Today’s Reading: Matthew 5:3 – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
This is the first beatitude Jesus mentions. Have you ever thought about what it means to be poor in spirit? Many believe that it is literal, and that riches here on earth should not be obtained if we are truly to be “poor in spirit”. They see that it is better to be a person in poverty rather than a person of wealth. But is that an accurate perception?
The Greek word “ptóchos” translates to “poor”, indicating one who is destitute, helpless, or completely lacking resources; as well as “poor in spirit”, indicating one who knows or realizes they are destitute and in need of God. Spiritually speaking, it is a revelation or full understanding that you come to God with nothing. There is no thing you have in and of yourself that could ever sufficiently pay the price required to bring you into a right relationship with Him. Billy Graham answered this question in a slightly different way when he suggested to replace the word “poor” with the word “humble” (Blessed are the humble in spirit… Click here for the full article).
Why should we see ourselves as humble or poor in spirit? It is because at the heart of all the beatitudes is an invitation to enter into God’s care. Those who see themselves as independent or self sufficient believe themselves to have no need of God. This would also include anyone who has been hurt, in particular by someone in the church or even by what they may perceive as God Himself, and are therefore not willing to become vulnerable. Not letting go of grudges is the same as placing a higher value on the hurt rather than on the forgiveness Christ offers. The truth is that unforgiveness offers death, while letting go offers life, the kingdom of heaven, and all of its resources!
“You say, ‘I am rich. I have everything I want. I don’t need a thing!’ And you don’t realize that you are wretched and miserable and poor and blind and naked.” Revelation 3:17 NLT
The Apostle Paul put it this way: “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord. For his sake I have discarded everything else, counting it all as garbage, so that I could gain Christ and become one with him. I no longer count on my own righteousness through obeying the law; rather, I become righteous through faith in Christ. For God’s way of making us right with himself depends on faith. I want to know Christ and experience the mighty power that raised him from the dead. I want to suffer with him, sharing in his death, so that one way or another I will experience the resurrection from the dead!” Philippians 3:7-11 NLT
Are you poor in spirit? Are you, too, willing to let go and count it all as loss? If yes, then blessed are you, for yours is the kingdom of heaven! God and all His resources are yours.