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The Christian Pathway (9 of 9)
The Blessings of Following
Gerald D. Branch
Here in the last of the Beatitudes, Jesus starts off by saying, "Blessed." And once again, this means "happy" as we've already seen in the past weeks.
But like all the Beatitudes that we've looked at, once again, we see that there is that paradox.
Because being Happy...genuinely happy...has nothing to do with what we might think...true happiness does not come from material or earthly stuff. In other words, genuine, lasting, Happiness does not come from possessing a brand new car, nor from a big fat bank account, nor from having a nice 401 that is growing at 30% a year. It might seem nice in the short run of things, but in the eternal scheme of things, it comes up short.
Listen to how Jesus defines what true happiness means in view of the Kingdom of Heaven:
Jesus says that we are actually blessed, or happy, when we're persecuted for the sake of righteousness.
By that strong statement, Jesus is telling us very seriously that true happiness does not come without a price.
But...is that so new? Was not our country founded at a great price....Did not Jesus died on a cross to pay the price of our sins so that we could be made 'righteous' by what He did for us?
The cost is paid in order to receive the greater reward. In other words, the reward of genuine Christian living, or righteous living,... and the persecution you will receive for righteous living,
The reward IS the kingdom of heaven.
It sure sounds like the old athletic trainer's words hold some validity...no pain...no gain.
That's because when it comes to the Kingdom of Heaven, to have the gain, we're going to have to have some of the pain that goes with living righteously.
Jesus talked about the pain of following Him by comparing it to the Cross...Jesus said, in Matt. 16:24... take up your cross and follow Me...listen to this...24 Then Jesus said to His disciples, " ...
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