Summary: Introduction Name eight things that would make you happy. If God said to you on this first Sunday of the year, "Choose eight things that you feel would make your new year a happy one and I will give them to you," what would you choose?
Humility-The Way to Happiness
Text: "Blessed [happy] are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven" (Matt. 5:3).
SCRIPTURE Reading: Matthew 5:1-12
Name eight things that would make you happy. If God said to you on this first Sunday of the year, "Choose eight things that you feel would make your new year a happy one and I will give them to you," what would you choose?
Would you choose to be poor in spirit"? Would you choose things such as mourning, meekness, hunger and thirst, being merciful, being pure in heart, being a peacemaker; or experiencing persecution? Do you think these eight things would make you happy? Jesus seems to think so.
Before you conclude that Jesus is wrong, consider the antithesis of these qualities: characteristics such as pride, pleasure-seeking, aggressiveness, compromising, impurity, cruelty, and hatred. You could not be happy with these characteristics, could you? Of course not!
Therefore, consider the eight Beatitudes as eight steps to happiness.
Humility is the way to happiness. In Matthew 5:3 when Jesus speaks of being "poor in spirit," he is referring to our recognition of both our spiritual neediness and the means that can supply our need. This poverty of spirit results in our discovery of God’s kingdom. People who are "poor in spirit" do not boast of their attainments or talents because they know they have nothing that has not been given to them.
Why is humility the way to happiness?
I. Humility enables you to be honest about yourself.
When Jesus spoke of being "poor in spirit," he did not imply that being wealthy is wrong. Money can be handled in a Christian manner or in a non-Christian manner. Success and prosperity can lead a person to be self-satisfied and proud. Yet poverty can drive a person to dishonesty. Jesus did not teach that the poor are spiritually superior. Not money but "the love of money is the root of all evil" (1 Tim. 6:10).
Jesus declared that if you want to be happy, you must be aware of your spiritual poverty. No picture is more pathetic than that of a person who has a great need and is unaware of it. Do you remember Samson standing in the valley of Sorek? He was surrounded by Philistines: "But he did not know that the Lord had left him" Judg. 16:20 NIV).
Poverty in spirit is the beginning of happiness. It is the admission that you are nothing without Christ. This admission is always followed by the Lord flooding one’s life with the riches of his mercy and grace. To be "poor in spirit is to be honest about yourself, and this is the way to happiness!
II. Humility impels you to commit your full potential to God.
William Barclay concluded that "Blessed are the poor in spirit" means blessed are those who have realized their own helplessness and who have placed their complete trust in the Lord. After you have done this you will become detached from things and attached to God. You will commit your full potential to God’s will. The boy who came to hear Jesus teach illustrates this commitment. He took all the food he had and turned it over to Jesus (John 6:9).
Once you are willing to do this you will be amazed at what Christ can do with what you have to offer. Andrew asked what we are so often tempted to ask, "But what are they among so many?" In his own hands the boy’s lunch was hardly enough to satisfy one lad’s hunger. But in Jesus’ hands the small meal became enough to feed more than five thousand people! Never underestimate what God can do with your five loaves and two fish. The moment you commit all that you have to Christ the impossible begins to happen!
Poverty that produces happiness is poverty of spirit. Total submission to God’s will is always best, and humility is the way to happiness because it impels you to commit your full potential to God’s will.
Ill. Humility prepares you to be filled with the Holy Spirit.
No proud soul can be filled with and controlled by the Holy Spirit, for a life filled with pride has no room for him. Those who are unwilling to be controlled by the Holy Spirit are controlled by selfish ambition. Therefore, the Lord said that we must become like little children before we enter the kingdom of heaven. Children depend on their parents. Because they are their parents’ children, they are not really poor. As God’s children, we are dependent on him. Children spend little time worrying about what they will eat, what they will wear; or where they will sleep. They simply assume that their needs will be met by their parents.
Our heavenly Father is responsible for our care. We are told to cast our cares on him because he cares for us. Jesus also said to his disciples, "Which of you fathers, if your son asks for a fish, will give him a snake instead?... If you then, though you are evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father in heaven give the Holy Spirit to those who ask him!" (Luke 11:11 - 13 NIV). The "poor in spirit" know they are poor in spirit. They know they can do and can be nothing apart from the indwelling Spirit of God. Those who find happiness through humility allow the Holy Spirit to fill them.