On Monday nights this summer, Bill Helsel has been working through “The Beatitudes” at Men’s Group. These are found in Matthew 5. Jesus saw the crowds, went up on the mountain, and began to preach before His disciples. In these words, Jesus presents to us the way to happiness and blessing. This is what “beatitude” means. This is something that most people should connect with. There is a desire for happiness that drives us to pursue the things that we do in life. We all want to be blessed and Jesus makes it clear for us, how that is found. The mistake that many make however, is taking these words of Christ to be a plan to what we need to accomplish or “be” in order to attain that happiness and blessing. The approach is taken, “Ok, I just need to be more merciful, make some peace, strive for purity and then I will get my happiness. I’ll do what I need to do and be who I need to be and Jesus will give me my blessing in return.” Unfortunately, this is not how it works. Yes, the beatitudes point to who we must be but the hard reality that Jesus is pointing to in these words is that these are things that we can never be apart from God. The blessing and happiness are found only when He is at work within us.
When heard, correctly, the beatitudes are incredibly hard to swallow. Jesus said things like, “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness…” to confront our mindset and perspective that we already have all of the righteousness that we could ever need. We are bent to point out our own goodness and list the righteous deeds that we’ve completed yet Jesus speaks right to the heart of the “accomplished” and says, “There will be no blessing or happiness until you put those things aside and realize your need.” God proclaims, “There is none righteous, not even one…there is none who does good” in the Scriptures to bring us face to face with the truth that our own righteousness, our own thoughts of “good”, are not the standard. They don’t come close to what God requires and they are not what He is asking for. So, Jesus points to the Gospel in His word. Happiness comes when you go after the righteousness that God gives. Blessing comes when you crave His work and His goodness within you much more than anything you could muster up. The sign of being blessed is clinging to the Lord with all that you have rather than exerting yourself to be who you never could.
In the end, the beatitudes show us what we cannot be unless Christ is our hope, our strength, and our trust. I cannot be merciful or have the blessing that comes with it, unless I have Christ showing me and working that mercy within me through my relationship with Him. No amount of the purity within the heart that Christ speaks of in Matt. 5:8 will come through my own determination or discipline. These are not bad things but unless I have Jesus’ work of forgiveness, washing, and continually making my heart new as I confess my sin to Him (1 John 1:9), then I have nothing. So, as we look forward to fall and the work that is to come, let us remember, that we will never be who Christ desires or demands, on our own. The attitude, the heart, the work to be happy and blessed is not going to come from us. It must come from Him.
Praying For Him To Make Us Who HE Wants Us To Be, Pastor Rudy