Sunday, August 19, 2012

A Lesson On Being Poor In Spirit (Beatitude Series Part 1)

"The poor in spirit are blessed, for the kingdom of heaven is theirs." Matthew 5:3 (HCSB version)

How do you read this verse? I think many of us have misunderstood this verse. First we must go back to the Old Testament and read Isaiah 61:1, "The Spirit of the Lord God is on Me, because the Lord has anointed Me to bring good news to the poor. He has sent Me to heal the brokenhearted, to proclaim liberty to the captives and freedom to the prisoners."

Now lets take a look at Isaiah 66:2, which says, "My hand made all things, and so they all came into being. This is the Lord's declaration. I will look favorably on this kind of person: one who is humble, submissive in spirit, and trembles at my word."

This verse isn't at all speaking about those who are whiny and complain constantly. It isn't speaking of those who hold their head down and say, woe is me. It's not having the attitude that the end is here and all is lost. It is entirely different. It's not speaking of lacking spirit or of a lesser value. It is in fact speaking of those who lifted their head to God and found His Spirit alive and well in them. It's not finding your value as less, but indeed of more, as Christ lives in and through you. We were created to be blessed. In fact in the Old Testament the poor were those who cried out to God. Those who surrendered all and looked to God for their every need. They were a humble people. We might look at the word poor and find the meaning to be broken.

So, what is it to be broken? Is it a bad thing? Not at all. It's humbling. It's finding that you cannot care for yourself, but must reach out for help. Think of these things:

The alabaster box had to be broken before the beauty was poured out.
The ground must be broken before the seed is planted and growth occurs.
The broken rose petal is what gives off a beautiful aroma.
A wild, untamed horse must be broken before he can be of use.

Meekness is not weakness at all.

There is much to this verse. It takes us back to Moses and his blessing. (Deuteronomy 33) Moses was blessing his people. The Israelites. It points not only to present blessings, but future blessings as well. When Jesus spoke the sermon on the mount He too was speaking to His people. I am looking at the scripture, "Is theirs", referring to being blessed. This isn't something that will happen. It doesn't says, "Will be theirs", it says, "Is theirs".

Maybe a few more verses will help us understand.

"He mocks those who mock, but gives grace to the humble." Proverbs 3:34

"But He gives greater grace. Therefore He says: God resists the proud, but gives grace to the humble." James 4:6

See the opposite of poor in spirit is proud in spirit.

"He must increase, but I must decrease." John 3:30 This is coming from John the Baptist and he is speaking about our Savior.

Before we can be of use to God we must let go of our flesh. We must be poor and broken so that we can purely seek Him. In our humbleness we can find the mightiness of God. It's not giving in, as this world may have us do, but giving up everything to God. God brings beauty from ash. He takes the weak and makes them strong. He uses those who are usable and creates vessels in them for the Lord to shine through.

It is in giving of ourselves that we truly understand the will of God. It isn't going to be found in a proud and boastful heart, but one that is humble and pure.

In Luke 6:20 it says, "Then looking up at His disciples, He said: You who are poor are blessed, because the kingdom of God is yours."

You know in raising our hands it means to surrender. In raising our hands in praise to the Lord we are surrendering all to Him. We are trusting Him. We are believing in His promises. In our brokenness we can find great gain for the Lord and His kingdom. There is beauty in humility. Something that cannot be found in pride.

In seeking the Lord and trusting Him we can live in pure joy. Happiness is based on situation, but joy lives and is born in the heart.

Friends, whatever you are going through today, trust the Lord. Open your hands and surrender all to Him. Humble your heart and seek His face. In your brokenness beauty shall be found and it is that beauty that the Lord shines through to bring others to know Him.

Being poor in spirit is not walking in defeat, but the very opposite. It is trusting the Lord already has the victory. Walk in His Word today and you shall find victory.
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