“In the following discourse (the Beatitudes) there is a sweet invitation to true holiness and happiness.” (John Wesley)
My sacrifice [the sacrifice acceptable] to God is a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart [broken down with sorrow for sin and humbly and thoroughly penitent], such, O God, You will not despise. (Psalm 51:17, Amplified)
“Spiritually prosperous are the destitute and helpless in the realm of the spirit, because theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3; The New Testament: An Expanded Translation by Kenneth S. Wuest)
To be perfectly honest this verse, Matthew 5:3, is one of the most challenging in Scripture for me. There are so many questions I have when addressing this particular imperative, or command, of the Lord. If poor in spirit means lacking pride or selflessness how do we empty ourselves of pride? Why does the lack of pride often make one prideful? Is pride the cause of all or most sin? If being poor is not possessing the basic needs in the world (as some teach) is not possessing worldliness poor in spirit? In spirit – what is this exactly? Is not being in the flesh being in the spirit? How do you become poor in spirit without recognizing it; for when you see it or bring attention to it are you no longer poor in spirit? What is blessed or happy? Should a Christian strive to be happy? More personally, how can you write a blog on any topic without pride? Is not writing self-promoting, and thus prideful? Not all the answers are easy to find, and not all will be answered, but the best way to address Scripture is to ask questions. The Word of God will reveal what God wants you to receive. My prayer for myself is that I do not become prideful through this study, but to become like you, a disciple who desires to be transformed and used of God by becoming poor in spirit.
Another self-disclosure I have is that pride and I go way back. From sports, to academics, to just being a nice guy, have led to periods where pride has taken control of my thoughts and actions towards others. I have become so comfortable with pride and the thought of letting go is painful. I cannot speak for you, but I have found that pride is what drives me to sin, to partake of the Romans 7 life instead of the Romans 8 life. Everything that is contrary to God’s Word in my life is driven by pride. I see it in my children. I see it in my friends. I see it in the pulpit. I see it in the Church. How do you address this verse about pride when you have not conquered pride yourself? That is why this verse in particular is personal to me. Pride needs to be addressed in my life – the journey begins for me with this study on becoming poor in spirit.
The questions have been asked, but are we ready to receive what God has for us? Spend time with the Lord and pray about the questions raised and how we currently understand phrases like poor in spirit, blessed, and the kingdom of heaven. Let us come with a heart willing to grasp all that God has for us. Let us come to this study with a heart of longing for a better understanding of God’s Word for us. I would like to be blessed and the Lord wants to bless you; The Father has already blessed you and me but He wants much more for us. Join with me as I pray for us as Paul did for the Ephesians,
(We) do not cease giving thanks for you, while making mention of you in my prayers; that the God of our Lord Jesus Christ, the Father of glory, may give to you a spirit of wisdom and of revelation in the knowledge of Him. I pray that the eyes of your heart may be enlightened, so that you will know what is the hope of His calling, what are the riches of the glory of His inheritance in the saints, and what is the surpassing greatness of His power toward us who believe. These are in accordance with the working of the strength of His might which He brought about in Christ, when He raised Him from the dead and seated Him at His right hand in the heavenly places, far above all rule and authority and power and dominion, and every name that is named, not only in this age but also in the one to come. (Ephesians 1:16-21, NASB)
Commit in prayer for the defeat of pride in all areas of your life. Also pray to have all the questions asked in today’s entry to be answered by the Spirit in His timing for us.