Read This Week: Matthew 5
Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called children of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Mathew 5:1-10 NIV
During the ministry of Jesus, large crowds would follow him from place to place to listen to him speak, perform miracles, and be around him. These gatherings of followers provided incredible opportunities to speak the truth, embody the gospel, and preach about the coming kingdom. Matthew 5 capsules such an opportunity by recording The Sermon on the Mount, one of the most impactful and practical teachings of Jesus’ life.
The Beatitudes can be understood as a spiritual and ethical standard for all believers and the contrast between eternal and temporary values. These ten verses are pivotal because they introduce the difference between having a relationship with God and simply following religious rules. The Beatitudes are not about the subjective feelings of the blessed person, but it is the objective reality when God reigns in the heart of a person, and they live their life through Christ.
The Beatitudes show us that to be blessed and therefore happy is to be a beneficiary of God’s grace, recognize it, and obediently live within it. Happy is the person who:
• Sees and embraces their need for God and stops trying to compensate and cover it up. (v.3)
• Lives the eternal kind of life in the here and now. (v.3)
• Is broken over his condition apart from God. (v.4)
• Avoids the façade of spiritual health and lives in the reality of open transparency with Christ and others. (v.5)
• Finds humility not in being humble but in the fact that God gives it to them. (v.5)
• Understands they don’t need the world to live happily but only in their relationship with Christ. (v.5)
• Has a compelling desire to live a life of integrity. (v.6)
• Recognizes they have received mercy and shows it to others. (v.7)
• Has a heart that is decided and undivided. (v.8)
• Cultivates integrity in their public and private life. (v.8)
• Has a receptive heart that is open to change. (v.8)
• Is willing to fight for peace with the truth. (v.9)
• Lets peace consume their heart like a child of God. (v.9)
• Embraces the joy of a life with God no matter the circumstances. (v.10)
• Stays on the mission. (v.10)
Everyone wants to be happy. The problem with pursuing happiness is we are often misguided in our search for it. Happiness as a follower of Jesus is not merely serendipitous or dependent upon people, circumstances, and things. It is the holistic embrace of God’s truth and the following of His principles and prescription for a successful life.
A blessed and happy life is one built on the hope, confidence in, and application of the unchangeable foundations of the Word of God and not on societal norms, current cultural trends, and the whims and moods of others. That’s what happiness is.