Man kneeling, poor in spirit

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Matthew 5:3

Seeing God Kind Of Like Santa Claus

There seems to be a trend in today’s culture – albeit Christian culture – that God exists for you and me. Scripture, on the contrary, makes it clear that we exist for God. It’s one of those seemingly small differences that makes all the difference.

If He exists for me, He must become smaller to fit into my finite, human, self-focused views of life and what will ultimately make me happy. If I exist for Him, I must admit that I’m small, and submit myself to the teachings and ways of my Creator, Master, and Lord.

Our fallen nature cringes at words like submit, surrender, yield, sacrifice, and so on. Being secondary to anyone or anything else is practically impossible for our human ego and need for control to accept.

Get The Top Button Right

Author Troy Dobbs does a masterful job of walking us through Jesus very first teaching to His disciples, part of the sermon on the mount, at the beginning of their collective ministry on this earth.

Why did Jesus choose to start here? My guess is that He wanted them to understand that if they got this right, everything that follows would more than likely align with it. Like getting the top button on a shirt buttoned right. All the rest simply align with that.

But if the first button is pushed through the second button hole, every other button is scrambling to figure out where they fit, and what to align themselves with.

What’s In It For Me?

The American church – those that have mutated the true gospel to fit the American dream – promote a teaching that is “fundamentally flawed, biblically indefensible, and conspicuously one-sided.” “It goes something like this: ‘God is a God of blessings, God has a destiny of financial breakthrough for you! The catch is that “blessing” is then appropriated through our worldly award system. Under this criterion, the unsound teaching becomes a perpetual lesson in how to realign and readjust you life to tap into those blessings… And if you don’t experience these types of blessings, it’s nobody’s fault but your own; it’s either a lack of faith or a leanness in the sowing and reaping department… God is duty-bound to bless!”

The danger of this kind of thinking comes when favorable circumstances become the only standard for blessing. It leads to both a deep-seated frustration and a misguided understanding of how God really works in the world.

So, What Is The Truth?

“Jesus is literally saying you are blessed when you realize that you have nothing within you that is commendable to God because yours, then, is the kingdom of heaven… The kingdom of heaven will not be inherited by the self-righteous or the arrogant, those who think they do not need God or those who think they are God.”

God uses our surrender to weakness in amazingly strong and powerful ways. Jesus’s significant emphasis throughout the Bible on being poor in spirit is designed to wean you and me from relying on ourselves. it’s designed to empty each of us and therefore, to highlight your and my need for God. The Bible is clear: rely on yourself and miss the kingdom.

Just as no one can come to Christ without poverty of spirit, no one can continue to grow apart from an ongoing poverty of spirit. Poverty of spirit is foundational because a continual sense of spiritual need is the basis for ongoing spiritual blessing. A perpetual awareness of our spiritual insufficiency opens us to continually receiving spiritual riches. Poverty of spirit is something we never outgrow. In fact, the more spiritually mature we become, the more profound will be our sense of spiritual poverty.

Rev. R. Kent Hughes

Embracing this type of spiritual poverty will make you rich in ways you don’t even know — and you’ll be blessed beyond anything the world could every promise.


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