“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
The “Poor in Spirit” does not refer to financial poverty, but to soul poverty. It refers to an awareness of one’s Total Depravity and Total Inability to save oneself. One who is poor in spirit is one who has filed for moral bankruptcy. They have thrown themselves upon the mercy of God. Ironically, it is only then that they are fully blessed, for they receive eternal life. The receive the kingdom of heaven.
‘Poor in spirit’ stands opposite of ‘rich in pride.’ Tragically, the default position of mankind is ‘rich in pride.’ We are born ‘full of ourselves,’ and grow up thinking that our good deeds are good enough. We think that we will be blessed because of our good deeds. But, it is like Isaiah said “all our righteous deeds are like a polluted garment (filthy rags).” (Is. 64:6) The good deeds that we do are utterly worthless. Being ‘rich in pride’ does not bring happiness. One must become ‘poor in spirit.’
How do we become poor in spirit?
We become poor in spirit, not by looking around at other people – but by looking at God. The more we understand the character of God, the poorer in spirit we will become. The better we understand the holiness of God, the better we will understand our total inability to meet God’s standards of righteousness. We will gain a more accurate picture of the true poverty of our spirit.
Jesus said, “Blessed are those who accurately recognize their own sinfulness.” Those who do this will receive the kingdom of heaven. They will have eternal life.
How poor is your spirit?
Other Posts in ‘The Beatitudes’ series: