Life Lesson 37: Despite our best efforts, discouragement is inevitable. But having a relationship with Jesus Christ…
Life Lesson 26: I once believed that to be blessed meant that I had everything I ever wanted. But now I know that even if life doesn’t meet all my desires, God has truly blessed me with so much more. His spiritual blessings are all I need to be truly blessed.
“All praise to God, the Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who has blessed us with every spiritual blessing in the heavenly realms because we are united with Christ.”
Every once in a while when I ask someone, “How are you doing?” The standard response I get is, “I am blessed.” This sentiment is often expressed in Christian circles. But what does it truly mean, and what does the Word of God say about being blessed? To find out, let’s take a look at Matthew 5:3-10. In these verses, known as the Beatitudes in the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus declared eight statements about blessedness and what it means for those who have a heavenly mindset. In these life-changing verses, each proclaiming a blessing, we are taught what it truly means to be blessed.
Jesus began by saying:
To be poor in spirit or to be spiritually poor is to have complete dependence on God. You never felt like you have arrived, and you always feel a need for God in your life. You are ever conscious of your dependence on God. You recognize your inadequacy and your own human frailty. The bottomline is, we realize our desperate need for God.
In other words, your heart breaks for what breaks God’s heart. You are grieved by the sins of this world. You desire what God desires for His people. It saddens you to see the direction the world is going and you mourn for those heading in the opposite direction of the Lord.
When you think of the word “meek”, what comes to mind? For some, “weak” or “timid” might surface. It’s interesting that the Bible speaks of meekness in a different sense. Meekness is never a sign of weakness, but instead an act of submissiveness to God’s divine order. It also evokes long-suffering or perseverance. When we submit to the Lord, He gives us patience and strength to endure the trials of life.
We all know what physical hunger and thirst feel like. I wonder though, how many today are spiritually starved because they are feeding on the wrong things? Is there an emptiness in your soul, and no matter how much you try to fill it with the things of this world, you can’t seem to get rid of that vacuum? If you develop a spiritual appetite for God and what pleases Him, He said you will be satisfied. In other words, when we desire to live according to ways of God, contentment will fill that void in our hearts so that we will be satisfied, even when we are surrounded by chaos. We must train ourselves to feed on God’s Word because it has the power to nourish our souls and fill us with divine satisfaction.
This verse illustrates the “Golden Rule”. When we treat people the way we would like to be treated, we demonstrate mercy. This reminds me of what Scripture tells us about God’s mercy: “But God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8). In other words, though we deserve punishment for our sins, the Lord, being merciful, doesn’t punish us, but instead, show compassion on us by sending Christ Jesus to pay our sin debt in full on the cross. The Lord replaces condemnation with mercy. In the same way, we are called to extend mercy to others, even to those who may treat us unfairly. In that way, we demonstrate sympathy instead of criticism.
How is the condition of your heart today? If someone were to search your heart, what would they find? Throughout Scripture we learn about God’s holiness. Therefore, to experience His holiness, our hearts must be pure. Only when we approach the Lord God with honesty and sincerity of heart, can we truly experience His divine nature. Since God is omniscient, He knows all things, and He knows the secrets of our hearts. Nothing is hidden from Him, so it would behoove us to be honest with Him in prayer. Scripture tells us that He already knows the “thoughts and attitudes of our hearts” (Hebrews 4:12).
I can always tell when my heart is not right before God. There is a feeling of disconnect between myself and the Father, and my prayer life just doesn’t seem as effective as it ought to be. That disconnection forces me to come clean before God and reveal what is truly going on in my heart so that, if I am willing, He can purify me. Although He already knows my heart, He wants me to acknowledge my sin so that He can cleanse me of any wrong attitude. When our minds are set on the things of God, then and only then will the eyes of our hearts open so we can see the spiritual things of God, and be able to enjoy His presence.
Is there someone in your life who is contentious and always at odds with you or other people? Everyone of us at some point has encountered someone like that. It may be a co-worker, a family member, a friend or even a stranger. For reasons we may never understand, this person always chooses to disrupt the peace, making life unpleasant for others. As children of God, we are called to live in harmony with one another. Some of us are peacemakers by nature. We intervene in situations in order to bring about peace. I like to think of a peacemaker as someone who is like the cream filling between two Oreo cookies, he or she holds the two halves together, creating a bond of unity.
In His final declaration of the Beatitudes, Jesus did not sugarcoat the fact that those who choose to follow in His footsteps will face persecution. Persecution can take on many forms. If you are a believer in Christ, you know exactly what it looks like. When you seek to follow Jesus and live according to His righteous standards, you will sometimes be mistreated, talked about, spurned or rejected. Some people may dislike you because you boldly profess your faith in Jesus Christ. Because you are not ashamed of the Gospel of Jesus, you will be ridiculed. Remember what Jesus said in John 15:18, “If the world hates you, keep in mind that it hated me first.”
If you are a follower of Jesus Christ, do not be alarmed when the world rejects you. When we choose to stand on the Word of God against the harsh realities of this world, we will face persecution. But never lose hope, and never let your faith fail. Instead, let the words of Jesus be your encouragement to stand firm in the faith no matter what may come your way. He said, “Remember what I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his master.’ If they persecuted me, they will persecute you also.” (John 15:20).
As we consider what it means to be blessed and seek to live in the Lord’s blessedness, despite any opposition, let us give praise and thanks to God for His divine blessings. In view of the Beatitudes, we see that “to be blessed”, has nothing to do with what is on the surface of our lives, but instead, on the spiritual qualities within our hearts. So then, let us choose to live with a heavenly mindset knowing that despite outward appearances, we are blessed in the sight of God when we choose to live life from His perspective.
“The blessing of the Lord makes rich,
and he adds no sorrow with it.”
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