Earlier this week, I wrote about our call as Christians to rise up in Christ and live a joy-filled life. You can read that post here. Today I want to share with you an entry from my Drawing Near to God devotional with that same theme – that true joy comes from the Lord. This sets a new standard of living for us that can only be fulfilled by the power of God and our dependency on him…
Now when He saw the crowds, He went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them…
2 And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons[a] of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.
The Sermon on the Mount is the first of five discourses in Matthew. It contains the Beatitudes, which describe a state of blessedness or well-being for those who share in the kingdom. (Matthew 5:1-12) The meaning of blessed is different from the word happy, which is derived from “hap,” meaning by chance, a joy often dependent on outward circumstances. Blessedness, derived from the Greek word “makarios,” refers to the distinctive, spiritual joy of those who share in the salvation of the kingdom of God. It is a direct result of living for God and working with Him to establish His kingdom on earth. The Beatitudes describe ethical standards by which we are to live.
There are a variety of views on whether or not this was an actual sermon that Jesus preached or a composite of all of His teachings. Regardless, a standard of Christian living is set forth that can only be fulfilled by the power of God and our dependency on Him. How gracious the Lord is to give us all that we need to live kingdom lives and to help us when we fall short of His standards! The Beatitudes set forth a standard of living that is impossible to live without the power of the Holy Spirit. Take a moment and ask the Lord each day to fill you with His Spirit to empower you to live this blessed kingdom life.
Thank you for Your Word that teaches me that my happiness is not just “by chance” and that my joy is complete in You alone. I desire to live for You, Lord, and not for myself. My life is yours to use as You wish. Fill me with Your life-giving Spirit that I might live for You alone knowing that true joy comes from You.
In Jesus’ name, Amen