“Blessed are the poor in spirit . . . those who mourn . . .the gentle . . . those who hunger and thirst for righteousness . . . the merciful . . . the pure in heart . . . the peacemakers . . . [and] those who have been persecuted for the sake of righteousness” (Matt. 5:3-10).
A quiz in a popular magazine characterized happy people as those who enjoy other people but aren’t self-sacrificing, who refuse to participate in negative feelings or emotions, and who have a sense of accomplishment based on their own self-sufficiency.
But Jesus described happy people quite differently. In fact, He characterized them as spiritual beggars who realize they have no resources in themselves. He said they are meek rather than proud, mournful over their sin, self- sacrificing, and willing to endure persecution to reconcile men to God.
By the world’s standards, that sounds more like misery than happiness! But the people of the world don’t understand that what is often thought of as misery is actually the key to happiness.
Follow the Lord’s progression of thought: true happiness begins with being poor in spirit (v. 3). That means you have a right attitude toward sin, and that leads you to mourn over it (v. 4). Mourning over sin produces a meekness that leads to hungering and thirsting for righteousness (vv. 5-6), which results in mercy, purity of heart, and a peaceable spirit (vv. 7-9)–attitudes that bring true happiness.
When you display those attitudes you can expect to be insulted, persecuted, and unjustly accused (vv. 10-11) because your life will be an irritating rebuke to worldly people. But despite the persecution, you can “rejoice, and be glad, for your reward in heaven is great” (v. 12).
You are one of God’s lights in a sin-darkened world (v. 14), and while most people will reject Christ, others will be drawn to Him by the testimony of your life. Be faithful to Him today so He can use you that way.
Suggestions for Prayer:
- Thank God for the grace enabling you to have Beatitude attitudes.
- Ask Him to make you a bright light in someone’s life today.
For Further Study:
Read 1 Peter 2:19-23.
- How did Jesus respond to persecution?
- How should you respond?
From Drawing Near by John MacArthur Copyright © 1993. Used by permission of Crossway Books, a division of Good News Publishers, Wheaton, IL 60187, www.crossway.com.
Copyright 2011, Grace to You. All rights reserved. Used by permission.