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. 

Great Relationships

“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.

Unusual Insight

“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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  1. Very helpful, thank you

  2. A beautiful explanation of these verses. Thank you, Dr. Bailey!

  3. Thank You so much for the insight and instruction on how to live a Godly life. I want to be salt, a light in darkness.

  4. Great insight for the beatitudes!

  5. Great insight! Thank you Sir.
    In this time and age our saltiness and our light are needed more than ever so we can make a Kingdom impact on the world we live in starting from our own backyard

  6. Thank you so much. It was a beautiful commentary and as often as I have read those and heard ministers expound on them your explained more and gave me a much better understanding of the entire passage. I am grateful for your contribution to BSF. May God continue to bless you, and your work.
    In Him,

  7. Thank God for a clearer understanding on the

  8. This was a great help to me. Thank you so much.

  9. Thank you for explaining the Beatitudes, in plain language.
    I enjoy your blog, Dr. Bailey!

  10. Dr. Bailey, Thank you for being a BRIGHT LIGHT for Christ. You have lead well, taught well, grown DTS. You always carry our Lord’s banner high for all the world to see. May God continue to use you as you share all your talents with the world.
    God Bless!

  11. Ì enjoyed this. Mark Bailey pastored the church we attended in Texas while my husband worked in Dallas-Fort Worth. I believed every word he said then and now.

  12. I were impressed with the richness on the Beatitudes from Dr. Bailey.
    Lord, thank you for Your promises in the Beatitudes. I put my full trust in You 🙏

  13. Excellent words to live by! Enjoying the study and thanks for sharing.

  14. Very profound and meaningful. Just the opposite the world and culture demands . So you have to dedicate 100% to overcome our sin nature. For that we need scripture, Holy Spirit to guide us, and divine wisdom for decision making. And it is not that easy to follow, because the world, Satan and flesh waiting to tempt us . But I loved it.

  15. Thank you, Dr. Bailey, for providing insightful and sound teaching on Matthew 5:1-16 for all of us. I was encouraged by reading your blog post. It confirmed my understanding of this passage and corrected many misinterpretations of it as well. I wish every disciple of Jesus would read this.

  16. Studying with bsf for the last 20+ years has been the ultimate journey for me to transform my self with the Word of God. Not only for self but as a tool to help others to get to know Jesus. Matt 28:19 Praise the Lord.

  17. Please have the blogs shorter. It’s very disrespectful of people and the time it takes to read them. I’m retired and live alone but BSF ladies that have small children it has to be very difficult.

  18. Dr. Bailey
    Thank you for your insight into the Beatitudes. You have helped me to express my thoughts
    much better. May God continue to bless and keep you. Thank God for your anointing.


  20. The Beatitudes now have a different meaning for me.

  21. Thank you, Dr Bailey, for a wonderful exposition of the Beatitudes and for bring greater u derstanding. Many thanks.

  22. Very good words to guide us!

  23. Such an insightful explanation and encouragement from Matthew 5:1-16! Thank you, Dr. Bailey, for again teaching truth with loving care.

    • Very encouraging message thankyou.

  24. Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your father in heaven. I liked this verve. So profound. ” That they may see your good deeds” Always be a shining example of God’s creation through your deeds and not words. This is revealing.

    • Thanks for the enlightment.Loving this study.

    • Thank you and many thanks for God for BSF . Sending a personal messages, email form BSF is a blessing.
      God bless Dr. Bailey, wonderful message, helped me to connect the blessings of being the salt and light of earth and our life style as an ordinary Christ follower.

  25. I’m keen to learn more I have study at the Malaysia bible seminary . I did my ot and nt . Book of Romans . Then I faced my life challenge. My son toke his life last year. I battle with God . Found my answer . This is it my calling . I have a reason why I’m here . Knowledge is what I’ll learn and knowing is power so the evil can’t plant any siege my life and show others how to get out from his beliefs that we can be set free in the name of Jesus and stay free .

    • How brave for you to keep pursuing your purposes after such a loss.
      God bless you and keep you
      close to His heart.

    • I am so sorry to hear of the loss of you son, leaving a hole in your heart. Thankful you allowed God to provide a balm and revised sense of purpose in your life.

    • Hi Rebecca, so sorry that you loose your son, for sure Jesus will be there when you seek Him, He really comforted the broken hearted. Stay strong in Christ and He is for you and will heal your lost.

  26. Thank you for being so personal in leading me and helping me to study God’s word in depth. I am blessed. Hoping to be a blessing to many.

  27. At every angle of our lives on earth is lived & surrounded by temptation of all kinds. Since I joined BSF in 2015, I learned that reading the word of God & praying for my needs & others will lead us to God closer & closer. Sincere prayers will be answered in God’s time. The beatitudes of our Lord Jesus is a sure guidance of our walk in this perilous darkened world. As we step by step walk in the beatitudes of our Lord Jesus and the guidance of the Holy Spirit we eventually and always will be the light & salt of the world in Christ Jesus. Amen. PTL

    • Very sound teaching. Thanks

  28. Personally, I liked Ms.Corrie Ten Boom’s words about “Being merciful to others” :
    “To forgive is to set the prisoner free and then, to discover that the prisoner is YOU.”
    How wonderful is the teaching of our crucified Master!

    • The beauty of studying the word of God is that it creates greater thirst/hunger for more!!

  29. This exposition was made so simple and yet so profound, practical, poised to make every reader to learn, experience as well as emulate these Kingdom Values in our daily lives.

    It’s such a blessing to have someone like Dr Bailey to motivate and mobilise BSFers to this Ultimate Lifestyle in 2021 and coming years …

  30. Mat 5:6-7
    A revelation giving to me personally 18 yrs ago
    Praise God He has grown me in His word & application thro consistent bible study
    Thanks for sharing your thots too

  31. Thank you for sharing these very clear comments Mark. Each of these points are a clear understanding of this beautiful passage. I often recall you speaking on this reading whilst traveling with you with a BSF tour of Israel a few years ago. Such a blessing sitting with many other brothers and sisters in Christ at that picturesque place and taking in God’s Word. Thank you once again.
    God bless.

  32. The Beatitudes have awakened again the deep desire to be in God’s will daily.
    How amazing is God’s word. It becomes fresh ,even after knowing these words since childhood
    Thankyou Lord ,I hold your hand even more tightly today. Great is your faithfulness,Lord unto me.
    Thankyou Dr Bailey for your dedication.

  33. Praise and thank God who always provide His chosen servant like now he used Dr. Mark L. Bailey to tell others about his truth through Jesus’ ultimate lifestyle we found from Jesus Sermon on the Mount.
    I am very blessed to read this BSFblog. May God give me as GL and my Groupmembers always his wisdom, strength, and hope to live in ultimate lifestyle too.
    God bless BSF ministry, Dr. Mark Bailey and all BSFers.

  34. Thank you for your simple, short but rich insight into Jesus teaching. I like that there is lots to think about but not too much to read. God bless you.

  35. Thank you for showing me the connection between the Beatitudes in Matthew 5 and being salt and light in the world. That has helped me greatly.
    I pray that I will truly be a light for Jesus in this world and salt to those around me.
    God bless you and thank you for everything you do.


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