“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3 NKJV) Hallelujah! I love the words of Jesus! Have you ever noticed that He doesn’t think like the rest of the world? 🙂 I guess that would be because He is God. I can just hear Him “My thoughts are completely different from yours,” says the LORD. “And My ways are far beyond anything you could imagine. For just as the heavens are higher than the earth, so are My ways higher than your ways and My thoughts higher than your thoughts. The rain and snow come down from the heavens and stay on the ground to water the earth. They cause the grain to grow, producing seed for the farmer and bread for the hungry. It is the same with My word. I send it out, and it always produces fruit. It will accomplish all I want it to, and it will prosper everywhere I send it” (Isaiah 55:8-12 NLT).
Do you see? He doesn’t think like we do, so if we’re to grow in our relationship with Him, we have to change our way of thinking. Being poor in spirit doesn’t come naturally to people, and I think it surely doesn’t come naturally to Americans. We’re taught from birth that we can be and do anything if we work hard enough at it, and if we want it bad enough… We’re taught from childhood that we must strive for the American dream, that in order to be a success in life, you have to work hard, make and save lots of money, have a nice home and leave an inheritance for our children.
We’re taught to rely on ourselves and walk with our heads held high. We’re taught to be proud of our achievements… and then along comes this Word from Jesus… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Wow! What does that mean anyway? I know what a poor person is – someone who lacks. So if I’m poor in spirit, that means I lack something… And if I’m lacking something, I can’t be proud, can I? So what am I lacking? The truth is that I lack a whole lot. You see, apart from Christ, I lack love. Oh, I used to think that I loved, but it wasn’t until I came to Jesus that I really learned what love is. You see, God is love, and His love is not what the world calls “love.”
Most people will “love” you as long as you don’t disappoint them, but there’s a limit to everyone’s “love” apart from Christ. God, on the other hand loved me while I went my own way, thumbing my nose at Him. He loved me even though I rejected Jesus. Man, He even loved Adolph Hitler! His ways are not our ways.
And one final thought about love… His word tells those of us that love Him, that the only reason we love Him is because He loved us first!!! So, one of the things I lack without God is love, and without love, my spirit is very impoverished.
Another thing I lack is the ability to obey His commands. Apart from God the Father, Jesus the Son, and Holy Spirit, it is impossible for me to obey God’s commands. Now, I could say that I obey some of the commands, but scripture says… the person who keeps all of the laws except one is as guilty as a person who has broken all of God’s laws (James 2:10 NLT).
Do you see? Apart from Christ, our spirits are empty. But there’s more to this than that… How many times have we read or heard about celebrities living in lavish mansions, wearing expensive designer clothes and jewels, with numerous luxury cars and partying all the time, only to learn later that they were bankrupt. You see, they thought they had it all, and we thought they had it all, but they were living a lie. The same is true of everyone who lives without Christ in their lives. I can’t tell you how many times someone has said to me, “Well, that’s nice if Jesus works for you, but it’s not for me.” Isn’t that so sad? They are just as destitute as I am, but they think and live as though they have it all. They miss their blessing because they refuse to see themselves as lacking… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
And then there are those who have it all… family and friends, money, wealth, careers and they place such great value in those things that they fail to see how poverty-stricken their spirit is. I think of the poor rich man in Matthew 19 who asked Jesus what he needed to do to have eternal life, and he said that he had obeyed all of the commands, but when Jesus told him to sell everything and follow Him, the man just couldn’t give those things up. Those things were just too important to him, more important than the One who could give him eternal life. He had filled his spirit up with other things and he couldn’t see that he wasn’t as wealthy as he thought. His spirit was barren.
Finally, let’s look at Jesus. His life amazes me. The King of glory… the King of kings and Lord of lords… the Alpha and the Omega… The Ancient of Days left His throne in heaven to come to earth as a Man. He didn’t come as a rich man or a king – He came as a poor peasant. He didn’t come filled with pride. He didn’t come to be served. He came to serve.
He came in perfect obedience to His Father. He was humble and meek. He knew that we weren’t smart enough to recognize how completely drained our spirits are, so He showed us by the life He lived. And in case we still weren’t smart enough to recognize it, He explained to us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
How awesome is that? Talk about turning things upside down! Many of the scribes and Pharisees and Saducees, the priests and the high priest, who thought they had it all and made life so hard on the people would not inherit the kingdom of heaven. Rather, those who recognized that they couldn’t do anything apart from the Lord, who cried out for Him to help them and save them, would inherit the kingdom. Ha! Praise God! Even those of us who are Gentiles get to inherit the kingdom of heaven when we recognize that we are poor in spirit.
Hallelujah! His ways are definitely not our ways! “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” That’s me and I pray in Jesus’ name that it’s you too!
Cheryl A. Showers