As a teacher I have the opportunity to work with youth on a daily basis, yet I often wonder if what I’m doing makes a difference. Is what I’m teaching really that relevant? Am I being a positive role model for so many students who are missing such an example from their lives?
How am I different from any other teacher the students may encounter throughout their day? Recently, I was reflecting on those questions when I was drawn to Matthew 5: 1-12, a famous section of scripture commonly referred to as the Sermon on the Mount. In this portion of Jesus’s longest sermon, he provides a list of blessings associated with certain attitudes; attitudes, or traits, He wishes those who call themselves His disciples would possess. At the first read, these traits seem like an easy request from God for us to follow, but let's consider these for what they truly are: attitudes that God desires of His disciples. These are not simple suggestions for us to follow but a comprehensive list of the attitudes we are to have in our relationship with God, as well as with our relationship with others.
Jesus desires His disciples to be:
- poor in spirit rather than proud
- empathetic rather than sympathetic
- meek rather than arrogant
- hungry and thirsty for righteousness rather than hungry and thirsty for food and drink
- merciful rather than judgmental
- pure in heat rather than saturated with worldly desires
- peacemakers rather than drama-addicts
- persecuted rather than comfortable
To me, that list it is rather daunting. Do I have the ability to do those things? If I’m outside of Christ, the answer is no. The comfort, however, comes in knowing that inside of Christ I can display those traits. Why? Because Christ does. If I allow my identify to be found in Christ, then those attitudes are attainable because in Christ all things are possible. So in this way I can be different. In this way I can stand apart from the world and provide a positive influence to my students, my fellow teachers, and also with my wife and son. What attitudes are we CULTIVATING in our lives? What attitudes make us identical to the world? Which attitudes make us identical to Christ? May we seek to cultivate proper attitudes in all our relationships, and as Jesus stated, blessings beyond our understanding will follow. May we be motivated by our love for Christ and not by the promise of blessings.
May the traits Jesus describes in Matthew 5 BE THE ATTITUDES we seek to CULTIVATE in every relationship, every day.