S19P1 – The beatitudes: spiritual poverty
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus taught about the positive consequences of being of Godly character. The first character trait He addresses is being poor in spirit. This concept of spiritual poverty is not like other forms of poverty. It does not refer to someone who is spiritually lacking; it refers to someone who is not arrogant in spirit. Those who are poor in spirit perceive others as better than themselves just as Paul instructed [Phil. 2:3]. This speaks of humility, and with this attitude comes spiritual prosperity.
There are two kingdoms at work around us at the same time. The kingdom of the world, which is not merely physical but is also spiritual, prompts us to elevate ourselves above others now in an attempt to reap some benefit in the current order of things. The kingdom of God prompts us to put ourselves aside now to value others as greater than ourselves with the promise of gaining an inheritance in the new order of things, God’s kingdom. When viewed from the proper perspective, the better way is clear. We can seek earthly glory for ourselves that will pass away with all temporary things, or we can deny ourselves now and wait for God to assign us glory in his kingdom and in his timing.
The message of Jesus in this short verse is one that applies to every generation. For as long as mankind has existed, the temptation for self-glorification has beckoned him. The fallen angel and fallen man have this in common, that they desired to gain that which belongs only to God. It is not for us to seek for ourselves but to seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and He will provide for us (Matt. 6:33). Father, teach us humility as Jesus himself exhibited on earth, and remind us of the reward that awaits those who practice it so that we will not grow weary.