Sunday, March 20, 2011

Christianity and Happiness 101: Breaking Down the Beatitudes Pt. 1

Jesus was radical. And as Christians we are called to the same radical lifestyle as Him. This is the beginning of what I hope may become a great collaboration of fellow believers.
I feel like God has put me in the Beatitudes for some reason. I want to break them down, and I am looking for other Christians who feel like writing about this, or some other topic. Because I think God likes it when His children want to understand Him better.

Everybody just wants to be happy.
This is Christ's step by step guide to being happy.
Matthew 5:3-11

“Blessed are the poor in spirit,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are those who mourn,

for they will be comforted.

Blessed are the meek,

for they will inherit the earth.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,

for they will be filled.

Blessed are the merciful,

for they will be shown mercy.

Blessed are the pure in heart,

for they will see God.

Blessed are the peacemakers,

for they will be called sons of God.

Blessed are those who are persecuted because of righteousness,

for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me."

Let's just start by breaking down the word "blessed" before we even get into the verses.

I am a firm believer in defining terms as a means of communicating effectively.

Blessed is a way of saying happy. But it is important to not just leave it at that.

There are two distinct forms of happiness.

Number 1 is a subjective state of temporary emotion due to a situation or event and often very fleeting.

Number 2 is an objective state of permanent reality due only to God's grace.

Blessed is the second kind of happy, it will not go away. It is what a lot of people think of when they use the word joy, but I think that happy will do.

I am going to start with just one or two lines per post and see how that goes.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit

For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

What does poor mean?

It is a term of relativity.

Poverty, poorness is a word that compares one thing to another.

The most destitute homeless person in America is still rich compared to many people in third world countries.

I am poor compared to Mark Zuckerberg or Bill Gates.

What is spirit?

Spirit is that which is not corporeal, but it is still very real.

It is that which is of divine substance. It is of God.

So to be "poor in spirit" is to realize we are nothing compared to God.

And if we are nothing without God, the only way to be anything is through God.

This realization leads to another word thrown around in Christianity a lot, humility.

The poor in spirit are those who purposefully position themselves as lesser than God, as well as lesser than others.

We need to start realizing that we are nothing without the grace of God. The same grace which is the basis of the true happiness that is called "blessed".

We are called to love God, and love each other.

To not think of ourselves as higher than we ought.

We are called to speak from a position of grace, not judgement.

"For theirs is the kingdom of God"

Who is they?

They are the followers of Christ who live in humility, serving each other.

"Whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be your slave— just as the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and to give his life as a ransom for many." That is what Jesus said to his disciples about gaining position as Christians.

What is the kingdom of God?

A kingdom is the area in which the King has dominance.

Our God is our king, and he is a sovereign God. That means he has the right to do anything and everything His way for His own goals.

His kingdom knows know bounds, and that means there is nothing He does not have dominion over.

So if we are humble, recognizing that we are nothing without God, then he will give us access to his Kingdom. He will give us the royal rank.

If He is a king, His son must be a prince. And if we are His children, we are also part of the royal family and given the rights and responsibilities that come with that position.

God gives His followers His kingdom. He does that not because He has to, but because He wants to. And the responsibility of that power which He imparts on us is great. He calls us to take His gift and use it to make His name known, to be a light in a dark world.

He gives us everything, so let's take the time to acknowledge His greatness and not waste His gift by hiding it away.

How to be Happy

Step 1: Be humble, receive power and responsibility.


  1. Wow Denis, GREAT job. I have always loved the beattitudes and refer to them often. Please keep me on your list. I love your breakdown and insight. It is good stuff brother!

  2. Thanks for explaining and breaking everything down so thoroughly. I enjoyed reading this and will probably re-read it a few times over because I feel like I'll understand something more each time. I'm looking foward to seeing more:)

  3. Good stuff.
    Definition I personally use for blessed=happy by God. We can try to bless ourselves or each other, but when God is involved it is different. When I say that I am feeling blessed, I am really saying that I am happy by God. In other words being blessed is happiness from God.

  4. Good post, you did a great job of breaking it down. I would like to hear about how this is played out in your life instead of just a simple breaking down of scripture. Give me some of your life to go with this! Looking forward to future posts.

  5. Terry, yeah. I will take that into consideration as I go into the 3rd post. Practical applications/ real life tie-ins.