Joyce Meyer - The Be-Attitudes
Well, welcome to the program today. We're gonna be studying today from the book of Matthew. We have some people here in our studio that I can preach to while I'm also preaching to you. And if you've been watching the program for very long, you know we've been trying to make an emphasis on teaching people how to not just read the Bible but how to study. And today, we're gonna look at Matthew chapter 5, the first 16 verses. That's not the entire chapter but it's amazing if you just take time and really study, what you can receive from the Word of God. Now this is actually called the beatitudes and it's a very famous well-known sermon by Jesus.
And so certainly if we wanna listen to anything that anybody says, we really definitely wanna listen to what he had to say. And I like to say it another way. Instead of saying it's the beatitudes, B-E-A-U-T-I-T-U-D-E-S, be—attitudes, A-T-T-I-T-U-D-E-S. So our attitude is extremely important in life. You can take a great life and make it sour with a bad attitude. And you can take in a circumstantial realm, a not-so-great life and turn it into a wonderful life, just by having a good attitude. Because the truth is, is our real life is not this life around us, it's what's going on in us. It's what's in us. And so you can improve your life today, I can improve mine, by simply looking at these attitudes and asking God to help us develop these.
So let's get started. "Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain: and when he was seated, his disciples came to him. Then he opened his mouth and taught them, saying: blessed". Now the amplified Bible gives us a long definition of what "Blessed" is. And, it's actually, in 11 verses in a row but I'm not going to read it all 11 times because it is long but we wanna look at it, take a few minutes to study it, before we go on because I've been studying the word "Blessed" and the word "Blessing" for a few weeks now and I've discovered that any time we say to somebody, "God bless you," or "Bless you," which I have a habit of doing that, even people that are waiting on me out in stores when I was, you know, instead of saying, "Goodbye," I'll say, "Bless you". And even if they don't know what it means, I still say that.
And literally, when you say to somebody, "Bless you," or you bless your children, you're saying, "May all of God's good plan for you come to pass". So no wonder we should bless our enemies because instead of, quote, "Getting them back," what we're really doing is praying that they will see God's will for them, which, if they are doing something wrong, would bring them to a place of repentance. And so I think we should just bless as many things as we can possibly bless, but it's important to know what it means.
So, "Blessed (happy, to be envied, and spiritually prosperous.)" that means it's good inside, you know? "With life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor and salvation, regardless of their outward conditions.) so, I wanna take just a minute to go over that. So he's saying you're gonna be so happy that people are gonna envy you, if you have these attitudes that we're getting ready to talk about. You're gonna have life-joy and satisfaction, lots of God's favor. And I don't know about you but I pray every day for God's favor. I love to see God's favor in my life and the lives of other people. "And salvation, regardless of their outward condition) are the poor in spirit (the humble, those who rate themselves insignificant.)"
Now, I love the amplified Bible but I don't care much for that rendition of that. Not being rude but I think, unless it's explained, it could be misunderstood because there's really nowhere in the Bible that we're taught to feel that we're insignificant. But really, if you study this in other translations and get back to the original thought, it's talking a lot about the humble, those who, number one, don't think they're better than anybody else. They don't feel that they're above anybody else. They're not too good to learn from anybody else. They don't always have to be right. And, as far as the part about being insignificant, I know that really what the translators meant here, because it is a fine Bible.
I love the amplified Bible. What they were really referring to is those who rate themselves insignificant, it means that we never feel that we have in and of ourself, apart from God, what we need in any situation. So in other words, when I come in here to teach, I don't think, "Ha, I got this," you know? "Man, done this over and over, thousands of times. No problem". No, I'm praying, asking God to help me. We're praying in here. I'm asking other people to pray because I know that I don't have what it takes to do this if God doesn't flow through me. And that's really an attitude that we must live our lives with.
There's other scriptures that really back this up. For example, Romans 12:3 says, "For by the grace (the unmerited favor of God) that is given unto me I warn everyone among you," see, Paul sometimes warned people. He didn't just always pat people on the head and tell 'em, "God loves you". He warned them. He said, "I warn you not to estimate and think of yourself more highly than you ought to don't have an exaggerated opinion of your own importance". So he's not saying, "Have a lowly opinion of yourself and think bad of yourself".
That's the last thing in the world you wanna do. God wants us to see ourselves the way he sees us. "But rate your own ability with sober judgment, each according to the degree of faith apportioned by God to him". Okay, so I can teach. That's a gift of God. God gave me a gift of communication. Okay, maybe I know somebody else that just is not good at that at all. Well, that doesn't mean I should judge them or criticize them or talk about them or have an opinion about them, because they're able to do something I can't do. And every one of us has certain things that we can do that other people can't do, not exactly the way that we can do it.
So we need to be pleased with the gifts that God's given us and trust him to fill up any weaknesses that we have. And then also Matthew 23:12 says, "Whoever exalts himself with haughtiness and empty pride shall be humbled (brought low), and whoever who humbles himself whoever has a modest opinion of himself and behaves accordingly shall be raised to honor". So just for practice, let's all say, "I am not above anybody else. I have gifts, but I have weaknesses and I need not judge anybody". "So blessed are those who are poor in spirit, who have this humble, 'I need you, God' attitude, who show respect to other people for theirs is the kingdom of heaven".
And you know, obviously, we're gonna go to a place called heaven but we're living in the kingdom of heaven right now. And it really is kind of a little secret society but it's not out here. The kingdom of heaven is within you, the Bible says. And in Romans 14, it says the Kingdom of God is not meat and drink, it's not things, but it is righteousness, it is peace, and it is joy in the Holy Spirit. So that the things that we should have if we are really kingdom residents is we should know who we are in Christ and we should be pursuing the righteousness that he has given us as a gift. We should have peace and we should have joy.
And so he says, the entrance into that is to have a humble attitude. "Blessed". I'm gonna read you one more of these definitions 'cause this is a little bit different. "Blessed and enviably happy with a happiness produced by the experience of God's favor and especially conditioned by the revelation of his matchless grace". Now I could stop here and do a whole big teaching on grace. I'm not going to, other than to say that grace is absolutely amazing. It's not only what saves us, but it's also what enables us to do every single thing that we do. Grace is what changes us into Christ's image. It's what enables us to go through difficult things and keep a good attitude and have a smile on our face.
Grace is not only undeserved favor but it's also power to perform. We need the grace of God in every situation. "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted"! Well, what does that mean? Well, I think we can apply it in two different ways. I think, number one, it's blessed are those who mourn over their sin and I don't mean, like, you go around the rest of your life grieving because you've sinned or I don't need to do that. It doesn't mean I have to feel guilty. It doesn't mean I have to go around feeling bad about myself. But I should have an attitude of, "Oh God, I'm so sorry that I offended you. I'm so sorry that I didn't do what you wanted me to".
That's one place where we can be comforted the moment that we truly repent. And truly repent doesn't mean you're sorry you got caught. It means that you're sorry enough that you did it that, with God's help, you're gonna turn away from it and hopefully not ever do it again. But then, of course, also we can receive God's comfort in any kind of loss that we have in our life. And I see people go through things and I think how in the world can you go through that and keep a good attitude?
Now, we see a lot of people go through things and they don't have a good attitude. But I am so impressed and it ministers to me so much when I see somebody who talks the Christian talk and then when they have to put it to the test, they actually walk the walk. What we say we know means nothing until we're tested and we actually come through victoriously. And so, no matter what you're going through, you can have the comfort of God and it's an amazing thing. Isaiah 61:2 says that Jesus came "To proclaim the acceptable year of the Lord the year of his favor and the day of the vengeance of our God, to comfort all who mourn".
And then, like, one of my very favorite and hopefully yours too, a great scripture to study, 2 Corinthians 1:3 through 4, "Blessed be the God and father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the father of sympathy (pity and mercy) and the God who is the source of every comfort". So one of the mistakes that we make, not that our friends can't comfort us, not that our family can't comfort us, but to be honest, even if we're gonna get comfort from them that's going to work in our lives, it still has to come from God through them to us.
And so the first thing to always do is to go to God and let God choose whom he's gonna comfort you through or who he's going to encourage you through. And then verse 4, "Who comforts (consoles and encourages) us in every trouble". Maybe today you've got some real trouble in your life and you're just really hurting and you didn't even know before watching this program that you could ask God to comfort you. Well, he can. He will if you will ask him. Very often in our lives, we simply have not because we ask not. "He will comfort those who are in any kind of trouble or distress, with the comfort with which we are comforted by God".
And basically, if you study this out, it's saying when you learn how to receive God's comfort, then it equips you to be able to comfort other people. There's nobody that can comfort somebody that's hurting more than somebody who's gone through what you're going through and they've experienced God bringing them through. "Blessed are the meek (the mild, the patient, the long-suffering), for they shall inherit the earth"!
Now meekness has been greatly misunderstood because meekness is not weakness. And very often we think of a meek person as a shy, kind of mealy-mouthed person who never takes up for themselves and, you know, just lets everybody walk all over them. So in our worldly society, meekness is not considered as a good trait to have. But if you study the word in the original language, it basically means not weakness but I love this, strength under control. So the meek person is someone who, although they could do something about something, I could tell you off if I wanted to, I could get you back if I wanted to, I could shut you out of my life if I wanted to, instead I trust God.
I'm gonna wait on God and I will do what he shows me to and there are times when God puts it in your heart that you need to confront somebody. It's not a matter of just, "Well, I'm just never gonna confront anybody and just wait for God to do it all". The whole point is that we have enough of a relationship with God that we're gonna wait on him to give us instructions and to give us victory. I've learned, like, even in my relationship with dave and we've been married so long now we rarely ever fight so good news is if you stick in there long enough you'll get over the nonsense. But we've been at it 48 years so sometimes it takes a while.
But, you know, I used to be the kind of person, boy, if somebody made me mad, so I'd go, "I'm gonna talk to you about that and when you get home we're gonna sit down and talk and blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah, blah". And it never worked. Never worked at all. And then I learned to pray first that God would open a door at the right time for us to talk and that he would prepare dave's heart and give me favor. And sometimes I'd have to wait a week. But it's amazing when we go to God first how he prepares the way and makes things right. And I think we all know that it's not easy to wait on God but, to be honest, it is easier than just continuing to make the mess worse and worse yourself. Can anybody say, "Amen"?
Okay, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be filled"! And I love that scripture because I believe that, as Christians, we should so very, very much want to do what's right. And we don't even need to want to do what's right to get some kind of a specific result in our life but just because it's right. I think when we start doing what's right because it's right, strictly for the glory of God, then a reward can come from God in our life but even if it doesn't we're still going to do what we believe is right.
There's nothing better than going to bed at night, laying your head on a pillow, and not having a guilty conscience because you know that you should have and you didn't or you shouldn't have but you did anyway. There's nothing better than going to bed with a clean conscience and there's nothing worse than going to bed knowing, "Oh, man," you know, "I didn't do what I should have today". So I believe as people of God, we should certainly do more than just go to church once a week. We should certainly even do more than just perhaps work in a Christian ministry. We really need to make sure that on an individual basis, we are pursuing God with all of our heart and that the cry of our heart every day is, "God, I wanna please you. I wanna go out today and I wanna represent you well. Help me crave after righteousness," amen?
Verse 7, "Blessed (happy, and to be envied, spiritually prosperous, with life-joy and satisfaction in God's favor", on and on and on, "Are the merciful, for they shall obtain mercy"! Wow! That means if somebody almost runs you off the road on the highway, that you could believe the best, that it was an accident, or you could rant and rave and make ugly faces and ugly signs and whizz past 'em with your "I love Jesus" sticker on the car. Or you can say, "You know what? I'm just gonna be merciful to you because there's times when I make mistakes on the highway and I need mercy".
I get excited about all this whole principle of sowing and reaping. If you sow mercy, you'll reap mercy. If you sow judgment, you'll reap judgment. It's almost like, "Here's a secret way to get what you really want in life. All you gotta do is start giving some of it away. If you want friends, be friendly. If we treat people bad, we can't expect to have friends and be well liked. If you want people to do things for you, be good to 'em. Be kind to 'em. I told somebody recently, "It's amazing how good people will be to you out in the public service industry if you just give radically good tips".
You know, some of the work that people do are hard and they're not appreciated as much as they should be. And so just remember, we do reap what we sow and it may not always come back instantaneously but we do. And I'll tell you a story, when I do Matthew 7, which will air at another time but it'll help get the point across. So "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"!
Wow. The pure in heart, pure motives. We're doing things for the right reasons. I'm not being kind to you to get something from you. I wanna be kind to you because that's God's nature. I wanna help you not to impress the other people around me but because the Holy Spirit is a helper and he wants me to help you. I mean, pure in heart could be, like, what a man thinks when he looks at another woman, what a woman thinks when she looks at another man. How we think about the blessings that our friends get when we're not perhaps getting those blessings.
And I'll tell you the truth. I think a lot of people don't ever really think about what they're thinking about. And to me that was a great revelation in my life that I needed to actually think about what I've been thinking about because I can almost always locate the source of any unhappiness that I have if I do that. "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"!
Now that doesn't mean that they're gonna have this open vision of God but I believe it means that we'll have more discernment, that we will hear from God more clearly, that we will experience his presence on a regular basis and know that we know that we know that he's walking with us. I want a close relationship with God. I don't wanna just go through a bunch of religious exercises and, you know, say that I believe something that I never experience in my life. I want this kind of relationship with God.
So "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God"! And I love this one. I could do a four-part series on this. "Blessed are the makers and the maintainers of peace, for they shall be called the sons of God"! Wow. Why would the makers and maintainers of peace be called the sons of God? Because I think there's a difference in children and sons, or children and daughters. So I believe that he didn't say, "They'll be called the children of God".
We're all children of God but I don't think everybody matures to the status of a son or a daughter. And I believe that if we can be makers and maintainers of peace, if we can swallow our pride, so to speak, enough to say, "I'm sorry," when we don't even really think that we were wrong or to be the first one to apologize or whatever it might take to maintain peace. And here again, that doesn't mean you let people walk all over you and that you don't, you know, stand up against anything in your life but it does mean that you're gonna go for peace. And I've done lots of teaching on peace and written a book on peace so if you like peace in your life, we'll have a lot of information for you.
Then there's two verses that say, in essence, the same thing. So I guess if he's gonna say the same thing twice, we ought to really perk up and listen. And it is "Blessed are those who are persecuted". I didn't even hear a groan. You guys are good. "Blessed are those who are persecuted for doing the right thing". Ouch! Now, how many of us have stories about that? We've tried to do what we thought was right and it just seemed like, you know, nothing worked out? Well, Jesus says that when that happens, we're blessed because they persecuted him, they persecuted the prophets. The Bible says, "If the world hated me, they're gonna hate you".
Why is it that we think, because we're Christians, that everybody should just be nice to us? That's part of the testing that we go through and I can pretty much guarantee you that any time that you're on the verge of really growing in some area in God, you will get tested, one of the ways you may get tested is through being persecuted. And a lot of times, even when people decide to serve God very seriously, they will be rejected by family or close friends who call them a religious nut now and don't want to have anything to do with them anymore. And that's a terrible pain. When you're just trying to do what you believe is right before God and people reject you and hurt you, it's tough. But he says, "You're blessed when that happens".
And so we're coming down to the end of our time for today. Then he goes right into verse 13 through 16, "You're the salt of the earth, but if salt has no flavor, how can its saltiness be restored? It's good for nothing and to be thrown out". You know what I think? I think we're the flavor of society and I think if we get out in the world and act the way we should, that we can add a little bit of flavor everywhere that we go. I don't know if you've noticed or not, but life without God is pretty bland. Very boring.
So get out and give some flavor everywhere that you go. You're the light of the world. Don't hide your light. Don't put it under a bushel". And then lastly, verse 16, "Yet let your light so shine before men that they may see your moral excellence, your praiseworthy, noble, and good deeds, and recognize and honor and praise and glorify," who? Not you but your father who's in heaven. So every day when we go out, we are a representative for God. And we need to represent him well.