Much of my understanding of the Beatitudes is owed to the great teachings of Mike Bickle from the International House of Prayer. Much of my thoughts stem from his wisdom and I believe you would be greatly rewarded to listen to his teachings. With that said, let’s jump into this topic!
The Holy Spirit’s first agenda is to establish the first commandment in the first place in the Church. God loves us with all of His heart and mind and empowers us to love Him with all of ours. Our greatest destiny is to participate in the great love shared within the fellowship of the Trinity.
37 And he said to him, “You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind. 38 This is the great and first commandment.
The Sermon on the Mount is Jesus’ most comprehensive statement about a believer’s role in cooperating with grace. It is a litmus test to measure our love and spiritual development. The 8 beatitudes are like flowers in the garden of our heart, that God wants to blossom. They define love, godliness, and spiritual maturity and describe the kingdom lifestyle.
3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
4 “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.
5 “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.
6 “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.
7 “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.
8 “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.
9 “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God.
10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
This blessedness includes having a vibrant heart, feeling God’s presence and the joy of His approval over our life, having grace to walk in love and ministering His power to others. It is a great blessing to sense His approval and pleasure over our lifestyle and choices.
2 Corinthians 5:9
9 So whether we are at home or away, we make it our aim to please him.
To be blessed is to experience abundant life which is the happiness, greatness and freedom that God created us for.
10 The thief comes only to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have life and have it abundantly.
6 Temptations and 5 Kingdom Activities
In Matthew 5:21-48 Jesus spoke of 6 temptations to be resisted: anger, immorality, disregarding the sanctity of marriage, not keeping our commitments, retaliation and passivity in loving our enemies.
5 Kingdom Activities:
In Matthew 6:1-18 Jesus spoke of 5 kingdom activities that we are to pursue: serving and giving, praying, blessing our adversaries and fasting. These spiritual disciplines do not earn us God’s love, but place our cold hearts before the bonfire of His presence. As we embrace these disciplines, He gives more to our heart, but He does not love us more.
Abiding in Jesus: The Only Way to Live the Kingdom Life
Near the end of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus called us to ask for His help to live out the Beatitudes. Later He described this continuous dialogue with Him as abiding (John 15:5). He gave His final exhortation in the Sermon on the Mount and then gave a great promise and warning related to obeying Him. Ask, seek and knock are in the continuous present tense, meaning we are to keep doing these.
7 “Ask, and it will be given to you; seek, and you will find; knock, and it will be opened to you.
We need a revelation that only in the beatitudes can we experience abundant life. Our natural mind cannot see this without the aid of the Spirit. The natural mindset thinks that happiness is best found through favorable circumstances (money, honor, influence, ability, etc.)
17 And Jesus answered him, “Blessed are you, Simon Bar-Jonah! For flesh and blood has not revealed this to you, but my Father who is in heaven. 18 And I tell you, you are Peter, and on this rock I will build my church, and the gates of hellshall not prevail against it.
By revelation, we conclude that the Sermon on the Mount lifestyle is not just the best way to experience abundant life but it is the only way.
Poverty of Spirit (Matthew 5:3)
To be poor in spirit is to be aware that we are in great need of experiencing spiritual growth in our heart, ministry, church and society. This truth is one of the most misunderstood and misapplied truths in the grace of God. To be “happy” means to have a vibrant spirit.
To be poor in spirit is to see ourselves as spiritually poor instead of spiritually rich, in terms of our ability to experience and impart spiritual life without the Spirit. It means seeing our deep need to be helped by God in light of how much God wants to give us; seeing our poverty-stricken state in spiritual things and thus being aware of our spiritual deficiency and neediness.
To be poor in spirit means that we are aware of our spiritual deficiency in our obedience and love, especially in light of the call to be perfect (Matthew 5:48). We are aware of the need for our love to be developed.
We grow in this by seeing what the Scripture says about how much God will do in and through us, by reading biographies of what He did through others or by receiving teaching that strengthens our vision to live for the fullness of the Spirit in love, obedience, power and wisdom. Expose yourself to teaching, writings, singing and fellowship that presses in for God’s fullness.
As our understanding increases, we discern the gap between what God wants to do through us and in us and what we are currently experiencing. We see that we cannot close the gap without the Spirit helping us in response to our seeking Him. We cannot experience more of His fullness without His help, so we set our heart to live in a way that positions us to receive all He has for us.
Many agree with this message in principle but are troubled by it when it touches them specifically and personally.
Jesus addressed this as the root problem in the church of Laodicea (Revelation 3:14-21). Finances, influence, honor, power, popularity, etc. tempt us to become spiritually passive.
Theirs Is the Kingdom
Theirs “is” the kingdom, not “shall be.” Jesus promised that any who live poor in spirit would experience the kingdom realities. This includes having a vibrant spirit, feeling God’s presence, and being a vehicle of His presence to others. Many feel a lack in these realities without ever connecting it to being poor in spirit. The kingdom belongs to us now. This speaks of experiencing more of the kingdom in a personal way.
But Wait…There’s More!
Obviously this is only the beginning of the list. Much of this post was an introduction to the topic. Be sure to check out the following posts as we dive into the Beatitudes.