When you look at some families the first word that comes to your minds is “blessed”. They seem to have so many good things going on.
But when you look at so many other families today, rather than say, “Man, they’re really blessed,” more often, we say, “Wow, they’re really struggling.” Their marriage is not what it could be. Raising the kids is more difficult than they thought. Financially, they are living paycheck-to-paycheck.
The teaching of Jesus in Matthew 5 tells us how to be blessed. We know these blessings as the beatitudes, but we can apply them to our family.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
This very first beatitude talks about being humble which is the first attitude we must have to be blessed in our family. Humility is the foundation of all blessings and happiness.
Pride is a family killer. It is like cancer and eats up the very possibility of love, contentment, even common sense. Pride sees that the problem is everyone else. Families don’t die a natural death. They are murdered by attitude, behavior, ego and pride. The deception of pride is that it is easy to spot in others, but near impossible in ourselves.
Let me explain the key words in the first beatitude:
“Blessed”– The Greek word indicates a ‘god-like joy’. It’s the root word for “bliss” – “perfect happiness”. It is more than happiness, although it includes happiness. Happiness is based on happenings/circumstances. But blessings are based on God’s goodness, in spite of circumstances.
“Poor in Spirit”– This isn’t a special blessing on poverty, or lack of enthusiasm, or being shy. It is the opposite of being rich in pride. It is being truly humble. The Greek word means to be so poor that you have to beg. It is to admit that spiritually we have nothing to make ourselves acceptable to God. It is to beg God for spiritual help.
“Kingdom of Heaven”– When a person admits they are absolutely poor in spirit, God will bless them with the Kingdom of Heaven. This is not just a future home in Heaven, but a present reality. When a person humbly admits His spiritual poverty, and trusts Jesus as Savior, God blesses that person with citizenship in Heaven now.
This is the first and foundational blessing. All other blessings result from this attitude and action. It is first humble before God and then humble to others.
What does it mean to be humble?
“Humility is that grace that, when you know you have it, you have lost it.” – Andrew Murray
1 – Humility focuses on others first.
“Do nothing out of selfish ambition or vain conceit. Rather, in humility value others above yourselves,” (Philippians 2:3)
Humility is not thinking less of your self, it is thinking of yourself less. When you are humble, you don’t need to act like a big shot. Humility is to be like Jesus – not to be served, but to serve. Jesus was a servant even to the point of death.
2 – Humility handles unfair treatment peacefully.
“Get rid of all bitterness, rage and anger, brawling and slander, along with every form of malice. Be kind and compassionate to one another, forgiving each other, just as in Christ God forgave you.” (Ephesians 4:31-32)
What happens when family members mistreat one another? How does a humble person react? Humility seeks forgiveness and reconciliation. Humility can respond to unfair treatment without becoming bitter or feel a need for revenge because God has forgiven us. When you are humble, you can respond to and learn from criticism without becoming defensive.
3 – Humility depends on God’s grace (James 4:6)
“But he gives us more grace. That is why Scripture says: God opposes the proud but shows favor to the humble.” (James 4:6)
Being humble is difficult. How can a person be humble? We must depend on God’s grace.When we humble ourselves, God will give more grace. Humility is the magnet that attracts God’s grace. In a nutshell, humility is submitting ourselves to the will of God and obeying Him. It is believing what God says and doing what He asks.
Pride is a terrible attitude. The Lord resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Even though the world may not tolerate nor applause the humble, the Lord does. And it is the first step toward a home and life that is blessed.
Humility takes constant work and great courage. Our sinful, selfish nature will rise up and produce pride, ego and an entitlement attitude that shows itself in greed, anger, and resentment. But it is the humble who please God.
“The difference between a good leader and a great leader is humility” – Jim Collins (Good to Great). The difference between a good family and a blessed family is humility.