The Poor in Spirit
By Michael Youssef, Ph.D.
Poverty and happiness don’t usually go together. No one says, “If only I were homeless, then I’d be happy!” But Jesus says poverty and happiness actually go hand in hand. Of course, the poverty Jesus is talking about in the first beatitude is poverty of spirit. Being poor in spirit means we are conscious of our emptiness apart from God and our true sinful nature. Poverty of spirit comes when the Holy Spirit awakens our spirits to see that only Jesus’ death on the cross can atone for our sins and secure our eternal salvation.
Without poverty of spirit we cannot discover salvation and a personal relationship with Jesus Christ. We must first realize we need saving before we can reach out and cling to our Savior. But being poor in spirit is not just an entry requirement for salvation. While it may be the first step in the structure that Jesus is building with the beatitudes, it is also foundational—all the others rest on this one.
The brokenness we experience when we first come to know Christ stays with us. In fact, as we grow more mature in the faith, we discover new depths to our spiritual poverty—new reasons to hold tightly to Jesus, new reasons to be thankful for His grace and mercy. And as we live our lives in the knowledge that He is our only hope and the source of our every blessing, we can’t help but brim with true joy and happiness.
Prayer: Jesus, I know I am nothing apart from You. Thank You for giving me Your righteousness, for washing me white as snow. Help me to grow in spiritual maturity as I reflect on my spiritual poverty apart from Your grace and Your Holy Spirit renewing me day by day. I pray in the name of Jesus. Amen.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
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