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Blessed Are the Persecuted (9 of 9)
Some years ago a popular national magazine took a survey to determine the things that make people happy. According to the responses they received, happy people enjoy other people but are not self-sacrificing; they refuse to participate in any negative feelings or emotions; and they have a sense of accomplishment based on their own self-sufficiency. The person described by those principles is completely contrary to the kind of person the Lord says will be authentically happy and blessed. Jesus says a blessed person is not one who is self-sufficient but one who recognizes his own emptiness and need, who comes to God as a beggar, knowing he has no resources in himself. He is not confident in his own ability but is very much aware of his own inability. Such a person, Jesus says, is not at all positive about himself, but mourns over his own sinfulness and isolation from a holy God. To be genuinely content, a person must not be self-serving but self-sacrificing. He must be gentle, merciful, pure in heart, yearn for righteousness, and seek to make peace on God's terms-even if those attitudes cause him to suffer.
This is the message of the Beatitudes. And this is the lesson that Christ wants us to learn. All of these beatitudes seem contrary to human thinking and experience. Yet all of them describe the work of Christ in the life of a believer. This is, in fact, the perfect description of someone who is completely surrendered to the Lordship of Christ.
Jesus concludes the Beatitudes by saying READ TEXT ''Truthfully, most of us probably would have preferred that Jesus stopped at ''peacemaker.'' This is not an easy one to read, but definitely not an easy one to live. All of us have this on our top ten list of what we want in life: persecution. I've got that scheduled on my calendar for sure!*
1. The reality of persecution: 10-12
Persecution is inevitable, a ...
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