Jesus shook the world when he preached his famous Sermon on the Mount. His eternal words are still changing, influencing, and humbling hearts with ears to hear to this day. The Biblical word “blessed” is the literal interpretation of the Hebrew word Baruch – “a favor or gift bestowed by God, thereby bringing happiness, the invoking of God’s favor upon a person.”
Jesus’ teachings have been and still are considered totally counter-cultural for generations now. Yet, for generations, people have pursued happiness and contentment in so many places, yet in this ancient text that still speaks today, the Sermon on the Mount reveals true happiness is found in 8 internal qualities that aren’t for sale, come from the heart, and reveal the heart and nature of God.
1 Poor in spirit
In his first public sermon, Jesus introduced some pretty radical ideas that have literally shaken the world ever since and continue to do so to this day.
When Jesus said blessed/happy are those who are poor in spirit, he meant happy are those who recognize their own poverty in life without God. Poor in spirit means you're humble enough to recognize your emptiness and brokenness without God. You realize your own bankruptcy in life apart from God and this need causes you to not try and fill your life with the things of this world but drives you into the heart of God. it causes you to seek him with all your heart and find him when you seek him with all your heart. When you realize you're poor in spirit, you cry out to God and the kingdom can come in your life. See Psalm 18,
In my distress I called to the Lord; I cried to my God for help.
From his temple he heard my voice; my cry came before him, into his ears....He reached down from on high and took hold of me; he drew me out of deep waters.
David, the writer of this Psalm, clearly was poor in spirit and it's at that point that the kingdom of heaven can be revealed.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
While mourning seems the opposite of happiness and wellness, sorrow and pain can be a gateway to joy. When we come to the end of ourselves, by faith God can take our deepest sorrows and turn them into joys when we surrender to him. We must be diligent and wholehearted in our pursuit of God - making him our supreme joy and pursuit of our lives. The key here is to take your mourning into the presence of God and let him heal us in prayer, contemplation, and worship as we experience him in a way that comforts our hearts. This comfort comes from God the Holy Spirit, the Comforter.
Isaiah 61:2-3 confirms this as it reads, "to comfort all who mourn, and provide for those who grieve in Zion— to bestow on them a crown of beauty instead of ashes,
the oil of joy instead of mourning,"
Meekness is not the same as weakness. To be meek means to bridle your strength and stay self-controlled, not letting our emotions fly off the handle, but submitting to God.
Christianity.com says it like this, "Meekness is not weakness; it is power under control. As the writer of Proverbs says, "He who is slow to anger is better than the mighty, and he who rules his spirit, than he who captures a city" (Proverbs 16:32). In contrast, the individual who is not gentle is likened to "a city that is broken into and without walls" (Proverbs 25:28). Gentleness always uses its resources appropriately, unlike the out-of-control emotions that so often are destructive and have no place in your life as a believer."
Like a horse who chooses to submit to bit and bridle, is the meek in heart, they choose to obey God's law and let God fight their battles.
Meekness reveals a quiet and confident trust in the Lord expressed in deep faith and inner peace that God is in control.
Jesus then goes on to say that the meek will inherit the earth.
4 Hunger & Thirst for Righteousness
To hunger and thirst for righteousness means to actively pursue the things of God and the knowledge of God. Like the Psalmist who wrote, "My soul thirsts for God," so Jesus says the one who thirsts and hungers for the things of God is happy and blessed and indeed will be filled. Jesus knows the deepest needs of our life are not external or materialbut they are indeed spiritual longings that can only be found and experienced in Christ. When we make God our number 1 pursuit, we find the craving our souls long for.
The merciful are happy because they aren't holding onto grudges, bitterness or unforgiveness. The merciful are free. They aren't talking about the past and holding on to pain. They've let the past go because they've received mercy, so they're able to offer mercy to others. When we understand that every human being has fallen short of the glory of God and all are under sin and no one is any better than anyone else, we can quickly forgive. This is why Jesus taught his disciples to ask for forgiveness daily and to give forgiveness daily. When Peter asked Jesus how many times he should forgive his brother, she just told him not seven times but 70 times 7 or an unlimited amount of times. The better we are at forgiving the happier we are that's true. The merciful are happy because they received God's mercy they give God's mercy they receive God's mercy and they give God's mercy to others.
6 Purity of Heart
The pure in heart are blessed and happy because they are free from the hold of sin and darkness and therefore have eyes to see and ears to hear the love of God. They are not one foot in the world one foot toward God but are wholehearted to God and therefore are full of joy. Hebrews talks about Jesus and how God anointed him with the oil of gladness because he loves righteousness and hates wickedness. It's something Mike Bickle likes to call happy holiness. There is a beauty in purity and a beauty of holiness.
This secret to happiness is being a peacemaker. Peacemakers are happy and content because they have peace with God, are forgiven of all sin and therefore they have peace in their hearts. This peace is so precious because no matter what the circumstances are, they have a quietness and a confidence that God is in control and working all things together for good. Peacemakers are at peace and therefore can make peace with others. They don't make peace to be happy they are happy because they have peace in their hearts and therefore make peace with others and bring others to the Prince of Peace.
The last attribute of the happy as described in the Sermon on the Mount are those who are persecuted. The disciples in the book of Acts rejoiced that God had counted them worthy to be persecuted. Why? God gives an extra grace in suffering. Paul called this the fellowship of his sufferings. The Psalmist said it like this, "He is close to the brokenhearted" God's nearness in our pain and suffering comforts us and therefore even in the hardest circumstances of people hating and rejecting js be sure of Jesus, his nearness comforts us and intimacy strengrhens us. He is afterall, the God of all comfort and the Father of Compassion who comforts us in our tribulation. That's why those who are persecuted are happy, because God is near and close to those in pain.
In light of etenity, and the eternal rewards that await followers of Jesus, even the persecuted can rejoice!