Three Things to Keep in Mind
The filters through which we view anything biblical will impact how we apply truth to our lives. This doesn’t mean truth changes, but rather that the way we perceive it is multi-faceted.
When I was a young boy, my grandfather and I frequently fished in a large pond that belonged to our cousin. We had been there so many times we had a mental map of every underwater ledge, drop off and tree limb. We knew where the water was shallow or deep, and where we were most likely to get “hung up”. Every trip made us wiser.
But we were still guessing. Trial and error taught us many things, but the world where the fish lived remained very much a mystery. One day, for reasons no one was ever able to determine, a large dam at the end of the pond developed a catastrophic leak. Within hours all but a small two-foot puddle full of fish was left. Several fish passed through the leak and ended up in a nearby creek. Some just disappeared into an underground abyss.
That evening my grandfather and I stood on a hill overlooking the pond in shock. It was like a death in the family. But the sight was also very revealing. For the first time we were able to see the terrain of the pond as it really was. There were old rusty chairs, tree stumps, and a tire or two. We were most surprised to discover a fence, still intact, stretching across the bottom of the pond. Suddenly so many things made sense. The fence, still covered with fishing lures, hooks and monofilament line, was our mystery revealed.
One day, all of God’s truth will be crystal clear, but now we must do our best to examine it from as many angles as possible to overcome the limitations of human vision. As we move into the Beatitudes, we must view it through: 1) the 100% pure Jesus, who is transforming us through the presence of His Spirit, 2) the kingdom of God, which is expanding on earth, even as it is challenged by the Prince of Darkness, and 3) the tragedy of those living in darkness who will be eternally lost if they don’t find Jesus.
Remember, the church is the kingdom, but the kingdom is more than the church. God reigns in heaven and on earth, and He will be victorious. As you spend time with each Beatitude ask yourself how it can make you a better conduit for Jesus, where you can apply His grace, and who God might have brought into your life for just this purpose. The Beatitudes are more than commands with a promise. They are the truth of God, cutting to our inner core, and carving out the image of Jesus. In the end, all that really matters is that He is seen in us.