DayBreaks for 5/13/20: The Poor in Spirit
From the DayBreaks archive, May 2010:
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of God. – Jesus
It is easy to get confused about what Jesus is saying here. He’s not saying that poverty is blessed…nor is he saying that we need to necessarily sell all we have and give it to the poor – to become materially poor – in order to receive this blessing given to the poor in spirit. Throughout the centuries, there have been Christian men and women who chose to become materially poor in order to minimize those things that may have distracted them from spiritual commitment and whole-hearted following of God. There’s some virtue to that!
But the poorness that Jesus is describing is a poorness in spirit – the person who recognizes their despondency and depravity before God. We all want to think that we realize how dependent we are on God, but I think that more often than not our instincts try to tell us that we can do pretty well on our own and that our dependency on Him is limited to spiritual things. Philip Yancey suggests some questions which can help us evaluate our “poorness in spirit”:
Do I easily acknowledge my needs?
Do I readily depend on God and on other people?
Where does my security rest?
Am I more likely to compete or cooperate?
Can I distinguish between necessities and luxuries – and do my actions in this regard support my answer?
Am I patient?
Do the Beatitudes sound to me like good news or like a scolding from the lips of Jesus?
How did you do with those questions? Was there one – or two – that caused you pause or which was difficult to answer? If not, go back and read them again and ask God to help you to more honestly evaluate your responses. If you couldn’t find even one where you are falling short, let me suggest that it might be because you are not poor in spirit. As Yancey again put it: “The poor in spirit don’t have the arrogance of the middle class, who can skillfully disguise their problems under a façade of self-righteousness.”
God can only bring His kingdom (His rule) to our hearts when we realize how desperate our need is and we surrender in our poverty of spirit.
PRAYER: May we, Lord, learn as did Isaiah that we have no righteousness of our own, nothing to commend us to You. May we throw ourselves in total brokenness of spirit into Your arms! In Jesus’ name, Amen.
Copyright by 2020 by Galen C. Dalrymple. ><}}}”>