Summary: The Beatitudes reveal that we can be more than happy. We can be blessed!
It is sometimes a puzzle to understand God's mind. His thinking is so far above ours. The secret is: there is no secret. People pay gurus millions to learn what is often half-baked wisdom and ignore the wonderful truth found in the beatitudes which is free to all (Matthew 5:1-12). These can be like puzzles to us because they are contrary to popular thinking, but they are secrets of heavenly thinking.
Let us understand God's thinking.
We will look at the secret behind the beatitudes.
More than happy
Is saying, “I’d be more than happy" just exaggerating? No, it turns out the popular saying contains a great deal of truth. We can be more than happy. What is more than happy? Being blessed is more than happy. After Jesus gave the beatitudes during his sermon on the mount (Matthew 5:1-12), it was written down in Greek using a word that is usually translated as blessed in English. However, it has also been translated as happy at times. A discussion among translators has been whether happy or blessed is a more accurate translation. Most translators seem to have come to the same conclusion, that happiness can be fleeting, but blessedness remains. The beatitudes are not keys to a fleeting emotion, but a core inner condition. So, the word blessed was chosen, because yes, we can be more than happy.
The mystery of being poor in spirit
What does “poor in spirit” really mean in Matthew 5:3? Poor can mean dispossessed and abandoned. A poor person has a deep sense that the world has failed them. Can a wealthy person be poor in spirit? That depends. Wealth is a deceiver. It makes us think that we are a big person, as opposed the the less fortunate who are viewed as "little people." It can deceive us into thinking that the world has provided for us. In reality, the world has failed all of us. So, Jesus did not say “poor in possessions” but “poor in spirit.” The description is independent of this material world. The people of God rely on God not this world’s solutions. They boldly face the truth of our abject spiritual poverty. They are blessed people, because heaven rules them not this world.
The secret behind being poor in spirit
In modern English, when someone is discouraged, we sometimes say they are in poor spirits. That is not what Jesus meant in Matthew 5:3 when he said blessed are the poor in spirit. The word poor here means someone so destitute that they don’t even have food. How can that be blessed? To understand, let’s take the opposite extreme, someone who believes they are spiritually filled and in need of no more. This is the attitude that some folks have. They are obnoxious, self-satisfied, shallow and unpleasant to be around. They may constantly judge us as inferior and compare us with their so-called higher level of spirituality. They are in fact deluded by spiritual fools gold. Being poor in spirit is simply facing up to the facts. We are all desperately poor and in need of God’s merciful provision.
The secret behind whose IS the kingdom
Why does the beatitude regarding being poor in spirit include a promise of heaven here and now (Matthew 5:3)? The kingdom of heaven is certainly future, but it is also now. True Christianity is not among the spiritually arrogant who judge and condemn others as not being spiritually filled. Let us wake up from the delusion of consuming that which is not spiritual food, and realize that we are not filled, not satisfied and spiritually destitute. When we realize the deception and know our spiritual poverty, we become the Church, those whose only hope is heaven. Only then can we experience a taste of heaven on earth. We seek the real thing instead of a counterfeit spirituality. Our imitation diet of spiritual junk food which feeds a counterfeit kingdom is swept away leaving room for the kingdom of heaven.
The mystery of mourning
What does it really mean in Matthew 5:4 to mourn? How does sorrow produce blessedness and bring comfort? Ecclesiastes 3:4 says there is a time to mourn. Mourning is part of the process of repentance. It prepares for a change of heart about going the wrong way. Fasting is associated with mourning, a short period of abstinence from foods in order to pray. James 4:7-10 shows the need to mourn and humble ourselves before God, cleansing our hands of dirty deeds and purifying our hearts of wrongful thoughts so that he can lift us up. If we find no cause for joy in our past mistakes, or in the evils of this world, then there is hope for a change of heart. If we then turn to God to save us, he will bless and comfort us.