. Let’s learn from Kris and not make the same mistakes. Let’s give up and turn to God now before it’s too late.
Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:3-10 what it takes to receive the Kingdom of Heaven.
“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 sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Jesus’ sermon reveals his deep desire to bless us with a better way of living (A better Kingdom). Jesus tells the crowd that God will bless those that possess a certain character. Let’s take a closer look at that character.
Jesus’s life is a perfect example of the Beatitudes. The Holy Spirt living in and through each follower of Christ will express character God blesses. Is your character an example of the Beatitudes? If not, why?
Christians become meek, humble men and women that no longer want what’s best for themselves. We seek the good of others. We begin to acquire a taste for God through fellowship with him in prayer and the study of his word. We extend God’s mercy to others because we fully recognize God’s mercy has and is being extended to us. We fight for the purity of our heart. We take God’s commands seriously and we wage war against the impurity of our lives. Finally, we become peacemakers. We have been filled with a peace from God that motivates us to bring His peace to others.
So what does it mean to be blessed? In this context the blessing comes in the form of a promises. Jesus promises those that express the character of Christ will receive exactly what they need when they need it.
Jesus essentially says that God will be with you and will be your strength. God will comfort you, give you an inheritance, fill you with satisfaction, give you mercy, you will see God, and be called God’s. Jesus says the follower will be blessed because they will find complete fulfillment in God.
God’s purpose for creation is expressed through those that live out the Beatitudes. The love of the Father being expressed to a world that desperately needs love is best expressed through followers of Christ. For the wold to know God that must see, hear, and experience God through us.
How does your life emulate the Beatitudes?
Matthew 5:3-12 MSG
“You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule. “You’re blessed when you feel you’ve lost what is most dear to you. Only then can you be embraced by the One most dear to you. “You’re blessed when you’re content with just who you are—no more, no less. That’s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought. “You’re blessed when you’ve worked up a good appetite for God. He’s food and drink in the best meal you’ll ever eat. “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being ‘care-full,’ you find yourselves cared for. “You’re blessed when you get your inside world—your mind and heart—put right. Then you can see God in the outside world. “You’re blessed when you can show people how to cooperate instead of compete or fight. That’s when you discover who you really are, and your place in God’s family. “You’re blessed when your commitment to God provokes persecution. The persecution drives you even deeper into God’s kingdom. “Not only that—count yourselves blessed every time people put you down or throw you out or speak lies about you to discredit me. What it means is that the truth is too close for comfort and they are uncomfortable. You can be glad when that happens—give a cheer, even!—for though they don’t like it, I do! And all heaven applauds. And know that you are in good company. My prophets and witnesses have always gotten into this kind of trouble.”