The Attractional Lifestyle Of The Kingdom 5
A foundational truth of the Kingdom lifestyle: it is to be a blessed life. Jesus reveals to us that this lifestyle answers the longing of the heart of man: to be blessed, happy and content. In the first nine verses of the Sermon On The Mount, The Beatitudes, Jesus presents a spiritual mindset that is counter to that of natural mankind and the world. The blessed lifestyle of the Kingdom is a product of His nature or character being formed in us. The radicalness of the Kingdom is: this blessed state does not come as the world says it will, but in a changed way of thinking and living.
Blessed Is a Product of Character
Jesus explains the source of this blessed life is a product of a certain kind of character. He tells us blessed people are:
These are antagonistic to our modern mindset. Our world says go get it, do what ever it takes to achieve. It is a dog eat dog world, don’t let anyone walk on you. Society is full of successful people with money, power and influence. Yet many are miserable, lonely, lacking peace and joy. Challenging them to give up what they are told will bring happiness is a foreign idea to them.
So how does this seemingly incorrect view produce happiness or a blessed life? The answer is seeing ourselves from God’s perspective. A realistic view of our state, allows us to see God for who and what He is. Then we will see our need for Him, allowing Him to transform our paradigms and us.
Lets unpack what Jesus is saying about this character that is the foundation for a blessed life.
POOR IN SPIRIT
Blessed are the poor in spirit (Mt 5:3)
The blessed life is based on being realistic.
What is poor in spirit? Being realistic about our situation, recognizing our spiritual inability and inadequacy. Have you ever been in a meeting or event and you knew that you were out of your league? How did that make you feel: inadequate! Realizing my inadequacy is grasping I do not measure up to God nor his expectations. Isaiah realized this when he saw God. His response was woe is me, a man of unclean lips among unclean people! He saw himself for what he was.
The poor in spirit not only recognize their inadequacy, but also their inability. Not only do we not measure up, we do not have the ability to change our current condition. Due to our fallen nature, we are completely devoid of spiritual ability to change our inadequacy.
The world’s mentality is to "pull yourself up by the boot straps!" It is to do more or work harder, make something of yourself, or get more things and we will change our status. Unfortunately, many have shown, it does not produce a blessed life.
Outside of Jesus we are poverty stricken in spirit and will never find spiritual fulfillment outside of Him. I must come to the place that I admit my own spiritual weakness: That I cannot enter the Kingdom of my own abilities or worth. When I come to the realization I am not only unable, but I don’t have it in me, then I realize my relationship to him. I become poor in spirit – not proud, vain, egotistical or self-sufficient.
Jesus said it is this individual that would have the Kingdom! The poor in spirit acknowledge and live out their dependency on the King.
Blessed are they that mourn (Mt 5:4)
Blessed is being repentant. For those who recognize their spiritual poverty, the natural response is lamenting or mourning of their condition. This produces repentance. Repentance comes from deep within the soul when we realize all the Lord has for us and how little we have actualized in our lives. Truly seeing our in ability and inadequacy causes us to fall before God and repent.
It is the repentant person who will find a comfort and nearness of Jesus. The word comforted here means to be summoned up close and encouraged! Those that repent – Lord calls near to him and comforts them!
Blessed are the meek (Mt 5:5)
By now, I am sure you can see the progression of character transformation. The recognition of spiritual poverty and repentance produces an attitude of meekness.
In our society today, meekness seems to be associated with weakness. In a dog eat dog world, you have to be tough. You cannot let your weaknesses be seen. But the kingdom is different.
Meekness in the kingdom is being humble or gentle. Because we realize our inability, we trust and accept the Lord's plan and dealings for our lives. Because we have seen him, we see from a Kingdom vantage and yield to His ways. It actually takes a certain amount of strength to admit how much I need God and to submit to his ways!
It is to the meek, gentle or humble that Jesus promised an inheritance. Could it be that it is because of the character transformation that Jesus feels they can be trusted with resources? Just a thought.
If we summarize these three verses we see some idea of the blessed life based on a character transformation.
If we admit total inability and inadequacy
If we confess this and yield ourselves to God
He will be our comfort, giving us the Kingdom and incomparable riches
The process of character transformation does not end here. Continuing with the next three verses we see that the development of this spiritual character results in a transformation of our ambitions, attitude and actions.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness (Mt 5:6)
Hungering and thirsting describes a type of ambition. A more common question posed may be "How bad do you want it?" It is a question of how much we desire something, implying what will I do to achieve it.
Ambition is normal, without it we are lazy and non-productive. The question: "Is it proper ambition?" The ambition of the world is for pleasure, resulting from our power of control or the accumulation of things. It is placing ourselves in the position of attempting to be like God, determining what is right an wrong for our lives. Lucifer sought this when he tried to exalt himself like God. It was the same lie he told Eve in the garden! Worldly ambition is man's attempt to put himself in the place of God.
Ambition is all right, but we must hunger and thirst for the right things. Kingdom ambition is different: it is based on the knowledge of our spiritual condition and Jesus is the only source of fulfillment. It is a desire and ambition for what He has for us, for this will be the "right" things for us. Things of the world will pass away, but the things of God are eternal.
Blessed are the merciful (Mt 5:7)
This process of character development starts with a recognition of our condition and results in a change of our attitude and actions.
This new spiritual character will result in an attitude of mercyor compassion. The poor in spirit, mournful and meek have a different attitude. Understanding our weakness, allows us to understand and relate to others in their struggles and failures.
Living life from this perspective allows us to have compassion. We can turn the other cheek, give up the coat and cloak or suffer reproach. Because we understand, that is what we are, outside of the grace of God! Understanding my weakness, then I can understand others. In short, I will have a greater concern for others than myself!
Blessed are the pure in heart (Mt 5:8)
Out actions or behaviors are changed as we see the ultimate progression of this character transformation. As we see our spiritual poverty, it causes us to mourn our condition and in meekness submit to God. From this perspective, the focus of my ambitions changes along with my attitude towards God, myself and others. This new mindset is revealed as my actions are propagated from a heart of purity.
Good or bad, our actions are based on the motives and intent of our hearts. I am sure we have all interactions with people that caused us to question their motives. In the world's system, many are encouraged to do for others only if you think you can gain some benefit from it. A simple example is many business-networking events. I have participated in these and most of the interactions are overshadowed by an intense "get some business" attitude. Very few actually seek to establish relationships and get to know one another beyond a source of business.
In the Kingdom lifestyle, our actions should be based on a pure heart. Pure in this context means something that is clean or unmixed. It is the end product when the impurities have been purged away. This is exactly what happens as we progress through this character transformation, becoming more like our King. It is at this place, our actions are based on integrity and sincerity. There is no deception or using of others for our gain: no ulterior motives, because we are operating from a changed spiritual character.
This process of character development is initiated with our new birth and the values of the Kingdom are birthed in our lives. It is a spiritual transformation as we allow His indwelling spirit to teach and guide us. It can be challenging: sometimes it is not a pretty sight when we see ourselves for what we really are (apart from Him.) It requires a continual honesty: it seems, that sometimes just when we think we have arrived, He graciously points out another area! Yet in this, there is still hope being presented. Those that are searching have come, not to expect perfection in demonstration, but a sincere searching and honest evaluation and progression. So, even in our continual attempt to walk out our journey, we demonstrate His transforming grace. It is in this process, we will find the "blessed" life that genuinely reveals the nature of or heavenly Father! This becomes attractive to the hungry around us!
Other Posts In the Attractional Lifestyle Series:
Dr Martin lives in St Louis MO, with his wife Ava and their dog Zoe. His ministry is to assist church leadership in developing membership ministry involvement and growth. The focus is on teaching and empowering the body of Christ to demonstrate the power of His kingdom in tangible daily life. The results: increased faith and the potential for greater revival and harvest. He is available to speak to your local assembly, organization or ministry. For more information, check us out here.
Do you desire to see a greater demonstration of the power of God in your life? Check out our book: Living In Kingdom Authority, Every Believer's Privilege.