In celebration of Backwards Day, one can try writing backwards or reading backwards, walking backwards (though one should keep an eye out for any major obstacles to avoid a collision). You can also play a board game backwards, or wear your shirt with the back in the front or inside out.
However, the best Backwards Day idea of them all?
Eat your meal, starting with dessert.
Unfortunately, for those like me who did not know Backwards Day is an official holiday….we missed it! It is celebrated on January 31st.
Here is the good news.
If you are a true follower of Christ, you can celebrate Backwards Day every day! (I am speaking figuratively, of course.)
Two thousand years ago, on a hillside overlooking the Sea of Galilee, Jesus delivered the most challenging statements we will ever hear. They are statements that are in stark contrast (backwards) to the world’s philosophy. Four attitudes deal with our character towards God, and five deal with our character towards others.
I am talking about the Beatitudes, or what I like to call the Tudes2B. (Matthew 5: 1-12)
Because of their familiarity, they have lost their impact on us or we aren’t hearing them in the way Jesus taught them, so we are missing the message all together! We also tend to disregard the Tudes2B by thinking they do not apply today. We rationalize, “Jesus didn’t mean “literally” that His disciples were to do these things.” Therefore because we have not heeded the principles set down by Jesus in the Tudes2B, we have a world, a society, governments, families and churches that are in a mess.
You see, the Tudes2B are not just quotable scripture that sounds good. They are what we are to be and do as true Disciples of Christ. Remember, they are not steps to salvation, but fruit produced in our lives because of salvation, under the Holy Spirit’s leadership. They are not lofty ideals that cannot be reached, but a yardstick by which to measure our submission to the Holy Spirit, similar to the nine fruits of the spirit Paul lists in Galatians 5:22-23.
I love Matthew’s description, “He (Jesus) opened His mouth and began to teach them.”
Why did Matthew choose to be so specific in his description?
I believe it was because the Word of God was about to speak aloud what He had been teaching by example up to this point, and so Matthew (through the Holy Spirit’s guidance) wanted to draw attention to this important detail. He wanted to make sure that his readers (then & now) understood the Beatitudes were a self-portrait of Christ, and as His followers we are to conform to HIS image. (Romans 8:29). Therefore, all of the Tudes2B should be evident in the life of every believer. We do not get to pick and choose which ones we believe best suit our character, and then forget about the rest.
Not only did Jesus open His mouth and deliver nine challenging statements, but also, nine times, like heavenly cymbals crashing through time and eternity, He spoke the word “blessed.”
The word Jesus used for blessing is not happiness, at least not in the way WE understand it today. The English word “happy” is based on the word “hap” which means chance. Just as the word “haphazard” means hit or miss, the word happiness refers to an emotion which depends on the chances and changes of life.
Human happiness can come and go. The blessedness (joy) of a disciple of Christ, however, is unchangeable and is not based on human emotion nor is it dictated by circumstances. (John 16:22)
The word “blessed” means, “highly favoured by God” or “one who has received a gift or favour from God.”
Oh, Sister and Brother are you catching the full implication of that word?
Nine times, Jesus tells a motley crew of government-oppressed, poor, broken and beaten-down people that they, in fact, did have access to true happiness.
This was a radical statement for that crowd. For in their day, true happiness was reserved for only a privileged and religious few.
“Having endured a lifetime of verbal assaults by the Scribes and Pharisees, the multitude on the Mount must have thought they had died and gone to heaven.”
Chuck Swindoll (Simple Faith)
My friend, let the word, “blessed,” trickle down through to your tired, throbbing soul. Let it echo through the noise and stress of your day.
For Jesus is speaking to you!
As His child, YOU are blessed!
In the midst of your stress, difficult circumstances and broken dreams remember….YOU are highly favoured by God. You have been given blessings beyond human comprehension. (Ephesians 1:3-14)
Every child of God has access to true happiness. A happiness not based on the size of your bank account, toys or house but happiness obtained by simply following and obeying Christ in displaying the Tudes2B.
“Father, be with us as we continue this journey, learning to truly live out the Beatitudes each day. Help us to see how different our world, homes and churches would be if we truly lived out these principles as displayed and modeled by Jesus. Amen”