The Poor in Spirit are Blessed

The series began here.

“Blessed for My sake,” is Jesus’ proclamation that we possess the favor of God, being marked by fullness before God. It isn’t “blessed shall be,” but “blessed are.”

The foundation of all the beatitudes begins with being poor in spirit. It is a deep and profound knowing that we have no spiritual assets to wave before God. There is a Greek word for “working poor,” but Jesus uses a different word… “truly poor.” In other words, it is the attitude of begging.

Poor in spirit is:

The blind beggar in Mark 10:47, crying out to Christ to have mercy on him.

The woman with the blood issue in Luke 8:43-48, who came in desperation to find the One who might heal her.

The father in Mark 9:24, who admits his poverty and cries out for Jesus to help him in his unbelief.

The ‘sinner’ woman in Luke 7:37-38, who sheds every tear and every penny she has on the feet of her only Savior.

The tax-collector in Luke 18:13, beating his chest and pleading for forgiveness.

The list goes on and on with examples of those stunned by God, recognizing their complete and utter brokenness, and coming to Him based on His mercy and not their merits. This is the attitude Jesus is speaking of here and it is a requirement.

"Not what I have, but what I have not, is the first point of contact, between my soul and God.”


The blessing is the Kingdom of Heaven.

As believers, we had this spirit at the moment of our salvation. It was the attitude needed to receive the kingdom. And what a blessing the Kingdom is!

But this attitude isn’t to disappear after conversion. As we began with Christ, we are to continue in Him. Where we fail is that we so quickly go from beating our chest to puffing it out.

We are still "poor" and Jesus pronounces blessing on those that believe it and live like it. We cannot fill any of the rest of the beatitudes in our own strength. It is only by a beggar’s reliance on God and His power to make them a daily reality. This first beatitude is the foundation that must exist for the rest to be lived out.

What is not poor in spirit?

Jesus is speaking about pride’s opposite in this beatitude – humility. Humility is antithetical to the pride that leads us to hypocrisy.

How we end up hypocritical? We lack being poor in spirit.

It isn’t the fact that we cannot possibly live up to 100% of what we say we believe – that is the point - it is in covering that up and denying the truth of it. It is beginning in the Spirit and now perfecting in the flesh (and expecting others to do so as well). ~ Gal 3:3

Romans 12:3, tells us to not think more highly of ourselves than we should. “Highly” means to consider something of “great importance.” You will see this “high-minded attitude” pour out into some patterned beliefs and/or behaviors...

Are you defensive in your interactions with others?

Are you relying on God or self to be your champion?

Are you thinking about you more than about God or others?

Are you putting yourself in a position to play the “expert”?

Are you telling others how they need to live?

Are you comparing yourself to others?

Are you looking down on others?

Are you “speaking your mind” more than listening?

Here is my answer to the above questions: “Yes!” I do many of these on a regular basis. Am I alone? This is the plight of us all and something that has to be battled against.

How can we be poor in spirit?

Philippians 2:3-16 speaks to how Jesus practiced what He preached. Paul tells us the keys to living in the attitude Jesus is seeking in this first beatitude:

Do nothing from a place of selfish ambition. v3

Have a humble mindset - not self-conceited, self-preoccupied, self-confident. v3

Regard others as more important - I consider you above me and you consider me above you. Everyone is looked up to and no one is looked down upon. v3

Look out for others' interests - not just your own. v4

Having the attitude of Christ – not just distant awe of it, but something to enter into and imitate. v5-8

Obeying God in fear and trembling – work out what has been worked in. v12

Take comfort that it is God who is working in us both to will and to do these things. v13

So we come full circle – we have to admit our inability to make this happen, fall upon the grace and mercy of God, and obey Him by the power of the Spirit.


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Who made heaven and earth,

The sea and all that is in them; Who keeps faith forever.

Psalm 146:6