Now I want to look in greater detail of what Jesus taught His disciples on the mountain. It is important to refresh ourselves the true meaning of being blessed.  Bless or blessed means “To invoke God’s favour, to be happy, to be holy consecrated”, it is important to understand from these definitions the Bible is referring to a spiritual experience, not a natural or physical one. The starting point is so critical – Jesus took His disciples away from the crowd to talk to them. This highlights a continual challenge we have to slow down and come aside from the business of life so that He can speak to us. The Bible clearly states that the disciples came to Jesus – it is our choice to come and learn from the Lord and I trust that it will be a priority this year. Jesus spoke about 9 situations or attitudes of the heart when we can experience His blessing. Matthew 5:3 says: “Blessed are the poor in spirit (The humble, rating themselves insignificant AMP ), for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”. Jesus addressed the basic core issue of our Christian living first – the importance of self. This is an issue that we all must and can only deal with. 1 Peter 5:5b-6 says: “God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble. Therefore, humble yourself under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time”. Let us look at the meaning of the words humble and proud – humble means modest or bring low, note it does not mean a poor opinion of our selves or we are useless. It means that we honour other people instead of ourselves.  Being proud means being arrogant or have an excessively high opinion of one’s ability. We must be very clear that it is our responsibility to deal with pride, pride is dealt with when we submit to the Lord and bring our ego under control. There is much pleasure when we encourage the people around us. In this verse (Matthew 5:3) it says that the way we experience God’s favour is when we live a life of humility then we experience the authority of being part of the kingdom of God. Philippians 2:5 & 8-9  says: “Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus. And being found in the appearance of a man, He humbled Himself and being obedient to the point of death, even the death of the cross. Therefore, God has highly exalted Him and given Him a name which is above every other name”. It is so important that we follow Christ’s example He humbled Himself. The importance of having the right foundation cannot be overemphasised. Jesus told His disciples that if they were to follow Him then they had to deny themselves. The idea of denying ourselves is so contrary to the spirit of this age, but to experience the blessing that Jesus gives it is the true foundation for building our Christian life. We must never forget although God wants to bless us there is a role for us to play so that we can receive what God has for us. Finally, we must never forget 2 Chronicles 7:14 which tells us that for God to heal our land the starting point is for us to humble ourselves.

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