In Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount, He gave what is known as the beatitudes, recorded in Matthew 5:3-12. They are called beatitudes because they are attitudes that followers of Jesus should “be” or have. Jesus says that individuals are “blessed” or “happy” if they have these attitudes or characteristics. Jesus was teaching His disciples and they were amazed; one reason they were amazed was that what He taught was in contrast to what they had heard and seen from their religious leaders. His teachings are certainly in contrast to the standards and practices of the world. But God has different values than the world. Isaiah 55:8-9 “’For My thoughts are not your thoughts, nor are your ways My ways,’ says the Lord. ‘For as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways, and My thoughts than your thoughts.’” I am confident that you want to be blessed by God and truly happy, so let us consider the attitudes or characteristics you will want to have.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The poor in spirit are those who lack the proud, haughty, arrogant attitude of the world. Instead, they are humble and realize that they need God’s forgiveness and His righteousness and they need to give themselves to Him. If you are poor in spirit, you can be in God’s kingdom. James 4:6 “But He gives more grace. Therefore He says: ‘God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” Those who mourn are those who are contrite and have godly sorrow for their sins. It seems that today many take pride in how bad they are. But it is only when you appreciate your sinfulness and repent that you can have the forgiveness of your sins by God. Acts 3:19 “Repent therefore and be converted, that your sins may be blotted out, so that times of refreshing may come from the presence of the Lord.” When your sins are forgiven, then you can be comforted.
“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.” Those who are meek are those who are mild and gentle. This is in contrast to those who are harsh, aggressive and difficult to deal with. Jesus describes Himself as meek or gentle in Matthew 11:29 “Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.” You need to be meek or gentle like Jesus. In saying you shall inherit the earth, perhaps He is referring to you inheriting the new earth. 2 Peter 3:13 “Nevertheless we, according to His promise, look for new heavens and a new earth in which righteousness dwells.”
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.” Righteousness is having right actions or conforming to the revealed will of God. But none of us are righteous of ourselves. Romans 3:23 “For all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God.” If you have a strong desire to be righteous before God, if you hunger and thirst for righteousness, you can come to Jesus for justification and be filled with His righteousness. Romans 3:24 “Being justified freely by His grace through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus.”
“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy.” To be merciful is to have compassion, pity, and a desire to help those in need. You can be merciful to those who are guilty of some offense against you. In that case, mercy means forgiving. Matthew 6:14-15 “For if you forgive men their trespasses, your heavenly Father will also forgive you. But if you do not forgive men their trespasses, neither will your Father forgive your trespasses.” You must forgive to receive God’s forgiveness. But your mercy can also apply to those who are suffering and in need. If you are merciful and help others with their needs, God will also be merciful and help you with your needs.
“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.” A pure heart is one that has the single purpose of pleasing God. Most people have a divided heart; part of their heart wants to serve God but the other part wants to please themselves. James 4:8 “Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded.” I encourage you to have a pure heart in your desire to please God in all things. The promise is that you will see God.
“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.” As a peacemaker, you seek to live at peace with others and work to resolve conflicts between your neighbors, family members, and fellow Christians. Romans 14:19 “Therefore let us pursue the things which make for peace and the things by which one may edify another.” God values the peacemaker; when you have that attitude, God claims you as His son (or daughter).
“Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Jesus was persecuted. The prophets of old and the apostles and early Christians were persecuted. If you stand up for Jesus and let your faith and trust in Him be known, you will receive persecution from those who reject Jesus and His way. Don’t be afraid to receive persecution. Rejoice that you have a great reward in heaven like others who have suffered for Christ.
Here are the attitudes or characteristics you will want to have to be blessed by God: poor in spirit (humble), mourn (godly sorrow), meek (mild and gentle), hunger and thirst for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, peacemaker, and persecuted for Christ. The blessings you will receive are: being comforted in mourning, being given mercy, being filled with righteousness, having the kingdom of heaven, inheriting the earth, seeing God, being called sons of God, and having a great reward in heaven.