READ: Matthew 5:1-20
THINK: In what ways are you trying to find satisfaction and significance in life? How does your approach compare with how most people today pursue these things. This passage challenges us to consider the types of people who find true joy and fulfillment as part of God's kingdom. Their character, values and behavior are vastly different from those who try to find happiness and success apart from a relationship with Jesus. Think about how life would be different-for you and for others-if you applied Jesus instructions from this passage.
RESPOND: People who pursue worldly goals, such as material wealth or power, never seem to get enough. How does this contrast with those who pursue God's standards and purposes? (See 5:6 note.) What does it mean to be meek as Jesus instructs? (See 5:5 note.) What does it mean to 'hunger and thirst for righteousness, and how does this bring spiritual satisfaction? (See 5:6 note.) What special connection do 'the pure in heart” have with God? (See 5:8 note.) How can you expect to be treated when you pursue godly character and purposes? How should you respond? (See 5:10 note.) What kind of influence can you have on others if you demonstrate the character traits described in this chapter? What does it mean that Jesus' followers are 'salt” and 'light” in the world? (See 5:13 and 5:14-16 notes.) In what ways should a Christian's life and 'light” (v. 14) stand out in the world?
PRAY: Ask God to help you develop character traits that will give others an accurate impression of Jesus. Pray for the strength to endure the opposition that is sure to come from following His purposes.
ACT: Select one of the character traits mentioned in this passage that you need to develop more fully in your life. Make a conscious effort to practice this trait today. Pay particular attention to how your attitudes, actions and conversation should differ from those who don't follow Jesus. Look for ways to serve and assist others in ways that demonstrate Jesus' compassion. (Read article on Campus Missions Commitment to Serve, p. 1276.)
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