Jesus’ Guide to the Ultimate Lifestyle
By Dr. Mark Bailey- Dallas Theological Seminary
How do ordinary people, living ordinary lives, live “in the world, but not of it?”
Every morning we wake up and go to work. Most of us watch the news and check our email. We care for our families and enjoy our friends. On the surface, we look a lot like our neighbors. But as Christians, God calls us to be different. That difference is for a distinct purpose. Jesus tells us in Matthew 5:16, to “let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in heaven.”
As Christ followers, Jesus asks us to pursue a life that’s fundamentally different from the cultures around us, even in the everyday moments.
In 1 Thessalonians 4:11-12, Paul tells us to “make it your ambition to lead a quiet life: You should mind your own business and work with your hands, just as we told you, so that your daily life may win the respect of outsiders …”
In His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus casts a vision for a fulfilled life that surpasses all others, the ultimate lifestyle. A life that is fundamentally different from those around us. And, who would not want a secure future, to leave a lasting legacy, to enjoy great relationships and possess unusual insight?
Through the Beatitudes, Jesus promises these things and more to those with a mindset to pursue Godly character. But along with the blessings come distinct conditions. Jesus proposes these unique qualities to us in the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:1-12.
A Secure Future
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
If we want a secure future that extends through this life and into eternity, we need to come to Jesus with a humble heart of faith. This humble approach recognizes our spiritual poverty, which can only be addressed by God’s gracious provision. The assurance of our present possession and future presence in the kingdom of God is only possible by recognizing our spiritual need is total and not partial. Faith is a response to grace that only God can provide.
A Calm Heart
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.”
If we want to maintain a calm heart and a cleansed conscience in a fallen world, a conscious recognition of sin followed by appropriate repentance is a necessity. Mourning in the Bible is almost always associated with the conviction of the sin. Comfort comes with the promise that God is faithful and just to forgive when that sin is confessed (1 John 1:9).
A Lasting Legacy
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.”
If we want to experience all that God intends us to experience in this world, we need to bring an attitude of gentle restraint, and place whatever power or authority we possess under His control. Meekness is not weakness, but a tender heartedness knowing that the reward for servant-hearted leadership will be rewarded in the future when we co-reign with Christ in His kingdom.
A Deep Sense of Fulfillment
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied
If we want to live a fulfilling life of meaning and purpose, we must come with a teachable spirit to learn God’s definition of what a flourishing life should look like. A biblical worldview means living life “rightly” according to the revealed standards of God.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.”
If we want to enjoy meaningful relationships with other people, we need to reflect the gracious love and forgiveness we have received from God toward others. Corrie ten Boon, survivor of Nazi imprisonment in World War II, said, “To forgive is to set a prisoner free, and then to discover the prisoner was you.” As we see in the Lord’s Prayer, Jesus taught us to ask for forgiveness while we also extend forgiveness to others.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.”
If we want to gain unusual spiritual insight into the ways and wisdom of God, we will need to live a life of holiness by allowing God to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. Like Moses, we should sincerely pray to the Lord: “Show me now your ways that I may know you in order to find favor in your sight” (Exodus 33:13).
A Great Reputation
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.”
If we want to earn a Christ-like reputation before a watching world, we must be known for promoting reconciliation with a spirit of fairness, free from partiality. According to this text, we are most like Christ when we seek to bring people back into harmonious relationships. In fact, Paul summarized the ministry to which he has called all believers as ambassadors for Christ with a single term: “reconciliation” (2 Corinthians 5:18).
Rest in Future Justice
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.”
If we want to faithfully endure hardship, misunderstanding, or slander for the sake of the gospel with the hope of ultimate justice, we will need to come to Jesus with an attitude of patient rejoicing. When we know our heavenly reward is coming, we are in good company in whatever we face. Peter prompts us to remember others suffering around the world by resisting Satan while at the same time standing for the faith (1 Peter 5:9).
Jesus follows the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:13-14 by teaching, “You are the salt of the earth. But if the salt loses its saltiness, how can it be made salty again? … You are the light of the world. A town built on a hill cannot be hidden.” Jesus tells us that people of such integrity make an impact for Him in the world. The beatitudes and their prerequisite behaviors are what make God’s people the “salt and light” that counter the decay and darkness of this present world.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus tells us how to establish a credible witness to our neighbors. He tells us how to be different and find fulfillment in Him. Let us not be a people who lose their saltiness. According to Jesus, living with the values of God’s kingdom, while awaiting its consummation, is the ultimate lifestyle.
Dr. Mark L. Bailey
BSF Board Member
Dr. Mark L. Bailey is the Chancellor and Senior Professor of Bible exposition at Dallas Theological Seminary in Dallas, Texas, He has served at DTS for 37 years. Prior to assuming the seminary’s presidency, Dr. Bailey served as professor of Bible Exposition and vice president of academic affairs. He pastored churches in Arizona and Texas. He was seminar instructor for the Walk Thru the Bible Ministries for 20 years and is in currently in demand for Bible conferences and other preaching engagements. He is married to his wife, Barby, and they have two married sons and six grandchildren.
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It truly is a map for us to follow the path the Lord prepared for us. Thank you for clarifying the Beatitudes in a form that is easy to understand. I always had difficulty in understanding how the poor in spirit could have the Kingdom of Heaven. Now I know that it is in their humble realisation of their spiritual poverty that they seek God’s gracious provision. Thank you
Thank you for this commentary, it is rich, and timely.
May the Lord continue to bless you!
This inspired me to live like Jesus despite the rot in the world. I shared this with friends and family members.
Thank you Dr. Bailey, may God continue to use wise counsel to impact the world for Christ.
How do we get our salt back if it leaves?
Thank you, Dr. Bailey.
May God bless you more!
Thank you for sharing these wonderful words, it’s a help to know how to apply the Beatitudes in our daily life
Thank you for sharing these words that help me grasp the meaning of Jesus’ message in the Beatitudes. This has become so powerful and meaningful to me, thanks to God working through Dr. Bailey and BSF.
I’m blessed by the blog. Encouraging one another, in Christ, is so needed today. Be of good cheer.
Thanks so much Dr. Bailey for the wonderful exposition and how we can apply the Beatitudes to our own life.
May Gods help us to live for Him.
Thank you for sharing. I really appreciate what you had to say. God bless to you as you continue to serve Him.
This Way and Life is The Truth!!! Yeshua Hamashiach!!!
We praise Yahweh!!!
Dr. Bailey, this is a wonderful explanation of the Beauutiudes and is delivered in an easy read and understandable manner. My thanks to you for making this available for all to read and ponder.
I appreciate this work of commentary on the Beatitudes. I’m always interested in a better understanding of how Jesus desires Christians to live in this world and not be of this world.
how are you Dr M .L. Bailey
thank you very much . i am a new member in BSF studying book of Matthew. Learned that i need to come to JESUS with a humble heart , and inorder to have a meaning relationship with other people we need to reflect the gracious love and forgiveness from God
After reading Dr. Bailey’s blog on The Beatitudes, I am determined to embrace the unique qualities every believer should have. Thank you, Dr. Bailey, for your excellent insight on how to live our best life now.
I really enjoy and am looking forward to Dr Mark L Bailey explanation on the book of Matthew.
It gives me much more understanding on the transformation of my life. So anointing, inspiring and motivating.
Hope you will give more commentaries on the other chapters of Matthew.
I am so encouraged to go into indept study of Matthew.
Wonderful teaching. Thank you
Thank you for sharing this on the Beatitudes!
Thank you for this clarification on how to live as Jesus would have us do!
Thank you Dr Bailey for the exposition on how to aspire to a life of integrity guided by the principles outlined by Jesus. What a challenge for our faith! God bless you for this blog
Thank you for your further commentary on the Beatitudes. I knew I would be learning them all over again as I entered this portion of Matthew’s Gospel. This now has clearly lead me to securely attach the Beatitudes to my heart and convictions as Christ’s child. God opened the meaning of being “blessed” to me during my study and now I am even more accountable with your words!
Thank you again,
I was very challenged by Dr. Bailey’s podcast. I hope others will take the time to read and reflect on it.
Amen, Thank you