Joyce Meyer - Beatitudes - Part 3
Well, welcome to, "Enjoying Everyday Life". And I pray that what you hear today will help you enjoy every day of your life more and more. I'm talking about, "The Beatitudes" or what we call, "The Sermon on the Mount," out of Matthew chapter 5. Today, we're gonna talk about, "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled". Wow, I love what the living Bible says, "Happy are those who long to be just and good, for they shall be completely satisfied".
Wow, think about how much dissatisfaction people have in their lives. What about you, are you dissatisfied with anything, right now? I'll ask myself that a little bit later, after the show is over. But right now, I'm dealing with you, I'm not dealing with me. God deals with me plenty though. How many people right now are dissatisfied with how they look, with your job, with your life in general, your church, the people in your life, your financial status, your car, your home, your neighbors, your parents? The devil will always point out something for us to be unhappy with, because it's not perfectly the way we would like it to be.
But then, if we look at it the way Jesus would want us to look at it, none of us are perfectly the way other people would like us to be either. Oops, we forget that don't we? We only think about what's wrong with everybody else. And God doesn't want us to judge people harshly. Those that give mercy to others will receive mercy themselves. What does it mean to hunger and thirst after righteousness? It means that you are a person, you really, really, really want to do what's right. I love that. I want to do what's right, I wanna do what God wants me to do. I'm hungry to do the right thing, and I believe you are too, or you probably wouldn't be taking your time to watch a program like this.
Now, when it comes to talking about righteousness, there are two kinds of righteousness. There's a righteousness which we work hard to earn. And then there's a righteousness that's given to us as a gift from God. And normally, what people do is they try really hard to do what's right, so they'll be viewed as being right. But it never works, because you can't give away something you don't have. You say, "Huh"? Well, the Bible says that when we believe in Jesus Christ as our Savior, that God gives us his righteousness as a gift. He views us, the Amplified Bible says, as being right even though we're still doing things wrong, God views us as right because of our faith in Jesus. "He that knew no sin became sin that we might be made the righteousness of God in Christ".
Some people prefer the word that righteousness is imputed to us. It's the same thing as saying it's given as a gift. But then what happens if you know in your heart that you've been made right with God and that even when you make mistakes, you still don't lose that right standing with God. Then you will become the kind of person who wants to respond to that great gift that God has given you by doing what's right. I really want the righteousness that God has put in me, to be worked out through me, so I can live a right life, and other people can see Jesus through me. I know that's what you want too. I believe all kinds of good things about you, I believe that you want to do what's right. We have to not let it frustrate us, when we fail. You know why? Because God already knows everything that we're gonna do wrong before we ever do it, and he loves us anyway.
You know, the Bible says that he knows every word in our mouth, that we have not yet even uttered yet. You're no surprise to God, he knew every mistake you would make, and every mistake I would make before he invited us into a relationship with him. You've been made right with God, now work with the Holy Spirit to let that right standing that you have, be worked out through you. But realize it is a process and God changes us little by little, from glory to glory. We will be changing the rest of our life. Doing right means making right choices: saying right things, having right thoughts, having right attitudes, treating people the right way.
And boy, that's a big one because so often especially if people have not treated us right, we have a very hard time treating them right. But Jesus said we are to, "Love our enemies and pray for those who hurt us". See, the Bible says that, "The sun shines on the just and the unjust". You don't have to be doing everything right, for God's sunshine to shine on you. I believe that when you are a person who really wants to do what's right, and a person like that, you'll actually grieve over your sin. When you are convicted of sin or when you do something wrong, it's gonna hurt you because you don't wanna hurt God. But if you know God's character and if you believe what the Word of God says, you also know that when you do make mistakes, that all you need to do is confess it.
Be willing and ready to repent, which means to turn around and go in a new direction, you're not gonna just keep doing that thing over, and over, and over. Immediately you're forgiven. Your sin is removed as far as the east is from the west. God remembers them no more, and there's no condemnation to those who are in Christ Jesus. God doesn't want you wasting your life feeling condemned about every single mistake that you make. "Hunger and thirst after righteousness," refers to an intensity, with which we want that. And I believe that God looks favorably on people who want to do the right thing, even though they may make mistakes, they really want to do what's right. A hungry or thirsty person will do anything to eat or drink.
And if we really want to do the right thing in life, we will seek it with most ardent zeal. You see I believe that today there's way too many compromising Christians. And the world doesn't need to see compromising Christians, they need to see uncompromising Christians. We can't draw a line, and say I'm not gonna go over that line, and then when it gets inconvenient just keep moving the line a little further along. We don't wanna backslide from doing the right thing, just because a lot of other people we know aren't doing the right thing. I'm praying and asking that we all come up higher in making right choices and decisions. Even about things like what we watch on television, what kind of movies we go to, how we dress, what kind of parties you're willing to go to or not willing to go to. We can't be like everybody else, we're in the world but not of it. And the Bible tells us that if we're going to serve God we're gonna have to live a separate life, we're gonna have to come out and be separate.
Now, that doesn't mean you turn your nose up at everybody that's not a Christian. We love people, we wanna be around people that aren't serving God yet, because we want to have the opportunity to share with them. But we can't do the kinds of things that they do. There is a certain amount of sacrifice, if you want to live a right life. Sacrifice in that you may wanna go to this thing or that thing for entertainment, but you know it wouldn't be right for you, it wouldn't be pleasing to God, so you don't go. And I just don't think that today there's enough of that, I think it's gettin' harder and harder to be able to tell who the Christians are. And you can't tell just because they've got a fish bumper sticker on their car or a cross around their neck. "You'll know them by their fruit," Jesus said. We only know who real Christians are by the way they behave.
2 Peter 2:13 tells us the rewards of unrighteousness. "They will be paid back with harm for harm that they have done. Their idea of pleasure is to carouse in broad daylight. They are blots and blemishes, reveling in their pleasures while they feast with you". But yet Matthew 10:41 says, "Whoever welcomes a righteous person just because they are righteous person will receive a righteous person's reward". So, unrighteous people receive harm for harm. But righteous people receive a reward, and that reward is so amazing that even somebody who blesses a righteous person because they're righteous, will receive a righteous man's reward. The rewards of God are absolutely amazing.
Now, Romans 6:20-22 are very interesting. It says, "When you were slaves to sin, you were free from righteousness. But what benefit did you reap at that time for the things which you are now ashamed of? Those things result in death"! So he's asking the Romans to think, "Okay, when you lived in sin you were free from any need to live a right life. Well, what benefit did you have from that kind of life? It's just all misery". I mean, who can really say that a hangover is fun? I mean, you know, who can really say that being full of hatred for somebody is fun? That's not fun, that's not enjoyable, that doesn't bring you joy or peace.
Who wants to live their life being afraid they're gonna get caught doing something, because they were doing something wrong? "But now that you've been set free from sin and have become slaves of God, the benefits you reap from living a right life leads to holiness, and the result is eternal life". So, obviously, holiness is a reward. Think about how good it feels to lay your head down at night, and not in self-righteousness, but to know that by God's grace you made right choices that day, you did the right thing. You know, for example, if all of your friends are going to a party and you know, there's gonna be drugs there and alcohol and just things that you shouldn't be participating in, and you say, "No, I'm not gonna be able to go".
Well, your flesh might hurt a little bit if you sit home on a Friday night by yourself, but boy your spirit's gonna be rejoicing. And when you lay your head down at night, it's not gonna be on a hard pillow of guilt and condemnation. You're better off to let your flesh hurt a little bit and have your spirit rejoice, then to have your flesh rejoicing and your spirit in sorrow. I've lived years with that grieving on the inside of me because I knew I wasn't living the way God wanted me to live. And I don't want anything to do with any of that anymore, I wanna do what's right. Come on, are you hungry to do what's right? Are you hungry to treat people right, to make right choices? Holiness is a wonderful reward.
Now the Bible talks about the narrow gate and the wide gate. That narrow gate represents the narrow path. It basically is saying if you're gonna live on the narrow path that leads to life, remember there's a reward at the end of that path. Then, there are some things you're not gonna be able to do. Why? Because they just wouldn't be right. You know, if you're gonna work out the righteousness that God has put in you, then you're not gonna tell lies. Even if you get in trouble for telling the truth, you're not gonna tell lies. You're not gonna steal. You're not even gonna do things like take office supplies from your office, home to use personally because you're taking something that doesn't belong to you. You're not gonna commit adultery, because you know that the Bible says that it's wrong. There's things that we're gonna have to say, "No," to, if we wanna live the kind of life that God is calling us to live.
Now, remember when you're a born-again Christian, God makes you right with him, but it's in order that you might produce that fruit of righteousness in your life. "Enter through the narrow gate. For wide is the gate and broad is the road that leads to destruction, and many find it". The broad path is easy to live on, you get to do what everybody else in the world gets to do, and just ride around with your bumper sticker on your car, and go to church on Sunday, and just go do what everybody else does. But at the end of it is destruction. "No first-class soldier gets entangled with the world or the world's ways". 2 Timothy 2:3 and 4, "Join me in suffering, like a good soldier of Jesus Christ. No one serving as a soldier gets entangled".
Let me ask you a question, "Have you ever gotten entangled in somebody else's problems"? Wow, you started out trying to help 'em and all of a sudden, you know a whole lot more than you care to know. And now you're all wrapped up in this mess, and you just wish you woulda minded your own business and stay out of it. When you're entangled in something, you're all tied up in it, and you lose your freedom. Well, the Bible's telling us here, not to get entangled with the world. We're in it, but not of it. Let me say again, "You don't get to act like the world". You can live in it, but we're supposed to be here as an example for the people in the world to want Jesus. Not to call us hypocrites because we don't live the life that we say we believe in.
We need to live a separated life. And I think we need to hear this more, that we're not here to be like everybody else. We're not better than everybody else, we don't turn our nose up at everybody else. I love sinners, I love the lost, and I wanna do anything that I can to draw them in and help them. But really, I love the statement that Francis of Assisi made, "Preach at all times and use words only when necessary". Let your life be a sermon. When you go to work, let your life be a sermon. Treat the people good who don't treat you good. Give eight hours work for eight hours pay. Don't sit at the lunch table and gossip about other people in the office with other people. Don't murmur and complain about your job and the circumstances and your boss. Let people see that there's a difference in you.
2 Corinthians 6:17 says, "Therefore, 'come out from them and be separate,' says the Lord. 'touch no unclean thing, and I will receive you'". And Hebrews 12:1 says, "Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses". That's talkin' about people that have lived the right life and have gone on before us, and they're no longer here on the earth. But in the spirit realm they're cheering us on. "Let us throw off", these are kinda violent words, "Let us throw off everything that hinders us and that sin that so easily entangles us. And let us run with perseverance the race that is set before us". Living on that narrow path will only be accomplished by those who hunger and thirst after righteousness.
Let me ask you again, do you really, really, really, really, really want to do what's right? Are you willing to do what's right, even if you're the only person that you know, that's doing it? And if you are, don't get self-righteous and think you're better than everybody else, thank God for giving you grace.
In 2 Timothy 4:10 Paul said, "For Demas, because he loved the world, has deserted me". That's interesting. There were different people that traveled with Paul in his ministry, but this one man called, Demas, he loved the world so much that he left Paul and went back to worldly ways. I doubt that he ended up very happy. Romans 4:22-25 talk about the righteousness that has been imputed to us. "Now it was not written for his sake alone, but it was imputed to him, but also us also to whom it shall be imputed if we believe on him who raised up Jesus from the dead".
So, all those who believe that God raised Jesus from the dead, and you receive him as your Savior, this right standing with God is imputed to you. Because our own righteousness is not acceptable to God for salvation. He likes it when we want to do things right, but there's no amount of our own righteousness that can ever come up to God's standard. That's why we need to put our faith in Jesus Christ. We come to God through him. Isaiah said, "All of our own righteousness is like filthy rags". I need that righteousness of God. I want you to understand what I'm saying today.
If you're a believer you have right standing with God, but if you really love God, you're gonna want to do the right thing. And you're not doin' it now because you have to, or to earn right standing with God, but you're wanting to do the right thing because you love God because of what he's done for you. The Bible teaches us in Hebrews 5 that a person cannot mature spiritually if they don't understand righteousness. You have to understand the doctrine of righteousness and that's what I'm talking about right now. The doctrine of righteousness is that we're made right with God by faith in Jesus Christ. But then the apostle still taught us to live right lives, to do right things. It's so good. Put on the breastplate of righteousness and you'll be able to stand against the enemy who comes after us all the time.
Ephesians 6 is a chapter from verses 10 through like about 18, that talk about spiritual warfare, how to win the war against the devil. And one of the things it says is to, "Put on the breastplate of righteousness". Know that you've been made right with God. Have confidence that you are a child of God, that he loves you, and that you're forgiven for your sins. And then I love what it says in 2 Peter 2, "You're better off to have never known righteousness, than to experience it, and turn back to sin". "It's like a dog returning to its own vomit, or a sow that has been washed, wallowing in the mud again". I wanna encourage you not to compromise. Don't backslide in doing the right thing. When we compromise, we do less than we know that we should do.
Psalm 11:7 says, "For the Lord is [rigidly] righteous," in the Amplified Bible and, "He loves righteous deeds". In Psalm 5:12 says, "For you, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous". Don't make compromises in your life just to keep other people around you happy. Always follow the leadership of the Holy Spirit, and do what you know is right for you. Come on, we need to hear that again. Always do what you know is the right thing, no matter what anybody else thinks or says, you do what you know is right. "For you, Lord, will bless the [uncompromisingly] righteous [him who is upright and in right standing with you]: as with a shield you will surround him with goodwill (with pleasure and favor)". Wow, there's that blessing. "Blessed are those who hunger and thirst after righteousness, for they shall be fully satisfied".
Today, we're offering you four CDs, "Nine Attitudes That Keep You Happy". And it's about these, "Beatitudes" we're talking about, these character traits. Then also the, "Battlefield of the Mind Study Bible", which if you don't have it, I think it'll really be a real blessing to you. It underscores all the scriptures in the Bible about the mind and the power of words. Have good things to read and good things to study. Keep yourself full of the Word of God and be strong in him and in the power of his might. Thank you for being with me today. I love you, and I want you to have a great rest of the day.