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The Blessing of Spiritual Poverty - First15 - November 23, 2017

  • 2017 Nov 23
  • COMMENTS

The Blessing of Spiritual Poverty

Weekly Overview:

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:“I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” >Isaiah 57:15

Devotional:

To be rich in spirit based on our own accomplishments is to bear the weight of our own spiritual growth. In comparison, when we acknowledge our spiritual poverty before God, thereby contributing all that we do and are to his limitless grace, the weight of our spirituality is lifted off and placed squarely on the shoulders of Jesus, where it belongs. To be spiritually poor is to be incredibly blessed.

I’ve spent much of my Christian life seeking to do good. I’ve gone to church, Bible studies, small groups, accountability groups, and have played in worship bands. I’ve gone on mission trips, fed the homeless, served at food pantries, given up sleep, spent nights out to invest in others, and even dedicated my career to God. But it seemed like with every good work I was doing I had to continually look to the next. I couldn’t take time to rest or enjoy God because the weight of my righteousness and the fruit of my life rested solely on my shoulders. I didn’t know how to live by grace, so instead I filled every waking moment with a fight to do all I could on my own.

Now it’s not that any of those works were inherently bad. In fact, I am continuing to do most of those things today. The difference is found in John 15:5-9 where Jesus says,

I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.

When we live in acknowledgement of our immense need for God’s help, we place ourselves on the path to abiding. Just as a sheep cannot find food, shelter, or water without abiding in the help of a shepherd, we are in immense need of our Good Shepherd. Problems arise when we see ourselves as more than helpless sheep and try to go our own way by living in our own strength. Pride covers up our true state of need. Being poor in spirit opens our eyes to see our true state of helplessness and helps us lean on the ever ready, capable, and available help of our good and faithful Father.

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite’” (Isaiah 57:15). May your day be blessed by abiding in a God who is “high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy,” but is “with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit.” May your spiritual poverty lead you to a life filled with the glorious, incomprehensible presence, grace, and love of your Good Shepherd. And may you abide in the loving arms of your heavenly Father as he wholly enriches your life with his loving-kindness.

Guided Prayer:

1. Meditate on the blessing of being spiritually poor. Allow Scripture to fill you with courage to look at the state of your life and acknowledge your need of God.

“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: ‘I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.’” Isaiah 57:15

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

“But he said to me, ���My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.’ Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” 2 Corinthians 12:9

2. Where have you been living life in your own strength? Where is your life not marked by the fruit of abiding in God’s grace and presence?

“I am the vine; you are the branches. Whoever abides in me and I in him, he it is that bears much fruit, for apart from me you can do nothing. If anyone does not abide in me he is thrown away like a branch and withers; and the branches are gathered, thrown into the fire, and burned. If you abide in me, and my words abide in you, ask whatever you wish, and it will be done for you. By this my Father is glorified, that you bear much fruit and so prove to be my disciples. As the Father has loved me, so have I loved you. Abide in my love.” John 15:5-9

3. Take time to cast the weight of your spirituality on the shoulders of your Good Shepherd. Abide in the love of your heavenly Father. Allow him to take the weight of all you’ve been working toward and replace it with the joy of simply knowing him.

“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you.” 1 Peter 5:6-7

“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

It is a process to learn to bear fruit out of abiding in God. It’s a place of trust to begin good works by simply enjoying the love of your Father. But Scripture is clear that it is only in resting in the grace and help of our Shepherd that we will bear any form of good fruit. God has good works in store for you that will extend far past the reach of this life. He has an amazing plan to use you to bring his kingdom to earth all around you. But the blessing of making a deep and lasting impact all begins by continually enjoying the love of a good God who would come down to meet you even in your weakness, need, and sin. Rest in the love of your Father today and allow him to plant desires in you that he will come and fulfill by his limitless grace.

Extended Reading: John 15

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