Matthew 5:1-12 is the Scripture today. So let me ask you....Do you have an attitude problem? Who doesn’t at certain times or on certain days?! Something perturbs you and it begins to show in your attitude. Here is a true story about a man who said that one particular event cured him of being obnoxious in a restaurant. He had ordered a steak well done. But when they brought it to him, he cut into it and it was rare. The blood was running out of it. He waved at the waitress and said, “Come here, come here.” She came and he said, “This steak is too rare.” So she took it to be cooked some more. When she brought it back he cut into it again, but they had overcooked it. Again he waved for the waitress, “Come here. Look, it’s almost burnt to a crisp.” So she took the steak, went to the kitchen and got him another one. He started cutting it and then waving once again for the waitress, he complained, “It’s too tough. I can’t eat it. Take it back.” So she took it back and brought him yet another one. With the waitress standing there, he cut into that steak and it was just right this time. Then he cut into his baked potato and it had a black spot in it. Turning to the waitress, he said, “Look at this potato. It’s a bad potato!” Well, the waitress, who evidently had just about had it at this point, picked up the potato and said, “Bad potato, bad, bad, bad!” (spanking it as she did). Then she put the potato back down on his plate and said, “If you have any more trouble with that potato, just let me know.” And she walked off. He said that was the last time he ever complained in a restaurant. Chronic complainers have an attitude problem. They say that the greatest, most impacting sermons are those that are not preached, but are lived. No one lived a better sermon than Jesus. At the outset of his sermon on the mount, Jesus lays out the steps that lead to blessing.
Step one: Realizing your spiritual condition. He tells us…..
"Blessed are the poor in spirit."
Many people may think they are rich spiritually, for all the wrong reasons.
I go to church every Sunday
I have pins for perfect Sunday School attendance
I give lots of money in the offering plate
I am a good person
But it is only when we realize that we are poor spiritually that we will take a step toward fulfillment.
We have got to realize that without God, we have nothing spiritually. When we realize that we need God, and we totally give our lives over to him the reward is clear.
"For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
Heaven goes to those who realize they need God and give their whole selves to him.
Step two: Seeing our sin as God sees it.
"Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted."
When we see our sin as God sees it, we will mourn just as God mourns over our broken lives. Satan loves telling us: Your sin doesn’t affect anyone else. Your sin is just a little sin. Your sin doesn’t matter in the great scheme of things….but he is so wrong and it does.
Sin breaks God’s heart and ruins our relationship with God. That is why Jesus had to come. When we mourn over our sin, we will repent of it. When we repent of it and ask God to forgive us, he will.
In Acts 2: 38 we find that when we are baptized into Christ our sins our washed away and forgiven.
Once our sins are taken away, we are comforted with the peace and grace of God. How good does that sound? It sounds wonderful to me.
Step three: Getting your life under control.
Meekness does not mean weakness. It literally means power under control.
When you bring your life to Christ, and give Him total control over your life you step toward meekness.
When you look to Jesus as the authority, rather than relying on your own power you develop a meek attitude.
Jesus demonstrated meekness or power under control many times. When He was in the garden…he could have simply walked away right then. When he was on the cross, he had the power to call on legions of angels. He could have saved himself in an instant. But he chose not to.
You and I will be amazed at the blessing from God we receive when we choose meekness over self-centeredness. The road to joy and blessing is not through obtaining power, fame, fortune, but through seeking to live a meek life that always seeks to please Jesus Christ.
Step four: Always have an appetite for the good things of God.
Several years when I was a volunteer youth minister at a rural Baptist church, I held an event for our youth known as the “30 Hour Famine.” The kids and I went for thirty hours without food. We only drank juice. Each young person had adults sponsoring them and the money went to needy children in third world countries. Let me tell you that by about the twentieth hour, I was so hungry and thirsty for something other than juice I could have eaten my shoes. It was the first time in my life that I can say I was truly “hungry and thirsty.”
Jesus says that a step toward blessing is to always be hungry and thirsty for the good things of God, for God’s righteousness. Instead of focusing on the things of this world we need to have a great appetite for God. An appetite that makes us want to:
Worship him more than just once a week.
Read his word on a daily basis.
Spend time in intimate prayer.
Serve one another in love.
The resulting blessing will be that we will be filled. We will be filled in a way that nothing in this world can accomplish.
Step five: Show mercy to others.
This is a very simple principle. The way we treat others will determine how we are treated.
When we are merciful with others, the Lord will show us mercy.
When we forgive others, the Lord will forgive us.
When we extend grace to others, God’s grace is extended to us.
When we are cold and harsh and judgmental with others, then the Lord will certainly not bless us.
Step six: Keep your life pure.
Years ago my computer started acting up. I found out that my security filter was not turned on. I had a virus. It really messed up my computer. I thought I didn’t need security software since I only visited sites that were “wholesome and safe.” I was wrong, I still managed to get a virus on my computer. Our spiritual lives are the same way. We need a “spiritual filter” in our lives to keep out the bad things of this world. We must do all we can to keep our lives pure for God.
If you read Galatians 5 you will find the deeds of the flesh. Things that will keep us from God if we choose to live in them. We will never see God if we live by the flesh.
Step seven: Be a peacemaker for the Lord.
God calls us to bring others to Christ so that they can have peace with God. We are to build a bridge of friendship between our hearts and the hearts of others so that Jesus Christ can walk across that bridge. We are to carry the message of peace to the world. When we do that, then we are truly living like a child of God.
Step eight: Stand, no matter what the cost.
When we are persecuted because we are living for Christ, we take great strides toward blessing. We get even closer to Christ’s kingdom.
Many around the globe are dying for the cause of Christ every day.
Maybe we don’t face death, but how about ridicule?
Maybe we don’t face death, but how about peer pressure?
Maybe we don’t face death, but how about discrimination for being a Christian.
As you take steps in life as a Christian today, are you stepping toward blessing?