Blessing: A common theme for all mankind is the endless pursuit of joy and satisfaction. We might succinctly state it as a search for what we were made for. In the sermon on the mount Jesus uses the term “blessed” to summarize this endless pursuit of joy and satisfaction. This pursuit began in the Garden, but the surprising thing is that Adam sought for blessing outside of the blessing (true joy and satisfaction) that God had already made available to Him. He chose to pursue something else to seek blessing and in doing so, launched a persistent pursuit that each of us follow. Jesus knows this and chooses to initiate His earthly ministry by helping us understand what it means to be blessed and how we find contentment (Matthew 5).
We must first recognize that all that we pursue outside or apart from God Himself will never satisfy and will always leave us craving something more. The problem, as C.S. Lewis states, is that “we are too easily satisfied.” The things that bring temporary gratification and purpose will quickly dissipate and leave us longing for something more. We might liken these desires to cotton candy. It draws the attention of our eyes, appeals to our taste, quickly disappears, and leaves us craving something more. Jesus’ teaching
appeals to our soul and permanently satisfies as we indulge in Him. It gives us the joy and satisfaction that we long for and were made for.
Jesus states that one who is truly blessed, fulfilled, and satisfied will first be “poor in spirit.” This poverty addresses humility, but a deep humility that recognizes that it can do nothing for itself. It is truly helpless. This poverty of spirit goes against the grain of our inner being because we struggle admitting our desperation and inability. Yet, this abandonment of self-sufficiency is necessary to find true contentment in Christ. Jesus promises His kingdom ruled by His power and provision. He offers us a life fully dependent upon Him. The second blessing statement is not an option or something that we can add as needed. Rather, it is the second side of a nine-sided object fully describing complete satisfaction in Christ. Jesus calls us to find inner joy through mourning. This is grieving. It is personal and corporate. We are to grieve for our own sinfulness and for the brokenness in the world around us. It is deep and woeful mourning and opposes the lightness and happiness that we often pursue in life. Jesus promises comfort that is found in Him alone.
The third side of blessing is meekness. Meekness is seeing ourselves as we stand before God is often confused with weakness and we often struggle with the possibility of others taking advantage of us in our meekness, yet Jesus says in the end we will inherit the earth. He overcomes everything. The fourth characteristic is hunger and thirst. This is so much more than physical hunger. It is reminiscent of Psalm 42:1. We pursue God because He alone is the bread of life and in Him alone, we drink and never thirst
again. God is true righteousness and those who seek after Him will never be disappointed, and they will be filled. Fifth, Jesus calls us to be merciful. We want to exact judgment and justice, but we are incapable and in demanding justice for others we condemn ourselves. Yet, when we give mercy, we in turn receive mercy.
The sixth side is described by Jesus as being pure in heart. This is cleansing from within that can only be done through God’s Spirit. We attempt to cleanse our outside by fixing our actions, and in this attempt, we are blinded to our real sin, and we are kept from truly seeing God. It is only when our heart is cleansed that we can see God for who He is. Jesus expands this image of contentment by showing us the seventh side, we are called to be peacemakers. To be true peacemakers, we must know peace. We can
only know peace by knowing the Prince of Peace. The peacemakers will be known as the children of God because they image God by seeking to make peace in the world by declaring the peace that is found alone in Christ. Eighth, Jesus states that we will be content by suffering persecution for His name’s sake. Suffering is a necessary way to truly know Christ (Philippians 3:10-11). We typically seek to avoid suffering and, in this attempt, we avoid truly knowing Christ. Jesus promises His kingdom once again to
those who suffer. Our suffering is temporary, but in the end, Jesus has won, and His kingdom will be without end and without suffering. Last, Jesus declares that true joy is found even when we are attacked falsely by men in this world. He turns our eyes from this temporary world that is overvalued, to the eternal world where true value is found. Let us not be discouraged or distracted by the lies of Satan. Let us fix our attention on things above.
We are too easily consumed with and distracted by the world around us. This world will always leave us empty. Christ points us to what is truly satisfying. It is this way of living that Christ demonstrates through His own life. He calls us to live the life that He lived Himself. He calls us to die to our own desires, take up our cross of suffering as He did, and daily choose to follow Him. This is the life we were made for and the live we are looking for.
If you would like to receive notification of new blog posts, click here & tap on the "Sign Up" box to set up an account. While you are there, check out Pastor's Recommendations under the Resources tab for books that I have recommended to our church family.