Monday, April 24, 2017

Counselor’s Corner: Traits Jesus is looking for in His Followers


Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down.
His disciples came to Him, and He began to teach them
The Beatitudes
He said:
 “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 children 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. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
Matthew 5:1-12


Reflect and ponder: Is your heart’s desire to look more like Jesus or the world?

Counselor’s Corner: This article is an in-depth look at each trait that Jesus discussed on the Sermon in the Mount.   Have reflection time after reading through each one. Though as followers of Christ we may not embody each trait perfectly, but our hearts must want to align with the traits. We then surrender what we cannot do on our own, and ask the Holy Spirit to align our hearts to His desires for us.


Poor in Spirit:

Poor in spirit is referring to our relationship with God. It is the opposite of arrogant self-confidence. It is the deepest form of repentance. It acknowledges our desperate need for God. We acknowledge we can do nothing on our own or in our own strength. When we come to God we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we do not really need God.

“God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6

Mourning:

Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. We can mourn for repentance, consequences of sin, over persecution, sins of God’s people and sincere concerns for the church. The Holy Spirit in us can grieve over our sins and the sins of others. So this type of mourning may be more referring to a spiritual mourning.

Meekness:

A Greek translation of meekness can be translated as gentle. Dictionary.com defines meekness as humble, patient or docile, gentle.
Synonyms for meekness: forbearing, yielding, unassuming, calm, soft. Ask.com defines meek as a word to describe one’s character meaning humble in spirit. It could also mean to have a feeling of patience, submissiveness, and humbleness.

In the Old Testament the meek are those wholly relying on God rather their own strength. Gentleness and meekness is the opposite of self-assertiveness and self-interest. It stems from trust in God’s goodness and control over the situation. The gentle person is not occupied with self at all.
Meek does not mean weak! Gentleness or meekness is not weakness, nor is it belittling of oneself. Gentleness can be described as a considerate or kind disposition, not harsh or severe; mild and soft and easily managed. Humble can be defined as someone who does not think they are better than, or more important than others. Humble means not proud or arrogant. A humble person never demands their own ways (see 1 Corinthians 13:4-8). Humility is the opposite of pride, haughtiness, being puffed-up, boasting, self-will, self-glory, and self-promotion. Humility does not seek personal recognition. Humble people esteem others better than oneself. Humility is not timidity or a self-degrading attitude towards self.

Righteousness:

An important part of righteousness is that a person is honest, dependable, and trustworthy. One is faithful towards God and others. A righteous person will live morally upright, fair, and in an upright manner.

Merriam-Webster dictionary defines righteousness as morally good; following religious or moral laws.

Synonyms: decent, ethical, honorable, just, moral, right, virtuous.
Antonyms: bad, dishonest, evil, evil-minded, immoral, indecent, sinful, wicked, unethical, wicked, unrighteous.

Greek words that are used to describe unrighteousness:
Anomia: Lawbreakers; Hamartia: Sinners; Atheist: Those who do not believe in God.

Unrighteous Acts:

Greed                           Not honoring agreements
Envy                             Not loving your family
Murder                         Not being merciful
Arguing                        Being sexually immoral
Deceitfulness               Worshipping idols
Gossiping                     Committing adultery
Slandering                    Practicing homosexuality
Not believing in God   Thievery
Pride                             Drunkenness
Bragging                       Insulting
Being angry                  Extorting
Being disobedient to parents

Mercy:

Mercy can be defined as compassion or forgiveness shown towards someone whom it is within one’s power to punish them. The Pharisees in their self-righteous judgments showed little mercy. The truly merciful are too aware of their own sins to deal with others in condemnation and judgment. The merciful person is sensitive to others needs. When we must judge another person we should be careful because we really do not know their situations and their hearts. Jesus, in the Beatitudes says that those who show mercy are given mercy.

Pure in Heart:

Meaning being clean or free from stains or shame; free from adulteration; it denotes a physical, religious and moral cleanliness. Being pure in heart goes deep. The Bible makes it clear that worshiping God cannot be an outward function, but must come from the inside (the heart). Being pure in heart means we are in right relationship with God and with others. We have to guard and preserve our heart. The pure in heart are those who seek to stay free from sin.

Peacemaker:

Peacemaking seeks to produce right relationships between persons. Those that sow discord, slander, and gossip are not peacemakers. Holding grudges, busybodies, and the disagreeable do not promote peacemaking. Peacemakers are needed in our homes, churches, and in the marketplace. Quarreling, arguing, and wanting to be right provides an opportunity for the enemy to cause division and strife.
Peace means tranquility, harmony; absence of strife. The Hebrew meaning, Shalom means peace. 

True peace never evades the issues by “sweeping them under the rug,” but deals with them by building the right bridges and moving through the pain until harmony is established. Sometimes the way to lasting peace includes addressing issues which will be painful to work through. Truth and righteous are just as important as peace. Jesus taught that sometimes faithful followers would cause strife with loved ones. Paul implies not all strife can be avoided when following Christ, however, we should do what we can to be at peace with others.

Persecuted:

The NIV states blessed are you when people insult you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of God. Jesus called those who lived out these traits blessed. To Jesus, blessed means the experience of hope and joy, independent of outward circumstances.

Barnes commentary notes on Matthew 5:10: Blessed are they which are persecuted. To persecute means literally to pursue; follow after. Here it means to vex, oppress one on account of one’s religion.



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