The new you… poor in spirit
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
“Poor in spirit” needs to be broken down into its two parts to properly understand what Jesus is describing.
“Poor” we understand pretty well… It refers to a position of lack; a state of insufficiency – of not having enough.
If you are poor in the area of money, for example, you do not have enough to purchase what you want. And if you are really poor – you do not have enough to purchase what you need. We call this: poverty. It is the continual inability to provide for yourself. People in this “condition” are mostly dependent upon others for what they need in life.
“In spirit” is a bit more difficult. The essence of “spirit,” in the Bible, is that which is centered in the core of our being.
It is like the root system of a plant. It is the source of the plant’s life and vigor. If the roots are strong and healthy, the plant is vibrant and productive. If the roots are sick and weakly, the plant reflects this. The roots are at the core of a plant’s condition. So is the spirit, to the human soul.
So when Jesus is talking about being “poor in spirit” He is talking about an attitude that is at the core of our being – that is revealed by our direction and focus in life. It is also revealed by what is produced by our lives.
Here is the essential thing: our thinking (HOW we think) effects the “health” of our spirits. Jesus is telling us that those who are blessed in the Kingdom of God have an attitude of spiritual “poverty” that forms the basis for how they act and live.
What all this means is that true Christians see themselves as utterly dependent upon God. They do not harbor the “crowd mentality” (and unhealthy attitude) of: “I can do for myself, and if I get into a bind, I can call upon God.”
They also live a life of gratefulness and thanksgiving for what God has provided to them (health, homes, families, jobs, friends, the things of this life, etc.) – recognizing that He is the Source of ALL that they have received.
How do we know if we are living as “poor in spirit?” Check our gratitude towards God. Are we focused on all the good things He has provided to us? Or are we focused upon what we think we might be missing?
It’s pretty simple… the blessed SEE themsleves as blessed – and their lives, words, and actions reflect what is in their “roots.”
Prayer focus: God, help me to see the truth of my heart-attitudes toward You!