Have you ever hit a wall? Have you ever found yourself so low you wondered if you could ever find your way out? God will allow these times in our lives to bring us to a place of utter dependency and utter awareness of our weakness. Then and only then are we ready to begin to understand what Jesus meant when he said,
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
What is the practical result of this blessing?
If we are poor in spirit, we have an honest assessment of ourselves. We don’t inflate our résumé or boast about our position. We know how difficult it is to work with people who cannot learn, grow, or accept correction because they are trying to maintain an inflated picture of themselves. So we commit ourselves to honesty about ourselves. This type of attitude is essential to a follower of Christ. This attitude frees the Holy Spirit to reshape the way we view ourselves, thus reshaping the way we see others. We begin with an egocentric (self-centered) view of the world and we end with a Christocentric (Christ-centered) view of the world.
Why and how does being poor in spirit result in the kingdom of heaven?
While the phrase can be broad in meaning, “kingdom of heaven” essentially refers to Salvation. This happens in three parts. First of all, being justified. Justification is the momentary act of God upon repentance when Christians are infused with God’s grace and receive the indwelling Spirit of God. Secondly, being sanctified. Sanctification is the process by which the Holy Spirit changes Christians. We become more like Christ in all that we do, think, and desire. Finally, the kingdom of heaven is completed when we are glorified. Glorification is the future and final work of God upon where God transforms our mortal physical bodies to the eternal physical bodies in which we will dwell forever. It’s important to note that as we moving toward Glorification, we become more heavenly minded. Becoming heavenly minded in turn ushers in the attributes of heaven (the beatitudes) into our everyday life.
How do we become poor in spirit?
Here are four things that we need to do to ensure we can be poor in spirit.
- Believe we have no Spiritual Merit.
To be poor in spirit comes from recognizing that we are born into spiritual poverty. We are born lost, hopeless, and helpless. Apart from Jesus Christ we are spiritually destitute. No amount of education, wealth, social status, accomplishments, or religious knowledge will change the depth of our depravity.
Why is it hard for people to believe they have no spiritual merit?
- Believe we Can Earn no Spiritual Rewards
Everything we receive from God is a gift. There is nothing we did to earn his love and acceptance. The entire work of redemption was initiated, worked out, and completed by God. We do not earn a spiritual reward but we do unwrap our spiritual rewards through consciously allowing God’s word and spirit to determine our course.
How have you attempted to earn your spiritual reward?
What will it take to switch your thinking from earning to embracing spiritual rewards?
- Remove Pride
Pride elevates our view of self. The poor in spirit find pride in Christ not self. Removing pride is not easy. It is present in every fiber of our being. Constant prayer, reflection, and accountability are necessary to remove pride.
How could you incorporate the removal of pride into your prayer life?
Who could hold you accountable?
In what way could you begin to reflect on how to remove pride?
- Eliminate Self-Assurance
“I can do all things through myself, I strengthen me,” is not in the Bible. It is Christ who strengthens us. Finding our assurance in Christ rather than self is counterintuitive. We must come to a point were Paul’s words, “To live is Christ…” become our natural way of thinking.
How could you better find assurance through Christ than self?