Matthew 5:3 (ESV)

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

Read Matthew Chapter 5

“Poor in Spirit”

Matthew 5:3-11 is known as the Beatitudes, which are declarations of blessedness and spiritual well-being for believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. These verses are the very foundation of all of Jesus’ teaching on the kingdom of heaven and are the essence of the gospel message itself.

It’s no accident that Jesus’ introductory statement at the start of His glorious Sermon on the Mount is “Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Without being poor in spirit, the kingdom of heaven will not be ours and the rest of Jesus’ teaching will fall on our deaf ears.

So what does it mean to be “poor in spirit?” Here are a few examples:

  • You recognize your need for God
  • You come to God empty of all self-worth
  • You realize you can’t earn God’s favor by doing good
  • You know the only thing you deserve from God is judgement
  • You are thankful for the gift of salvation found in Jesus Christ

The opposite is true of those who are not poor in spirit:

  • You don’t need God
  • You deserve God’s favor
  • You think you can earn God’s favor by doing good
  • You think you’re better than others and deserve God’s grace
  • You reject Jesus Christ as God’s gift of salvation for you

This shows the conflict and incompatibility between the worldly attitude of spiritual pride and a godly attitude of spiritual humility. It’s like oil and water. They could be in the same barrel but they are separate and can’t be joined together. In fact, they are in opposition to each other.

When you’re poor in spirit, you empty yourself of all self-worth before God and recognize the only thing you bring to God is your need. This poverty of spirit gives you an acute awareness of your inability to pay for, earn or deserve salvation. You realize the only thing you deserve from God is judgement and everything you receive from God is a gift born out of His goodness, grace and mercy in spite of what you deserve. When you repent and put your faith in the Lord Jesus Christ for salvation, you will be forever blessed and the kingdom of Heaven is yours in Christ!

While salvation is a one-time event that transfers someone from death to life, emptying ourselves is a continual process throughout our life in Christ. As we continue to empty ourselves before God, His Lordship reigns in our hearts and the kingdom of heaven is lived out in us and through us.

There is a popular beer commercial that uses the tagline “Stay thirsty my friends.” How tragic. What will come of the beer drinker who stays thirsty for more beer? I would like to create a “Poor in Spirit” commercial using the tagline “Stay empty my friends.” Oh, but what will come of the lover of God who stays empty of spiritual pride?

Father, thank you for the gift of salvation offered by your grace through faith in Jesus Christ. Thank you for providing a way for me to be reconciled to you. Help me to continue to empty myself of any worldly thoughts and attitudes I have that are contrary to you. Help me to see areas of my life that are incompatible with your character so that your Spirit fills me with the fruits of righteousness and the fruit of your Spirit. Protect me from pride and keep me poor in spirit as you continue to mold and shape me into the image of Christ. In His Glorious Name, Amen!

Thank you for reading my Daily Bible Journal!

Reading, reflecting and writing from the Bible has so radically impacted my life in Christ, it’s as if I’ve been on auto-pilot when reading the Bible in the past. There’s something about “sitting with the text” and through prayerful reflection, sharing what comes to mind. Because I’m posting online for others to read, I consider my words carefully and try to be clear and accurate.

This daily process enhances my understanding of God’s Word and embeds it into my conscience. It literally gets “hidden in my heart!”

I hope this encourages others to be in God’s Word every day.

For God’s Glory,

~Scott Quillin