Jesus' recipe for Happiness: Part 2 - Hope 103.2

Jesus’ recipe for Happiness: Part 2

Morning Devotions is for those curious about the Christian faith and who want to explore Christian issues that relate to their daily life.

By Chris WittsFriday 4 Jul 2014Morning Devotions with Chris WittsUncategorizedReading Time: 0 minutes

Transcript:

4. Happy are those whose greatest desire is to do what God requires; God will satisfy them fully. Matthew 5:6. 

You would be more familiar with the words “Blessed are they who hunger and thirst after righteousness,for they shall be filled”. I like the Contemporary English Version – “God blesses those people who want to obey Him more than to eat or drink. They will be given what they want”.
The Psalmist in Psalm 42 was serious in his desire to know God. V1&2 says “As the deer pants for water,so I long for you,O God. I thirst for God,the living God. Where can I find Him to come and stand before Him?” (LB).

To be hungry and thirsty is a good sign of life.   God promises to satisfy that hunger,and He alone can satisfy the deep needs of our heart.

The Psalmist said as much in Psalm 42: “As a deer longs for a stream of cool water,so I long for you,O God. I thirst for you,O God. I thirst for you,the living God”. (v1-2).

Remember the day that Jesus spoke to the woman at the well. “Everyone who drinks this water will be thirsty again. Whoever drinks the water I give him will never thirst” (John 4:13). No wonder He says “If anyone is thirsty let him come to me and drink” (Jn 7:37). If our aim is to stay in close fellowship with Jesus Christ through the Holy Spirit,we will be satisfied. It means having a deep desire to be in right relationship with Him. We are not perfect,but it means our intention is wholehearted and when we sin,we are quick to acknowledge the sin and ask for forgiveness.

5. Happy are those who show mercy to others; God will show mercy to them. Matthew 5:7. The Message translation says for v7 “You’re blessed when you care. At the moment of being care-full,you find yourselves cared for”. 

Mercy – the virtue that shines above all others. In the Old Testament this word “mercy” occurs more than 150 times,showing the kindness and mercy of God. It is better translated “kindness”,the kindness of the heart of God. Isaiah and Micah both talk of “it is to God that mercy belongs” (Isaiah 62:12) and it is in mercy that God delights (Micah 7:18). Deuteronomy 4:31 says “For the Lord your God is a merciful God”.

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The parable of the Good Samaritan is all about mercy in action . Apparently if we do not offer mercy to others,we will not receive it ourselves. It’s not good enough to make excuses like “It isn’t my nature to be merciful and forgiving”. The gospel is not about temperaments – it’s about an intentional act of showing mercy towards others even when it doesn’t seem a logical thing to do.

6. Happy are the pure in heart; they will see God. Matthew 5:8.

Here is the 6th Beatitude which is linked with Psalm 24: “Who has the right to go up the Lord’s hill? Who may enter His holy temple? Those who are pure in act and in thought,who do not worship idols or make false promises”(v3-4).

The Greek word for pure is “katharos”,used 24 times in the New Testament. It means being free from every taint of evil. We could explain this Beatitude by saying “Happy are those whose motives are absolutely unmixed,whose minds are utterly sincere,who are completely and totally single minded”.  This is the most demanding of all Jesus teachings. We look at our own lives and motives and we are shocked. We have mixed motives and we can be selfish. That’s why JB Phillips translates v9 “Happy are the utterly sincere”.

Many Christians are like St Augustine who prayed “Lord,make me pure,but not just yet”. Do we have trouble in our thoughts and desires?  Maybe we should sing more often “I want dear Lord,a heart that’s true and clean. A sunlit heart with not a cloud between. A heart divine,a heart like Thine,a heart as white as snow. On me,dear Lord,a heart like this bestow”.

7. Happy are those who work for peace among men; God will call them his sons. Matthew 5:9.
“Blessed are the peacemakers,for they will be called sons of God”. Jesus 7th teaching in the Sermon on the Mount. Paul wrote that “God was in Christ reconciling the world to Himself and has committed to us the word of reconciliation” (2 Cor 5).

We have the privilege of being peacemakers,& taking the message of God’s peace to others. The old time preacher Charles Spurgeon used to say “Where there is a breach God always attempts to build a bridge. The Almighty cannot stand separateness”. And that’s true. God was in Christ reconciling the world unto Himself. Jesus is known as the Prince of Peace.

Peacemakers are active makers of peace – they go out of their way to reconcile. They do what they can to bring people together and end hostility. These people will be called the “sons of God”. In other words we are like our Heavenly Father who is a God of peace.  May He help us to be bridge builders.

8.  Happy are those who suffer persecution because they do what God requires. Matthew 5:10

Is Jesus saying here in this final Beatitude – “If you’re going to be an active & committed Christian be prepared for some trouble”. There may be insult or mockery coming our way when we stand for Jesus,or there could be out and out persecution. In some parts of the world today Christians are suffering and dying for their faith. In our society its more likely to be snubs,rejection,discrimination,insults or a put-down.

Committing ourselves to the cause of Christ does not mean that people will pat us on the back or always applaud us. A young person who stands by his Christian principles will be ridiculed by his mates and laughed at. It’s all about not compromising my standards,regardless of the outcome.
Living in Australia we have it very easy as far as persecution goes. The church is generally accepted or tolerated. We are not attacked openly anyway. But who knows if this will continue.