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“Every one of us has in himself a continent of undiscovered character.  Happy is he who acts as the Columbus to his own soul.”  Sir J. Stevens

As we try to learn from the example of Saul we learn what symptoms will lead to the diagnosis of not possessing Christian character, specifically poor in spirit.   How did not being poor in spirit manifest itself in Saul’s life in Chapters 18 and 19?

When Saul saw and knew that the LORD was with David, and that Michal, Saul’s daughter, loved him, then Saul was even more afraid of David.  Thus Saul was David’s enemy continually.  Then the commanders of the Philistines out to battle, and it happened as often as they went out, that David behaved himself more wisely than all the servants of Saul.  So his name was highly esteemed.  Now Saul told Jonathan his son and to all his servants to put David to death.  But Jonathan, Saul’s son, greatly delighted in David.  (1 Samuel 18:28-19:1, NASB)

1) Jealousy: Saul was jealous that the LORD was with David, that his daughter was in love with David, and that his son was devoted to David. If Saul were poor in spirit his delight would have been in the Lord and not in himself.  Saul’s desires for self-affirmation were dictating his attitude towards others.  Saul’s focus should have been on God, not self.

2) Making Enemies: Saul made David his enemy because of his jealousy. The next step after jealousy is to make the person who causes you to be jealous an enemy.  David’s intent was not to make enemies, but to serve the Lord.  Saul should have had the same attitude.

3) Desire for Stature: Plans for revenge turn on Saul as David becomes esteemed by the people. Again, the need for self- affirmation and the position that power brings was driving Saul to act irrationally.

So Saul heeded the voice of Jonathan, and Saul swore, “As the LORD lives, he (David) shall not be killed.”  (1 Samuel 19:6, NKJV)

4) Lying: Saul had no intention of keeping this promise; he wanted to appease his son.  In order to get some affirmation from his son Saul had to lie.  If Saul was the man that God intended him to be he would have naturally been esteemed by God and man.

Now the distressing spirit from the LORD came upon Saul as he sat in his house with his spear in his hand.  Then Saul sought to pin David to the wall with the spear, but he slipped away from Saul’s presence…  (1 Samuel 19:9-10, NKJV)

5) Depression: Saul was depressed so while in this condition he tries to kill David.  Depression causes people to not see the whole picture and often leads to irrational behavior as in Saul’s case.

Saul spends his time chasing David instead of facing his real enemies.  (See 1 Samuel 19:11-24)

6) Poor use of time: Saul should have been focusing on serving the Lord through ruling his people.  Saul had not yet defeated the Philistines.  Instead of leading his army in battle he was chasing David around because he perceived him as a threat to his kingdom.  There is the problem with Saul.  The kingdom was no longer God’s but his.  The man poor in spirit will have the kingdom of heaven.

We need to be on the lookout for these character flaws in our lives.  The symptoms may be telling us that we are not being poor in spirit and the character that Christ wants to build in us is not being built to His specifications.  Let us be alarmed when we see any of the traits seen in Saul becoming a part of our lives.  If this ever becomes the case we should then repent of it right away and turn back to the loving Father who wants us to be poor in spirit for the sake of the kingdom.

Examine yourself right now and determine if you see one of these symptoms; if you do repent of the sin that is the root cause and turn once again to your loving Father who through the Holy Spirit will continue to develop the character of being poor in spirit in you.