Beatitudes: Blessed are the poor in spirit (pt.2)

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted. “Blessed are the meek, for they shall inherit the earth. “Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be satisfied. “Blessed are the merciful, for they shall receive mercy. “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they shall see God. “Blessed are the peacemakers, for they shall be called sons of God. “Blessed are those who are persecuted for righteousness’ sake, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.  “Blessed are you when others revile you and persecute you and utter all kinds of evil against you falsely on my account. Rejoice and be glad, for your reward is great in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt 5:3-12).

Yesterday we concluded that the author was not referring to those who are poor financially but spiritually. I think the easiest way to explain what “poor in spirit” means is to read it as “those who are humble.” The rich are prideful and arrogant and often do not possess any humility, but the needy are filled to overflowing with it. Prideful, arrogant people leave their spiritual dependency and rely on themselves, while the humble who are poor in spirit know that they depend on God. When we rely on Him for our needs, we will understand His role in our lives and be faithful and obedient to His Word.

God rejects the prideful and accepts the humble.  Jam. 4:6, “…Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” God knows the mind of man completely. He knows our every weakness and therefore knows who will continue in obedience and who will “go it alone.”  So important is the subject of humility that Peter used the same words himself. 1 Pet. 5:5, “Likewise, you who are younger, be subject to the elders. Clothe yourselves, all of you, with humility toward one another, for “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble.” It is here that we clearly see the connection between obedience and humility.

Peter will then connect those two characteristics in the following verse. 1 Pet. 5:6, “Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you.” The humble know their position before God and are grateful for His hand in their lives. And, in turn, God will “exalt” them, which is the blessing of being raised up by the grace He showers the poor in spirit with. God has always had a heart for the humble. Isa. 57:15, “…I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Who is a “contrite and lowly spirit” if not they who are “poor in spirit.”

Poverty in spirit can be seen as the key to salvation because it will rely on the Creator for the roadmap to heaven. In response to the question of “Who is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven,” Jesus has this to say in Matt. 18:1-4. “…And calling to him a child, he put him in the midst of them and said, ‘Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.’” You see, children are reliant on parents or guardians for everything, and they understand that. Their humility and lack of a prideful spirit are two of the greatest assets of their youth. Those assets are something we should treasure as well.

And Jesus said another important thing too. The humble have a special blessing awaiting them. And they deserve it because, in humility, they will resist the devil and draw near to God, knowing that in His arms is everything they need. If you are not humble, stop thinking you are all that and have the answers. You may seem to be “together” with your riches and prideful arrogance, but the delusion of the world will vanish in a flash, and then you will be left without blessings in a place of torment.

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