One of the things about studying the Bible is that we have a tendency to inspect and dissect the details, many times to the point of absurdity. Now details are important, don’t get me wrong. But when we over emphasize the details we have a strong tendency to forget the big picture.
The big picture is that the Bible is a story about God, not about man. Too often in our day and down through the ages we learn of men and women who use the Bible as a means for personal advancement. Focusing on religion can do that. Even Paul had to contend with people who were profiting from religious activity. It’s not about us – you or me, it’s about God.
We love the Beatitudes. Jesus used them as the basis for His sermon describing the foundational characteristics of true believers and how those characteristics are seen in the lives of believers. They’re not a list of things to believe, but a description of how a true belief shows itself in the lives of believers. And it’s not a list of things to do either. Jesus is saying that if we truly believe in God, have the Holy Spirit dwelling within us through faith in His finished work on the cross, then this is what believers will look and act like as a natural result of that faith.
That said, even these characteristics, if not understood properly, can be used for selfishness. The key is a simple phrase found in Matthew 5:11, “…for my sake.” Those eight beautiful Be-attitudes are about Him, not you or me. When we try to make these characteristics appear in our lives by our own strength we’re making them about us. When we allow the Holy Spirit to develop these characteristics in us and give God the glory for it, then it becomes about Him.
Something to think about – who or what is your life about?