Blessings And Woes

… blessed are you … woe to you … (Luke 6:20-27). 

Blessings and woes: the positives and negatives of the Christian life. Jesus listed these back-to-back to remind us that we need to keep both of them in mind, sort of like two rails that keep us on track. 

It’s interesting to note how many of these blessings and woes are opposites of each other. It comes down to this—

there are blessings for seeking the Kingdom of God, AND there are woes for seeking our own immediate pleasure.

Notice the contrasts Jesus lists:

  • You are blessed when you seek heavenly rewards; you experience woe when your focus is earthly treasure (vv. 20, 24). 
  • You are blessed when you are driven by a hunger for God; you experience woe when your god becomes your selfish appetites (vv. 21, 25). 
  • You are blessed when you acknowledge your sin, weep over it, and repent from it; you experience woe when sin is laughed at (vv. 21, 25). 
  • You are blessed when you are hated by the world for loving God; you experience woe when you are loved by the world for loving sinful pleasures (vv. 22, 26). 

I think C.S. Lewis captured these thoughts well when he wrote in Mere Christianity, “Give yourself up and you will find your real self. Lose your life and you will save it. … Look for Christ and you will find Him, and with Him everything else thrown in.” 

Blessings for seeking Jesus and His kingdom; woes for seeking only your own kingdom. 

So how do we live blessed? Here’s what Jesus taught us (vv. 27-49)—

Love your enemies
Always do good, even (especially!) to your haters
Bless those who curse you 
Don’t fight for your rights
Be an impartial, liberal giver
Treat others the way you want to be treated 
Love and give to others without expecting a return
Be merciful
Don’t be judgmental
Give, give, and give some more
Look in the mirror at yourself first before looking out the window at others
Serve others
Check what sort of fruit your life is bearing
Build everything in your life on God’s Word

Avoid the woes AND enjoy the blessings of God! 

It’s Your Choice

ChoicesIn just seven verses, Jesus tells us how to experience God’s blessing or be prepared to say, “Woe is me!” What a contrast! Check out Luke 6:20-26.

The four blessed promises are in verses 20-22, and the four woe warnings are in verses 24-26. Connecting them (v. 23) is Jesus essentially saying, “You can have blessing, or you can have woe. Your choice.”

There is a secure reward and eternal blessing for those who—

  • are Earth-poor and Heaven-rich
  • are dissatisfied with anything but the things of God
  • weep over the present sinful state of humanity
  • are persecuted, excluded, insulted or rejected by the world because they identify with Christ

But woe to those who—

  • want riches and comfort now
  • are satisfied with what the world can give
  • laugh at the smutty things of Earth
  • desire worldly popularity above hearing God say, “Well done, good and faithful servant”

Choices must be made every day. These choices lead to either blessing or woe

Choose the blessings!

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