Summary: This sermon looks at the first "Be" Attitude. Three benefits of humility. 1. Humility reduces STRESS. 2. Humility improves RELATIONSHIPS. 3. Humility releases Gods POWER.
Humility - The First Step To Happiness
What would it take to make you happy? This question was asked of 52,000 Americans in Psychology Today. These were the answers:
Friends and social life
Having a good job
Being in love
Recognition and success
Good financial situation
Having a nice home or apartment
Being attractive and beautiful
The interesting thing about this survey is that most of the attempts to find happiness are through external situations.
There is a popular idea that when circumstances are right – I’ll be happy. This is known as – when/then thinking. It goes something like this:
“When I get married then I’ll be happy.”
“When I loose twenty pounds then I’ll be happy.”
“When I win the lottery then I’ll be happy.”
The popular idea of happiness is that if you have the right set of circumstances you will be happy. My question is – “Is it possible to be happy – even if the circumstances are not perfect?” The Bible teaches us that:
Happiness is not based on circumstances - it is based on ATTITUDE.
In the gospel of Matthew chapter five we have what is known as the “Beatitudes”. Follow along with me as I read the beatitudes:
“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 filled.
Blessed are the merciful, For they shall obtain 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.
Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.” Matthew 5:3-12 (NKJV)
Each of these beatitudes begins with the word “blessed”. “Blessed” can also mean “Happy”. In other words every time you see blessed in this passage you could substitute the word “Happy”. Today we are going to focus in on verse three:
“Happy are the poor in spirit: for the kingdom of heaven is theirs.” Matthew 5:3 (BBE)
Over the next nine weeks we will be looking at the beatitudes.
This verse sounds like a contradiction doesn’t it? Happy are the poor… Being poor does not sound like there would be much happiness – does it? But being rich may not bring happiness either. Jesus is teaching that true happiness is not based on external circumstances but on an internal attitude – a “BE” attitude. In other words, your happiness should not depend on the right circumstances – but on your right attitude. Circumstances can change. Circumstances WILL change. But if we have the right attitude – we can be happy no matter what the circumstances are. Here is a fact:
Happiness is a CHOICE.
Happiness depends on choosing the right ATTITUDE.
Let’s look at our focal verse again.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3 (NKJV)
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? Let me tell you briefly what it does NOT mean. It does not mean that I have no value. It does not mean that I need to have low self esteem. It does not mean that I need to put myself down. Jesus did not die for junk – He died for people. You have value, you have worth, you have purpose, you have significance. That does not mean that you are perfect – you’re not. You’re human just like the rest of us. We all have sinned – yet we have value.
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? It simply means we need to have an attitude of humility. When it comes to our relationship with God we are all on the same playing field. We all depend on Him for our salvation.
Poor in spirit = HUMILITY
Humility is not thinking less of yourself – it is thinking of yourself LESS.
Humility is admitting that you don’t have it all together. Humility is admitting that you don’t know it all. Humility is realizing that the universe does not revolve around me. Humility is admitting to God that you need His help.
This morning we are going to look at three benefits of humility.
1. Humility reduces STRESS.
When I know that I don’t have all the answers a great burden is lifted off my shoulders.
I can remember when I was new to the ministry someone asked me if I could give them five verses of scriptures about love. I said, “Sure” – and then I was silent. The person waited for me to give them the five verses about love right then. Finally the person asked, “Well, aren’t you going to give me the five verses?” I said, “Sure, give me a concordance.” The person looked shocked and said, “Well, I thought that you being in the ministry and all - that you could give them to me right off the top of your head.” I laughed and said, "It’s better to use the tools that are out there then to rely on my memory."