Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

I want to start a new, 8 week series, about the "blessed" passage in the Sermon on the Mount. Taken from Matthew 5, this passage has been such a blessing to me in the last few months, and even while I studied to write this series, I have been challenged and encouraged even more as I hope you will be also!

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.
Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.
Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.
Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.
Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.
Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God.
Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness' sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.
Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

In this post, I want to delve deeper into the first verse.
Blessed are the poor in spirit

Looking at being "poor in spirit," what comes to your mind? I always thought it was this extremely shy person, someone who couldn't show much enthusiasm about life. But as I studied this, I found that it's not about shying away from people, but rather about how you think about yourself. 

1. Being poor in spirit means  that we are content to be poor. We should be willing to be emptied of worldly wealth if this is the will of God. I think of Philippians 4:12 "I know both how to be abased, and I know how to abound: every where and in all things I am instructed both to be full and to be hungry, both to abound and to suffer need." In our spirits, we need to be willing to be abased, to suffer.

2. Being poor in spirit also means to shed all confidence in our own righteousness and strength. When we see our attempt at justification, we should see how poor we really are, how utterly far we are from that mark of righteousness. This "poor in spirit" leads us to the cross and salvation. But we gave to see our own attempts at sanctification in the same light. Until we are poor in spirit, until we acknowledge that we cannot live the Christian life in our own strength, we will not accomplish anything for Christ. But once we see how desperately we need Christ to work through our weakness, then and only then can we let the Spirit work through us. 

Then I turn to the other end of the verse, where it says, "Theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The poor in spirit have the kingdom of heaven. In Matthew 6, Jesus talks about how we are to spend our money, to lay up treasures in heaven. "Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal:  But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal:" Just as those who are blessed with monetary goods are commanded to lay up treasures in heaven by giving and generosity, I can be poor for his sake, and lay up my own treasures in heaven. Maybe I can't afford to send thousands of dollars overseas to missionaries, but I can be in want - I can be lacking - with a cheerful attitude, and lay up those treasures in heaven. Psalm 74:19,21 says, " [Lord,] forget not the congregation of thy poor forever... let the poor and needy praise thy name."

Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.


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