Are You Poor in Spirit?
Be-Attitudes (Part 1)
By: Rev. Joe Kramer
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
- Matthew 5:3 (NKJV)
Today we start a small devotional series on the “Be-attitudes”. This will not be a super in-depth technical study, but something you might want to keep in mind. The question a lot of people ask when I take a look at some of these “well known” passages is, why? Well they are “well known” for a reason; because they change our minds and hearts to a loving and passionate God and change our lives in our inner most beings.
When looking at this scripture each attitude is actually contrary to what you would think. To the natural man these statements don’t make sense, but to the spirit in our beings they resonate with us; just like a tuning fork when it is struck.
The first word we come to is “Blessed;” this word in the Greek, which we translate as blessed, means “great,” and it pertains to both the inner man and outwardly. Remember what Jesus said about cleaning the inside and the outside would be clean? He meant that if you allow God to clean the inner man then that would be manifested outwardly for all to see (Luke 11:39). The be-attitudes are about the inner being of humanity, how we are and how we respond to God.
The first attitude is “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” When the Bible speaks about the poor it usually refers to them that are closest to God? Why? Because the poor have nowhere else to turn, so they turn to God, whereas the rich usually don’t have anything to do with God (This is not always the case, but generally in scripture this is how it is referred). Notice what is attached to the poor in this verse. It says “poor in spirit.” This means that this kind of individual is spiritually bankrupt, needy, in desperate straight and knows that they need God.
What is God’s response to those who are keenly aware of their spiritual destitution? He promises them the best kingdom of all “the kingdom of heaven.” Here they will find fulfilling joy and promises in the Lord; here the weakest, poorest individual on the earth can be rich in their inner being before a Holy and Loving God. Have you ever met an individual that was very poor, but yet so vibrant and full of life? Unfortunately today these kinds of people are few and far between, but I have met some; the interesting thing is those I have met have the most special, deep, and wonderful relationship with God out of anyone I have ever met. Yes they were poor, but they knew where their help comes from. They knew in the inner most core what it was like to have a deep and abiding relationship with Jesus Christ.
Do you need to be poor physically to gain the kingdom? No! I believe Jesus is telling us that unless we come to God with this keen awareness of our poverty in spirit, we can’t have the kingdom of God. Jesus uses the poor and the rich to illustrate what He is conveying. He is using something we see every day, and showing the tendencies of each group, to bring to our attention the spiritual truths.
Notice that this be-attitude is the first one listed. Most scholars will say that it doesn’t matter that this is the first one listed because the book is not linear, but all attributes are active at the same time. I personally don’t think it is an accident it is listed first. I believe it is listed first because the other attitudes are built upon it.
How about you today? Are you keenly aware of your spiritual poverty (depravity)? Do you realize that you need Christ? Maybe you need to ask God to show you your poverty. Maybe it has been a while since you have prayed that God would show you. Well today I ask (Christian and non-Christian alike) you to get down on your knees and ask for God to show you the depths of your poverty and ask Him to forgive you and break you of, you. Will you today? The choice is yours.