The book arrived in the mail and the title, “Words From The Hill”, beckoned to be read. Before starting the book, I wanted to first read the very words which had come from the hill.
They are called “The Sermon on the Mount” or “The Beatitudes”. Surprisingly, I have not heard many sermons on these very words of Jesus, which I now find curious. It is amazing to me, as I imagine what it must have been like to sit on the grassy mountainside and listen to Jesus teach these words.
In this teaching, Jesus was describing for us how we are to live and the special favor of God upon those who do so. This sermon outlines the way we are live, the character we are to possess, and the attitude we need in living.
God blesses ….
- the poor,
- those who mourn,
- the humble,
- those who hunger and thirst for justice,
- the merciful,
- the pure,
- those who work for peace,
- the persecuted.
The sermon reveals the manner in which we are to live and so be a part of God’s activity here on earth. It is not a way of life that will come easily nor naturally. It is only attainable as we let Him work in our hearts and minds, teaching us how we are to conduct ourselves daily.
The words of this sermon, the very words of Jesus Himself, present a tension between our own desires and the character He desires to build in us. We would so much rather have wealth, celebration, recognition, satisfaction, mercy, our rights, and to never be offended.
Yet His words tell us otherwise, that this life will not be easy. But we can live blessed.
I read a quote from Dr. Henry Cloud which says,
“There is a big difference between hurt and harm. We all hurt sometimes in facing hard truths, but it will make us grow. It can be the source of huge growth. That is not harmful. Harm is when you damage someone.”
We will all experience hurt in our lives. God does not promise us that we will not hurt. In fact, Jesus tells us, “Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows” (John 16:33a, NLT). The reality is we live in a world that is broken and filled with all sorts of evil.
God is faithful to us. While we will hurt, we will not be harmed, or damaged, for all time for He promises us, “But take heart, because I have overcome the world” (John 16:33b,NLT).
I return to the words of Christ – the Beatitudes – again and again for several days, realizing more deeply that these words are to be the attitude others see in my life. This is to be the attitude I am to have towards others.
Jesus ends this teaching by saying,
“Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven.”
God takes note when we have suffered. He will make all things right one day. His most perfect blessings will be seen in those who live as Jesus lived and in the power of His Spirit.
I wonder what those on the hill were thinking that day as they listened? I may never know their individual thoughts but I do know this – they lived differently because they had been taught by Jesus. His words impacted their lives and they went down the hill different than they went up.
“But even more blessed are all who hear the word of God and put it into practice.”
(Luke 11:28, NLT)
This life with Jesus – it may not be easy.
But it will be blessed.