Summary: You don’t need to have everything going your way to be happy.
ILLUSTRATION I came across of these lines from a song from the musical “Oklahoma,” -- Oh what a beautiful morning, oh what a beautiful day; I’ve got a wonderful feeling, everything’s going my way.
A lot people today tend to regard happiness in that light. “When everything’s going my way, I will be happy.” But life is like being on a treadmill. We can run all our life but we’ll never reach the point where everything’s going our way. There is no possibility in this life of everything going our way. However, the good thing is you don’t need to have everything going your way to be happy. Let me show you why.
God’s way of making men happy is very much different from what we know. We normally associate happiness to comfort, peace, and victory. God’s way, however, of providing happiness is sometimes found in sacrifices, discipline, and humility. Please open your bibles to Matthew 5:1-12, the title of this message is BLESSING IN POVERTY.
Jesus said that “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” What did Jesus mean by being “poor in spirit?” He promised to give them the “kingdom of heaven.” What does the phrase “kingdom of heaven” mean? How can we demonstrate being “poor in spirit?”
What does the phrase “kingdom of heaven” mean?
The phrase “kingdom of heaven” appears 32 times in Matthew and was used interchangeably with the phrase “kingdom of God.” These phrases can both mean God’s realm where he is enthroned and God’s reign in the heart and minds of His followers today. It has present and future elements in relation to the believers.
Kingdom of heaven is present as God’s sovereign rule from heaven in his Son, Jesus Messiah. It is evident in what the Lord Jesus Christ did in the past and continues to do at present – ministries of healing, preaching, teaching, caring for the outcast and needy and overcoming the work of the devil. God’s sovereign rule can be experienced today.
Kingdom of heaven is also in the future as the ultimate consummation through the appearance of the Son of Man to effect vindication and judgment. The followers of Christ will then enter the kingdom of heaven as their inheritance or reward. Those who fail to hear and respond to the gospel of the Kingdom face the final judgment in hell.
SEE MATTHEW 7:21 – realm or place
Therefore God promises to give the kingdom of heaven to those who are “poor in the spirit.” It means that they are going to experience the goodness and providence of God now and after this life. Jesus said they will be “blessed.” It means that they will experience divine joy and perfect happiness. “Blessed” implied an inner satisfaction and sufficiency that did not depend on outward circumstances for happiness.
In other words, you do not need to wait until you die before you can experience blessedness. Even right now, you can experience inner satisfaction and sufficiency that do not depend on outward circumstances but on the goodness of God. The requirement however is to “be poor in the spirit.”
ILLUSTRATION When you receive a bonus in the middle of the year, you say its Christmas time in July. When you are blessed by God, you will experience heaven while on earth.
What does it mean to “be poor in the spirit?”
To be “poor in the spirit” does not mean to be “poor spirited” and have no backbone at all! It is not a false humility that says, “I am not worth anything, I can’t do anything!”
The Greek verb for “poor” carries the nuance of extreme poverty. It is derived from a verb that means “to stoop or bend low” thus when a poor person begs for anything, he is seen to be stooping or bending low. The “spirit” mentioned in this verse is not the Holy Spirit but man’s spirit i.e. his inner self, disposition, and state of mind.
Thus to be “poor in the spirit” is a figurative term for someone who because of his needs had voluntarily humbled and depended totally upon God for help. Being “poor in the spirit” is someone who does not approach life with confidence in themselves or reliance on their gifts and talents alone. Instead, he lives with total confidence on God despite of his abilities and competence.
Obviously this principle contradicts the world’s values. The world says “blessed are those who are self-confident, self-competent, and self-reliant. Thus people find ways to develop their self-confidence, self-competency, and self-reliance. Men trusted too much in their abilities, education, wealth, and connections.
Self-confidence, competency, and reliance are positive values but must be practiced within the context of relationship and recognition of God’s providence in one’s life. Practice independently from God, they results to pride, rebellion, and self-sufficiency.