July 28, 2021
Thank you for your dedication to pray each Wednesday for our prodigals and for revival. Your praying makes a difference because God hears. He always hears and in hearing, He responds.
The reason we pray is because we have discovered that we cannot do life without God. We must seek His help.
When Jesus sat on the mountainside and taught His disciples in what we call the Sermon on the Mount, the very first thing He said was, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
This statement, which is the first of nine beatitudes, is foundational for all that follows.
What does it mean to be blessed? The word in the Greek is μακάριος — makarios, meaning happy, fortunate, blessed. As you can observe from the list of nine, this happiness is a pronouncement from God that has more to do with our inward state than with outward circumstances. It is a happiness that God gives, a happiness that fills the heart even in times of immense sadness, and a happiness that is based on our relationship with Him.
Blessed are the poor in spirit. This is a statement that has baffled many. Emma Goldman, a writer from the eighteen hundreds said, “Heaven must be an awfully dull place if the poor in spirit live there,” revealing that she knew nothing of the meaning of this statement, or the One who spoke it.
To be poor in spirit has little to do with the lack of earthly possessions. In fact, it could be possible to be poor materially and not poor in spirit, or vice versa. Being poor in spirit has to do with your attitude toward God. Do you require Him? Do you seek His help? Do you turn to Him? Do you need Him in your life?
The Lord Jesus wants us to humbly accept that in and of ourselves, we are not enough. We just aren’t enough, and yet we try to be. We try so hard to be self-sufficient and independent, as we sometimes believe the lie that those things are what make us strong. Those are the ways of the world, not the Kingdom of Heaven.
To be poor in spirit is to say, “I can’t make it on my own!” This was our point of entry into God’s kingdom - with empty hands, bankrupt lives, and very needy spirits. Life without Christ was desperate and we rested in His sufficiency.
And this is how God would have us live every day of our lives.
D. Martyn Lloyd-Jones said, “We have to be poor in spirit before we can be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Like a jar that is filled with awful tasting Brussels sprouts, must be emptied before it can be filled with tasty black licorice. (I do believe there are some health benefits to black licorice, beyond the delicious flavor!) The point is that you must be emptied of self to be filled with Him.
Singer and songwriter Chris Sligh says it this way:
Empty me of the selfishness inside
Every vain ambition and the poison of my pride
And any foolish thing my heart holds to
Lord empty me of me so I can be filled with You
As we allow the Holy Spirit to work within us, we become people who are more and more dependent upon the Lord. The Spirit leads us into obedience to our Savior’s desires for us, and this naturally draws us closer to His will and His best for us. We are close enough to be held by Him, comforted by Him, seen by Him, heard, and known by Him. And that is the real blessing of being poor in spirit!
Sincere love in Christ,
Bryan and Rachel