Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3–10, ESV)
Are You a Happy Person?
I love being around happy people. They lift up my countenance. Their optimism fills up my half empty glass. I want to be like them. I want what they have. That is, unless I’m wallowing in self-pity, then I find them quite irritating. My negative heart is repelled by their overbearing positivity. Can you relate?
Regardless of how we react to happy people, we inherently pursue that which we believe will make us most happy. We may compromise our values, and even behave downright shamefully to take hold of that elusive state of existence.
Jesus so masterfully brings this cosmic secret down to our level, it seems too simplistic to be the answer humankind has sacrificed so much to find. He simply shares how true happiness is obtained. “Blessed” (the Greek adjective makarios) simply means happy. It was used in ancient times to describe the privileged transcendent existence of the gods in contrast to the lowly lives of mere mortals. Eventually, it came to mean the joyful overflowing blessedness from heaven, which is experienced completely independent from our worldly circumstances.
I believe Jesus was the most joyful person to ever walk this earth. He was not only sharing timeless truth, he was already living and experiencing it. If you want to find happiness, stop looking at the example of all those who have gone before and failed. Start following the One who actually provides it.
Right-side Up Pursuit
Jesus possessed every one of the qualities listed in Matthew 5:3-10. He was poor in spirit, mournful, meek, hungry and thirsty for righteousness, merciful, pure in heart, a peacemaker, and persecuted for righteousness. Each quality seems counter intuitive to happiness and upside-down to the world we live in. Kingdom character interacts with this backwards world by manifesting these right-side up qualities. Christ exalts attributes this world despises and rejects those it admires.
These qualities give a well rounded picture of a true disciple. They are ultimately a portrait of Jesus himself. Maturity as a follower of Jesus is best measured not by how much we know about him or do for him, but in how much like him we have become. It is the endgame of our sanctification, as Paul said, “For those whom he foreknew he also predestined to be conformed to the image of his Son…” (Romans 8:29) The Apostle John also says, “whoever says he abides in him ought to walk in the same way in which he walked.” (1 John 2:6)
Are you ready to strive for true happiness? What worldly pursuits might you need to leave behind to follow Jesus today?
Stay tuned as we continue in studying the Beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-10.