Blessed are those who mourn. How sick I am of the mess I'm in. I try to do better, to make wise choices, to live my life in the light of eternity. Yet I find myself back in the same old mess from too much self-indulgence. I'm squeezed, crushed by the pressure, feeling discouraged at the state of my affairs. Yet God says that I am blessed when I mourn, for I shall be comforted.
2 Corinthians 7:10 For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.
True repentance is a remorse for having lost God's approval, accompanied by a resolve to reverse one's conduct and live wholly for God, not for the world's approval. Living with your heart turned toward God is the only way to be blessed.
Jesus says we are blessed if we are persecuted "on My account"... because of our faith in Him and our living for Him. We need to be salt (a preservative, a seasoning, an influence) and light (a living, shining testimony) before the world.
The entire chapter of Matthew 5 builds towards a crescendo... You are blessed if you understand that you are poor and naked and blind and needy. You are blessed if your life is so changed by God that you are merciful and pure and a peacemaker. You are blessed if you live your life in such a way as to be noticed and persecuted by godless men. You'll be salt and light when you live this way.
Jesus goes on to say that this new way of living does not negate the high standards the Law lays out in the Old Testament. He didn't come to abolish the law, but to fulfill it, and you'd better pay attention, people. He says, if you don't live more righteously than the Pharisees, you'll never see the kingdom of heaven. (this is my paraphrase of Jesus' words.)
The OT said, don't you murder. I'm saying don't even be angry. The OT said, don't commit adultery. I'm saying, don't even think about lust. Even the thoughts of your heart condemn you.
Jesus went on to set higher standards about divorce (don't do it, except on the rare occasion of repeated adultery), about oaths (don't make an oath at all - let your yes be yes and your no be no), about retaliation (don't do it - be willing to sacrifice and give more and more, rather than retaliating against someone who has hurt you), about enemies (Love them!).
Jesus kept on preaching higher standard, and built his message to this:
You therefore must be perfect, as your heavenly Father is perfect.
I have to be perfect?
Impossible. I sin, and I mourn over it. I hide my light. I fail to be salty. I hold grudges against my enemies. My thoughts are wicked. I fight back when I'm hurt.
And you ask me to be perfect?
Sorry, can't do it. I've tried. If I have learned anything over the years, it's this: I cannot live the Christian life. I fail, miserably, daily, all the time.
God's standard is impossible. Jesus' message to the crowds was, You don't have to live according to the law, you have to live BETTER than that. You have to be perfect.
This is where the gospel comes in. This is why I am truly blessed.
1 Timothy 1:16
But I received mercy for this reason, that in me, as the foremost, Jesus Christ might display his perfect patience as an example to those who were to believe in him for eternal life.
By the mercy of God, Jesus' perfect life is imputed to me. When God looks at me, He sees someone for whom Christ died.
For by a single offering he has perfected for all time those who are being sanctified.
15 And the Holy Spirit also bears witness to us; for after saying,
16 “This is the covenant that I will make with them
after those days, declares the Lord:
I will put my laws on their hearts,
and write them on their minds,”
17 then he adds,
“I will remember their sins and their lawless deeds no more.”
So, blessed are those who mourn. Blessed are those who realize they are in need of a Saviour. Blessed are those who have the laws of God on their hearts. Blessed are those whose sins are forgiven.