Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God, Matthew 5:8.  “Back to the basics.” We hear that phrase a lot -- so many things in life can be fixed when we return to basic principles. That lesson was at the heart of Jesus' Beatitudes (Matthew 5:3-11). Nine times He said, "Blessed are [those] ..." referring to people who put the kingdom of God first in their lives.

Blessedness is more than happiness. It is similar to the Hebrew concept of shalom, or peace, the contented, stable, peaceful relationship one has with man and God. Blessedness is an Old Testament concept that was picked up by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. In Psalm 1 -- the psalm chosen to introduce Israel's hymnbook -- the psalmist begins just as Jesus did: "Blessed is the man who ...."

The psalmist says we are blessed when our "delight is in the law of the LORD." That is, we are blessed when our thoughts and actions are consistent with God's values and priorities as found in Scripture. It's the same message Jesus gave to His audience: Center your heart on God and you will know Him now and forever.

It's good to be happy in this world, but even better to be blessed by God. Blessing comes from getting back to spiritual basics. Blessedness does not lie in externals.