Blessed are the Poor in Spirit
Throughout the history of the church, ‘the Beatitudes’ have held a special place in most Christians’ hearts. In fact, the popularity of Jesus’ “Blessed are those who…” statements are even recited by those who do not claim to be followers of Christ. In Matt 5:3, Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We need to remember here that Jesus is speaking to “His disciples” (Matt 5:1).
Jesus was not making general pronouncements to the entire world, as many believe. Instead, He was making specific pronouncements to His chosen people. Essentially, Jesus was teaching His disciples the type of Christians they ought to be. He said ‘Blessed’, that is, ‘Happy’. In context, the word ‘Blessed’ refers to one who is inwardly contented; it can also refer to one who is prosperous. To our ears, this is paradoxical, how can one poor in spirit be ‘Blessed’?
The Bible teaches that the Christian’s contentment is not to be fleeting but permanent. Now immediately you may say, how can this be? The simple answer is because the source of the Christian’s contentment or happiness is rooted in the God who is fully and permanently content or ‘Happy’ in Himself. He is the Blessed God (1 Tim. 1:11).
Jesus said blessed is the man who is poor, not poor in the material sense but poor in spirit. This person is spiritually destitute before God, like a beggar with nothing to offer. The man who is poor in spirit is bent over before God with outstretched arms seeking mercy, forgiveness, and grace. Being confronted with the reality of God and the reality of his sinfulness, he says with the hymn writer “nothing in my hands I bring, simply to the cross I cling.”
This Scripture tells us that those who are proud and self-righteous will not inherit the kingdom of God. For “everyone who is proud in heart is an abomination to the Lord; assuredly, he will not be unpunished” (Prov. 16:5).
As Christians, our awareness of our desperate need for God drives us to our knees every day. We rest in the assurance God gives us in His Son the Lord Jesus Christ, that we who are poor in spirit are blessed, and we shall inherit the kingdom of heaven. If you are reading this article and do not know of this ‘Happiness’, I pray you will be like the tax collector in Lk. 18 who beat his breast in desperation saying God be merciful to me the sinner”.
Repent of your sins and put your trust in the Lord Jesus Christ to save you. I plead with you, do not be like the Pharisee in that passage who came to God boasting of his own self-righteousness (Lk 18:11-12). In the end, Jesus said only one of them went home justified, but it was NOT the Pharisee, “for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted” (Lk 18:14).
Believe in the Lord Jesus Christ, and you will be saved.