Be Truly Blessed
Then He began to teach them, saying: ‘The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs. Those who mourn are blessed, for they will be comforted. The gentle are blessed, for they will inherit the earth. Those who hunger and thirst for righteousness are blessed, for they will be filled.’” —Matthew 5:1-6
You are being manipulated hundreds of times each day.
Though they might not call it that, that’s exactly what’s happening every time you watch a commercial, read a billboard, or get a pop ad online. Each and every one of these messages that flow so unceasingly into your consciousness are all trying to convince you of two things. First of all, they want to convince you that you are not happy, or at least not as happy as you could be. Secondly, they want you to believe that if you only had this car or watched that TV show or had this piece of technology, you would be happier.
It makes complete sense why our happiness is what every good marketing team would go after—who among us doesn’t want to be happy? So we buy, we click, we go and we visit chasing that elusive sense of happiness that we’ve been promised. But what if being “happy” isn’t the end all of humanity? What if there was a way to live that went beyond happiness?
This is what Jesus told His followers that life in His kingdom would be like. Would we be happy in Jesus’ kingdom? Not exactly, but we would be something better. Jesus tells us today that in His kingdom, we can know the true meaning of what it means to be “blessed.”
Even if you haven’t been around church or Christianity for a long time, you’re probably heard some of the statements that come from the Sermon on the Mount. Though Jesus preached many times and in many places, this is His most famous. It’s in these verses where Jesus shows us the distinction of what it means to be a Christian.
- Blessed are the poor in Spirit
- Blessed are those who mourn
- Blessed are the gentle
- Blessed are the hungry and thirsty
That’s a very different definition of what we typically think of as happiness. Then again, everything is different in God’s kingdom. In God’s kingdom, the way to lead is to serve. The way to be first is to be last. And the way to truly live is to die. It makes sense, then, that when we embody these things in our character—things that our culture might be the very definition of UN-happiness—we find out what it truly means to be blessed.
According to Jesus, blessing must be something more than just happy; it’s something other than mere emotion and it’s driven by something more than mere circumstance. To be blessed is to be in a state that God finds pleasing. While the people in Jesus’ day (and in our own, for that matter) might think that blessing is equated to being healthy, wealthy, and wise, understanding what true blessing means is one of the things that makes Christians distinct.
The blessed people Jesus described are those who know they need God, are dependent on God, and are not satisfied with the temporary blessings of the world. In a culture that is fixated on being satisfied immediately with temporary means, the blessed Christian stands distinct as they find their true satisfaction in only what God can provide.
When we choose this stance toward other people, we stand in sharp distinction to the rest of the world. While everyone else is chasing happiness at the expense of others, we come to realize that true blessing is found in giving ourselves for the sake of others. That’s what we do when we embody these characteristics—we willingly sacrifice our temporary needs, wants, and desires for others.
The person standing against the current tends to stand out. They are clearly distinct. They are more than happy; they are blessed.
Happiness is okay, but everyone’s going after that. Stand distinct from the crowd. Go for the blessing.
Excerpted from Michael Kelley, Bible Studies for Life: Be Distinct © 2015 Lifeway Press®. Used by permission.
Scripture quotations are taken from the Holman Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1999, 2000, 2002, 2003, 2009 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission.