Blessed Are You

Preparing to teach the Beatitudes, I am trying to live my way into their truth by carrying them around on 3×5 cards and struggling to understand a Kingdom in which you are pronounced “happy” :

  • If you know that you are spiritually bankrupt.
  • If your poverty of soul makes you sad.
  • If you realize that you are not the center of the universe.

This image of need and hungering stops me in my tracks and re-orients my values.  John MacArthur puts it this way:  “Jesus went into the great display window of life and changed all the price tags.”  Could it be that the positions of influence and symbols of power that we covet are not all that valuable after all?

Reading, I see that although The Twelve squandered precious moments of their last days with Jesus squabbling over who should get the corner office, Jesus demonstrated no interest in the trappings of power.

A God who valued power over all else would not choose to identify Himself with a tiny nation of tent-dwellers.

He would not take on the space-and-time limitations of a body and then show up in the midst of an era of oppression, taxation, and poverty.

He would not “see the crowds,” then “sit down and open his mouth,” with the kind of power-bashing, establishment-alienating statements that we read in His Sermon on the Mount. In fact, just reading the Beatitudes can be hazardous, because I’m looking at the Christians I know — and, most of all, I’m looking in the mirror — and I’m realizing that most of us love power and everything that goes with it more than we love dealing with our sin or hungering for more of God.  The economy of my own heart leans toward a set of pronouncements that have nothing to do with Christ’s kingdom.

Maybe that’s true for you as well. . .


I’m happy and humbled to announce that this is my first post as a regular contributor at Faith ‘n Friends.  I hope that you’ll come on over to read the rest of my words about Jesus’ upside-down kingdom.

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24 thoughts on “Blessed Are You”

  1. i loved your title michele…the kingdom of happy. somehow, with those 3 bulleted areas as part of our lives, happy doesn’t look like we might think, does it? an upside-down kingdom? for sure!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I love the upsidedown kingdom :). It’s all about releasing our hold on the illusion of power and remembering that we are all equal–I am no better than anyone else–even if I have a great leadership position. It’s a lesson those in power often forget :(.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. I often remind my children of this as they argue over who is going to go first, or who is going to chose the next activity. I need this reminder as much as they do. Our purpose is not to make a name for ourselves but to praise and glorify Jesus.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Yeah, 3X5’s aren’t very high tech, but they work for me. There’s the discipline of writing them out, and then I don’t worry if I lose them out of my pocket (or wash them). But usually neither happens, and I actually end up learning something!


  4. This line just jumped off the page at me: “The Twelve squandered precious moments of their last days with Jesus squabbling ” How many times have we done this, too. squandered precious moments squabbling over the little things, the earthly things, the things that aren’t God’s priority – when instead we could have had our eyes on the things that matter. I’ll be thinking about this one all day.


  5. Michele, Thank you for sharing such an edifying post. I found myself re-reading the quote you shared several times. “Living in the Kingdom of Happy”. I am a member of that Kingdom, but sadly, too often in my thoughts, I am allowing myself to live in the Kingdom of Unhappy – complaining and focusing on the negative.

    Thank you for reminding us of the beautiful attributes of our Lord and Savior, attributes we should exemplify.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you, Karen, for reading and for sharing your thoughts here. Yes, I’m afraid that my citizenship is not always obvious either. Thanks be to God for His mercy and for the fact that we are both a work in progress.


  6. The Beatitudes is one of the most powerful sermons, yet it is difficult for me to read. Because I fall so very short! Yet the words are magnetic and draw me in. One year we recited them over and over. With thanksgiving close by, perhaps I’ll spend more time in Matthew 🙂 Thank you, Michele!

    Liked by 1 person

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