“Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works and glorify your Father in heaven” Matthew 5:16
The above statement was made by Jesus just after teaching His disciples what we now call The Beatitudes. We have a tendency to read this and similar teachings of Jesus as if they were a standard for us to strive to attain. However I believe that is not the real purpose. Like the commandments of God they are also a description of the general attitude and attributes of one who is born of God and walking in the Spirit. They are also a partial description of our Creator.
If we struggle with attaining these it may be because we are trying to live the Christian life without Christ and the Holy Spirit. This is quite impossible and absurd in the light of Jesus’ teaching (i.e. John 15:5; Colossians 1:27).
The Beatitudes are a partial description of one who is a true disciple of Jesus Christ (Luke 14:25-33). They are divided into two main categories: four passive personal qualities and four active social qualities. These qualities will characterise the true disciple of Jesus but mimicking the qualities will not make a person a disciple of Jesus.
In brief, true disciples will know that they are bankrupt spiritually apart from Jesus Christ. They know beyond any shadow of doubt that they have nothing to commend themselves to God.
True disciples mourn over sin whether it is their own, that of family, the church, governments or sin generally. They find no pleasure in sin and are broken hearted over the destruction to lives that sin brings with it. They are especially grieved that it keeps loved ones from a personal relationship with God.
True disciples maintain a disciplined control of their lives even when provoked. Meekness is not weakness.
True disciples have a genuine love for God’s righteousness and this is expressed in their love for His words and commandments (cf. Psalm 119).
True disciples will demonstrate loving kindness toward others; they will demonstrate holiness from a clean heart; they will “do the work of an evangelist” endeavouring to reconcile lost souls to God; just as Jesus did not complain on the cross they will not complain at adversity and persecution that will accompany a godly life in a fallen world.
The Beatitudes are a means by which we can renew our minds and discern whether our thinking and attitudes are from Christ in us or from sin. When we allow the Holy Spirit to manifest the life of Christ in us, of which the Beatitudes reveal some attributes, we will be a light that shines among men that will glorify our Father in heaven. He is glorified because they are also attributes of our Father in heaven.