“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
The first few Beatitudes are the basic fundamentals of having a right relationship with God, which in turn gives us true happiness. That is why Jesus can say “Blessed” which translates to “Oh, how happy!”. At first glance, the statement might be contradictory, but as we dig deeper, we discover that the position of our hearts directly translates to our response to God’s will.
Pride is the absolute largest hurdle we humans have to overcome. It can infest our souls and keep us from ultimately accepting Jesus as our Savior. It can blacken our hearts and keep us from forgiving others. It can glorify ourselves and fill our souls with emptiness by not recognizing where our blessings truly come from. (James 1:17) It can demand its own way only to lead down a path of destruction. It can do many things, and none of them lead to lasting peace and happiness.
As we look at our verse of the week, it begins to make sense why Jesus would recognize those who are “poor in spirit”. He is in the business of emptying us before we can be filled. So, as we are poor in spirit, we recognize the depth of our sins and the inability to do life on our own, which then allows us to be prepared to completely concede our own will and authority over to the Lord.
And as a result? Jesus promises that the kingdom of Heaven is ours. This can be for both the future and the present. As we fully submit to the will of the Lord, we have direct access to the kingdom, which means we have all the power that is in the kingdom of heaven residing in our hearts. And as Christians, we know the fruit that can be produced from being poor in spirit. The external things of life are far less valuable than the eternal glory that awaits us. Nothing will satisfy our hearts more than to recognize our need to fill the Jesus shape hole with Jesus, Himself.
That is why He can confidently say, “Oh, how happy are those who are humble in spirit and submit to My way. They are filled with peace and the power of My kingdom takes hold over their hearts.” (my paraphrase and interpretation)
I don’t know about you but there are areas in my heart that I allow pride and self-will to dwell. Sometimes I don’t even notice it until it rears its ugly head during a fight with my husband. Or I suddenly turn into a whiney toddler when I demand my own way instead of submitting to the Lord’s way. It can be a daily struggle for me. That is why this verse needs to be in the forefront of my mind every single day. It’s like when Jesus said, “If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross, and follow Me.” (Matthew 16:24) When I am in full recognition of my depravity without Christ, I am actually living a full life in thankfulness and appreciation of the cross.
This week, let us recognize the gravity of our sin, humble ourselves before the Lord, and He will fill and lift us up.
For more reading, meditate on James 4