Countless research has proved that happiness is every man’s greatest goal in life. In Matthew 5:3-12 & Luke 6:20-22 Jesus used the beatitudes to explain to His followers the true path to happiness. This teaching has not always been accepted well though because it’s a great contrast to the worldly notion of blessedness and happiness. George Bernard Shaw called it an “impractical outburst of anarchism and sentimentality.” The point is we need to change our focus in order to find any happiness at all in this life and the beatitudes are the way to do it. In today’s sermon let us consider how to embrace these principles?
1. Intentionally admit your need for God
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for the kingdom of heaven belongs to them.” (Matthew 5:3)
This one is the first of the eight beatitudes. To be poor in the spirit does not mean financial poverty. But to be aware of our utter spiritual bankruptcy before God, (Isaiah 64:6). All of us were born into this state of spiritual poverty. Being born to rich or poor parents doesn’t make a difference, (Psalm 5:15). This beatitude points to two kinds of people. People that are too proud to admit their spiritual poverty and those who humbly admit it, (Luke 18:9-14).
Implications: Jesus said the tax collector went down to his home justified rather than the Pharisee. Likewise, salvation belongs to people who admit that they are sinners, (the Kingdom of Heaven means salvation).
2. Be a person of brokenness before God
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4)
This beatitude is number two in the list of beatitudes. In it, Jesus is referring to godly people who don’t conceal their sinfulness and the sinfulness of people around them (Isaiah 6:5). The comfort mentioned here is the grace of God. He gives grace to all who confess and forsake their transgressions, (Proverbs 28:13). This beatitude also points to two kinds of people. Ones that admit their transgressions and those who don’t, (Luke 23:39-43).
Implications: The thief got much more than he begged for. He was in great pain but his death was indeed more comfortable than life because he knew he will be in paradise, not hell. Like this thief we also need to acknowledge our wretchedness and Christ will wipe away our tears.
3. Give up your quest for Personal Rights
“Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
This beatitude is number three in the list of beatitudes. The meek are the ones who out of humility would suffer injury not because they are weak but because they are humble, (Isaiah 53:7). They are known for the long-suffering attitude evident in their service to God and man, (Philippians 2:5-8) They wait in the Lord and the Lord will deliver and honor them in due time, (Philippians 2:9-11)
Implications: One cannot be meek without being selfless. Selflessness is the price we pay to cultivate meekness. The price is more than worth it because according to this beatitude the reward definitely exceeds the cost.
4. Maintain a hunger and thirst for God
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
This beatitude means pursuing a right relationship with both God and man, (Matthew 22:37-38) It’s a fruit of meekness because we can only form right relationships with others when we cease making all our actions revolve around ourselves, (Philippians 2:4) Religion is a direct result of man’s pursuit of right relationships. But the Bible says Jesus alone can satisfy our hunger and thirst for righteousness, (John 4:13-14; 19)
Implications: Jesus assured the Samaritan woman of two things. Whoever drinks the water Jesus gives him will never be thirsty again. It means the restoration of his relationship with God and man. This water will also become in him a fountain of water. It means the everlasting nature of his renewed relationship with God and man.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Happiness is not a destination. It is a way of life.” He was right but he wasn’t specific. Jesus on the other hand in his famous sermon on the mount said that the beatitudes are the way of life to find happiness. It’s costly. It’s not free. Still, the beatitudes bring everlasting happiness. It’s the key to happiness that lasts a lifetime even when the world around us is in utter chaos.
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