Becoming Poor in the Spirit

The scene opens with Jesus sitting down on a mountainside to instruct His disciples (Matt. 5:1-2). A parallel account makes it clear that the teaching is directed toward the 12 (Luke 6:20); however, it is “the crowds [who are] amazed at [Jesus’] teaching” (Matt. 7:28). It seems that as the Lord taught His followers, those on the fringes were listening in and marveling at what they heard. As we have already seen, the kingdom of God described by Jesus is both already here and not yet come. Jesus taught His disciples, those “already here.” But it is those “not yet come”—the crowds—who are most impacted by His words.

This is the nature of the kingdom. As we who love Jesus live in its light, we may look strange to observers. But those who live out the Beatitudes and the ethics of Jesus’ sermon—those who are merciful, those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, and those who are pure in heart—speak hope to a world in desperate need of it. It’s the challenge and the promise of these short, powerful statements of Jesus, words that have the power to change the course of history.

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

Just as those who are materially poor have little to offer monetarily, people who are poor in spirit stand before God with open hands, wholly dependent upon Him.

These are the ones with nothing to recommend them but their own spiritual rags, and yet God has given them His abundant kingdom. In truth, we are all spiritually naked, without even those rags to call our own. But for everyone who recognizes his great need, Jesus declares God’s overwhelming provision both here and in eternity.

You see, it isn’t about our circumstances; it’s about our hearts. It’s about having been softened enough by the hardships of life and the grace of God to know how desperate we are. It’s about knowing that there’s no difference between “us” and “them,” that someone on the streets or behind bars or working as an exotic dancer is no more and no less in need of God’s mercy than we are. It means knowing that in our “wealth,” we are still poor and sharing the grace we’ve received. ~
— Mike Cosper

Pastor Troy DeFeo

Let me ask you point blank. Have you become bankrupt spiritually before the Lord? I know I have been down to $4.95 in my checking account. Bills were piling up, expectations of two full-time jobs were on the line, and my health was nowhere close to where it used to be. This was just two years ago. As your pastor. As an educator. As a family man. As a seasoned Christian since 1989. I think there will be times in our journey as a believer that we just don’t become “poor in the spirit” when we get saved...but as we travel like sheep beside the “quiet waters” and “through the darkest valley” of life.

Never fear “becoming poor in the spirit” as God leads you through paths of righteousness. He wants us in the valleys. He wants us on the mountaintops. He just wants us.

Psalms 23 is my favorite Psalm and Matthew 5 is my favorite sermon of all. Let both dwell in your soul today.

Pastor Troy

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