Overlooking the Sea of Galilee is the Church of the Beatitudes. This is thought to be the location where Jesus gave His Sermon on the Mount. On our tour of Israel there in 2005, we were told that the nuns at the Church of the Beatitudes do not like having tourists. In fact, they are known as the “Nuns with the crabby attitudes”. Ironic isn’t it? The very location where Jesus preached a sermon on the attitudes a believer should have is the place you would expect to see it lived the most.
It isn’t that surprising when you see the attitudes of people entering the church doors each Sunday. I used to make it a practice to greet people as they came in the door each Sunday but have gotten out of that habit. The main reason for this change is that it often puts me in a bad attitude. Some people come in as if they really hate being there. They will complain about anything from the temperature being too hot or too cold inside the church to the whereabouts of the pastor. Everyone isn’t like this but it is funny how the negativity affects a person more easily than a positive one.
Psalms 100:4 tells us to “Enter His gates with thanksgiving and into His courts with praise” yet many times I don’t see it. We tend to enter the doors with complaints and the church with grouchiness. A lot of it may be due to the constant pressures of the world. We bring those pressures in with us. We see our “entering His gates” with an attitude of obligation rather than a joyful event. We dwell on the empty pews and lofty expectations of what we think the church should do for us than the pews that are occupied and recognizing what God IS doing.
Is it time for an attitude adjustment? What did Jesus say about our attitude?
-Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3): We are supposed to be people who know who we are in Christ and not seeking the fame and fortune of a ministry but seeking Christ. Remember where God has brought us from. It isn’t something that we have done but only through the blood of Jesus. None of us saved ourselves!
-Blessed are they that mourn (Matthew 5:4): This isn’t referring to funerals or grieving the dead, this about someone who has true Godly sorrow. Those who mourn are very sensitive about offending the Spirit and very in tune with the Spirit. Are we concerned about the lost? Are we desperate enough to pray and mourn for them?
-Blessed are the meek (Matthew 5:5): Meek doesn’t mean weak. This isn’t about turning the other cheek when someone slaps us. We must be people who have no problem submitting to God and dying to ourselves. Pride often gets in the way of our ability to be meek. We must be willing to surrender our will to His will and let go of our pride.
-Blessed are they that hunger & thirst after righteousness (Matthew 5:6): We should be people who want to do what is right. We should be the model of integrity. We also must seek out places that are righteousness. This means we must be careful of the friends we hang out with. We need to prefer people with the same goal of seeking after righteousness.
-Blessed are the merciful (Matthew 5:7): We should be experts in forgiving people. When someone wrongs us, we shouldn’t be plotting our revenge or allow bitterness to take root in our hearts. We should not be easily offended. Unfortunately, some people also seem to be looking for ways to be offended.
-Blessed are the pure in heart (Matthew 5:8): The only way we will experience God’s presence in our lives is to get rid of anything that will hinder us from having a pure heart. No hidden sins or making excuses for things that are not of God. This one beatitude probably takes more work than any of the others. It is so easy for something to slip in.
-Blessed are the peacemakers (Matthew 5:9): We need to be people who seek peace and not desiring to stir things up. Instead of looking for ways to be mad at someone, we need to look for ways to make things right even if it requires us swallowing our pride and making the first move. We should give people the benefit of the doubt and not that everyone is against us.
-Blessed are the persecuted (Matthew 5:10): If we boldly identify ourselves with Christ, we will not be popular. Now is the time to take a stand against sin and the sinfulness around us. This is not a popular message today. The sinful person does not want to be held accountable and we will not be accepted for taking this stand against them.
-Blessed are the believers (Matthews 5:11,12): We must stick together as believers. The world is attacking those who believe in Christ. We must never lose sight of the ultimate goal. It isn’t a 10,000 member church in a big metropolitan city. Stop wishing the church was filled to capacity and strengthen the believers around you now!
Have you ever seen a bunch of crabs in a basket? Put in a basket, crabs pull each other down in their attempt to climb to the top, which makes getting out of the basket an almost impossible task. In the same way, our negative attitudes can affect other believers. If we offer no hope, no encouragement to each other, we will not achieve what God wants us to do. Certainly, we all have our bad times or when we are going through trials. I’m not saying that we will always be sugary sweet all of the time but when our attitude is always negative, we must recognize the need to adjust our attitude back in line with the beatitudes.