I have continued to reflect on what the following words mean in my life: “Blessed are the poor in spirit…” (Mathew 5:3). In material terms, being poor means having few or no monetary or physical possessions. It means to lack what is needed to survive. In spiritual terms, it means having few of what is required to feel alive, to feel worthy. It means to lack what is needed to feel valued. Without having what our spirit requires, we are truly not worthy. But our natural tendencies is to not be poor in spirit, but feel worthy, which is why we tend to fill ourselves with a sense of pride, self-sufficiency, control, and ambition, which leads us to arrogance and selfishness. The same way that our physical bodies fight to survive by having more possessions (food, clothing, shelter) , our spirits fight to exist by having worth. But if we feel unworthy, if our value is at risk (poor in spirit), why is Jesus teaching that then we are blessed? Because the Kingdom of Heaven is ours.
If we don’t have what it takes to survive spiritually, then we are empty. And when we are empty, we can fill ourselves with something new (Revelation 21:5). We won’t have anymore the false sense of pride, self-sufficiency, control, and ambition. We will then have room for the Kingdom of Heaven, which is opposite of what our natural being does. We will then be able to fill ourselves, not with pride, but with humility (Proverb 11:2). Not with self-sufficiency, but with dependence (Psalm 62:7). Not with control, but with surrender. Not with ambition, but simplicity. Pride exalts us to a level higher than where we actually are, humility is allowing ourselves to be who we really are. Self-sufficiency isolates and compartmentalizes us, dependence unites us (Psalm 133:1). Control keeps us unsatisfied, surrender allows us to rest peacefully (Psalm 46:10) . Ambition implies a goal and reaching a goal requires strategy and planning for the future, simplicity allows us to clear our minds from wanting to live in the future and simply live in the present (Matthew 6:34). We don’t “need” to define ourselves anymore, we simply live. We don’t need to claim that we “own” anything (not even the bodies we live in), because we then acknowledge we belong to something higher (Galatians 2:20,Haggai 2:8, Deuteronomy 10:14). We are owned by something greater. We must give up everything, without reservation, in order to gain the true Life. (Luke 17:33)
In Summary, to be poor in spirit is to have a humble (realistic) opinion of ourselves; to accept that we are insignificant, and have no righteousness of our own; to be willing to be worthy only because of God; to be willing to be where God places us, to accept the fact that we don’t own anything, to do everything for Him, through Him, and in Him.
Consider the following quotes which help me understand further what “poor in spirit” means:
” Too much pride can put you to shame. It is wise to be humble” (Proverb 11:2)
” Do not worry about tomorrow, for tomorrow will worry about itself.Each day has enough trouble of its own.” (Matthew 6:34)
“Be still and know that I am God…” (Psalm 46:10)
“but let it not be my will, but your will alone…” (Luke 22:42)
“Why do you call me good? only God is good…” (Mark 10:18)
“The fool has said in his heart, ‘there is no God'” (Psalm 14:1)
‘Not by might nor by power, but by My Spirit,’ says the Lord” (Zechariah 4:6)
“To the LORD your God belong the heavens, even the highest heavens, the earth and everything in it” (Deuteronomy 10:14).
“For every animal of the forest is mine, and the cattle on a thousand hills (Psalm 50:10).
“The world is mine, and all that is in it” (Psalm 50:12).
“‘The silver is mine and the gold is mine,’ declares the LORD Almighty” (Haggai 2:8).
“My salvation and my honor depend on God; he is my mighty rock, my refuge” Psalm 62:7
“If you cling to your life, you will lose it, and if you let your life go, you will save it” (Luke 17:33)
“But on this one will I look; on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My Word.“ (Isaiah 66:2)
- “It is unwise to be too sure of one’s own wisdom. It is healthy to be reminded that the strongest might weaken and the wisest might err.” (Mahatma Gandhi)
- “Our life of poverty is as necessary as the work itself. Only in heaven will we see how much we owe to the poor for helping us to love God better because of them”. (Mother Teresa)
- “I gave in, and admitted that God was God.” (C.S.Lewis)