The poor in spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).

This scripture is the first of the beatitudes and comes from Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount. In this sermon, Jesus makes nine statements regarding “who is blessed.” The word Beatitudes comes from the Latin word “beatus” meaning, “blessed” or “happy.”

What does Jesus mean when He tells us “poor in spirit?” If you substitute the word “humble” for “poor,” you’ll understand. Simply put, Jesus is telling us to be humble in our spirits by realizing our dependence on Him. We must acknowledge our own sin; our emptiness; our poverty. We cannot be proud in our hearts, thinking we do not need God. Humbleness starts with the recognition that we cannot exist without God and He is the Commander of our lives.  When we are humble before God, it creates a bond that cannot be broken; a relationship that gives us the life God wants for us.

Arrogance does not exist in a person who is “poor in spirit.” Arrogance over-rides God and puts Him as a secondary source of strength and puts one’s self as a primary source.

How do you become “poor in spirit?”

1. God’s standards cannot be reached by you and me. We need Jesus.

2. Full and total repentance. Our sins lead to death; our dependence on Jesus Christ, the Son of God, leads us to life eternal. There is NO other way.

3. Acknowledgement of our spiritual worthlessness without God. We are nothing without Him. We can do nothing without Him.

4. You cannot save yourself. Only Christ can give you salvation.

Who in the Bible had this attitude?

1. Gideon: Judges 6:15,  “‘Pardon me, my lord,’ Gideon replied, ‘but how can I save Israel? My clan is the weakest in Manasseh, and I am the least in my family.'”

2. Peter: Luke 5:8, “When Simon Peter saw this, he fell at Jesus’ knees and said, ‘Go away from me, Lord; I am a sinful man!’”

3. Jesus: John 5:30, “By myself I can do nothing; I judge only as I hear, and my judgment is just, for I seek not to please myself but him who sent me.”

The best explanation is summed up in Ephesians 2:7-9, “in order that in the coming ages he might show the incomparable riches of his grace, expressed in his kindness to us in Christ Jesus. For it is by grace you have been saved, through faith—and this is not from yourselves, it is the gift of God— not by works, so that no one can boast.”


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