Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3
A few years ago I was teaching bible study with a youth group at the church I attend. When I read this verse, I was surprised at the reaction I got when I read, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” The word poor was a serious issue with the teenagers in the group. So we spent the remaining time on what it meant to be poor in spirit.
I understood why I got the reaction because, in our society, the word poor is a negative word that gives the perception of us living in poverty, without luxuries and relying on someone to feed us. And to say one is blessed when he is poor will get anyone’s attention.
Jesus was an expert at getting the people’s attention during His earthly ministry, especially in this case. Our world today gauges happiness on how much money and material possessions someone has. The more you have, the happier you’re supposed to be. And it seems some, not all, people don’t see a need to rely on Jesus when they have all the things they want. Which brings me to the point.
When someone is poor in spirit, they realize they have a need for God. They realize they are feeble and helpless without God.
And those that are poor in spirit don’t feel left out or sad because of their need for God. In fact, the word blessed means happiness in this context. This type of happiness contradicted the happiness of the Pharisees during Jesus’ ministry and it contradicts the happiness of the world today. One attribute of being poor in spirit is being humble. Proverbs 29:23 tells us; Pride brings a person low, but the lowly in spirit gain honor. So now we see that being poor in spirit brings the blessings of God which is the peace that outdoes all of our understanding (Philippians 4:7) and unspeakable joy (1 Peter 1:7-9).
There’s nothing wrong with having an abundance of money and possessions. But it’s what we do with the abundance is where the rubber meets the road. Are you seeking a spirit of humility because pride has gotten you in situations that you can’t seem to get out of? Do you want to experience the true blessings of God, our creator? Simply cast everything upon Jesus because He cares for you (1 Peter 5:7). Turn it over to Him by praying and asking for forgiveness and admit you need Him. Remember this:
Jesus will never turn you away when you come to Him humbly, seeking His help.