The biblical concept of being poor in spirit is foundational to every aspect of the Christian life. Foundational to salvation is a heart-level acknowledgment of our need for a Savior. Foundational to experiencing God’s love is acknowledging our great need of love. Foundational to heavenly peace and joy is an acknowledgment that this world truly offers us neither. If we want all that God in his grace offers, we must pursue a lifestyle of being poor in spirit. May you experience more of the depth of God’s love this week as you discover God’s heart to minister to those desperate for him.
Scripture: “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
When we live poor in spirit we position ourselves to receive the limitless grace of our heavenly Father. To be poor in spirit is by definition to acknowledge our immense, total need of God’s help. And throughout Scripture, God declares that his heart is for those who acknowledge their need of him. Isaiah 66:2 says, “All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” God’s grace is for those poor in spirit.
Paul demonstrated this truth in 2 Corinthians 12:9 where God told him, “My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” And exhibiting the proper response to God’s truth, Paul says, “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” I long for the power of Christ in my life. I long to live entirely by his perfect grace. And Scripture declares to you and me today that the way we access the fullness of God’s grace is by living poor in spirit. We must open our eyes to see the true state of our spiritual health, not in comparison to others, but in comparison to Jesus. And we must allow a revelation of our spiritual depravity to lead us to a continual acknowledgement of our need of God’s grace.
The truth is that to be anything but poor in spirit is to live under false pretense, to live a lie. Our humanity screams of our depravity. Our weaknesses are vast and plainly visible. But society tells us we need to work to cover up our mess. Even the church often values appearance above reality. Rather than being a hospital to the weak, needy, and spiritually depraved, church is often a club where only those who speak the lingo, dress accordingly, smell nice, and never speak of their problems feel welcome.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). Fitting in to the cliques of this world is nothing in comparison to an abundant life filled with the limitless grace of God. Getting a slap on the back from the world for looking like I have it all together is nothing in comparison to the freedom of coming before God openly and honestly.
James 4:6 simply declares, “God gives grace to the humble.” May we be those who have the courage to live honestly. May we have the courage to look at ourselves for who we truly are with all our faults, weaknesses, sin, pride, and immense need of help. And may we discover the wealth of life available only in the grace of an all-loving, sinner-accepting, and help-giving God.
1. Meditate on the importance of being poor in spirit in receiving God’s grace.
“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.” Isaiah 66:2
“God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.” James 4:6
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other. For everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but the one who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13-14
2. Take an honest look at yourself. Take account of your thoughts, emotions, and actions. Compare the state of your life to the call of God to look like Jesus.
“As for me, I am poor and needy, but the Lord takes thought for me. You are my help and my deliverer; do not delay, O my God!” Psalm 40:17
3. Come before your loving heavenly Father openly and honestly declaring your need of his grace. Rest in his loving presence and let him reveal to you how deeply he enjoys you just as you are. Discover that his grace meets you at every point of need, sin, and weakness.
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.” 2 Corinthians 12:9
In 1 Corinthians 15:10 Paul says, “But by the grace of God I am what I am, and his grace toward me was not in vain. On the contrary, I worked harder than any of them, though it was not I, but the grace of God that is with me.” To be poor in spirit is to accomplish far more than you ever could in your own strength. Being poor in spirit should never result in sluggishness or a lack of good works. Rather, it positions you to receive the grace of God whereby your works are of an eternal nature and filled with the anointing and power of your loving, near, heavenly Father. May you live today entirely by the grace of God and find the help of the Holy Spirit to be constant and tangible.
Extended Reading: Psalm 40
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