Poor In Spirit #Blessed



Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

We have all seen the hashtag blessed used inappropriate and appropriate ways. And in our previous post, we explored what Jesus actually meant when He used this term in the famous Sermon on the Mount.

The opening line of His sermon is a real bummer:


Matthew 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”


Why on earth would you lead with that?

Being poor is not appealing or attractive. You don’t sell cars or phones by pitching how no one is able to afford them. So why would Jesus lead with this? Wouldn’t this be off-putting? Isn’t He trying to gain followers?


He is. But only a certain kind. Christianity isn’t the most palatable “religion” in the world. In fact, First Corinthians 1:18 says “For the message of the cross is foolishness to those who are perishing, but to us who are being saved it is the power of God.”


Jesus led with this because “the poor in spirit” are the only ones who can follow Him.


Perhaps I am poor, but am I poor in spirit?

What does it mean to be poor in spirit?


“Spirit” refers to your inside. That part of you that cannot be physically touched, but figuratively moved. The part that is your views, your beliefs, and your self-image. Your thoughts and will and motivations. All this and more make up your spirit. This is what makes you who you are.


But how do you see yourself? Do you consider yourself self-sufficient? Able? Strong enough? We have all felt weak and inadequate at times, and some of us are more familiar/comfortable with that feeling than others, but overall we might think we are okay-ish. But let me rephrase: Do you have a sufficient amount of fruit hanging off your spiritual branches? Are you able to always love your neighbour as you love yourself? Have you done well to your enemies lately? Are you confident that you are loving God will ALL your heart, and ALL your soul, and ALL your mind right now?


After a proper checking of our spiritual bank account, we realise just how spiritually poor we really are. Truly “we all are as an unclean thing, and all our righteousness is as filthy rags” (Isaiah 64:6). But this is exactly where God wants you: Realising how inadequate you are without Him. How weak you are, and how strong He is.


Jesus didn’t desire His followers to be arrogant, nor defeatists. He did want them to be realistic. He wanted them to take a good, hard look at themselves and realise how much they are going to need Him in order to follow Him, please Him, and love Him. We cannot do it in and of ourselves. We are bankrupt. We are spiritually poor.


Poor in spirit to be rich beyond measure

Jesus was poor in spirit. As a 100% human being (in addition to being 100% God) He needed to admit that He “…can do nothing of Himself, but what He sees the Father do. For whatever He does, likewise the Son does… I can do nothing of Myself...” (John 5:19 & 30). And His Father is your Father!


A wonderful thing happens when we admit we are broke. Then we can remember just how rich our Father is. Not just kinda rich, like Jeff Bezos (or Elon Musk) rich, but like eternal-value, literally-out-of-this-world rich! “For Yours is the kingdom and the power and the glory forever…” (Matthew 6:13).


But we easily forget this fact when we feel ok with our spiritual state. When we think we can go one more week without reading the Word, or go one more day without prayer. Or go on this one date without asking God for guidance, or re-tweet this post one more time without stopping to think if it pleases our King. We so easily forget just how poor we really are. How ill-equipped we are to go through life without His Spirit lighting our way and His Truth going before us.


May you regularly check our spiritual bank account to make sure you are still poor, in order for you to gain access to the entire Kingdom of Heaven. “…my God shall supply your every need according to His riches in glory by Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 4:19) Hashtag blessed!