‘They’re called in the Scripture the Beatitudes. You know why they’re called the Beatitudes without being prestigious? Because they should be the attitudes of every believer. That’s the normal Christian life, not the abnormal Christian life. The normal Christian life is holiness.’ — Leonard Ravenhill
The Beatitudes are blessings recounted by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount in the Gospel of Matthew. Synonyms: blessedness, bliss, blissfulness, intense happiness, gladness, joy. The simple definition for ‘Beatitude’ is a condition or statement of blessedness.
‘The Beatitudes are no spiritual “to do list” to be attempted by eager, rule-keeping disciples. It is a spiritual “done” list of the qualities God brings to bear in the people who follow Jesus.’ — Ronnie McBrayer
I like that quote, it tells me that my performance is absolutely useless. It brings refreshment to someone who has spent a lifetime performing and seeking approval from others.
Let’s unpack the ‘Sermon On The Mount’ taught by Jesus in Matthew 5:3-11, NIV translation.
‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.’ — Matthew 5:3
Jesus is not referring to poor as in money earned, nor is he referring to poor in things temporal but poor in a spiritual sense. We are all, at one time, spiritually poor. Jesus is suggesting that we seek after the true riches God has provided through His grace, mercy and sacrificial love. Without receiving His free gift, we are poor in spirit. In humility and poverty of spirit we must stand in the posture of thankfulness and overwhelming gratitude, for we recognize that we are indeed poor in spirit and exalt God for what would otherwise be impossible for us to attain. In humility and weakness we accept God’s gift. In doing so, we receive and embrace with unspeakable joy and gladness, eternal glory, for we now have the right of passage to God’s kingdom and are no longer poor in spirit.
‘The joy promised by the Beatitudes is the very joy of Jesus himself: a joy sought & found in obedience to the Father, and in the gift of self to others.’ —St. John Paul II
Phil Matarazzo is a counsellor and longtime member of Heritage. He frequently writes on his thoughts on marriage, addiction, recovery, and God’s forgiveness.