Our attitude towards things has a direct affect on what we go through. It is because of our attitude that our reaction toward different situations, people, and thoughts will determine how we react and how we react will in turn cause different outcomes. Making our attitude toward things the root cause of many things that happen in our life then means we have really pay attention to it. Attitude is more than just the way we are feeling at the moment, it really has a lot to say about our character. This is why Jesus begins with the attitude of people who are in His kingdom.
In Columbus, Ohio where I live, there are a lot of people and there is something that makes us similar. We may look different but there is a common bond that makes us Ohioans that is noticeably different than Floridians. Then there is something about being American that is identifiable with other Americans. I believe this is what Jesus is hitting on. Though kingdom citizens may come from a wide range of backgrounds and look nothing alike, there is a common attitude and way that they carry themselves common to those in the faith.
We have taken what Jesus has said and titled them the “Be-attitudes.” Be this attitude and you will be blessed or what I like to call, “blessable attitudes.” Jesus shares what type of root attitude in a person will be blessed. Let’s read them in Matthew 5:1-12
“And seeing the multitudes, he went up into a mountain: and when he was set, his disciples came unto him: 2 And he opened his mouth, and taught them, saying, 3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. 5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. 6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. 7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. 8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. 9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. 11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. 12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.
One of the first things that we notice is that there is certain way Jesus forms the blessings. The pattern he uses is “blessed are…for they shall.” Using this pattern of speech we can tell that there are eight blessings. Another form of blessing is found in verses 11 and 12. The change in length and pattern shows us this is something a little different, perhaps a summary of what has taken place. So, we will focus primarily on the first eight blessings for right now and save the ninth for a later time.
When we further divide the eight blessings found in this passage we see two different groups. The first four seem to denote our position of heart before God while the second set of four shows our position of heart before men. This is an amazing designation of these sets by Jesus. He will later on say, “Think not that I am come to destroy the law, or the prophets: I am not come to destroy, but to fulfil” (5:17), and he does exactly that. There could be a parallel here with Jesus starting His kingdom and the nation of Israel’s start in Exodus with the Ten Commandments. In the ten commandments we have the same vertical and horizontal relationships laws as we find here in the Sermon. In the commandments the first four deal with a person’s relationship to God and the last six deal with the relations between people. Jesus will even point this out (and several other New Testament people) in an exchange with a pharisee in Matthew 22:34-40…
“34 But when the Pharisees had heard that he had put the Sadducees to silence, they were gathered together. 35 Then one of them, which was a lawyer, asked him a question, tempting him, and saying, 36 Master, which is the great commandment in the law? 37 Jesus said unto him, Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. 38 This is the first and great commandment. 39 And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. 40 On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Before we take time to examine each blessable attitude we must first look at the whole attitude in our heart as it relates both to God and man. First, ask yourself, “Can God bless me with the attitude I have toward Him?” Now, ask yourself, “Can God bless me with the attitude I have toward others?” Does my attitude toward God seem fine but it stinks toward the people I work with? This usually seems to be the problem though some could be fine with others but have a problem with how they relate themselves to God. Whichever it may be, if we are to be a wholly blessable person then it important for us to examine how our attitude measures up toward God and others.