“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3, ESV
My wife and I have four wonderful teenage children. There is a vivid memory that sticks with me from the time my kids were young enough to need car seats. One of my kids was kicking back in his cushioned seat, wind blowing through his soft hair, warm sunshine on his pudgy cheeks, sipping on his sippy cup, bouncing his little shoes to the beat of the music. He was so carefree and perfectly content. Dad was at the wheel and mom had taken care of all his needs. He was just basking in the joy of his fun and carefree life.
When I hear of being “poor in spirit,” I think of a joyful child completely trusting his parents to take care of everything. The poor in spirit do not stress about where they are going, what they will eat, what they will wear, or anything else for that matter. Why? Because the poor in spirit trust our Heavenly Father for all things. They do not put their trust in themselves, other human beings, or material things.
James tells us: “Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him?” (James 2:5) The poor are rich in faith. They have no other options at their disposal. Our problem is that we believe there are a variety of other options. We waste our time an energy chasing after them. We try squeezing life out of them, but earthly alternatives never provide. In reality there is only one viable choice, our all-sufficient God.
As a result of humble dependence, God promises to give the poor in spirit everything a child of God would ever want. Jesus gives the joyful promise, “For theirs is the kingdom of heaven!” It is the ultimate rags to riches story. Notice, “theirs IS the kingdom.” This promise is both a present reality and future hope. While every other kingdom in history has fallen, the kingdom of God will overcome and last for eternity.
Our journey in becoming poor in spirt begins when we humbly admit our need for a Savior. Peter experienced this when Jesus first called him to follow. He responded by falling to his knees and saying, “Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.” (Luke 5:8, ESV) Peter admitted he was a sinner and could not save himself. We will always be lost and wandering until we surrender like Peter, and admit we will never be good enough to please God. So, even salvation is a gift from God to the spiritual poor and needy. “For by grace you have been saved through faith. And this is not your own doing; it is the gift of God, not a result of works, so that no one may boast.” (Ephesians 2:8–9, ESV)
Are you ready to live like a spiritual pauper in the eyes of the world to experience the riches of His Kingdom both now and forever more? What are the other options you turn to in your heart? How is God challenging you to be poor in spirit this today?