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:“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
In his book The Ragamuffin Gospel, Brennan Manning makes an incredibly astute observation of those who are poor in spirit. He writes, “The saved sinner is prostrate in adoration, lost in wonder and praise. He knows repentance is not what we do in order to earn forgiveness; it is what we do because we have been forgiven.” To be poor in spirit is to live in a constant state of repentance founded on the already promised forgiveness of a just and loving God.
Ephesians 1:7 says, “In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” By the grace of God you and I are promised forgiveness every time we repent. We never have to question whether or not we have been forgiven. Every drop of Jesus’ blood proved God’s commitment both to justice and forgiveness. By the powerful sacrifice of Jesus, you and I have received reconciliation to a holy God, the greatest accomplishment of God’s continual forgiveness.
If we are going to experience the fullness of life made available to us by God’s continual forgiveness, we must seek to be poor in spirit. When we live as though we have it all together we blind ourselves to our continual need of repentance and forgiveness. When we compare our righteousness to other believers rather than God’s command in 1 Peter 1:16, “You shall be holy, for I am holy,” we adopt a posture of being rich in spirit. To believe we are spiritually rich is to miss out on the continual provision of God to those who are in need. Not one of us is spiritually rich in and of ourselves. Not one of us is without need of God’s forgiveness. Not one of us can step outside of completely depending on God and live the life Jesus died to give us.
By contrast, those who live in a constant state of being poor in spirit experience the abundant joy and peace that comes from being wholly met by God’s unconditional love. You and I don’t have to clean ourselves up to come before our heavenly Father. We don’t have to get our act together before we receive forgiveness for our sins. In fact, the quicker we turn to God in the middle of our mess the more we experience the ever-open arms of our heavenly Father running out to meet us (Luke 15:11-32).
There is joy in a holy, perfect God coming down to us at our greatest point of weakness. There is peace in knowing we are already accepted and loved by our heavenly Father. True life in the kingdom of God comes to those who respond with awe, reverence, humility, and an acknowledgment of their own depravity to God’s open invitation to receive his forgiveness and grace. Open your eyes to see your great need of God’s forgiveness and grace. Take an honest look at your life. And seek continual, immediate repentance for your sin knowing that you will always be met with instant forgiveness and compassion from the Father.
1. Meditate on living a lifestyle of repentance from a place of God’s promised forgiveness. Reflect on the availability of continual forgiveness for your sin. Allow Scripture to fill you with a desire to continually and immediately repent to your loving heavenly Father.
“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” 1 John 1:9
“Let the wicked forsake his way, and the unrighteous man his thoughts; let him return to the Lord, that he may have compassion on him, and to our God, for he will abundantly pardon.” Isaiah 55:7
“For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ, that though he was rich, yet for your sake he became poor, so that you by his poverty might become rich.” 2 Corinthians 8:9
2. Take an honest look at yourself. Where do you have sin? What parts of your life are in desperate need of God’s help? Where are you not living holy as your heavenly Father is holy?
“You shall be holy, for I am holy.” 1 Peter 1:16
“If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us.” 1 John 1:8
3. Ask the Holy Spirit to help you live in a continual state of need today. Take time to rest in his forgiveness and accept your need of his grace. Place yourself in the prodigal son story and see the heart of God in the character of the father (see below in the extended reading).
“In him we have redemption through his blood, the forgiveness of our trespasses, according to the riches of his grace.” Ephesians 1:7
To live in a constant state of repentance and receiving forgiveness is to live free from the weight of worldliness. There is joy in repentance. There is life in reconciliation. David declares in Psalm 40:1-3,
I waited patiently for the Lord; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God.
We live in the security of God’s unconditional love and forgiveness when we seek a lifestyle of repentance. May you discover the joy and peace available to you in the heart of God to show you grace and mercy in your weakness and repentance.
Extended Reading: Luke 15:11-32
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