“Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven” – Matthew 5:3
The message seems to contradict itself but God’s way of living is usually at odds with the world’s. His ways may seem strange to the world. We must be poor in spirit which means to be humble. Pride and self-importance have no place in God’s kingdom. The Bible says, “God resists the proud but gives grace to humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time, casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you” (1 Peter 5:5-6).
People don’t like to submit or be dependent on anyone. They like to be self-sufficient, idependent. Jesus is saying blessed are those who humble themselves in the sight of the Lord. As disciples of Jesus we must submit to God and resist the devil who offers us worldly things. These traits are the ones Jesus is looking for in His followers. God blesses those who live out these traits.
It is not easy to do what may seem strange and opposite to the societal norm. How could a humble person inherit the kingdom of heaven? The Lord Himself declares, “I will dwell in the high and holy place with him who has a contrite and humble spirit. To revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones” (Isaiah 57:15).
God dwells with the humble–the poor in spirit–those who for recognize their need for God. They are lowly in spirit. Paul describes this kind of attitude best. “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself. Let each of you look out not only for his own interests but also for the interests of others” (Philippians 2:3, 4).
Jesus was poor in spirit–He was humble and He came to serve, not to be served. He always puts the needs of others before His own. And the result is, “Therefore God also has highly exalted Him and given Him the name which is above every name, that at the name of Jesus every knee should bow, of those in heaven, and of those on earth, and of those under the earth, and that every tongue should confess that Jesus Christ is Lord, to the glory of God the Father” (Philippians 2:9-11). Jesus humbled Himself and became obedient to the point of death. As disciples of Christ we are to humble ourselves and be obedient to God in all things.
Like Jesus, our kingdom is not of this world and that is why the world does not know us just as it did not know Him. We are God’s peculiar people. Our way of life is at odds with the ways of the world. Being poor in spirit brings us God’s riches which are eternal.