“All men seek happiness. This is without exception. Whatever different means they employ, they all tend to this end. The cause of some going to war and of others avoiding it, is the same desire in both, attended with different views. The will never takes the least step but to this object. This is the motive of every action of every man, even of those who hang themselves.” So spoke Blaise Pascal, the great French philosopher and mathematician. Jesus gave us the “Beatitudes,” the “Happy Attitudes,” in Matthew 5:1-12, because He wants us to be His happy disciples, His happy kingdom revolutionaries. It’s how He starts his “Kingdom of God Manifesto.”
Each of the “Happy Attitudes,” builds on the next. You can’t move to the next without finding victory in the preceding challenge. Not unlike the line of the rings in an American Ninja Warrior competition, one can only grasp the next ring based on the momentum of the last.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (vs. 3). This is the door into the Kingdom. This is the keynote of the Kingdom—you are blessed if you know you need God. It all starts here. If you don’t get this, forget the rest! It strikes at the heart of self-sufficiency, the ego, the American Way. Jesus is saying, “Be poor enough in your spirit, to receive me into your life, and everything from heaven can be yours!” If we will humble ourselves; if we will acknowledge our desperate need for God, then we open ourselves up to all the resources and power of the Kingdom of Heaven!
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.” (vs. 4). When we realize our own spiritual bankruptcy and need for God and then discover Christ in our life, we look around and find ourselves with a new compassion for those who don’t have the Kingdom. In other words, being poor in spirit brings joy and mourning. We begin to see and understand what others are missing. We mourn for them. We are brokenhearted for the brokenhearted. It’s like Jesus says, “You now know how I feel for the pain of people’s hearts. As the Father comforts me, I will comfort you.”
On the road less traveled,
Steve Holt M.A., D.D.
My newest book, Worshipper Warrior, can be found at www.steveholtonline.org