Matthew 5:1-3 - Seeing the crowds, He (Jesus) 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."
I have to admit that this phrase, "poor in spirit," puzzles me. What exactly does it mean? It certainly doesn't refer to people who have no spirit—to people who are listless, cowardly, lacking in pep. From what Jesus says, it must be a good thing to be "poor in spirit." He calls it "blessed," and promises a great reward.
So what is it?
It reminds me of when Jesus put a child in the midst of His disciples and said, "Truly, I say to you, unless you turn and become like children, you will never enter the kingdom of heaven. Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 18:3-4). As anyone knows who has raised a child, they have a lot of faults. But one thing children know is that they are needy—weak, poor, unable to take care of themselves. That's why they cling so strongly to adults. They know they need help, and they're not ashamed to admit it.
Being poor in spirit seems to me to be much the same thing. I admit that I need help—that spiritually I am poor, weak, and needy, just like a child. And then I cling to Jesus, with all my strength.
Of course, this is not something I can do alone. I need the Holy Spirit's help for this—because nobody wants to admit to weakness, especially in public. But the Holy Spirit helps me see the truth about myself. I really am poor—in spirit, and in many other ways. And then He leads me to the One who can fix all that—to Jesus, my Savior and my King.
Jesus sees the truth about me, too. But He doesn't ridicule me or send me away. Instead, He opens His kingdom to me. He gives up His own life for me by dying on a cross. He rises from the dead, and shares His eternal life with me. He gives me Himself—so that now I am truly rich. Now I have not just the kingdom of heaven, but the King Himself. What a wonderful gift!
THE PRAYER: Dear Father, thank You for Your Son Jesus. Amen.
This Daily Devotion was written by Dr. Kari Vo.
1. Do you ever feel the need to look stronger and more confident than you really are?
2. How does it make you feel to realize that God sees the truth—and loves you anyway?
3. Why do you think the so-called "rich in spirit" cannot inherit the kingdom of God?
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