Sunday, May 1, 2011


I recently taught a Sunday school class based on the Sermon on the Mount. As I prepared for the class each week I was reminded that Jesus commands us to be engaged in relationships. Everything we do should be focused on Him and behaving more like Him every day and we can only do this through relationships. First we need a relationship with the Father which is made possible through Jesus. Next we need to be in relationship with the people all around us.

The Sermon on the Mount starts with the beatitudes. The beatitudes describe the process of building a relationship with God and the characteristics of a person who is in a relationship with God. The beatitudes begin with –

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.”
Matthew 5:3-4

In this context the word blessed means content or satisfied, Just as Paul said to the people of Philippi in Philippians 4:11 “I am not saying this because I am in need, for I have learned to be content whatever the circumstances.” So…being content in all circumstances starts with being poor in spirit but what does it mean to be poor in spirit? I think Isaiah gave us a great description of what it means to be poor in spirit, “Woe to me!” I cried. “I am ruined! For I am a man of unclean lips, and I live among a people of unclean lips, and my eyes have seen the King, the LORD Almighty.” (Isaiah 6:5) Isaiah had a vision of God and when he came face to face with the Father he also came face to face with who he was and the separation between himself as a man and the awesome holiness of God. So, Matthew 5:3 tells us we will begin to find commitment when we understand who we are in light of a holy, perfect, righteous, infinite God who created all things and holds all things.
The second beatitude “Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted.” builds on the first. When we realize who we are in light of who God we should mourn just as Isaiah did. When Isaiah got a glimpse of himself from God’s perspective he responded by crying out “Woe to me! I am ruined!” The distance that Isaiah saw between himself and God caused Isaiah to grieve for himself and his people. Based on Matthew 5:3-4 the foundation for real contentment starts with understanding who we are, who God is and the separation between His holiness and our lives. This distance between our lives and the holiness of God should cause us to grieve for ourselves and those around us.

I think everyone is searching for contentment but for those who don’t know God and never get a glimpse of His perspective the search just goes on and on. This is one reason we are called into relationship with people. We should be reaching out to people in our community and across the world and giving them a glimpse of God. If we have found the contentment of knowing who our God is and who we are, if we are mourning for ourselves and those around us, shouldn’t we be about evangelism and missions – reaching out to those who may never find what contentment truly is? Someone, somewhere reached out to us, let us follow their example and the example of Jesus by reaching out.

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