Becoming poor in spirit is about the condition of the heart. If desire the character of Christ is your desire start the process by looking at your heart. What are its desires? What occupies your heart? The key to becoming poor in spirit is allowing the Holy Spirit to take control of the heart and to set in motion the process of sanctification we discussed previously. The call to be poor in spirit has been given, but will you set your heart towards it?
The heart of him who has understanding seeks knowledge, but the mouth of fools feeds on foolishness. (Proverbs 15:14, NKJV)
The heart of the prudent acquires knowledge, and the ear of the wise seeks knowledge. (Proverbs 18:15, NKJV)
Apply your heart to discipline, and your ears to words of knowledge. (Proverbs 23:12, NASB)
As we seek to gain knowledge of our Lord let us start with a heart check. As was mentioned before, the God of the Bible is primarily concerned with the heart. Heart according to the Hebrew mind is the place of the inner nature of man, often used as his emotions or his motivation. It is from the heart that man truly expresses who he is. In the passages before us it is the heart who seeks knowledge (Proverbs 15:14); the heart who acquires knowledge (Proverbs 18:15); and the heart that applies itself to instruction (Proverbs 23:12).
Where is your heart? Does it desire to seek instruction and knowledge concerning the things of God? Is your heart ready to pursue being poor in spirit. Does your heart desire to obtain the kingdom of heaven? Set your heart towards developing the charter trait that was so important that Jesus addresses it first in the beatitudes. If we set our hearts to develop being poor in spirit the other Beatitudes can be achieved in order to develop into what we are called to be – Christians (those who are Christlike in character).
In these verses the word for knowledge means more than what the English word knowledge, and includes the thoughts of: knowing, learning, discernment, insight, and notion. This word for knowledge appears forty times in Proverbs alone. Knowledge is one of the many words associated with the Biblical concept of wisdom. The root meaning of the term is knowing. This word describes God’s gift of technical or specific knowledge along with wisdom and understanding. This is what we are setting our hearts toward gaining – Biblical knowledge of the Creator God and how He wants us to apply His Word to obtaining the character of Christ starting with poor in spirit.
In the last two passages we find that the ear is involved in seeking knowledge. The word for ear does mean the human ear, but also it is used metaphorically for obedience. We simply hear the commands of Christ and we obey them. We simply hear the leading of the Holy Spirit and we obey Him. Paul connects obedience, faith, and hearing in Romans 10:16-17,
However, they did not all heed the good news. For Isaiah says, ‘LORD, who has believed our report?’ So faith comes from hearing, and hearing by the word of Christ. (NASB)
Our ears hear the call, but it’s the action we take that defines the term to its fullest. When we obey we become hearers. We are to hear the Word of God and by faith be obedient to it. To put it another way read Jesus’ discourse on the Good Shepherd in John 10:1-30. Notice how the sheep respond to the voice and presence of the shepherd. There is an act of faithful obedience made by the sheep. They have complete confidence that the shepherd is there to protect and care for them. We are the sheep and Jesus is the Good Shepherd. We are to be faithfully trusting in His voice. The Scriptures and the Holy Spirit are the communicators of His revelation to us – the knowledge we are seeking. Let us prayerfully set our hearts to hear His voice and obey.
In Proverbs 15:14 there is the warning “but the mouth of the fool feeds on foolishness.” Foolishness is contrasted to knowledge in Scripture. We are to stay clear from foolishness by listening to the Good Shepherd. That is why we are to rely on the Holy Spirit when we seek knowledge from the Scriptures. We should ask for the Counselor to guide us every time we open the Word.
Character – it matters
Set your heart toward developing the character of being poor in spirit. Pray daily as you work your way through this blog to apply the insights God wants to give you to truly become the possessor of the kingdom of heaven through becoming poor in spirit.