“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

Matthew 5:3

May we see that we are spiritually bankrupt if we don’t have Jesus. It is clear that being poor in spirit is not about appearing poor in spirit, or acting poor in spirit but by truly being…poor in spirit. When we see that we have nothing spiritually good and our account is empty, we acknowledge that we are poor…this is a confession that goes against our pride. Jesus’ account is full and he gives it to those those who believe in him. Before this belief in Christ, or with our belief in Christ, we see that our accounts are emptied out due to our self-worship and God rejecting lives and attitudes. We acknowledge that we need Jesus for forgiveness and satisfaction. In Christ our spirits worship and soar with joy. These are the kind of souls that will abide with Jesus forever in Heaven. Souls that depend on God. Souls that find their purpose in the glory of God. Knowing that you are poor in spirit and can be rich in Jesus is the foundation of the beatitudes, the way of being blessed and blessing others for their good and God’s glory. May we never pretend that we are rich and act as if all is well, but may we confess our need for Jesus daily and depend on him always. Although he holds his sheep eternally, we still tend to run to other satisfiers and lean on our own ways. The believer lives a life of constant faith and repentance, not to gain salvation, but because of salvation. A life-long leaning on God is a blessed life. God is gracious!

Here are some gleanings:

This does not refer to natural disposition…. The poor in spirit are those who acknowledge their own helplessness and rely on God’s omnipotence. They sense their spiritual need and find it supplied in the Lord.

The kingdom of heaven, where self-sufficiency is no virtue and self-exaltation is a vice, belongs to such people.

William MacDonald


The Beatitudes demonstrate that the way to heavenly blessedness is opposite the worldly path people normally follow to find happiness. The worldly idea is that happiness is found in riches, merriment, abundance, leisure, and such things.

In the Beatitudes, Jesus describes the character of true faith. Poor in spirit. The opposite of self-sufficiency, spiritual poverty includes the deep humility of recognizing one’s utter spiritual bankruptcy apart from God. It describes those who are acutely conscious that they are lost and hopeless apart from divine grace.

Jesus teaches that the kingdom is a gracious gift to those who sense their own poverty of spirit.

John MacArthur


God never made a soul so small that the whole world will satisfy it.

Not poor in spirituality but “with respect to” their spirit; that is, they are the ones who have become convinced of their spiritual poverty. They have been made conscious of their misery and want. Their old pride has been broken. They have begun to cry out, “O God, be thou merciful to me, the sinner” (Luke 18:13). They are of a contrite spirit and tremble at God’s word (Isa. 66:2; cf. 57:15). They realize their own utter helplessness (Rom. 7:24), expect nothing from self, everything from God.

The book of Revelation contains two vivid passages that respectively show:

a.   how one can be poor though deeming himself to be rich, and

b.   how a person can be rich indeed in the midst of his poverty.

The risen and exalted Church Visitor, Jesus Christ, addresses lukewarm Laodicea as follows:

  • So, because you are lukewarm, and neither hot nor cold, I will spit you out of my mouth. 17 For you say, I am rich, I have prospered, and I need nothing, not realizing that you are wretched, pitiable, poor, blind, and naked. Revelation 3:16-17

But he gladdens the church of Smyrna by saying:

  • I know your tribulation [or:affliction] and your poverty, but you are rich” (2:9).

William Hendriksen


Humility is the very first letter in the alphabet of Christianity. We must begin low, if we would build high.

J.C. Ryle


You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.

Matthew 5:3 (Message)

What does it mean to be poor in spirit?
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