The Blessed Life
Obtaining the Blessed Life
The Beatitudes have long been the favorite of many. In Matthew 5-7, Christ sets forth the conduct and character of those who desire to be his followers. Like the Ten Commandments, this sermon provides the foundation of how a disciple of Christ is to live. The Sermon begins by describing what it means to have a blessed life.
In today’s career-driven, accomplishment-oriented culture, we believe that the one who is blessed is the one who has the nicest home, attains financial success, and is recognized for their accomplishments. Success is measured by how high on the career ladder one obtains and how much fame and recognitiion one achieves.
But Christ points us in a different direction. The one blessed is not the one who is successful in their career, obtains financial prosperity, and gains the recognition of others. Success is not measured by accomplishments and achievements but by character. Each statement points to an individual who develops a humble character driven by spiritual pursuits. They do not describe a set of circumstances but an attitude of the heart. The only circumstance mentioned is the very opposite of what we would expect. The only circumstance that brings a blessing is when we are persecuted and ridiculed for our obedience and faith in Christ.
The blessed person stands before God recognizing that they have nothing to God to merit his blessing and salvation (poor in spirit). They acknowledge their spiritual bankruptcy and repent their sin (those who mourn). Instead of being arrogant and proud, they are humble and seek the welfare of others (the gentle). They find their satisfaction not in the things of this world but by pursuing righteousness (hunger and thirst for justice). When wronged by others, they demonstrate forgiveness and mercy (merciful) instead of seeking revenge. Instead of embracing the morality of our culture, they strive to live according to obtain the moral character of God (pure in heart). Rather than being demanding and “standing up for their rights,” they pursue peace and desire to love people rather than demand what is ‘rightfully mine’ (peacemakers). When people ridicule them for their faith, they rejoice, knowing that the world has rejected Christ, and so the world will continue to vent their hatred of Christ by hating his people.
Those that embrace these qualities are genuinely blessed. The word “blessed” refers to one characterized by happiness and joy because they participate in God’s kingdom. This starkly contrasts the false happiness that the world allures us with. The happiness it promises, it never delivers. The rich are still miserable, the famous wallow in insecurity, and the successful stand at the end of life, sadly realizing they sacrificed their family for their career. In contrast to this stands this individual who stands at the end of life, thoroughly contented, fully satisfied, who finds genuine contentment in all circumstances, for they found their happiness in their relationship with God, which is eternal, rather than the transitory things of this world.
If you find yourself unhappy and discontented with life, always pursuing what seems allusive and unattainable, then the problem is that you are looking for the wrong things. Happiness does not come from circumstances, financial security, or accomplishments. True happiness comes by surrendering our life to Christ and living for him every moment. When we make God our sole pursuit, then we find genuine happiness.