October 11, 2019

"Blessed" by Whose Standard?

Matthew 5:1–20

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The Sermon on the Mount

Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him.

The Beatitudes

And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

“Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted.

“Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth.

“Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied.

“Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy.

“Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God.

“Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons1 of God.

10 “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness' sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. 12 Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you.

Salt and Light

13 “You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people's feet.

14 “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. 15 Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. 16 In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that2 they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.

Christ Came to Fulfill the Law

17 “Do not think that I have come to abolish the Law or the Prophets; I have not come to abolish them but to fulfill them. 18 For truly, I say to you, until heaven and earth pass away, not an iota, not a dot, will pass from the Law until all is accomplished. 19 Therefore whoever relaxes one of the least of these commandments and teaches others to do the same will be called least in the kingdom of heaven, but whoever does them and teaches them will be called great in the kingdom of heaven. 20 For I tell you, unless your righteousness exceeds that of the scribes and Pharisees, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven.

Footnotes

[1] 5:9 Greek huioi; see Preface
[2] 5:16 Or house. 16Let your light so shine before others that

"Blessed" by Whose Standard?



Key Verse | Matthew 5:3

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

Bio | Jacy Witt

Hey, ya'll, this is Jacy Witt. I am a born-and-raised Dallas girl who took a quick stint away to attend Texas A&M University in good ol' College Station, Texas.

As we begin to shift into my favorite season, fall, it means cool, crisp mornings are upon us; the State Fair of Texas is up and running; Pumpkin Spice Lattes are in hand; and football-filled weekends are here to enjoy. I am blessed with the opportunity to listen to amazing stories of grace and sanctification of women joining our Watermark family alongside other wonderful Believe Team members.

Central Truth

As believers and children of God, we are blessed beyond comparison. Recognizing that is key to contentment and peace.

Devotional | Matthew 5:1–20

After giving my life to Christ at a young age, I had this unrealistic expectation that life would be simple and just go as I had planned. Such expectations are things that I believe we all tend to center our lives...

After giving my life to Christ at a young age, I had this unrealistic expectation that life would be simple and just go as I had planned. Such expectations are things that I believe we all tend to center our lives around. We expect to get this job, live in this neighborhood, and have these impressive aspects of our life to show off; however, as I continued to grow up, life got hard; and it did not always go according to plan. I would sit there and ask God, "Why? Why me? This was never my plan." It is during these low moments that we often begin to feel entitled and develop a warped perspective of life. We feel as if life should go our way—as if we should get to live a "blessed" life.

But as I reflect, I ask myself, "'Blessed' by whose standard?" As we dig deeper into Jesus' words in Matthew 5:3-10, we see how Jesus redefines the blessed life and shows us that life is not always linear. There are highs and lows, monotony and excitement, tragedy and good fortune. But if we surrender the naive thought that the circumstances around us determine our happiness, we then understand that in want and in plenty, in joy and in sorrow, we are still richly blessed.

Jesus does not tell us, "Blessed are those who have it all figured out," or "Blessed are those who have a steady income and impressive job." Rather, He tells us, "Blessed are the poor in spirit" (Matthew 5:3a). It is when we see we are spiritually bankrupt before an all-perfect God that we can accurately position ourselves as someone in need of help. When we realize our dependence on God, He will lift us up with the promise "for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3b). This is the type of gain where true riches and blessings are found. As we sit with this promise today, we can open our hands to a life led by God knowing that our real treasure is yet to come.

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Discussion Questions

1. What expectations in life are you holding on to so tightly that you will not let the Lord take control and steer you toward the path of His blessings?

2. Of all the beatitudes in Matthew 5:3-11, in which do you feel you have the most growth opportunity?

3. In John 16:33 Jesus says, "I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world." How do you feel this verse can change your perspective on the way you live your life?

11 Comments available

Sarah penny 2 days ago

Wow. Amazing Jacy. Thank you for speaking the truth we all need to hear and encouraging us in our faith through your Devo. So well written.

What a great reminder: “ It is when we see we are spiritually bankrupt before an all-perfect God that we can accurately position ourselves as someone in need of help. When we realize our dependence on God, He will lift us up with the promise “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3b).”

Sarah penny 2 days ago

Wow. Amazing Jacy. Thank you for those words and encouragement in faith. I love your take on Matthew 5:1–20. What a great reminder: “when we see we are spiritually bankrupt before an all-perfect God that we can accurately position ourselves as someone in need of help. When we realize our dependence on God, He will lift us up with the promise “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3b).”

Aimee Goodell 5 days ago

Incredibly written Jacy —Thanks for reminding us that we are blessed not to impress others, but so so we can bless others with the good news of who Jesus is!

Michael Scaman 5 days ago

The characteristics of the kingdom are about believers and fruit in their lives. Being blessed is contrary to what one might expect. The meek inheriting the earth appears in both Psalm 25 and Psalm 37.

The same characteristics also apply to Jesus. Jesus became poor, most often in the Psalms ‘the poor man’ represents Jesus. He mourned, he was meek. He was persecuted and hated without a cause’ God describes Himself as merciful and long suffering.

Michael Scaman 5 days ago

Q1 What am I holding on to so tightly? I like Shane and Shane’s lyrics on that “you who make the mountains melt come wrestle us and win”

God has ways of weaning us away from worldly things.

time for a song Ps 46 https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y2y1E7_Rqmo

greg jones 5 days ago

When Jesus recruits his disciples from the northern part of Palestine and tells them he will make them fishers of men, they would be familiar with Amos4:2.

Amos4:1 Blessed are the poor and needy

Amos 4:2 Blessed are those who mourn.

Amos 4:3 Blessed are the meek.

Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness. Amos 4:4-5.

Blessed are the merciful, pure in heart, peacemakers, and persecuted. Amos 4:6-10

Blessed are you when insulted, persecuted, and falsely accused of evil because of this teaching. Rejoice they treated the prophets the same way.

Stephen would have agreed. When quoting scripture to a certain group of accusers he quotes Amos in Acts7:43. Here Stephen changes Amos’s destination from beyond Damascus to beyond Babylon. Two different exiles, two different groups of people. Amos5:25-27

“When we realize we are spiritually bankrupt we realize we need help.” Great summary, I totally agree.

Aimee Goodell 5 days ago

Thanks for sharing this Jacy! It’s s great reminder that we are blessed not to impress, but blessed to bless others with the good news we have knowing Jesus.

Jay Caruso 5 days ago

Thank you jacy. Great devo and realization that our God is the prince of peace and understanding Q#2 I think I have to work on all of these on a daily basis with prayer obedience to my/our Heavenly Father

Lindsey Driscoll 8 days ago

Great devo Jacy that speaks to acknowledging God over our circumstances. As I sit in Gods word eagerly awaiting the arrival of our son, I am reminded of the character of Christ, that we are called to in verses 3-12. Q2- Today I see that having a hunger and thirst for righteousness is hard when I set my timeline for my Will (baby’s delivery) over Gods. “Those that hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they will be filled. Verse 5:6 states. How filled we will be when we hunger and thirst for the Lord over our own way.

Sue Bohlin 8 days ago

Super devo, Jacy! The beatitudes are at such odds with our unrealistic expectations of how life should go. Recently I heard someone point out that Proverbs 3:6 says, “In all your ways acknowledge Him, and He will make your paths straight.” It doesn’t say “level.” There are going to be ups and downs as we navigate life in a broken, fallen world. Jesus’ description of the blessed person is so incredibly different from, as you eloquently said in your devo, what’s in our mind’s eye as “hashtag blessed.”

My prayer today is, “Lord, please show me where I’m being unrealistic about my expectations of You and of life. Strip away the wrong thinking and let me see things clearly, through the lens of biblical understanding.”

Hugh Stephenson 8 days ago

GM Jacy. What a bullseye devo!! I love the idea of defining what a blessed life is and that it is non-linear. Well said.

Love S.O.T.M. ! https://www.gotquestions.org/sermon-on-the-mount.html

I ask myself, “What/where is the kingdom of Heaven?”. Partial answer, it is where I have peace, (Philippians 4:5-7), I trust Him fully, (Proverbs 3:5-6), and I KNOW who Jesus is, (Matthew 16:15). GQ edifies- https://www.gotquestions.org/kingdom-of-God.html.

More from GQ, “More narrowly, the kingdom of God is a spiritual rule over the hearts and lives of those who willingly submit to God’s authority”.

BOOM!

Submission is freedom? Surrender is victory?

Could there be a more counter cultural message?

I have come to understand that Satan’s pursuit of me is relentless, (1 Peter 5:8). Fighting him on my own is the definition of futility. I love the expression “Fighting Hell with a garden hose”. Guess who wins?

Praying today for repeated and constant surrender.

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