Monday, February 13, 2012

Poor in Spirit

{Matthew 5:1-3}
"Seeing the crowds, he went up on the mountain, and when he sat down, his disciples came to him. And he opened his mouth and taught them, saying:
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
As I walk through Jesus’ teaching from the Sermon on the Mount, I see how upside-down His kingdom is. He teaches opposite of what we feel, think, or have been taught to believe. The guy on TV says I’m blessed when I’m healthy, wealthy, and full. Jesus says we’re blessed when we’re poor, mourning, humble, hungry, and thirsty.

Which is it? Why?

Why would Jesus tell us the starting place is a lowly place? A place of poverty? Brokenness? Spiritual bankruptcy? Why would God want us poor?

When we are poor in Spirit, we are brought low. We see God for who He is and we see ourselves for who we are (sinful) and who we are not (righteous).

When we are poor in spirit, we are awakened to see our position before God. A position of lowliness, dust, nothing, poor, spiritually bankrupt, lost, and far off.

A.W. Pink said “To be "poor in spirit" is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things. It issues from the painful discovery that all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags. It follows the awakening that my best performances are unacceptable, yea, an abomination to the thrice Holy One. Poverty of spirit evidences itself by its bringing the individual into the dust before God, acknowledging his utter helplessness and deservingness of hell. It is the Spirit emptying the heart of self that Christ may fill it: it is a sense of need and destitution. The one who is poor in spirit is nothing in his own eyes, and feels that his proper place is in the dust before God. {Pink, A.W. (2011-06-28). An Exposition of The Sermon on The Mount (Kindle Locations 241-242). Unknown. Kindle Edition.}

Don’t you see being poor in spirit is a blessing? As long as we think of ourselves more highly that we ought, we are filled with pride and have yet to taste of His grace. When we see ourselves as sinful, we see The Cross more clearly. God is not interested in us trying to clean up our own mess, He is interested in being our cleansing flow.

It is only from this place of emptiness we can be filled by the One who satisifies.

It’s only from this place of brokenness that we can be made whole by the One who heals.

It is only from this lowly place that we can be lifted high.

It’s only from being poor in spirit that we will receive riches in Christ.

Poverty of spirit leads to mourning, humility, hunger, and thirst for God. Poverty leads to gratitude . . . gratitude of His life, His death, His blood, His resurrection, His grace.

It’s this lowly place that leads us to His grace.

“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, “God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” Submit yourselves therefore to God. Resist the devil, and he will flee from you. Draw near to God, and he will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners, and purify your hearts, you double-minded. Be wretched and mourn and weep. Let your laughter be turned to mourning and your joy to gloom. Humble yourselves before the Lord, and he will exalt you. (James 4:6-10)

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