Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. (Matthew 5:5)
A fairly accurate description of the human race might be furnished one unacquainted with it by taking the Beatitudes turning them wrong side out and saying, “Here is your human race.” For the exact opposite of the virtues in the Beatitudes are the very qualities which distinguish human life and conduct.
In the world of men we find nothing approaching the virtues of which Jesus spoke in the opening words of the famous Sermon on the Mount. Instead of poverty of spirit we find the rankest kind of pride; instead of mourners we find pleasure seekers; instead of meekness, arrogance; instead of hunger after righteousness we hear men saying, “I am rich and increases with goods and have need of nothing;” instead of mercy we find cruelty; instead of purity of heart, corrupt imaginings; instead of peacemakers we find men quarrelsome and resentful; instead of rejoicing in mistreatment we find them fighting back with every weapon at their command.
Into a world like this the sound of Jesus’ words comes wonderful and strange, a visitation from above. It is well that He spoke, for no one else could have done it as well; and it is good that we listen. His words are the essence of truth. He is not offering an opinion; Jesus never uttered opinions.
He never guessed; He knew, and He knows. His words are not as Solomons were, the sum of sound wisdom or the results of keen observation. He spoke out of the fullness of His Godhead, and His words are the very Truth itself. He is the only one who could say “blessed” with complete authority, for He is the Blessed One come from the world above to confer blessedness upon mankind. And His words were supported by deeds mightier than any performed on this earth by any other man.
It is wisdom for us to listen.
The power of the Bible, other than it being God’s Word, is that it speaks to every generation. Though culture and human perceptions and points of view transition over time, and what is acceptable one day is unacceptable the next and what is unacceptable one day is acceptable the next, the Bible remains as the book of instruction for a blessed life. It is not a book of suggestion or opinion although this might be what some would wish. It is instruction given by the Creator of all things as how to live a satisfied and fulfilled life. Any variation or straying from its principles causes devastating consequences. It is not sufficient just to read it and to say, “That’s nice” or “That’s a good goal” and never apply its principles to daily living.
Many of us approach life; something we have never lived with the idea that we are wise enough to figure it out on our own. Every generation feels that it is more knowledgeable than the previous and yet every generation makes the same mistakes as its predecessors and sometimes worse. The very idea of us being wise in our own eyes is a foolish view. We would think it a foolish thing to have someone perform a medical procedure on us without that someone having studied and learned all there is to know about medicine. We certainly wouldn’t take our car for repair to someone who didn’t know what a wrench was. Yet we go to those who really don’t know how to live life for advice and counsel rather than coming to the God of the universe, the One who created all things and who knows how it all fits together for help.
Sometimes in the church we hear those who express a longing for “revival” as though it is something beyond our reach. Maybe we have read of the great moves of God in the past and wish somehow to experience those again. All that is necessary for the church to experience such a thing is to read the Bible, take it seriously as it is, move away from the idea that it is a book of opinion and suggestion and move toward the idea that it is the book of instruction for life and living and put into actual practice what it says.
Sometimes we hear those around us express how tough their life is. May I suggest that they begin to apply the instructions of the Bible. Not that it will be easy especially at the beginning. To move away from the old habits and approaches of dealing with life is a hard but not impossible thing. To live the Beatitudes is a radical approach to life in this world that majors in opposite values. Jesus knew that He was calling us to a radical approach to life and that it was impossible for us to live that way on our own. Because of this, He Himself came and through His suffering and death He broke the power of sin over us and set us free from its control. He also knew that for us to just be free from the power of sin wasn’t sufficient, so He sent us the Helper, the Holy Spirit, to dwell in us. Through the Holy Spirit, we are instructed as to sin and righteousness. Through Him we are empowered to choose righteousness and to participate in the divine nature with Christ.
It’s really simple. We choose to make Christ the Lord over our lives. We read His Book of Instructions. We open our hearts to the Holy Spirit and allow Him to guide us through life. And we succeed in becoming all that God has designed us to be.
16 And I will ask the Father, and He will give you another Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), to be with you forever— 17 the Spirit of Truth, whom the world cannot receive [and take to its heart] because it does not see Him or know Him, but you know Him because He (the Holy Spirit) remains with you continually and will be in you. 26 But the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby), the Holy Spirit, whom the Father will send in My name [in My place, to represent Me and act on My behalf], He will teach you all things. And He will help you remember everything that I have told you.
26 “But when the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) comes, whom I will send to you from the Father, that is the Spirit of Truth who comes from the Father, He will testify and bear witness about Me. 7 But I tell you the truth, it is to your advantage that I go away; for if I do not go away, the Helper (Comforter, Advocate, Intercessor—Counselor, Strengthener, Standby) will not come to you; but if I go, I will send Him (the Holy Spirit) to you [to be in close fellowship with you]. 8 And He, when He comes, will convict the world about [the guilt of] sin [and the need for a Savior], and about righteousness, and about judgment: 9 about sin [and the true nature of it], because they do not believe in Me [and My message]; 10 about righteousness [personal integrity and godly character], because I am going to My Father and you will no longer see Me; 11 about judgment [the certainty of it], because the ruler of this world (Satan) has been judged and condemned. 13 But when He, the Spirit of Truth, comes, He will guide you into all the truth [full and complete truth]. For He will not speak on His own initiative, but He will speak whatever He hears [from the Father—the message regarding the Son], and He will disclose to you what is to come [in the future]. 14 He will glorify and honor Me, because He (the Holy Spirit) will take from what is Mine and will disclose it to you. 15 All things that the Father has are Mine. Because of this I said that He [the Spirit] will take from what is Mine and will reveal it to you.
If any of you lacks wisdom [to guide him through a decision or circumstance], he is to ask of [our benevolent] God, who gives to everyone generously and without rebuke or blame, and it will be given to him. But prove yourselves doers of the word [actively and continually obeying God’s precepts], and not merely listeners [who hear the word but fail to internalize its meaning], deluding yourselves [by unsound reasoning contrary to the truth]. For if anyone only listens to the word without obeying it, he is like a man who looks very carefully at his natural face in a mirror; for once he has looked at himself and gone away, he immediately forgets what he looked like. But he who looks carefully into the perfect law, the law of liberty, and faithfully abides by it, not having become a [careless] listener who forgets but an active doer [who obeys], he will be blessed and favored by God in what he does [in his life of obedience].
Dr. John Thompson