Summary: The beatitudes don’t tell us how to be saved, but how to live because we are saved.
The Be-Attitudes 9/1/02
When Jesus spoke these words, he was sitting down on a hillside teaching his disciples. These words are not generic lifestyle guides; they are the Master’s teaching for living a fulfilled life. While most may call these “Beatitudes” I call them the “To Be” attitudes. If we want life to the fullest, we must follow these guidelines.
A few years ago, Charles Schultz, the creator of Peanuts wrote a series of books called Happiness is. One was called Happiness is . . .a warm puppy! The happiness that Jesus is speaking of is not something that happens by chance or from an outside source, like a warm puppy. The Sermon on the Mount is not a list of rules. People who have religion have enough rules already. Christianity is not a bunch of dos and don’ts; the Sermon on the Mount is an eschatological promise, that is promises that will be fulfilled in God’s time
The Poor in Spirit is an opposite action to the Proud in Spirit
1. The proud boasts of their accomplishments
a. The Pharisee and the publican
b. Peter “though they all will leave you I will never leave you.”
c. Proverbs 11:2 When Pride comes then comes disgrace, but with Humility comes wisdom.
d. Proverbs 16:18-19 Pride goes before destruction, a haughty spirit before a fall.19 Better to be lowly in spirit and among the oppressed than to share plunder with the proud.
e. The Poor in Spirit is not economical but the absence of Pride.
2. Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
a. They have an attitude of Faith
b. Theirs is not the here and now, but the hereafter
c. They are not slave to worldly possessions like the Rich young ruler who turned away sorrowful because he great possessions. Wealth is neutral. It is the slavery of money that binds us.
d. The cartoon “Cathy” Andrea and Cathy are having this discussion. Cathy says, “When I was little I put my own needs first and everyone said I was supposed to be selfish and inconsiderate. Now everyone says I am SUPPOSED to put my own needs first.” That’s right Cathy, replied Andrea, putting your own needs first is one of the most important things you can do to maintain your self-respect.” Cathy looked sad and said How can I have any self-respect if I am being selfish and inconsiderate?”
e. To have self-respect is putting your needs aside for others. In a Star Trek movie called the Wrath of Khan, Spock, a total opposite of Khan, says at that last moment when he sacrifices himself for the good of the crew, “It is logical, Jim, the needs of the many outweigh the needs of the few or the one.” The Poor in Spirit see others first.
3. The Poor in Spirit have a teachable Spirit
a. They are open to new ideas
b. They are seekers of Truth
c. They believe what the Bible says and live like it.
d. They have the attitude of total dependence on God.
e. They feel inadequate in their spiritual life, which opens them up to be taught by God.
It may help us to understand this “To Be” attitude by looking at it in different translations
New English Bible: “How Blessed are those who know their need of God”
Anchor Bible: “Fortunate are the humble in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven
Happy are those who realize their spiritual poverty; they have already entered the kingdom of Reality.
Happy are those who are humble, who are not overconcerned with their importance, for they have God’s approval.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven. (KJV, NIV, NAS, RSV)
We must put ourselves in the position to see ourselves in Light of God, humble ourselves, then and only then, can we have hope of Heaven.