Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3, NASB1995).
I memorized the Beatitudes 45 years ago, and I often meditate on them.
There is a tearing down and building up with the Beatitudes. Something must change that hinders our peace to then be replaced by a blessing.
Jesus’ Beatitudes teach eight “re-habs” required for our happiness.
Some commentators use the word “happy” instead of “blessing, ” but I’m staying with “blessing” in this Interruption because the word indicates a depth of obeying Jesus that’s lost in the way that the world seeks happiness.
Today, we don’t tear down or repent for something better to be built. Thus, many are materially blessed with no contentment.
Jesus teaches us to be poor in spirit so that we can attain the Kingdom!
“Poor in spirit” is not a weakness. Jesus, as the perfect example of poverty of Spirit, healed the sick, set the addicted free, and saved the lost. He also calmed storms, walked on water, and rose from the dead.
I want the “poor in spirit” that Jesus had!
The Apostle Paul taught about poverty of spirit when He wrote, “It is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me” (Galatians 2:20, NASB1995).
The more we tear down self-pursuit, the greater our experience of His Kingdom.
Recently, in my devotions, my thoughts have been flooded with the events, goals, and accomplishments from 50 years in ministry.
It hasn’t been a pleasant experience.
For the last six months, I often vividly recall (I know it’s the Spirit) past conversations, experiences in leadership, and steps of faith – and in each one, I see an element of self.
I’ve concluded that nothing in my life has been unadulterated “poor in spirit.”
You’d think that the Spirit, after 50 years of ministry, would emcee an appreciation banquet of memories listing my great ministerial accomplishments.
It’s been exactly the opposite.
I’m not depressed. The Apostle Paul experienced the same type of reflection toward the end of his life. Why else would he write the following?
This is a trustworthy saying, and everyone should accept it: “Christ Jesus came into the world to save sinners” — and I am the worst of them all (1 Timothy 1:15, NLT).
Why is this happening to me? Why did this happen to the Apostle Paul? Why will it happen to you?
Jesus says in this first Beatitude that those who are “poor in spirit” will walk faithfully in the Kingdom of God.
The Apostle Paul’s most difficult and fruitful experiences in the Kingdom came after his “worst of all sinners” reflection. He stood before Caesar and faithfully proclaimed Jesus, while most of his friends and co-workers abandoned him.
Paul wrote . . .
But the Lord stood with me and gave me strength so that I might preach the Good News in its entirety for all the Gentiles to hear (2 Timothy 4:17, NLT).
Let’s remember the words of Jesus, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.”
The greatest accomplishments of His Kingdom are still in the future . . . probably in the next few years.
Let’s be poor in spirit. Let’s be ready!