"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 meek, for they will inherit the earth. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Blessed are the merciful, for they will be shown mercy. Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God. Blessed are the peacemakers, for they will be called sons of God. Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.¡¨ -Matthew 5:3-10 NIV
These verses in the book of Matthew are called "The Beatitudes" - declarations of blessedness. These verses begin what is called the Sermon on the Mount. Given on a hillside near Capernaum, it has been debated as to whether Jesus preached this passage as one sermon, or as several spread out over several days, or that Matthew might have recorded one sermon and added in other relevant teachings of Jesus when he wrote this passage. But whatever the circumstances, this incredible sermon shows the stark contrast between earthly living and spiritual living. It teaches us how to be blessed.
"Blessed" means more than happiness. Happiness is fleeting. It is controlled by circumstances. Blessedness is unaffected by circumstance. Happiness comes from laughter, pleasure, earthly prosperity. Blessedness comes from God. Happiness can drive you crazy seeking it. Blessedness brings you peace and hope and joy. Happiness lasts only briefly. Blessedness is eternal.
Whether you're single or married, divorced or widowed, you are still an individual in the Kingdom of God. The Beatitudes teach us what qualities to seek for ourselves - and what qualities to seek, not only in our mates, but in our friends. Why? Because anyone who is "blessed" is a person who is seeking after God, not after the world.
As we review the Beatitudes, look inside yourself for the qualities Jesus describes. Are you enjoying the enviable state of being "blessed"? Do you seek these qualities in the people close to you? If not ¡V even when you¡¦re with friends, even if you¡¦re married - do you still wonder why you feel frustrated and alone? Think about it.
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