“Blessed are they who MOURN, for they shall be comforted.”
It is appropriate to take the first and second beatitudes together since “Blessed are those who mourn” clarifies the ‘subjective’ side of being “poor in spirit.”
The proper reaction upon realizing one’s spiritual bankruptcy is to depend on God’s mercy and grace. God demands that sin be recognized, mourned, and repented of.
If we are humble and appreciate that all of our gifts and blessings come from God, we grow in love and gratitude, and produce mourning and regret over our own sins.
The apostle Paul was ‘frustrated’ with himself about this: “And I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my sinful nature. I want to do what is right, but I can’t. I want to do what is good, but I don’t. I don’t want to do what is wrong, but I do it anyway. But if I do what I don’t want to do, I am not really the one doing wrong; it is sin living in me that does it” [ Romans 7:15-20 ]. Paul added later, “Oh, wretched man that I am!”
Mourning in this context is called a blessing, because mourning our fallen nature creates in us a desire to improve ourselves and to do what is right!
The comfort mentioned doesn’t come from your sorrow, but from God’s response to your sorrow. Bottled up sin ruins a life, but confession results in the freedom and joy of forgiveness. Those Christians who truly mourn over their sin also receive comfort in the here and now.
The promise of “comfort” is provided by God in two ways: He sends the Holy Spirit to ‘live inside’ the believer, Who will aid and comfort them through trails; and they are promised that they will be in the “Kingdom of Heaven,” where God wipes away all tears, and death will be no more, nor grief or tribulation (Revelation 21:4).
When we realize how good God has been to us, we then can better appreciate and be compassionate of the suffering of others.
One who mourns have the capacity to be ‘moved’ with compassion by someone else’s situation and circumstance—and then try to do something about it! Who can better help someone than a person that has gone through something similar before. “He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us” [ 2 Corinthians 1:4 ].
God doesn’t expect you to be happy all the time. Solomon wrote that there’s “a time to cry and a time to laugh. A time to grieve and a time to dance” [ Ecclesiastes 3:4 ]. When you go through a ‘tough’ time and you heart is ‘breaking’, God doesn’t want you to repress or suppress it, He want you to ‘express’ it (to friends) ‘confess’ it to Him. There is no growth in your life without change; there is no change without loss; there is no loss without pain; and there is no pain without grief. (“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted; he rescues those whose spirits are crushed” [Psalms 34:18 ]).
The thing is, grief is actually essential to one’s physical, mental, spiritual, and emotional health. I’m sure you’ve heard it said that “It’s not what you eat but what eats you that makes you sick”—and if one doesn’t let it out (in healthy ways), then they will act it out (in unhealthy ways). In grieving, you don’t “get over it,” you get “through it.”
Crying is actually ‘healthy’ for one to do! If you hold in pain and anxiety, it will ‘poison’ your entire emotional system. Crying is like releasing an emotional ‘pressure valve’. It releases the burden of pain and stimulates the healing process.
In addition, God never intended for us to ‘handle’ grief by ourselves—that’s what the church ‘family’ is for—to support one through the grief. Healing comes in community. It’s been said that, “When one shares a joy it’s doubled, and when one shares a sorrow it’s halved.”
God also uses grief to sometimes to get our ‘attention’. Pain can be God’s ‘megaphone’. We rarely change when we see the ‘light’, but we change when we feel the ‘heat’. (“Sometimes it takes a painful experience to make us change our ways.” [Proverbs 20:30 ]).
The most important thing though is that it helps us ‘grow’ in ‘Christ-likeness’, and prepares us for eternity. “For our present troubles are small and won’t last very long. Yet they produce for us a glory that vastly outweighs them and will last forever! So we don’t look at the troubles we can see now; rather, we fix our gaze on things that cannot be seen. For the things we see now will soon be gone, but the things we cannot see will last forever” [ 2 Corinthians 4:17 ].
Most people can handle an enormous amount of pain when they realize there’s a good purpose in it (i.e. labor and having a baby).
The thing is, God is more interested in your character development than your comfort (because we will be ‘comfortable’ for eternity, and you’re only taking your ‘character’ to Heaven).
So, not tolerating the sin that once was such a delight to you is the kind of sorrow God is looking for. Divine forgiveness and comfort comes only to those who mourn over their sin.
Are you ‘mourning’ over your sins?
“Mourning” Related Bible Verses:
“Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death, I will fear no evil, for you are with me; your rod and your staff, they comfort me.”
[ Psalm 23:4 ].
“You will increase my greatness and comfort me again.”
[ Psalm 71:21 ].
“Show me a sign of your favor, that those who hate me may see and be put to shame because you, Lord, have helped me and comforted me.”
[ Psalm 86:17 ].
“Those who live in the shelter of the Most High will find rest in the shadow of the Almighty. This I declare about the Lord: He alone is my refuge, my place of safety; he is my God, and I trust him. For he will rescue you from every trap and protect you from deadly disease. He will cover you with his feathers. He will shelter you with his wings. His faithful promises are your armor and protection.”
[ Psalm 91:1-4 ].
“This is my comfort in my affliction, that your promise gives me life.”
[ Psalm 119:50 ].
“He heals the brokenhearted and binds up their wounds.”
[ Psalm 147:3 ].
“The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning, but the heart of fools is in the house of mirth.”
[ Ecclesiastes 7:4 ].
“Sing for joy, O heavens, and exult, O earth; break forth, O mountains, into singing! For the Lord has comforted his people and will have compassion on his afflicted.”
[ Isaiah 49:13 ].
“To proclaim the year of the Lord’s favor, and the day of vengeance of our God; to comfort all who mourn;”
[ Isaiah 61:2 ].
[ John 11:35 ].
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
[ Romans 12:15 ].
“Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of mercies and God of all comfort, who comforts us in all our affliction, so that we may be able to comfort those who are in any affliction, with the comfort with which we ourselves are comforted by God.”
[ 2 Corinthians 1:3-4 ].
“We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.”
[ 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ].
“As it is, I rejoice, not because you were grieved, but because you were grieved into repenting. For you felt a godly grief, so that you suffered no loss through us. For godly grief produces a repentance that leads to salvation without regret, whereas worldly grief produces death.”
[ 2 Corinthians 7:9-10 ].
“Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you.”
[ James 4:9-10 ].
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.”
[ 1 Peter 5:6-7 ].
“He will wipe away every tear from their eyes, and death shall be no more, neither shall there be mourning, nor crying, nor pain anymore, for the former things have passed away.”
[ Revelation 21:4 ].
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FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT #3:
Life is difficult, and at times it seems really unfair. Events almost never turn out exactly as planned. Yet, a major reason why we plan ahead is to avoid the disquieting stress of things beyond our control. It is certainly understandable why we all want tranquillity. But the reality of man’s history is that that tranquillity is rare indeed—whether between nations, families, individuals and at times even within ourselves. We may be quite intent on planning and striving for security within the framework of our ‘world’, but people and events, beyond our control, constantly intrude and sometimes seriously disrupt our desired plans.
Even in the intimacy of personal relationships, our control over the attitudes and behavior of others is minimal. How many of us have actually been successful in getting someone to change a behavior or quit an addiction? If an addict is in denial, despite impassioned appeals, they will rarely honestly face the truth of their addiction until they hit ‘rock bottom’.
Webster’s defines peace as freedom from war; harmony; concord; agreement; calm; tranquillity; serenity; quiet; undisturbed state of mind; absence of mental conflict; contentment; acceptance of one’s state; and the absence of anxiety.
The Greek word most often translated as peace is “eirene” (pronounced: eh-rey-ney). It has the sense of “joining what had previously been separated or disturbed.” Thus, it frequently is used to signify quietness and rest. Biblical scholor William Barclay says it “means not just freedom from trouble but everything that makes for a man’s highest good.” This is similar to the Hebrew word “shalom,” which has various meanings of totality, completeness fulfillment, maturity, soundness, wholeness, inner satisfaction, and the contentment and serenity that derive from living a full life—man’s highest good in the widest possible sense with everything being as it ‘should be’. When applied to the tranquillity of a person’s mind, even in the midst of trouble, it suggests that the person is being blessed with fullness or that their character is maturing into the image of God.
Peace is a state of assurance, lack of fear, and a sense of contentment. It is ‘fellowship’, harmony, and unity between individuals and/or God. Certainly, peace is what we all hope to enjoy in our relationships—not just the absence of conflict—but the presence of harmony, order, and vitality.
Distress and anxiety undergird much of the restlessness and disquietude that fills so many lives. They are produced by fear, uncertainty and insecurity—seeming to be at the whim of circumstances and people beyond our control. Our minds become troubled because we fear what is happening, or may happen to us or a loved one. We worry that the consequences will be difficult to overcome, embarrassing, physically painful, damaging to our reputation, or that we will be overwhelmed and suffer great loss.
First off, if one is not in a ‘relationship’ with God, one is in a state of ‘unrest’—because of sin. Their heart, mind, and soul are not peaceful and serene because they are in opposition to the Lord (Romans 8:6) and do not have the Spirit of God, or the God of peace within them (1 Thessalonians 5:23). Once a person repents and accepts Christ as Lord and Savior they are ‘granted’ peace. This peace comes from having their sins forgiven, and the privilege of now having a relationship with their Heavenly Father.
The Bible plainly states that the sinner is the enemy of God, and the state of a sinner’s mind is far from peace—it is at ‘war’. Their sinning proves the warfare, and the rebellion in their mind. They are often agitated, alarmed and trembling—feeling ‘alienated’ from God. God is not in their thoughts (Psalm 10:4). The prophet Isaiah explains:
“But the wicked are like the troubled sea, when it cannot rest, whose waters cast up mire and dirt. ‘There is no peace,’ says my God, ‘for the wicked’” [ Isaiah 57:20-21 ].
However, after we are reconciled with God, He then ‘gives’ us His peace. “Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let
your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid” [ John 14:27 ]. This peace of which Jesus speaks has a different ‘source’ than the world’s peace.
The peace that Jesus offers comes only as the result of God’s calling, by His Spirit, through which He works in and through us to bring us into loving submission to God. That is the way of daily talking and ‘walking’ with God—coming to know intimately His faithful, loving use of His wisdom and power to complete His glorious purpose in our lives. It produces a “peace that passes all understanding” because then everything is under His perfect control (Romans 8:28-30).
Of course if a Christian fails to trust in God and obey the Word of God (the Bible), their peace will diminish because they are out of ‘fellowship’ with God. The apostle Paul’s letter to the Galatians addresses the conflict that can arise between the Spirit and the ‘flesh’. As long as a Christian lets the Word of God ‘dwell’ in them richly, and lives according to the Word, they will be ‘filled’ with the Spirit—and the fruit of the Spirit will be manifested in their life. Peace from God is part of this fruit.
Fear often enters our life and can cause conflicts within us. When we fear, we are lacking faith in the power and sovereignty of God. Once fear has a foothold we begin to mistrust Scripture, then God, and then we get ‘out of step’ with the Spirit. When we are not living a life filled with the Spirit we will fail to manifest the fruit of the Spirit and a lack of peace will be felt.
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything, by prayer and petition, with thanksgiving, present your requests to God. And the peace of God, which transcends all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus” [ Philippians 4:6–7 ].
This passage gives us an intimate description of the deep peace of God one can possess. It is often hard to explain how the peace from God can sustain us when the world is crumbling around us or trials are pressing down upon us. But that is the power of the peace that God can give us. We have the “Fruit of the Spirit” when we are keeping in step with Him, with one aspect of this fruit being God’s peace.
This peace is not a kind of secular contentment that people can find by lowering their standards and expectations. It is both a gift from God to those reconciled to Him through Jesus and a ‘product’ of the Holy Spirit in us as we grow in a continuing, trustful relationship through the daily affairs of our life.
This following verse gives more direct and specific reasons why peace is such a great benefit toward spiritual well being: “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, willing to yield, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality and without hypocrisy. Now the fruit of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace” [ James 3:17-18 ].
If a person is ‘righteous’, then peace tends to follow. First, this occurs because a pure-hearted person is at peace within themselves. They are therefore not self-centeredly and discontentedly seeking to impose their will and way on others to control their lives. Such a person will not induce conflict.
It is very difficult for people to have conflict with others who will not fight. This does not mean that we should make peace at any cost by denying truth. We can remain faithful to truth without going to ‘war’, though it might appear costly at the moment. Jesus, and many others in the Bible did this successfully.
Peace is also unity between people. Followers of Jesus are ‘called’ to live at peace with all people, not just fellow believers. “If it is possible, as far as it depends on you, live at peace with everyone. Do not take revenge, my friends, but leave room for God’s wrath” [ Romans 12:18–19 ].
So, seek the peace of God. First by seeking Him through His Son, then by letting the Word of God dwell richly within you, and finally as the Holy Spirit fills your entire being. Through submission, obedience and humility the fruit of the Spirit will manifest itself in you and the peace of God will permeate all you are and do. As we let the Spirit ‘rule’ in our lives, in accordance with the Word of God, we can have this deep godly peace.
As a Christian trusts in Jesus, the Holy Spirit that lives within them gives them the power to have more hope and peace. “May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace as you trust in him, so that you may overflow with hope by the power of the Holy Spirit” [ Romans 15:13 ].
Peace is the proper condition for the fruit of righteousness, and peacemakers are the green-thumbed ‘gardeners’. Growing a good crop demands the right conditions for the good ‘seed’ of peace to flourish.
“Peace” Related Bible Verses:
“Agree with God, and be at peace; thereby good will come to you.”
[ Job 22:21 ].
“Turn away from evil and do good; seek peace and pursue it.”
[ Psalm 34:14 ].
“Great peace have those who love your law; nothing can make them stumble.”
[ Psalm 119:165 ].
“Deceit is in the heart of those who devise evil, but those who plan peace have joy.”
[ Proverbs 12:20 ].
“When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him.”
[ Proverbs 16:7 ].
“For to us a child is born, to us a son is given; and the government shall be upon his shoulder, and his name shall be called Wonderful Counselor, Mighty God, Everlasting Father, Prince of Peace.”
[ Isaiah 9:6 ].
“You keep him in perfect peace whose mind is stayed on you, because he trusts in you.”
[ Isaiah 26:3 ].
“And the effect of righteousness will be peace, and the result of righteousness, quietness and trust forever.”
[ Isaiah 32:17 ].
“All your children shall be taught by the Lord, and great shall be the peace of your children.”
[ Isaiah 54:13 ].
“He enters into peace; they rest in their beds who walk in their uprightness.”
[ Isaiah 57:2 ].
“Therefore do not be anxious about tomorrow, for tomorrow will be anxious for itself. Sufficient for the day is its own trouble.”
[ Matthew 6:34 ].
“Come to me, all who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn from me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.”
[ Matthew 11:28-30 ].
“Glory to God in highest heaven, and peace on earth to those with whom God is pleased.”
[ Luke 2:14 ].
“Peace I leave with you, My Peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Let not your heart be troubled, neither let it be afraid.”
[ John 14:27 ]
“I have said these things to you, that in me you may have peace. In the world you will have tribulation. But take heart; I have overcome the world.”
[ John 16:33 ].
“Therefore, since we have been justified by faith, we have peace with God through our Lord Jesus Christ.”
[ Romans 5:1 ].
“For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace.”
[ Romans 8:6 ].
“Repay no one evil for evil, but give thought to do what is honorable in the sight of all. If possible, so far as it depends on you, live peaceably with all.”
[ Romans 12:17-21 ].
“So then let us pursue what makes for peace and for mutual upbuilding.”
[ Romans 14:19 ].
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
[ Romans 15:13 ].
“God is our merciful Father and the source of all comfort. He comforts us in all our troubles so that we can comfort others. When they are troubled, we will be able to give them the same comfort God has given us. For the more we suffer for Christ, the more God will shower us with his comfort through Christ. Even when we are weighed down with troubles, it is for your comfort and salvation! For when we ourselves are comforted, we will certainly comfort you. Then you can patiently endure the same things we suffer. We are confident that as you share in our sufferings, you will also share in the comfort God gives us.”
[ 2 Corinthians 1:3-7 ].
“All this is from God, who through Christ reconciled us to himself and gave us the ministry of reconciliation; that is, in Christ God was reconciling the world to himself, not counting their trespasses against them, and entrusting to us the message of reconciliation. Therefore, we are ambassadors for Christ, God making his appeal through us. We implore you on behalf of Christ, be reconciled to God.”
[ 2 Corinthians 5:18-20 ].
“Do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.”
[ Philippians 4:6-7 ].
“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things. What you have learned and received and heard and seen in me—practice these things, and the God of peace will be with you.”
[ Philippians 4:8-9 ].
“And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
[ Colossians 3:15 ].
“Put on then, as God’s chosen ones, holy and beloved, compassionate hearts, kindness, humility, meekness, and patience, bearing with one another and, if one has a complaint against another, forgiving each other; as the Lord has forgiven you, so you also must forgive. And above all these put on love, which binds everything together in perfect harmony. And let the peace of Christ rule in your hearts, to which indeed you were called in one body. And be thankful.”
[ Colossians 3:12-15 ].
“Now may the God of peace himself sanctify you completely, and may your whole spirit and soul and body be kept blameless at the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ.”
[ 1 Thessalonians 5:23 ]
“Now may the Lord of peace himself give you peace at all times in every way. The Lord be with you all.”
[ 2 Thessalonians 3:16 ].
“Strive for peace with everyone, and for the holiness without which no one will see the Lord.”
[Hebrews 12:14 ].
“And a harvest of righteousness is sown in peace by those who make peace.”
[ James 3:18 ].
“Let him turn away from evil and do good; let him seek peace and pursue it.”
[ 1 Peter 3:11 ].