Blessed are the poor in spirit (Matthew 5:3). A startling opening to the Lord’s sermon. Don’t miss the point by missing a key word. It’s not material poverty that makes you blessed and noble. Jesus clearly says, “blessed are the poor in spirit.” Spiritual destitution is the point, not low on funds. Still, being a spiritual beggar is the beginning of happiness? The world says you should feel good about yourself. The last thing you should do is see something deficient in yourself? But worldly wisdom is foolish and empty (1 Corinthians 3:18-23). Jesus doesn’t say we need to learn to be poor in spirit or become minimalist and give away all possessions, but the truth is, we need to understand how spiritually poor we truly are. It deals with our relationship to God and our view of ourselves. Poor in spirit is recognizing our spiritual state before God. It’s to be humbled before God, knowing our sinful condition and knowing we are sinners before a holy God begging for mercy. Psalms 51:17, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit: a broken and a contrite heart, O God, thou wilt not despise.”
It’s not having some weak points – but destitute of good things within. If I have a bad attitude, I can change my attitude. Many quit drinking every day. Gamblers can call the hotline West Virginia has plastered on billboards on their way home from the casinos. But what if the problem is me? What do you do when you come to see there can be no reformation? What happens when you realize you do wrong because that’s who you are? Blessed are the poor in spirit, who sees they are not worthy for the kingdom and come as a beggar to the king, pleading for mercy.
King Jesus has pronounced that all who come to Him, contrite and poor in spirit, renouncing their pride, and seeking pardon will be saved (Isaiah 57:15). The poor in spirit see the riches of God and the alms of grace in Christ. When we are poor in spirit, Christ is high and lofty. When we see that there truly in us is no good thing, when we see how helpless and hopeless we really are, when we realize that we have nothing to offer God, our best efforts are sinful in His eyes, our greatest praise is folly in His ears, when we have nothing in our hands to bring Him, then we are poor, and when we then look to the Lord Jesus for grace, He will give us life. James 4:10, “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.”
I won’t sugar coat it – you have a sin problem and the diagnosis is really bad (Romans 6:23). But until you realize your poverty of spirit you won’t see the need for the Saviour. You see the kingdom by finding grace in the King. Christ will provide rest for your impoverished soul (Matthew 11:28).