In previous articles, we have discussed each of the Beatitudes as well as the significance of the message as a whole for the culture in which it was given. But what does it mean for us to apply them today? If we want these to be more than a list of platitudes to comfort us when we’re feeling low, but rather a confrontation of the Kingdom of God with the kingdoms of this world, how do we make this something we live instead of something we merely talk about?
The beatitudes are an expression of God’s kingdom breaking through and overturning every lofty idea set against Christ and His authority. As God’s children and emissaries in hostile territory, living in, but not of, this world, we are commissioned to advance this kingdom as good soldiers of Christ.
You then, my child, be strengthened by the grace that is in Christ Jesus, and what you have heard from me in the presence of many witnesses entrust to faithful men, who will be able to teach others also. Share in suffering as a good soldier of Christ Jesus. No soldier gets entangled in civilian pursuits since his aim is to please the one who enlisted him. An athlete is not crowned unless he competes according to the rules. It is the hard-working farmer who ought to have the first share of the crops. -2 Timothy 2:1-6
The beatitudes are an expression of God’s kingdom breaking through and overturning every lofty idea set against Christ and His authority.
What does the Bible compare those who advance God’s kingdom to? Kings and princes? No. Military commanders? No. Fathers and priests? No, He compares us to farmers, to athletes running a race, to soldiers, and elsewhere, to children (Matthew 18:4). It is our duty to lead the culture through obedient service to Christ, enduring suffering like good soldiers.
So if we are soldiers, what are our marching orders? How do we become these honored vessels, blessed by our humiliation, suffering, peacemaking, and mourning?
Jesus answered him, “Truly, truly, I say to you, unless one is born again he cannot see the kingdom of God.” -John 3:3
The first thing we must do in order to see and advance the kingdom of God is to be born again. We must be born of water and the spirit in order to enter His Kingdom and be His representative in a lost and groaning world. We must die to the old man and be born anew as new creations.
How do we become these honored vessels, blessed by our humiliation, suffering, peacemaking, and mourning?
And he answered them, “To you, it has been given to know the secrets of the kingdom of heaven, but to them, it has not been given. For to the one who has, more will be given, and he will have an abundance, but from the one who has not, even what he has will be taken away. This is why I speak to them in parables, because seeing they do not see, and hearing they do not hear, nor do they understand.
The next thing we need to advance the kingdom as good soldiers are eyes to see and ears to hear. We need renewed and always transforming minds. We need to be a spiritual people who understand spiritual things. We must abide in Christ and him in us so that we can do only what we see our Father doing.
And finally, what does every soldier need to advance the kingdom of his (or her) master? We need to be properly attired against the evil day in the full armor of God. Let us put on the belt of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the helmet of salvation and the shoes of peace. Let us make our feet ready to spread the gospel and take up the sword of the spirit and the shield of faith. If we go out into the kingdoms of this world fully armed with the weapons of the kingdom of Christ, always in prayer and alertness, how can we help but take on the attributes of servants of the kingdom as we do battle each day against the spiritual forces of darkness? How can we help but take on more and more of the character of the one we imitate, how can we help but be transformed into those who seek and suffer for righteousness, those who mourn like he mourned, those who make peace and show mercy in imitation of the merciful one, the prince of peace?
how can we help but be transformed?
By adoption and redemption through faith, we become the sons of God. By sanctification and discipline, we are given His mind and renewed in our ability to see and hear and understand his kingdom. By arming ourselves with His armor we are protected from the onslaughts of our spiritual enemy. In this way, we advance his kingdoms and bring the beatitudes to active life as we give ourselves as living sacrifices to his service.
Daily Nourish serves to encourage Christians to honor God with all their heart, mind, soul & strength and to love their neighbor as themselves. Thanks for stopping by! Davina
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