Keys to True Happiness (Part 1)
Keys to Happiness (Part 1)
Happy Are the Humble
Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Our American Declaration of Independence speaks of man’s inherent right to the “pursuit of happiness.” Even though we Americans are promised this right, very few people are truly happy.
Why is this? Because we tend to believe that things will make us happy. Things like money, possessions, fame, success, fun, entertainment, and even family and friends. But the Lord Jesus Christ in His very first sermon gives us His manifesto for His kingdom and along with it the keys to true, genuine, and lasting happiness. Spoiler alert: the way to happiness, true, genuine, and lasting happiness that Jesus teaches is directly the opposite of everything you have been taught about happiness.
The Beatitudes, which we find here Matthew 5:3-12 are the beginning of the greatest sermon that anyone has ever preached. We are given the setting for this great sermon beginning in verse 1 of chapter 5, “When Jesus saw the crowds, He went up on the mountain; and after He sat down, His disciples came to Him. He opened His mouth and began to teach them.” The Lord Jesus then begins to show us the way to real happiness.
The word “blessed” is translated from the Greek word makarios and it means “blessed, happy, blissful.” The first beatitude here in verse 3 tells us that the way to true happiness is to be “poor in spirit.” The Greek word ptochos is the word that is used for “poor” and it is translated to mean “one who crouches and cowers,” and it was used to describe beggars. Those who had absolutely no resources of their own and were completely dependent on the grace and mercy of strangers. This seems directly opposite of what we think makes us happy. How in the world could someone who has no resources of their own be happy? But Jesus says to be “blessed,” to be happy we must be “poor in spirit.” What is He talking about then? Being “poor in spirit” is the opposite of being self-sufficient. It means that you understand that you are totally and completely morally and spiritually bankrupt apart from God.
Being “poor in spirit” means that you are painfully aware of your lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace and mercy. You cannot come to a saving relationship with Christ until you reach this point. You can’t come to Christ thinking that you are just going to add a little bit of Jesus to an already great life.
Sadly, so much of what is called evangelism and gospel preaching today ignores the issue of spiritual and moral bankruptcy. In its place is a message of positive thinking; just believe in yourself, a message of prosperity and success. It you just believe in Jesus He is going to make your marriage better, you’ll get a better job, you’ll have more money, you’ll go on better vacations, you’ll be healthy. Please don’t misunderstand me, life is infinitely better with Jesus than without. But that is not why you need Jesus. I didn’t need Jesus to make my life better when He saved me. I needed Jesus because I was a spiritual and moral pauper and it wasn’t until I finally realized that that He saved me. The Bible tells us that God is a friend to the broken and contrite heart.
What is the result of being “poor in spirit?” “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” God’s gracious gift of salvation is the result of true humility, true brokenness. Salvation is not available to the proud, it is only for those who have a broken and contrite heart. How do we know if we are truly “poor in spirit?” Thomas Watson the great puritan preacher had seven principles that we can apply in determining whether we are humble or not.
First, if we are humble, we will be weaned from ourselves. Paul wrote in Galatians 2:20, “I have been crucified with Christ; and it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God who loved me and gave Himself up for me.”
Second, humility will lead us to be lost in the wonder of Christ. 2 Corinthians 3:18 says, “But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as from the Lord, the Spirit.”
Third, we will not complain about our situation, no matter how bad it may become. 1 Peter 4:16 says, “if anyone suffers as a Christian, he is not to be ashamed, but is to glorify God in this name.”
Fourth, we will more clearly see the strengths and virtues of others as well as our own weaknesses and sins. Philippians 2:3 says, “Do nothing from selfishness or empty conceit, but with humility of mind regard one another as more important than yourselves.”
Fifth, we will spend much time in prayer. Sixth, we will take Christ on His terms, not on our terms. His Word alone will be our standard.
Seventh, when we are poor in spirit we will praise and thank God for His grace. 1 Timothy 1:14 says, “and the grace of our Lord was more than abundant…”
Does your life match these principles? If not ask yourself if you really understand the true lost and hopeless nature of your life without Christ. Turn to Him in genuine repentance for your sins and belief in Him as your Savior and Lord.