This teaching, based on the Beatitudes, has been shortened from the original version included in the second novel of the Rachel Todd series, The Pilgrimage.
H A P Y N E S S - EIGHT STEPS TO HEAVEN
H - HUMILITY: It acknowledges a poverty of spirit, lowliness of personhood and dependence on God.
“Humility defers to another…to God. We must acknowledge a poverty of spirit, our lowliness of personhood and our utter dependence on God to save us. The only way we can inhabit the kingdom of heaven is by knowing God personally. In order to do that we must lay down all we are and all we possess and submit ourselves totally to Him. Pride is the natural enemy of humility. So, the only way we can submit to God is by His grace, which comes through faith given as a free gift.”
Matt 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. KJV
A - ANGUISH: It is grief over our sin, which causes us to repent and turn away from it.
“Anguish, a grief for sin—no man truly grieves over his sin until he comes into a right relationship with God. How can anyone know what offends God until they begin to know who He is. Once we do, we realize that our sin causes Him grief and that we must turn away from it.”
Matt 5:4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted. KJV
P - PIETY & PERSEVERANCE: It honors God by honoring and preferring others above ourselves. It perseveres and endures tribulations without retaliation.
“Perseverance…requires meekness—self-discipline—learning to be patient, learning how to endure the trials and tribulations of life without seeking to retaliate. It requires the crucifixion of the flesh.”
Matt 5:5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth. KJV
Y - YEARNING: It is a deep craving for the love of God above all things and helps direct our desires to keep them in accordance with God’s moral laws.
“Yearning…for the love of God above all things; to seek after holiness to please Him. Love is one of man’s strongest desires and in searching for it he can become misguided, confused and terribly lost. So man, in desiring God’s love above all others, actually keeps himself from becoming ensnared morally because the longings of his heart, or his affections, are focused on God and won’t become perverted.”
Matt 5:6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled. KJV
“The first four steps to heaven are all focused on mankind in relation to God. The fifth step introduces a change of sorts; it focuses on mankind in relation to God, and how that relationship should affect man’s relations with others; it shows men their needs.”
N - NEED: It is the recognition of our need of forgiveness which makes us compassionate toward the needs of others and teaches us forbearance.
“Our need of mercy…enables us to become channels of God’s mercy to others—it helps us show kindness where once we might have been cruel. When we truly walk in kindness, we see things differently. Compassion changes us and eases us into keeping a new set of ethics.”
Matt 5:7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy. KJV
E - ETHICS: It keeps us morally pure and free from the things that weaken and pollute. We must be openly honest, always truthful and absolutely sincere.
“Ethics…the internal set of guidelines that keep us morally pure and hopefully free from the things that will weaken and pollute…. only the truly pure in heart can see God and those who do see God find serenity.”
Matt 5:8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God. KJV
S - SERENITY: It is achieved when we are at peace with God, which produces a sense of security and concord. Our tranquility enables us to promote harmonious relations between others and to seek to put an end to all discord.
“Those who do see God find serenity in their lives…when we are at peace with God we will strive to maintain peaceful relationship with others and promote harmony wherever we go.”
Matt 5:9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. KJV
S - SET FREE: It is the cleansing of our sin which brings peace with God and enables us to enjoy true liberty wherein we are then able to make right choices. Knowing true forgiveness enables us to truly forgive others.
“Only those who know and enjoy perfect freedom are capable of making choices. Forgiveness sets us free and enables us to do the same for others. It asks us to give what has been given, but it does not demand—we are free to choose. We are asked to freely love and pray for and forgive those who have hurt us physically, mentally and emotionally—in order to inherit the kingdom of heaven.”
Matt 5:10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. KJV