Friday, September 25, 2015

ATTITUDES



Susie Miller
Sermon on the Mount (pt 3)

Beatitudenoun
(New Testament) any of eight distinctive sayings of Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount (Matthew 5:3–11) in which he declares that the poor, the meek, those that mourn, the merciful, the peacemakers, the pure of heart, those that thirst for justice, and those that are persecuted will, in various ways, receive the blessings of heaven.
Open your Bible to Matthew Chapter 5. If your copy of the scriptures uses headings for different sections, then you most likely see a title at the beginning of this section—Sermon on the Mount—or something similar.
If your copy has further breakdowns, such as paragraphical division, then you may also see this section titled "The Beatitudes," which comprises Matt. 5:3-12.
We don't use the word 'beatitude' much, except in reference to this particular section of the Bible. It has all but disappeared from normal English usage. That, however, should not pose a problem for the average reader.
We know that it essentially means “supreme blessedness; exalted happiness.”

The KJV begins each of these statements with “Blessed,” as do most of the other translations. The meaning—without the religious connotations—is basically “happy.”

“Happy are the…” In other words, “do this to be happy.” Let us consider if we are able to clothe ourselves with this particular concept.

I tend to agree with whoever it was that said, “The Beatitudes are really just attitudes to be.”
  • BE poor in spirit 
  • BE mourning 
  • BE meek 
  • BE hungering for righteousness 
  • BE merciful 
  • BE pure in heart 
  • BE a peacemaker 
  • BE glad regardless 
Of course, this ‘blessedness’ of which Jesus spoke is much more than just a temporary feeling based on circumstances—which is what determines ‘happiness’ for most of us. It is a state of well-being that comes from being in a right relationship with God.

These eight attitudes, then, are the keys to maintaining that right relationship.

Notice that each one comes with a promise attached.
  • Poor in spirit = kingdom of heaven belongs to them 
  • Mourn = get comforted 
  • Meek = inherit the earth 
  • Hungry = satisfied 
  • Merciful = receive mercy 
  • Pure in heart = see God 
  • Peacemaker = called sons of God 
  • Glad = great reward in heaven
Poor in spirit—Grab any 20 commentaries on this verse and you will probably find 20 different renderings of its application. (Read on for number 21.)

The word “poor” which translates the Greek word πτωχός (ptōchos), basically means “lacking.” As we consider much of Jesus’ teaching concerning kingdom living, we can easily arrive at the meaning of “lacking in anything the world considers valuable.”

Therefore, the “poor in spirit” are those who do not put themselves forward in any manner for anything, or consider themselves to be or have the answer or solution. 
  • no wealth
  • no status
  • no influence
  • helpless
  • no position
  • no honor
  • completely destitute.

(Would it be safe to say that few pastors today are an example of what it means to be poor in spirit?)
What about you? Are you an example?

To the enquiry, “Who are you?” the poor in spirit replies, “I am but the dust under your servant’s feet.” (Kind of contrary to the ways of the world, or your own human nature, is it not?)

If you are thinking ahead of me, and applying this to today’s attitudes, then you are probably beginning to understand why there has been such an emphasis on self-esteem.

Even the church has fallen for the lie that you must love yourself before you can love others, and placed its emphasis contrary to the Word of God.

Anything the enemy can do to water down the Word, or distract us from its intent is fair game, and we are not immune to his devices—especially if we are ignorant of them (2 Cor. 2:11b).

Becoming poor in spirit is an attitude that can be developed. It is not a grace or fruit that is disposed upon you, though the grace to develop it is.

Examine yourselves (2 Cor. 13:5a), looking for ways that you could begin developing this attitude.
  • Are you easily offended?
  • Do you look for the shortest line? 
  • Do you go after the closest parking spot? 
  • Do you always have something to say or add when others are talking? 
  • Do you truly believe that if it weren’t for the grace of God, you would be useless? 
  • Do you hold the door for those coming behind you, and let them go first? 
Suggestions only, but you get the idea.
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