WHAT’S YOUR GOD’S HAPPINESS INDEX (GHI) (PART V)?
By Akin Ojumu
In the last commentary of this series on "Blessedness", we used Newton's First Law of Motion to illustrate the fact that Jesus was the external compelling force that broke the inertia of the Jewish people. He demolished their religiosity and punctured a hole in their pompous piety. In the Sermon on the Mount, the Lord established new standards for becoming a citizen of God’s kingdom. And these standards are far higher than the “righteousness of the Pharisees.
Sitting on the hillside that day, the Lord presented a set of sacred paradoxes. In the Sermon on the Mount, He established a standard of living that is antithetic to everything the world knows and in direct opposite to what the world practices. It’s a way of life that results in blessedness, i.e., makarios. This makarios is a deep inner happiness, a deep and genuine sense of blessedness, a bliss that the world cannot offer. It is a happiness that does not come from the things of the world, it is not produced by circumstances, and neither is it subject to change by situations. It isn’t externally generated, and it cannot be touched by things on the outside.
Mathew 5:3-12 paints a portrait of a citizen of God’s kingdom. In a series of “Blessed…,” Jesus etched out on the canvas of time a vivid picture of the archetypical citizen of Heaven.
“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. And He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
“Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.
“Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth.
“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied...”
1. Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3)
The man who is poor in spirit is one who knows that he is nothing but a crouching beggar at the mercy of God’s favor. This is someone who recognizes that he is a sinner saved by grace and that grace is a gift which he did not earn.
Poverty of the spirit is the fundamental characteristic of a Christian. It’s the very first thing that must happen in the life of anybody who ever enters God’s kingdom. Nobody yet ever entered God’s kingdom on the basis of pride. Poverty of spirit is the only way in. The door to the kingdom of the Lord Jesus Christ is very low and the only people who come in crawl (John MacArthur).
2. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. (Matthew 5:4)
Mourning is what always follows in the life of man who recognizes their spiritual poverty. This is a person who mourns over his sinfulness, and he is broken by his iniquitous nature, and understands that the grace of God is bestowed and cannot be earned by anything he does. The godly sorrow and mourning bring forth in him a genuine repentance that leads to salvation.
3. Blessed are the gentle, for they will inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
The moment this person realizes he is spiritually poor, mourns his sinfulness, and is broken by his iniquity, he is drained of all pride and is emptied of all haughtiness. Out of sheer sense of unworthiness, he falls in humility before an absolutely Holy God and gentleness fills his soul.
4. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be satisfied. (Matthew 5:6)
With the spiritual beggarliness, mournfulness, brokenness, meekness and gentleness all working together, this man develops a rapacious appetite for righteousness. He gets gluttonously hungry for godliness, and he is insatiably thirsty for uprightness. In his humility, all he can do is cry out and hunger and thirst for righteousness.
Next time, we’ll discuss the consequence of realizing one’s spiritual poverty, mourning over the poverty, being humbled by God’s grace, and developing a hunger and thirst for righteousness.