The Blessing of Upside Down Living

Righteous choices may seem like upside down living in today’s culture, but they’re still best.

As a 6-year-old, I only remember tiny bits and pieces of my first time at an amusement park: riding a gondola on the rainy day to spending time on kiddie rides.

But one particular memory of the day vividly sticks out in my mind: going in the Fun House with my family. I remember stepping in the front door and freezing in my tracks. Absolutely everything in the room was turned upside down. As we were supposed to walk on the ceiling, I saw all the furniture upside down, above me.

Everything felt wrong about this. Feeling so absolutely discombobulated, I held on to my mom’s legs and wouldn’t budge. I didn’t know how to walk when everything was turned upside down.

An Upside Down World

THAT, my friends, is what this world is – absolutely discombobulated – and we’re reminded of it when we read the Beatitudes. Everything in this world is upside down when you look at what Jesus says.

Jesus starts his teaching of his Sermon on the Mount in Matthew 5:1-12:

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
“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.”

Counter-Cultural Living

Jesus’ teachings about being poor in spirit, mournful, meek, merciful, and pure in heart seem like NOTHING this current world encourages or approves.

Yet no matter what this world tells us, we ARE called to make peace. We ARE called to hunger and thirst for righteousness.

The Beatitudes highlight the fact that God’s priorities and preferences are NOT the world’s. In fact, they’re the opposite. 

As you observe and interpret what Jesus taught, there’s also an obvious takeaway and application that comes with these Beatitudes: if you’re accepted and welcomed by the world, that’s a good sign that you’ll need to reevaluate your choices and see how they line up with the Lord’s desires.

Your Choices Matter

The Beatitudes show us in very real ways that our choices matter:

  • Blessings are given, or withheld, depending on what you decide.
  • You’re not blessed by birthright or heritage or something that’s completely out of your control. You’re blessed by the right, righteous, God-honoring choices you make.
  • And if you choose a different way of life than what the Lord asks, you’ll experience a life without the Lord’s blessings. Those are real consequences.

While each Beatitude starts with the adjective blessed, each also continues with the description of the person who is blessed. Then each Beatitude concludes with a condition that assures the blessedness.

When you really examine them, the blessings in the Beatitudes are conditional. If you do this, then you get that. If you are like this, then you will experience that.

Every single condition, though, is a choice you get to make … every single day.

If you fell short of making peace yesterday, you have another opportunity today. If you weren’t an example of meekness this morning, you have another chance to become meek. It’s not too late to show someone mercy.

Every single one of these blessings can be yours. 

These choices for righteous but seemingly upside down living help turn you right side up even in this discombobulated fun house of a world.

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