What Does it Mean to Be Poor in Spirit?

Why would someone want to be poor in spirit? I think we can get so caught up in the Sermon on the Mount that we skip over the Beatitudes too quickly. Maybe we don’t skip them over. We just fail to really comprehend and chew on Jesus’ words.


I want to spend the next eight weeks breaking down the Beatitudes, one by one. The goal isn’t to make a biblical scholar or theologian out of anyone. These eight posts will just lay the groundwork for living the beatitudes in our daily lives. Being poor in spirit will take on a whole new meaning for you.


Around the time these eight weeks have finished, I’ll be launching my new book, The Eight Points of Blessed Living, which will give much more detail than these blog posts. You will be filled in on the progress of the book’s publication with each of these posts. Enough about the book. Let’s dive into being poor in spirit, the blessings this brings, and the Kingdom of Heaven.


Being Poor in Spirit


This verse is not telling us we need to give all of our money to the church. It has nothing to do with finances whatsoever. That is where someone’s mind will go when Jesus’ words here are read too quickly. This is why He uses “poor” and “spirit” together. Blessed are the poor in spirit.


We can’t be poor in spirit without realizing our own brokenness. We aren’t simply broken people needing to be fixed. We are in desperate need of God. Without Him, we are nothing. Regardless of what we do and how hard we try, we will never be enough without God. We aren’t just broke. We are spiritually bankrupt.


We not only believe in God, but we also see how much greater He is than we are. Because He is the Maker of this world and everything in it, we realize that His will is far greater than our own. It becomes our biggest desire to make God happy. We do this by surrendering our lives to His Son, Jesus Christ.


Being poor in spirit isn’t simply going to church every Sunday and mumbling a prayer every morning when we wake up. To be poor in Spirit, Jesus has to be what drives your life. This doesn’t mean you have to be perfect. It means we wake up every day with the intent of growing closer to God than we were the day before. Yes, repentance and obedience are a part of this.


Here’s the thing. We are spiritually inferior. We’re never going to act our way into Heaven. This is impossible without the work of Jesus Christ. Our obedience isn’t out of fear. It is out of love for God. We become so aware of our need for Him that it changes how we live.


Being Blessed


After reading what I have just said, being poor in spirit might not sound so attractive. Who in their right mind would be willing to acknowledge that they are never going to be enough? How in the world could someone find peace knowing they will never be good enough on their own?


Jesus tells us, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” I want to make sure you pick up on something here. Nowhere in this verse do we read the word “happy.” There is a huge difference between being blessed and being happy. Joy comes with being blessed. Happiness is rooted in our happenings. Joy is rooted in Jesus.


There is no true peace with happiness. Being happy can be lost in a second. Happiness is based on the people, places, and things around you. Happiness is something you feel. It will never sustain who you are. Contentment is experienced with joy. It is part of a blessing that only God can provide. You will never manufacture it on your own.


Blessed are you when you finally realize without Jesus, you will never experience all that you were created for. Yours is the Kingdom of Heaven.


Kingdom of Heaven


When we agree that Jesus is our King, we enter His Kingdom. Jesus ushered in the Kingdom 2000 years ago. As subjects to our King, we agree to have Him Lord over our lives. We have His Spirit working in and through us. We see God working in the lives of others. The more we get involved with His creation, the more aware we become of His presence.


With blessed living, the focus can not be on the here and now. We put our faith and trust in God and know that He has a plan. God doesn’t make mistakes. Regardless of what we are going through, no matter how difficult life may seem in the moment, we keep our focus on Him, asking Him to make His will ours.


God chooses to bless different people in different ways. Our first blessing, being poor in spirit, comes from trusting His wisdom as King. The pressure is off. We don’t have to pretend we are as wise as Him. We don’t have to prove our worthiness. We simply lay down our will, stay loyal no matter what, and our King will make certain everything works out to our good. Ahhh, now that’s a blessing!


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