“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
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.
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.
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).
Humility is the very first letter in the alphabet of Christianity. We must begin low, if we would build high.
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)
"God voluntarily created us. He gave us the highest privilege of being His image bearers....we are not turtles. We are not fireflies. We are not caterpillars or coyotes. We are people. We are the image bearers of the holy and majestic King of the cosmos.
We have not used the gift of life for the purpose God intended. Life on this planet has become the arena in which we daily carry out the work of cosmic treason....No traitor to any king or nation has even approached the wickedness of our treason before God....
When we sin as the image bearers of God, we are saying to whole creation, to all of nature under our dominion, to the birds of the air and the beasts of the field: “This is how God is. This is how your creator behaves. Look in his mirror; look at us, and you will see the character of the Almighty.” We say to the world, “God is covetous; God is ruthless; God is bitter; God is a murderer; a thief, a slanderer, an adulterer. God is all of these things that we are doing.”" R.C. Sproul
Praise God for being kind and gracious with us by sending Jesus. May we not trivialize Christmas but embrace the reason Jesus came into the world....to redeem and restore his image bearers.
When C.J. Mahaney was the pastor at Covenant Life Church, he would begin their staff meetings with one hour of pointing out grace in the lives of the people of the church! Spending time talking about seeing the Holy Spirit for an hour is the greatest accountability and motivator for any spiritual leader. It would help us all to get back to what we are called to do as ministers; help people to see and savor Jesus Christ. How can we do this if we aren’t looking for Him? How can I better see and celebrate Grace in my life and in the lives of those around me?
After listening to a podcast from Mahaney I was motivated to write the following entries on Celebrating Grace.
The other day I posted the following thought on Twitter:
It is possible to follow the directives of Jesus faithfully yet fail to worship him. Matthew 28:16-17
My team-mate and friend John Hunt posted Revelation 2:2-4 on FB in agreement and response.
"I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first." Revelation 2:2-4
This verse got my wheels turning....what do you think? Here was my addition to the thought.
That verse fits great here. I was looking for verses like this recently as some of the guys and I were talking about verses like the one you posted. I have been reading about the place for warnings in the believers' life and how God uses them to preserve us...really amazing concept when taking into consideration the doctrines of grace, sin, the attributes of God, the work of the Spirit in our lives and our constant call to faith and repentance. God lovingly pushes us towards repentance of our works and non-works through his warnings, biblical narratives and Spirit. Works only leaves us with the illusion of a great scorecard that points to self and in the end is worthless showing us that we are without love and Jesus. Faith and repentance do not leave us neutral in our hearts, they leave us filled with faith, hope and LOVE! In other words, faith and repentance do not just remove the ugliness of us leaving us clean, but God uses warnings...and in his kindness leads us to repentance...showing us that we are filled with him by him, we are his... which moves us towards an enduring life of love and good deeds.
As we know, faith and repentance in the life of a true believer is not constantly asking God to give us salvation but it is a life filled with knowing and loving that we are saved(in all it's tenses) which helps us to constantly turn from ourselves to him.
I imagine myself sitting with friends and family and hearing Jesus say this:
“‘I know your works, your toil and your patient endurance, and how you cannot bear with those who are evil, but have tested those who call themselves apostles and are not, and found them to be false. 3 I know you are enduring patiently and bearing up for my name's sake, and you have not grown weary. 4 But I have this against you, that you have abandoned the love you had at first. Revelation 2:2-4
Do I grumble, get angry demanding my rights to what I think I have earned...or do I gasp in the realization that I have been abandoning the love I had for him at first and run to him like Peter and weep as I cling to him? A new creation heart will always cling to it's creator, sometimes quickly sometimes not so quickly.
Isn't that the heart's desire of idols? To capture our love away?
May we not get so caught up in good deeds that we miss our good God and fail to love and worship him!