Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 NASB)
Jesus, in the Sermon on the Mount, laid out for us what it means to be truly blessed. The first virtue mentioned in the Beatitudes (the beautiful attitudes) is the poverty of spirit. Humility is always the door to being truly blessed.
The prevailing opinion of the world is that happiness comes from being rich, great, or honorable in this life or from external circumstances. In contrast, blessedness comes from being poor in spirit, which originates from within.
The commentator Matthew Henry wrote, “The foundation of all other graces is humility. Those who want to build high must begin low.” Being poor in spirit is to realize that God is great, and we are not. He is righteous, and we are sinful and in need of His grace. And that it is all about Him and not us.
Yes, God does give us spiritual riches, but they are bestowed and not earned. The Apostle Paul was rich in spiritual endowment, surpassing most others in gifts and graces, yet he was poor in spirit. I Corinthians 15:9 NASB says, “For I am the least of the apostles, and not fit to be called an apostle…”. Or in Ephesians 3:8 NASB, Paul describes himself as “the least of all the saints.” This great man of God, the most prolific writer of New Testament text, viewed himself as the least among the great and the lowest among the least.
In our spiritual journey, the closer we come to God, the greater He becomes and the less we become to ourselves. To the extent that we recognize the bankruptcy of our self-sufficiency and our total dependency on Him is the degree to which God can confer upon us all spiritual blessings. As William Booth, the founder of the Salvation Army, once said, “The way up is always down.”
The image is used with permission from Microsoft.