When it comes to walking, posture is everything.
However, the motivator of that posture matters when walking with the Lord.
The world has its way. But the kingdom follows the way of its King.
Culture says, “Walk tall and proud, independently and in self-sufficiency.” But that is contrary to the way of King Jesus. The virtues He preaches to the citizens of His kingdom are referred to as the Beatitudes (found in Matthew 5:1-12). They behold a posture that bows. And yet, it is a posture accompanied by an all-surpassing blessedness divinely bestowed.
It’s a posture comprised of humility, gentleness, and mercy—for it reflects the same attitude and characteristics of Lord Jesus.
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. 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." (Mt 5:1-12)
The Beatitudes are the mark of every Christian.
What do they represent? Elevation? Prosperity? Worldly success? No. Because they are other-worldly . . . heavenly. They may require sacrifice and result in persecution and suffering. But they reap blessedness.
Arthur Penrhyn Stanley wrote, “The blessedness of the eight Beatitudes towers into heaven itself. They are white with the snows of eternity; they give a space, a meaning, a dignity to all the rest of the earth over which they brood.”
The ears upon which these sacred words fell were weary. The huddled masses were not the affluent or elite. But the overlooked and marginalized. They were hungry . . . needy . . . mourning the state of unrighteousness. And Jesus was calling them. And He called them blessed, of all things!
Jesus did not call, nor define, people by their class. It was not whether they were rich. Or good. But broken. Spiritually poor . . . and desperate for God.
To quote James Bryan Smith, “The Beatitudes, far from being a new set of virtues that further divide the religious haves and have nots, are words of hope and healing to those who have been marginalized.”
We modern westerners hardly see the virtue in being poor in spirit or meek, hungering and thirsting or being persecuted because of righteousness. I’m not sure how many people (myself included) fully grasp the great comfort the pardon of the King is to those mourning the ravages of sin.
Those who saw these Beatitudes walked out in the posture of Jesus, whose faith held a shared belief in their inherent value, and then lived them out, belonged to the kingdom. Jesus was the motive in their hearts. And the kingdom was theirs. For they were wholeheartedly bound to that kingdom. And it was evident in how they walked.