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In Sunday School one of my teachers wanted us to memorize the be-something-or-others, but for the life of me, I couldn't figure out why. I hated memorizing and these things didn't make any sense. Not only did I not understand them, the teacher couldn't adequately explain them; so I never got a gold star for learning those be-whatitudes.

But I did memorize other verses that made sense to me. Luke 19:10, "For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost." And John 3:16, "For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish but have everlasting life." I understood those verses, even in the King James Version.

And Acts 1:11 clearly told me that while the people stood watching the incredulous sight of Jesus ascending up into the sky, angels told them that Jesus will return. "Men of Galilee, they said, why are you standing here staring into heaven? Jesus has been taken from you into heaven, but someday he will return from heaven in the same way you saw him go!" (NLT). That gave me confidence that Jesus would come back, and it told me how he would return. No questions, and no guesses. Hundreds of people in the past two centuries have claimed to be the returned messiah, but people should have understood they were fake messiahs because none of them came the way the Bible says Jesus would return.

But I had a hard time with the Beatitudes. Many people -- including much of the Church -- view the Beatitudes as lofty ideals. Some people think of them as verses or sayings to console the spirit in time of trouble. But is this the intent of the primary teaching that Jesus gave us in the New Testament? I don't think so. Instead, if we properly understand them, they're one of the most important sets of instructions we could ever receive.

I think Matthew 5:3-12, backed up by the full Sermon on the Mount in chapters five through seven, is the Charter of the Christian Faith: the foundation for growing or maturing in our relationship with Christ.

II Tim. 2:15 will start us on our way, "Work hard [study diligently] so you can present yourself to God and receive his approval. Be a good worker [student], one who does not need to be ashamed [does not embarrass himself with half-hearted efforts] and who correctly explains the word of truth" (NLT).

As we prayerfully and diligently study God's Holy Word, we are presenting ourselves to God as His craftsmen. And after we complete a maturing process, God himself will approve us as a journeyman of the Word, and he'll give us wisdom to properly understand [rightly divide] Scripture.

Many people depend on their own understanding to determine how they should respond in various situations. They may be unhappy with how things are going in their lives and they want to change, but they keep using the same futile efforts. They are ignoring -- or are ignorant of -- a primary resource to help them change things for the better. This resource is the Bible. This brings to mind something I heard years ago: If you want different results from what you're getting, you have to try different approaches. So, in order to change our circumstances, we have to use different methods.

Therefore, we must know and employ Romans 12:2, "Don't copy the behavior and customs of this world, but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God's will for you, which is good and pleasing and perfect" (NLT). And you'll learn how to cooperate with God.

Diligently study the Bible. Scripture enables us to understand who God is, and how to live for him. In the process, we learn how to live for and bless each other. So, dig into the Word and make it part of your life.

If we are willing to be the tools for God to use, we must change the way we think. That way God can make us more like the Lord Jesus Christ, and can use us to change our community. That's when the world notices the reality of Almighty God. Although there are those who don't like the change, we cannot let that stop us from obeying and honoring the Lord, Jesus Christ!

I'll talk more about this topic later.

-- Gene Linzey is a speaker, author and mentor. Send comments and questions to masters.servant@cox.net. Visit his website at www.genelinzey.com. The opinions expressed are those of the author.

Religion on 10/16/2019

Print Headline: The Be-Whatitudes? What's that?

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