I was reflecting on the beatitudes (while reading several books
that dealt with this subject) and had the realization that the truer characteristics Christ describes of His followers are in fact demonstrated less by their action and more by their reaction.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. (Mat 5:3-11 NIV)
What do I mean by that? I noticed that it is much easier for me to do something that fits this profile when its on my terms, my timing, etc., but not when I’m busy, having a hard day, etc. When reading the beatitudes I notice that the poor in spirit are lacking and/or abused first, that the mourners have suffered first, the meek have been humbled first, the merciful have been wronged unjustly first, the ones hungering/thirsting after righteousness are inadequate and unsatisfied first, the peacemakers, are in turmoil first, the persecuted…well they are being persecuted first. So the reaction of Christ’s followers are significant in demonstrating the Lordship of Christ in one’s life.
I realize that the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Gal. 5:22-23) in my life is more readily apparent (or not) when I’m reacting to something or someone else. How I respond/react demonstrates more truly the work of God in my life than simply how I act (not that the acting isn’t also extremely important, but it can certainly be used as a mask of what is really going on in my heart). I once heard someone say, “No one really wants to be good, but everyone wants others to think they are good.”
My reaction to adversity and trouble truly demonstrates the working of the Spirit in my life and drives me back to the all-sufficient Cross of Christ. His reaction “as a lamb to the slaughter” in the midst of hatred, rage, abuse, rejection, torture and even execution drives me back to His life…may I be found hidden in Him and live in step with the Spirit.
So I pray today that the Lord Jesus help me by His Spirit to not just act, but react in ways that reflect His life in my life (and my life hidden in His).