Jesus and the Poor in Spirit

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Mt. 5:3)

Not many of us feel blessed when we’re feeling broken, worthless, anxious, betrayed, lost, or ashamed. How can Jesus say we’re blessed by God when we’re “poor in spirit?”

What I know in my life, and what I’ve seen in others, is that when we’re poor in spirit we finally drop to our knees; finally cry out for help; finally surrender our plans to justify ourselves; finally accept our desperate need for God; finally, plead for Jesus to save us. Sometimes it takes enormous pain to bring us to faith.

I don’t need to encourage anyone to be “poor in spirit,” for I’ve yet to meet someone who isn’t. No, my encouragement today is for us to admit and acknowledge where and how we are needy, troubled, stuck, or hurting. In other words, my invitation is for us to stop pretending we’re bulletproof, stop denying our brokenness, stop strutting around like some impervious super-star.

One time during a bible study on this passage a guy said, “I don’t like this phrase ‘poor in spirit.’ It makes us sound like we’re all just a bunch of losers.”

When Jesus said that He came only for the lost, guilty, and sick, He was indeed saying He came for the losers. Which says that if we want to have Jesus, we need to accept that we’re all losers. Thinking, feeling, or acting like we always have to be a winner is a crushing burden to carry around. It’s also a great deception. The only winners are the losers who accept the grace of Jesus.

When we’re going through a “poor in spirit” season, it usually feels awful and we can wonder why God is allowing our struggles, trials, or losses to happen. But then later, in retrospect, we often can look back and see so many blessings. It was during these times that we really sought God, gave our lives to God, and felt God’s presence.

How blessed we are when we’re “poor in spirit,” for it’s during such times that Jesus has the most room to find, heal, forgive, and give us His peace.

Reflection Questions:

  1. When were the times and what were the circumstances when you have you felt “poor in spirit?”
  1. During those “poor in spirit” seasons, what did you learn, and how did those times impact your faith?
  1. When you have felt broken, lost, or needy, did you share your pain or did you deny it? If the latter, what would help you ask for help and support if another “poor in spirit” season comes?

My Barnabas invites you to watch this video below:

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