Thursday, September 20, 2018

I Am Blessed!

Blessed are the....   Matthew 5:1-12

“Blessed are the...” begins the most familiar verses in the Beatitudes. “Blessed” comes from the Greek word MAKARIOS, a “poetic word” meaning happy or good fortune. Blackaby describes this concept as a “result of divine favor” but goes much further by defining that this kind of good favor comes from a relationship with “God who satisfies our soul and promises future reward.” Such divine favor comes through a relationship with Christ, and is not found elsewhere.

Sometimes reading different versions of the Scripture can give new insights into the meaning.  As I am reading in The Message “You’re blessed” over and over, I begin to contemplate how I am blessed. Certainly the tangible things in life immediately come to mind, like security and shelter, then health comes next, followed by loving relationships. Soon I realize the things that come to mind are all about me! In these verses, Jesus is teaching a “new awareness” or a “new consciousness” about what really brings us happiness.

Blackaby writes that to find happiness requires we “experience the Kingdom’s inner riches, in the midst of external poverty and distress.” WHAT? Reading again in The Message I begin to see phrases that reveal the truths for a disciple of Jesus such as - “less of you - more of God” and “embraced by the One most dear” and “content with who you are”. My favorite is verse 7: "You're blessed when you care. At the moment of being care-full, you find yourselves cared for.” Happiness is being in a relationship with Christ while life happens!

In the article, “An Inside Job...What Really Brings Contentment?” Martin Thielen, pastor in TN, writes, “Extensive studies have proven that external circumstances...account for only 10 percent of a person’s happiness.” He goes on to say, “contentment is an inside job.” This Jesus prescription for happiness is a “divine paradox”. The world will always be in conflict with God’s promises, and Christians must trust God to be both power and presence, even in the darkness of uncertainty. We are “blessed” especially when we find ourselves struggling and grieving, when we lay down self and disappointment, when we experience evil in the world or persecution for our beliefs. In all these times, Christ remains with us, always the comforter, always the encourager, always faithful and true. “To be happy in Jesus” brings more divine favor than I could ever need. -dho