Jesus taught us the attributes that He values most in Mathew 5 in what is commonly known as the Beatitudes. These are the same attributes we as Christians should value today. This word “Blessed” means to be happy, fortunate, well off, or supremely blessed. He is telling us that we will be happy if we embrace these attributes, characteristics, or virtues. On the other hand, the world, the flesh, and the devil promise happiness in the exact opposite mindsets.

  • Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

  • Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

  • Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

  • Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

  • Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

  • Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

  • Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

  • Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you. Matthew 5:3-12

A fairly accurate assessment of the condition of humanity would be to take the Beatitudes and turn them wrong side out or upside down and declare, “Here is the human race." We find the exact opposite virtues of the Beatitudes as the very qualities humans possess. It’s like the devil came and switched the price tags on everything.

As a retailer of discount merchandise for most of my life, I understand how important it is to price everything at just the right price. If we put merchandise on the shelf and it blows off the shelves immediately, we know that we have priced it too cheap and could have made a bit more profit on the item. Likewise, if we put merchandise on the shelves at a high price that doesn’t sell in one week, we know we have either merchandised and presented it wrong, or have priced it too high. You must get the prices right to be successful. If a customer came into our store and started switching price tags and pricing the expensive stuff cheap and the cheap stuff expensive, it would cause chaos in our store. Yet, that is exactly what the devil has done to mankind. He has switched the price tags, and through deception he makes us think worthless things are priceless and priceless things are worthless. Let’s look at the Beatitudes and think of their real value while contrasting them with the world's value system.

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Jesus tells us to be poor in spirit, bankrupt without Him. We should realize that we have no value at all apart from Jesus Christ. We should be like beggars, absolutely dependent upon Him for everything. Yet, we find pride, arrogance, and independence infused in every human’s soul. Even in Christians, we find a measure of pride. This self-righteousness, self-confidence, self-sufficiency is the ruin of many believers. The devil influences us to say, “I think I can." We are like the baby that is learning to walk, letting go of the parent’s hand and saying, “I can do it by myself.” We say we love Jesus and are dependent upon Him, but we value a self-sufficiency that thinks that we can do this independently of others or even God. We need to rid our hearts of every idol, of everything that gives us a false value in our eyes or the eyes of men.

The way to a deeper knowledge of God is through the lonely valleys of soul poverty and abnegation of all things. The blessed ones who possess the Kingdom are they who have repudiated every external thing and have rooted from their hearts all sense of possessing. These are the poor in spirit. They have broken the yoke of the enemy not by fighting but by surrendering. A.W. Tozer

Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

We think of mourning as something completely negative and self-comfort as a highly-valued right as Americans. Many people place a comfortable lifestyle as one of their most valued possessions, working a second or third job to insure comfort for themselves and their families. Men have become seekers of pleasure and comfort more than seekers of God. Jesus is placing great value on the mourners or those who are suffering from a broken heart. Jesus Himself was made broken bread and poured out wine. He understood that true communion with God requires us to be broken and given away. Our entire Christian experience is God breaking our wills, independence, and unyielding hearts so we can experience true communion with Him. When we are broken, God can flow into us, and then His love can flow out of and through us into the broken people of the world who so desperately need to feel and experience God’s love and grace. God allows us to be broken so we can experience true communion with God and others.

Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

We treat the virtue of meekness as if it is a deadly virus from which we should inoculate ourselves. In the world, arrogance and pretense rule the human hearts. It is more important what men think of us than what God thinks of us, even when Jesus Himself said, “For that which is highly esteemed among men is abomination in the sight of God.” (Luke 16:15). This pretentious attitude causes us to defend ourselves at the slightest offense. Self-love causes us to protect and guard our hearts from any defamation. Our being right is more important to us than unity in our relationships with each other. The truly meek person has stopped caring about what others think of him or whether they are valuing him properly. He is content and at rest in His relationship with God, so if enemies put him down, he continues to love and to forgive. The struggle to defend himself is over. He is content to stay in the low place, to humble himself time after time, as he enjoys sweet communion with God, through Jesus Christ. Tozer describes the mindset of a person with the virtue of meekness.

He knows that the world will never see him as God sees him, and he has stopped caring. He rests content to allow God to place His own values. He will wait patiently for the day when everything gets its own price tag and real worth will come into its own. A.W. Tozer

Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

There is an alarming, somewhat nauseating lack of hunger and thirst for God among modern day Christians. Many people seem content with salvation only and hold a doctrine which I held for 25 years: once saved, always saved. Therefore, they seek no intimacy with God. Most Christians think like the church of Laodicea in their lukewarm condition, saying, “I am rich, and increased with goods, and have need of nothing." Augustine wrote: Thou hast formed us for Thyself, and our hearts are restless till they find rest in Thee. He knew the only way for a believer to be satisfied and happy is to find intimacy, communion, or a deeper relationship with God. To have found God and still pursue Him is the soul's paradox of love. The Apostle Paul’s desire to know Christ, to win Christ was the goal and aim of his heart. (Philippians 3.) David’s life was a torrent of spiritual desire.

As the hart panteth after the water brooks, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul thirsteth for God, for the living God: when shall I come and appear before God? Psalm 42:1,2

Moses had a relationship with God. Yet, he cried out, “Show me thy glory.” God liked and enjoyed this, because He wants a relationship with us more than we want one with Him. God waits to be wanted.

A continuous interchange of love and thought between God and the soul of the redeemed man is the throbbing heart of the New Covenant. It is known to us in a conscious personal awarenessGod waits to be wanted and acute desire must be present or there will be no manifestation of His presence. A. W. Tozer

Yes, God hides in thick darkness and reveals Himself to babes to keep the proud, arrogant, and pretentious away. However, for the sincere, seeking man, God is waiting to reveal Himself. The veil has been rent and the manifested presence of God is here for our souls to enjoy and experience. Levi did not get a share of the Promised Land when it was divided amongst the tribes, but God told him, “I am thy part and thy inheritance,” which made Levi richer than his brothers. For the man who has God as his treasure has everything. The world sees no value in communion or intimacy with God, even though this is the only thing that is valuable, for it is priceless. The seekers in two of Jesus’ parables understood that God’s eternal, invisible kingdom is priceless and the world’s temporal kingdoms are worthless.

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto treasure hid in a field; the which when a man hath found, he hideth, and for joy thereof goeth and selleth all that he hath, and buyeth that field. Matthew 13:44

Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a merchant man, seeking goodly pearls: Who, when he had found one pearl of great price, went and sold all that he had, and bought it. Matthew 13:45,46

When you properly value God and His Kingdom, then you can begin to experience true happiness. A relationship with Jesus Christ, the Living Word of God, is more valuable than all the gold of this world.

The law of the LORD is perfect, converting the soul: the testimony of the LORD is sure, making wise the simple. The statutes of the LORD are right, rejoicing the heart: the commandment of the LORD is pure, enlightening the eyes. The fear of the LORD is clean, enduring for ever: the judgments of the LORD are true and righteous altogether. More to be desired are they than gold, yea, than much fine gold: sweeter also than honey and the honeycomb. Psalm 19:7-10

This awareness of the switched price tags is the first step toward true communion with God. The man who saw that the pearl of great price was more valuable than everything he possessed quickly sold everything he had to possess the one pearl. You must let go of the cheap imitations to possess the real thing. Better yet, you must let go of the devil's lies to possess the truth.

In operating and growing the discount retail stores chain for 32 years, I had a motto that our company held to the entire time: One man’s trash is another man’s treasure. Understanding this concept encouraged us to buy things in which other people didn’t see much value. We bought them very cheap; then we would merchandise them properly and sell them at cheaper prices than any other competitor. The only thing that made this possible was our understanding that just because one man does not highly value something, doesn’t mean his estimation of the products worth or value is correct. When a tornado hit a Walmart, the merchandise would get wet, dirty, and disheveled. The insurance adjuster for Walmart only saw a mess, and wanted to rid himself of the wet inventory. We saw an opportunity, a treasure hidden. So, we bought it cheap, shipped it home, dried it, wiped it off, and sold it for 40% less than Walmart's prices. Our customers loved the discount. Walmart loved the service and our bankers loved the profits. All this because we could see value in something that most people couldn’t see.

The devil has switched the price tags. What is most valuable is a hunger and thirst after God Himself. To seek His manifested presence is the greatest thing to search after in our lifetime. To spend your life seeking intimacy with a creature is of low value compared to seeking intimacy with your Creator and Redeemer, Jesus Christ.

Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

Instead of mercy, the world is cruel, mean, and judgmental. We all want a long rope of mercy when we have messed up, but when others offend us, we usually offer a very short rope of mercy. We should cut people some slack and have a little mercy on others when they fail. God is merciful to us beyond our ability to understand. If only we would look for every opportunity to show mercy and have compassion on people, our entire lives would change for the better.

Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

Instead of pure hearts, we find corrupt imaginations. The pornography industry is now a multibillion dollar industry. We are dangerously approaching the level of wickedness that was on the earth in the days of Noah. Everywhere we look, we can find the impressions left by the devil as the earth’s population grows more wicked by the day. We should highly value a pure heart and do everything possible to acquire and possess one. We should guard our heart as well as our eyes and ears, which send impressions into our hearts. Thinking on Jesus while allowing our souls to gaze upon Him is the only remedy for an unclean heart.

The man who has struggled to purify himself and has had nothing but repeated failures will experience real relief when he stops tinkering with his soul and looks away to the perfect One. While he looks at Jesus the very things he has so long been trying to do will be getting done within him. It will be God working in him to will and to do. A.W. Tozer

Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.

Even in the church, it is hard to find peacemakers. People are quarrelsome, resentful, unyielding, unforgiving, hell-bent on having their way no matter who they offend. God values unity, especially in the church, whereas man values being right, being in control, and having his own way, which only produces disunity. The very nature of God is peace, and all Christians should work hard at keeping the peace. We should endeavor to work toward unity in every relationship within the church. Again, the devil has switched the price tags.

Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake. Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

These last two are hard to understand and accept because of our resistance to pain, but the Bible is clear that all Godly believers will suffer persecution. "Yea, and all that will live godly in Christ Jesus shall suffer persecution." (II Timothy 3:12). Most of us look at persecution as something to dread, to shrink back from, or try our best to avoid at all cost. On the contrary, Jesus is teaching us here that this is the time to rejoice and be glad. The suffering is not even worthy to be compared to the glory that will come.

And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together. For I reckon that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. Romans 8:17-18

When you are suffering for Christ's sake, you can be assured that you are in the middle of God’s will, walking in the footsteps of Jesus, and right on track. In fact, it is when there is no opposition in your life that you should be concerned. The devil will not oppose somebody who is held captive by him with no desire to change nor leave the imprisonment where he holds them.

In summary, we should ask ourselves if we are valuing what Jesus values or what the world values. Have we allowed the devil to switch the price tags and mess up our value system? Can we put a high price on being poor in spirit to where we begin to seek His poverty for our own soul? Can we put a proper value on mourning so that the next time our heart is breaking, we can experience a greater communion with God? Can meekness become a virtue we pursue instead of continuing in our nasty, haughty pride? Can we be content with the value God places on us instead of trying to impress and prove to the world that we are of great value? Can we develop an acute desire for God so that a continual hunger and thirst is present in our souls? Can we make our number one priority in life to seek God with every fiber of our being? Developing a constant awareness of His presence and enjoying continual communion with our Creator. Dare we seek the virtues of mercy, pure hearts, and peacemaking? Or do we continue to wallow in our confusion, believing the devil's messed up price tags? Can we come to an understanding that it is a blessed thing to be persecuted to where we begin to shout, rejoice, and be glad that we are counted worthy to suffer for Christ's sake?

Forget about the world’s price tags, for they have it all wrong. Learn to see the value in your personal relationship with Jesus and all that it entails, and value the things of this world as the cheap imitations that they really are. Return to the only thing that matters, the only thing of lasting, eternal value, the only thing worth spending your lifetime pursuing: an intimate personal relationship with Jesus Christ. Redeem the time and spend every minute, every hour, pursuing communion and intimacy with God through Jesus Christ, because He is the priceless treasure.

Bill Hudson Jr.

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