Summary: In a society where comfort and happiness are so important, we are reminded that blessedness beats happiness.
I want to start by reading Matt 5:3, Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
First Blessed means more than happy, happiness is an emotion often dependent on surrounding circumstances. We all know people who strive for happiness. These are people who when things are going there way they are top of the world. These people are full of jokes, smiles and kind words when they are in a good situation, but when they are in a bad situation things change drastically. They are irritable, unpredictable, unreliable, frequently pointing to how some bad situation is not their fault and how others are making their life difficult. These people are fun to be around when things are good and miserable to be around when things are bad.
These people struggle with conviction, because their goal is to experience the emotion of happiness. The more things required to make a happy-environment, the more difficult it is to sustain happiness. When a person’s sense of well-being comes from their situation: that is the type of friends they have, the amount of money they have, the condition of their health, whether their goals, ambitions and promotions are on track, these people must manipulate their world in order to maintain happiness. For this person conviction makes their quest more difficult, because convictions just add to a long list of things required to experience happiness.
Blessed people are different. Blessed people do not see the glass as half empty or half full. They just know they have a drink of water. Blessed people are blessed and speak of being blessed, whether their situation is good or bad. Blessed people understand that they do not generate the good things that come their way and that the blessings they have are not there just to benefit them, but to benefit others as well. Blessed people have a sense of already possessing enough; no matter how much or how little they have they do not require more to find satisfaction. They are not trying to win at life; they know that life itself is a victory. Blessed people are nearly unshakeable, it’s not the idea of if life gives you lemons make lemonade, blessed people are content with the lemons and grateful they didn’t get brussel-sprouts.
Blessed people have convictions, lots of them, because they are completely persuaded that once you disconnect yourself from the source of your blessing all goodness stops. An atheist can have a sense of blessing: they can obtain that from a strong family or scientific research or a connectedness within a community. But if someone tries to take one of those things away, they can get quite hostile, because they are losing their source of blessing. Blessed people continue to feel blessed as long as their source of blessing is in place.
Are you blessed? If so what is your source of blessing? Can the source of your blessing be removed from you? Can you lose it, can it be taken away from you? Can government intervention, changing laws, corruption or political activists terminate your source of blessing? If the answer to those questions is no, Does your life reflect your belief? Do we speak more about being blessed or more about things that interfere with our blessings? Do we dare dig a little deeper and ask, Can family problems remove our blessing? Can ill health or financial distress remove our source of blessing? If the answer is yes, we are seeking happiness, not blessedness. If the answer is no, does our life reflect our belief?
If this is something you struggle with the answer lays in a deeper study of Matthew 5:3. Blessed are the poor in spirit. The word poor translated from the Greek, ptōe-khoos means a beggar. Not just any beggar, not like when a kid begging his dad for the car key, but a cringing beggar, a pauper who lives on the handouts of others. Someone who can only sustain his existence by asking for help.
Jesus said, Blessed are the poor in spirit. In the context of His message, Jesus is advising people to beg God for our spiritual life and telling us we will receive the gift God’s blessing and the kingdom of heaven.
Proverbs 16:18 & 19 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall. Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
Jeremiah 17:7 & 8 But blessed is the man who trusts in the LORD,
whose confidence is in him. 8He will be like a tree planted by the water that sends out its roots by the stream. It does not fear when heat comes; its leafs are always green. It has no worries in a year of drought and never fails to bear fruit.”