Applying the Beatitudes

Questions for Self-Examination

The Beatitudes are a great source for self-examination, personal confession, and prayer. Here are a list of questions to ask yourself from the Beatitudes…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

  • Do I trust myself and my strength and my rightness too much? Am I often satisfied in myself?
  • Do I say, “I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing. But … not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind, and naked” (Rev.3:17).
  • Or do I realize that I am poor and weak and desperate, and my only hope is in God?
  • Do my days begin on my knees, acknowledging my spiritual poverty before God?

“Blessed are those who mourn.”

  • Do I only grieve over temporary things that inconvenience and affect me personally?
  • Or do I ever grieve more deeply, as Jesus himself did, over the ugliness and destructiveness of sin, over the dishonoring of the goodness of God, over the brokenness and hardness of the world?
  • Am I only ‘sorry’ for my sins, or am I grieved enough that I want to quit?

“Blessed are the meek.”

  • Am I someone who is always defending myself, defending my rights, asserting myself, fearfully trying to control my circumstances?
  • Am I harsh and emotionally reactionary?
  • Or have I learned to submit to difficulties and trust God in all circumstances?
  • Have I learned to be humble about myself and confident in God so that I am able to respond to others with softness and gentleness and patience?

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness.”

  • Do I hunger and thirst for worldly pleasure and worldly recognition?
  • Am I complacent spiritually and act like I’ve arrived and I’m satisfied with where I am?
  • Or do I have new desires to be closer to God, to live rightly before him in the world, and to see his righteousness spread in the lives of others?

“Blessed are the merciful.”

  • Am I too concerned about ‘the letter of the law’ and judgmental towards others?
  • Do I find it hard to forgive? Am I regularly impatient with those around me? Do I think that people deserve what they get?
  • Or am I more aware of my own sins against God, and the death Christ died for me to show me mercy, so that I am inclined towards mercy?
  • Am I a forgiving, patient, gracious, compassionate person because of Christ?

“Blessed are the pure in heart.”

  • Am I complacent with impure thoughts and hypocrisy in my life?
  • Does love for myself and for the world often ‘win out’ over love for God?
  • Or am I actively seeking to ‘clean my hands’ and ‘purify my heart’ through repentance, worship, and devotion to Christ – making him first in all things?

“Blessed are the peacemakers.”

  • Am I a fighter and thrive on conflict? Or do I passively avoid conflict at all costs?
  • Do I think I have to choose between truth and love? Do I think it’s godly to fight, that I’m standing up for my convictions and am zealous for truth, but it’s never motivated or presented with love? 2 Tim.2:24-26
  • Am I only a peace-faker or peace-keeper, but not a peace-maker?
  • Or do I actively and sacrificially seek to bring God’s Gospel of peace, truth, justice, repentance, and reconciliation to the world with gentleness and love?

“Rejoicing in Persecution.”

  • Am I a people-pleaser? Afraid to speak up, quick to back down, wanting everyone to speak well of me?
  • Do I ‘seek’ persecution by being obnoxious, not realizing that actual persecution only comes after the other Beatitudes – like humility, meekness, mercy, and peace-making?
  • Or am I willing to suffer to bring Christ and his Gospel to a dying world?
  • Does opposition and hardship overwhelm me? Or does it draw me nearer to fellowship and faith and hope and joy in Christ, with willingness to die to myself and show his incomparable worth, no matter the cost?

These are the heart attitudes of true Christianity and the life truly blessed by God, because they are the heart attitudes of God’s own Son, in whom he is well-pleased. May we be transformed more and more into his image!

This article originally appeared here.

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Mark Foreman is a simple man who is learning to follow Jesus wholly. He is the husband of Jan and father of Jon and Tim of the band Switchfoot. He is the lead pastor of North Coast Calvary Chapel—a “church without walls”—which has built its reputation by erasing the barriers of the church.