by Don Fausel
I live in the Beatitudes Campus in Phoenix, Arizona with 600 other residents. And whenever someone would ask me how I was feeling, which is often, I used to answer something like “pretty good” or “not bad” or just a plain “okay”. But recently whether I was in the elevator or waiting in line for lunch I decided to answer “I’m blessed” and more often than less, I would get a response from them something like, “…that interesting I never thought of that”. Sometimes I might hear a statement like, “I am so blessed to have children that live so close to the Beatitudes!” or “We’re blessed to live in a country of such of freedom and opportunity.” I don’t usually hear someone say something like, “I’m having problems with my health issues. Do you think I missed out on the blessings, others seem to have been given?” Why do we often associate being blessed with positive situations like absence of problems, or wealth? Like “I must be blessed I don’t have any problems…or I must be blessed to have been born in such a rich family.”
WE ARE BLESSED BECAUSE
As most of us know, the Beatitudes, also called the Sermon on the Mount, are teachings of Jesus about being blessed and are recorded in the gospels of Mathew (5:1-10) and Luke (6:20-23). They are a call to us as a way of living that can bring true happiness and peace. Beatitude is Latin for “an abundant happiness”. Each of the Eight Beatitudes begins with the word ‘blessed’… The Greek word is translated as ‘blessed’ which means extremely fortunate, well off, and truly happy…to live the Beatitudes are to be centered on God and God’s desire for our life.”
HOW TO BE BLESSED
I’m going to use the title above HOW to BE BLESSED to go through the eight beatitudes as the gospel of Matthew uses them since Luke doesn’t contain all of the beatitudes. The title above offers suggestions for reading each of the Beatitudes. “… you might look into your own heart and examine your feeling towards them. I think you will find that you need a rather humble, almost a childlike attitude toward each one of them…” It also recommends that Jesus gives His individual “…gifts of the spirit and even gives the very gift of faith itself to show you His love and presence…”
- Humble yourself as Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3).
According to the words in the article “poor in spirit” it mean not finding pleasure in yourself/your life, and though you have been taught to be self-sufficient and proud of your reasoning and independence: still you may become smaller in your own eyes. If you are ready to depend on God’s will for your blessings—not ignoring God and not managing your own life and not making your choices all alone, not to be limited by “self”, then you are ready to be blessed.
- Repent, be sorry for your bad deeds and be willing to change for better. “Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.” (Matthew 5:4).
Ordinary activities of life do not bring real joy, not like God’s love and hope does. Daily life may leave you thinking: ‘If only I had___(fill in the blank); it leaves you feeling your regrets, for what has been lost: lost peace, joy, hope—and you may find yourself with ‘a broken spirit’—a hurting attitude about life. Regret your past sins such as damages to others—and the time that may have been against or ignoring and lacking God’s blessings.
- Be unassuming, non-egotistical. “Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.” (Matthew 5:5)
Jesus described himself as: ‘I am meek and gentle. ’He was able to handle conflict, insults, crisis without egotism. ‘He got it all together.’ He said that ‘the non-aggressors would inherit the earth; eventually receive the unearned gift of being a sister or brother of The King in The Kingdom of Jesus.
- Seek right ways with an appetite for good. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.” (Matthew 5:6)
Most people imagine themselves pure. You never heard, ‘I did that to be mean and foolish.’ You need to make righteous choices for your own sake. It makes it easier. Righteousness is the food and drink of your spiritual health: free from guilt, shame and sin: depend on God’s promise to grow his righteousness.
- Show Mercy. “Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.” (Matthew 5:7)
Inhumanity of one person against others has always been a problem in history. To the point that history reveals selfish, inconsiderate, and cruel—oppressing habits that cause poverty, slavery, being disinterested in social instability, not working these things out charitable mercy, but great unresponsiveness instead.
- Be pure through faith. “Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.” Matthew (5:8) Cleanse your mind: clean up your act and in the fullest sense as God himself removes your desire for impure thinking and impure ways of acting. God purifies you. Seeing God, knowing him as your Father (by being in His presence) is the blessing promised in this beatitude.
- Be a peacemaker and be especially blessed! “Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called ‘the children of God. (Matthew 5:9)
Love unconditionally—treating the other as one would like to be treated, if the two roles were suddenly reversed: So be kind to your enemy. Just let revenge stop now! Peace may be found by doing something as simple as giving a difficult person something you would think he likes. Peacemaking brings God with His peace and harmony into your life.
- Accept Persecution. “Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness. For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:10)
Some bad news—‘persecutions’ if you are righteous—but don’t worry! You will be blessed with the benefits of the Kingdom of Heaven. You are different if you are in Christ. This threatens those who don’t understand life’s basic spiritual life. You have put God first!
Here are several different viewpoints. The first one is a video about thirty minutes by Kate Bowler talking about her book Blessed: A History of American Prosperity Gospel
Another is What it Means to Be Blessed by God. This is five page article by Dr. David Dewitt.
And this is a website Discover Real Joy When You #BlessALife that starts off with Matthew (5:16) “Let your light shine before others, that they may see your good deeds and glorify your Father in Heaven.” The whole website is worth checking out.