Growing up in the church I think I heard the beatitudes taught at least once a year, maybe more. When it comes to living our faith, I find no better guide than the Sermon on the Mound. Not only does Jesus reinforce the 10 Commandments through His teachings; he raises the bar for many of them.
Inside the Sermon on the Mound Matthew records Jesus’ sermon to include what we refer to as “The Beatitudes”.
Although I have heard these taught many times, I am not sure how often I have really thought about what they mean.
The first beatitude states that “blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”.
X+Y = Kingdom Of Heaven
Before I even look at the first part of this I just want to touch on the benefit. If you are poor in spirit, then the kingdom of heaven will be yours. So, if this was a mathematical equation you could say that you + x = kingdom of heaven. If someone wants to know how they can inherit the kingdom of God, then it may be as simple as answering this equation. Looking at the verse we know that x = poor in spirit so if you + “poor in spirit” = kingdom of heaven then that may be a pretty good start. There had to be a reason that Jesus listed this one first when speaking on the beatitudes.
Did He Just Say That?
Don’t throw me off the train for heresy just yet. I know that the only way to Heaven is through Jesus; and that we must believe with our hearts and confess with our mouths. I also, look at this message from Jesus and realize that if you want to know what that looks like then consider “poor in spirit”. If you want to see what a life liven for Christ looks like, then consider looking for those who are poor in spirit. Remember, I posted recently about knowing a tree by its fruit. This is where that comes into play. What does the fruit of a Christian look like? It looks like “poor in spirit”.
Here is the catch I lived most of my life having no real idea what poor in spirit really meant. It may be due to paying no attention as a young man or never digging in deeply to the beatitudes one by one. Either way, it is time to fix that.
The Poor in Spirit:
What does that mean anyway? Does it mean you don’t have the spirit, or you are lacking in some way? No, not at all. What it means is that even though we have the Spirit with us we are to live in a humble manner. We know that with the Spirit we are heirs to the kingdom but that does not give us the right to live arrogantly. Here are five ways to live “poor in spirit”:
- Admit that you are a sinner and nothing you can do will ever be enough for you to be worthy of God’s Sacrifice.
A person who is poor in spirit will understand that they are a sinner and they are not worthy of God’s gift. They will never feel like they have “earned” God’s salvation and will live a life that is constantly searching to fulfill God’s call on their live.
- Seek treasures in heaven not on Earth
They will also not seek worldly treasures. A person who is poor in spirt will seek to earn their rewards in heaven and will not focus on worldly treasures and material possessions. Someone who is poor in spirit will sacrifice their own worldly treasures in order to help others find the love of Christ.
As I touched on in the passage above, they will sacrifice their own desires to see others brought closer to Christ. Their desire to see others find Christ will outweigh their own desire to succeed or find worldly wealth.
- Finds joy in the small things
Those who are poor in spirit will find joy in the small task. They will find joy working behind the scenes and getting no credit for what they have done. A person who is poor in spirit understands their role and accepts the position they have been given. Remember, not everyone is called to be a Peter. Some are called to be an Andrew.
- Seeks God’s Will not their own
This one is simple; they will always seek God’s Will in their life. They will never put their own desires before God’s desire for their life. A person who is poor in spirit will not only put God’s will before their own, they will be happy doing it.
It is my goal over the next few blogs to look into the beatitudes and what they can tell us about how to live Christian lives. As I continue to examine what the church should look like and how Christian behavior affects the world around us, I pray that I do it in a manner that is poor in spirit.