The Poor in Spirit

October 14, 2014

The Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

The Beatitudes are part of what is called “the Sermon on the Mount.” Jesus preached this sermon to his disciples.  Those who faithfully followed Jesus teaching were called his disciples.  The word “disciple” means a follower.       We too should be his disciples and be willing to learn from him.  The more we learn from him the better we can serve him.  We never learn all he has to teach us.

The beatitudes have to do with attitudes.  It is extremely important that we have the proper attitude.  Having a bad attitude can result in much anxiety and suffering. A bad attitude causes those around us to suffer too.  No one enjoys suffering.  Some may avoid contact with us if we have a bad attitude.  A careful study of the beatitudes will help us see when and where we have a problem with our attitude.

To be blessed is to be highly favored.  Jesus tells us that the poor in spirit are fortunate.  God does not command us to be poor in spirit.  It results from being saved and surrendered to the will of God.  It is a work of God, but he can’t do it unless we are yielded to him.

We need to make clear that being poor in spirit has nothing to do with being poor materially.  Being poor doesn’t make us more spiritual.  There is no merit in being poor.  Some have used this verse to teach asceticism.  They take a vow of poverty.  If Jesus had stopped with saying “blessed are the poor” they might have some justification in teaching that.

Jesus said “blessed are the poor in spirit.” He didn’t say “blessed are those who are poor spiritually.” Everyone without Christ as his Savior is poor spiritually, but he isn’t blessed.  To the contrary, he is cursed.

Being poor in spirit has to do with our attitude towards ourselves.  There is a great difference between being a disciple of Christ and being an unbeliever.   The kingdom of heaven is promised to those who are poor in spirit.  Those without the knowledge of God are said to be in darkness.  Colossians 1:13 says, “Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son.”

We do well to have the attitude of the Apostle Paul who said in Romans 7:18-22. “For I know that in me (that is, in my flesh,) dwelleth no good thing: for to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not.  For the good that I would I do not: but the evil which I would not, that I do.    Now if I do that I would not, it is no more I that do it, but sin that dwelleth in me.    I find then a law, that, when I would do good, evil is present with me.    For I delight in the law of God after the inward man.”  I have value because God has chosen me, saved me, made great changes in my life, and given me a glorious future.

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