8 "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God."
Matthew 5:8 (ESV)
God the Father often gets a bad rap. We read about Him in the Old Testament and see His jealousy, anger, wrath and destruction often on display.
It is easy to see God as the angry, judgmental Being out to steal our happiness. It seems He puts rules and regulations in place to kill our joy and just waits around for us to mess up in order to punish us.
What a grotesque misconception about God's true nature! NINE times in the first 11 verses of Matthew 5:1-11, Jesus uses the word "Blessed." NINE! A more common term that could be used is "happy."
God wants us to be happy! He doesn't want gloomy, reluctant children, but smiling, rejoicing ones who know He loves us no matter what!
But, clearly, God's journey to happiness is much different than what the world sells:
- Poor in spirit vs. strong and tough (v3)
- Meek and lowly vs. proud and arrogant (v5)
- Merciful vs. merciless (v7)
- Pure vs. promiscuous (v8)
- Persecuted vs. celebrated (v10)
This seems so strange because our whole lives the world tells us happiness comes through power, prestige and success. This is true especially in the world of sports where winners and athletes with big-time performances garner most, if not all, of the attention and headlines.
But another assignment, another goal, another game always exists as we seek to maintain joy. God provides a different way and doesn't give as the world gives (John 14:27). His happiness satisfies and is complete and whole, as opposed to shallow, insufficient and temporary.
But before we can experience this happiness, we have to realize who we are apart from Jesus.
We truly are "poor in spirit." Alone we have no hope with God. We should "mourn" over this condemned state! But we must be "meek" and humble and recognize our need for a Savior. We "hunger and thirst" for His saving grace and righteousness, not our own.
We slowly become like Jesus, "merciful" and "pure" as He works in us through His Spirit. We strive to be "peacemakers" and bring others into this newfound peace. Then, with Jesus on our side, we are counted worthy of "persecution" and "reviling." Yet even this doesn't kill our joy, because we know our reward is kept and secured for us in heaven (Matthew 5:12; 1 Peter 1:4)!
God wants us to be happy, but not in the hollow way the world says we should be. As we grow in His presence, know Him deeper and experience His goodness, we experience real happiness, true blessedness!
Reflect: How is my view of God? What is my vision of "happiness"? How does it compare to Jesus’ list?