Every person on earth wants to be happy.
The problem is there are problems. Every day we have a front row seat to problems that frankly seem too big to resolve. Problems like division and scandal, conflict and violence, abuse and addiction and extreme poverty. The problems, sins and struggles of life are real but Jesus said that joy is also real and available!
The Sermon on the Mount is widely considered Jesus’ greatest sermon. It’s great because of how clearly and powerfully it summarizes the heart of Jesus’ message to humanity. Jesus understood the human condition and the search for happiness that drives us. And he says to us, “I will tell you the true reason for human suffering and I will tell you where true happiness comes from.”
Jesus began his sermon with these words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Herein lays the secret to finding joy. Joy is found in God's kingdom and it is entered by humility. In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus opens the lid on the human heart and shows us what it really looks like. What we see is darkness. It’s disturbing. It’s convicting. It’s the problem behind every problem.
The word “blessed” is used eight times in the Beatitudes and refers to true happiness. The poor that Jesus is referring to here is not the financially or materially poor, but the spiritually poor. Another way of saying it is that the poor in spirit are spiritually bankrupt. A paraphrase of this verse could be: “Happy are those who realize they are so spiritually bankrupt that they must turn to God in humility.”
Questions to Consider
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? What is the opposite quality?
Why is this character quality so important to God?
Talking to God
Read through the Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-10). Acknowledge the Lord’s counter-cultural set of values as expressed in these verses. Pray through them, seeking God’s work in your life and the joy that comes from him. Take comfort in knowing that God blesses those who realize their need for him.
Our greatest joy comes from loving Christ and serving his kingdom!