Summary: Spiritually speaking, your attitude determines the depth of your faith and how passionate you are about your convictions.
Tonight we look at the first of the beatitudes. READ Matthew 5: 1-3. For the next 8 weeks we’re going to be talking about the Christian attitude. When I think of how a true Christian should act I think of Philippians 2:5 – “Your attitude should be the same as Christ.” A person’s attitude determines their altitude. Spiritually speaking, your attitude determines the depth of your faith and how passionate you are about your convictions.
Twin boys were giving their mother fits because one was an optimist while the other was a pessimist. At her wits end, she took them to the doctor desperate for help. The doctor had a plan that put the pessimist in a room with everything he could wish for and the optimist in a stall of horse manure. At the end of the day he was certain both would be cured. But when he checked on the pessimist, instead of enjoying the toys, the boy was crying because he knew he wouldn’t be able to take the toys home. Then, when they got to the stall, they found the optimist covered with mature, slinging it and yelling in excitement – “With all this manure, there’s got to be a pony in here somewhere!”
Our attitude determines our altitude. In Mt. 5, Jesus speaks to the issue of attitude in the greatest sermon ever preached – the Sermon on the Mount. He offered (8) attitudes (beatitudes) that every Christian is called to possess as a child of the Kingdom. The first (4) focus on our relationship with God, while the second (4) focus on our relationship with one another. (By the way, that’s the same pattern of the 10 commandments, and the same pattern of Jesus’ 2 extra commandments.)
Concerning our church covenant, we need to have the right attitude as we approach it. Without the right attitude, we might not take the covenant seriously. And we do take the church covenant very seriously.
You might have noticed that each of the 8 beatitudes begins with the word “blessed.” In fact, God makes a promise that those who possess the beatitudes will be blessed. Let’s first look at that promise.
The word “Blessed” literally means fortunate and happy. Typically we think of happiness as an experience of elation when things around us make us feel that way, but this in not what Jesus was saying. The Greek word used for “blessed” means to have an inward contentedness unaffected by surrounding circumstances. It means God looks at you individually and you have been approved by God.
Max Lucado says, “To be blessed is to receive the Applause of Heaven.”
Here is how the beatitudes work. First, we recognize we’re in need (poor in spirit). Next, we repent of our self-sufficiency (mourn). We quit calling the shots and surrender control to God (meek). So grateful are we for His presence that we yearn for more of Him (hunger and thirst). As we grow closer to Him, we become more like Him. We forgive others (merciful). We change our outlook (pure in heart). We love others (peacemakers). We endure injustice (persecuted). And in so doing, we receive the applause of Heaven.