11 “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. 12 Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven, for in the same way they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
2 Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, 3 because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance.
I’m a seven on the enneagram, and no, that’s not a brand of cereal. It’s a kind of personality test that can be really helpful in addressing certain behaviors and attitudes. For example, sevens are called “enthusiasts” because they seem to be happy about everything all the time. This is a really wonderful trait, but it isn’t a perfect trait. Sometimes it leads me to internalize or push away bad feelings, to the point where I don’t acknowledge them at all. Maybe you can relate.
Verses like these end up being the life verses of “sevens.” We kind of say “duh” and start handing out these verses to everyone going through a rough time. The problem is that we take all of the rejoicing, and all the pure joy, and we kind of forget about the evil things. We forget about the trials and persecution, and just cash in the promises.
Don’t let the beatitudes become little sayings that we carve up and take what we like. We have to trust that Christ knows what is best for the human creation that he loves so well. We have to trust that if he says that the humble, mourning, and peacemakers are blessed, then we need to become those things. We can’t just pull of the Kingdom of God, the comfort, and our identity as children of God, and leave the work and faith that Christ challenges us with. It is interesting that the first "commandment" of the Sermon on the Mount comes in the verse this week. The command is to "rejoice and be glad".
We encourage you to spend time in prayer this morning. Ask God to show you how he can build an aptitude within you that enables you to "rejoice and be glad" in the midst of difficulty.