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Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit

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

This is to be happy with an eternal mindset. It's not temporary happiness, but lifelong joy. This is to find absolute peace in your life, no matter your circumstances. To be “blessed” is to understand that you have been given grace by a Holy God. Even though we are dead in our trespasses and sins (Ephesians 2:1-3), it is God who has chosen to make us alive in Christ (Ephesians 2:4). “For by Grace are we Saved Through Faith” in Christ alone (Ephesians 2:8-9). This comprehension should bring to you much joy!

To be "blessed" is to understand and submit to the Sovereignty of God in all situations. Whether things are going well or poorly, you know that you have been blessed by the Supreme Ruler of the Universe. You surrender to His Sovereign will and you have submitted to His decree. To be “blessed” is to view yourself as nothing more than a servant of the King, and no matter the assignment given to you, you will joyfully carry it out with all hope of eternity.

As you consider “blessings” don’t think of just physical gifts that God gives to us — that is a worldly mindset. To be "blessed" is to be totally satisfied in Christ no matter your circumstances. The difference between a genuine believer in Christ and one who is just in search of “blessings” is found in the result of the search. The world is seeking the benefits of Jesus, where the true believer is pursing Christ Himself. The world calls healing a “blessing,” but will not call sickness a “blessing.” The world will call a prosperous person “blessed,” but will not understand that a poor man can be “blessed.” It is not the results of Christ that are the blessings, but it is Jesus Christ Himself. He is sufficient. He is all-satisfying. Pursue Him as a deer pants for the water (Psalm 42:1-2).

Consider the “blessing” that is found in Psalm 1:1-3

1 Blessed is the man

That is, to be happy with an eternal mindset. To be totally satisfied in Christ for lifelong joy. The entirety of the Psalms begins with a description for the believer to understand what it means to be truly blessed by God.

1 Blessed is the man  
who walks not in the counsel of the wicked,
nor stands in the way of sinners,
   nor sits in the seat of scoffers;

Notice the downward progression that the psalmist is explaining. From the very outset of the psalms, the believer in Christ is instructed to keep watch on his walk. It is of paramount importance that the life of a believer is counter-cultural. If not, the progression that will take place goes from walking to standing to sitting.

“Walking” in the counsel of the wicked is the first step that leads us away from being counter-cultural. This is when the believer begins to slowly compromise his beliefs in order to “fit in” with the world. This is when something might not be an outright sin, but it is most assuredly not wholesome. This would be not standing up for your convictions. A lot of times this exists in our life when we watch close friends begin to fall into sin and we do not stand up and hold them accountable. We slowly compromise. Most of the time there will be conviction that is being ignored.

“Standing” in the way of sinners is actually putting yourself in compromising situations. At this point, you know what is sin and you begin to actively participate in it anyway. The believer is in full-on rebellion against his Lord and is falling further into sin, being a participant in leading others along with them. This point goes from accepting and tolerating sin to being an active participant in this sin itself.

“Sitting” in the seat of scoffers is when this sin becomes a lifestyle. This is when all of the alarms of those believers who are close to this person need to be going off. At this point, not only has the believer compromised on his beliefs and made sin an intentional and habitual issue, but he is now sacrificing the rest of his life in order to live in sin. This is an extremely serious situation for the believer to be in, and there must be strong admonition and accountability to intervene in this person’s life.

This downward spiral is what happens to a believer who is not intentionally walking against the culture. When we let our guard down, sin will creep into our life. We must be actively and intentionally fighting against sin and against our selfish desires in order to walk in a manner that is worthy of the calling to which we have been called. Instead of spiraling downward, the life of a disciple of Christ should look like this:

2 but his delight is in the law of the Lord,
   and on his law he meditates day and night.

The delight of the true disciple of Jesus Christ is the Word of God. The believer knows that the very words of God are sufficient for his sanctification. The Word of God is nourishing to the soul of one who pursues after Christ. The precepts that are set forth by the Lord our God are enough for the believer to keep his walk pure and steadfast.

Note that the true disciple of Christ is one who meditates on the Word of God “day and night.” One who is “blessed” is one who keeps his focus on the Scripture throughout each day. One who has a passion to pursue Christ has the framework in his mind to keep his attention on all that Christ has for him. He “sets his mind” on the things that are above, and leaves behind the things of this world.

3 He is like a tree
   planted by streams of water
that yields its fruit in its season,
   and its leaf does not wither.
In all that he does, he prospers.

Note the positive outcome of what it is like to be one who is devoted to Scripture. This is the natural overflow of the life of the disciple of Christ who is resolved that the Word of God is the framework for his every step in life. The follower of Jesus who is committed to living a life that is in pursuit of Christ is likened to a “tree planted by streams of water.”

The “tree planted by streams of water” is the foundation of our sanctification. The tree has been transplanted from the dry dessert to a green oasis. The tree has been made alive and given an opportunity to drink from a flowing river, which never ends. This is only made possible by the grace of God. Our job as the tree is to drink up the water that is provided for us. We must soak up the refreshing nutrition, which has been given to us by a merciful God. Drinking from the stream that is provided for us is accomplished when we spend time knowing and savoring the very Word of God. This is the nutrition that has been given for the believer and we must actively and intentionally drink from the well that never runs dry.

“That yields its fruit in season” is the very result that occurs because of our devotion to the Word of God. The natural overflow of the life of a believer is the fruit that we experience each day. In our growing sanctification, the spiritual fruit in our life should be obvious and natural. Our life should be a reflection of the love of Christ, the joy of the Lord, the peace that surpasses all understanding, the patience and forgiveness demonstrated by our Lord, the kindness and gentleness of a Savior, the faithfulness of the Sovereign, the goodness and wholesome understanding of the purpose given to the believer, and the self-control needed to continue to walk against the ways of this world.

“Its leaf does not wither” helps us understand that the life of a believer is eternal life. Every human being is an eternal being, but the disciple of Christ experiences everlasting life as opposed to eternal damnation. The Holy Spirit is given to the believer as a seal for our final salvation (Ephesians 1:14). If we are truly walking against the culture, then we will not experience dryness in our lives. We will continue to see fruit out of our lives, and the blessings of God. The leaf, the fruit, of our life is strong and is satisfied because of the source of our nourishment on a daily basis. The healthy leaf of a tree proves the maturity process. And the same is true for our spiritual life. Our “leaf” not withering, but instead being vibrant and strong, is the result of our roots being strong in the ground and soaking up the Living Water provided for us.

“In whatever he does, he prospers” is the part of the verse that everyone wants to run to without understanding how we get to this point. The majority of “Christian” teaching directly ties “blessing” to “prospers” and gives the physical blessings of God as examples. But in order to fully understand Christian prosperity, we must understand “blessing.” True, Godly blessing has nothing to do with temporal happiness. True, Godly blessing has everything to do with an eternal mindset for the glory of God. There is “prosperity” in suffering in the life of a believer if it is for the glory of God. There is “prosperity” in hardship in the life of a believer if it is for the glory of God. The true disciple of Christ leans into the sovereignty of God in every element of his life, and therefore, because he is being fruitful by drinking from the Word of God, he prospers with spiritual blessing. This is not to say that God does not give physical blessings. He most certainly does. But the true believer, one who is soaking in the nourishment given to him by his Savior, understands that his real satisfaction and his overall goal of following after Jesus has nothing to do with physical blessings. The final goal of our desire to drink from the Living Water is Jesus Himself. We should be totally and completely satisfied with Christ alone. 

"Poor in spirit”
This is to come to the realization that you have nothing to offer. This is a realization that you are nothing and that Christ is everything. To be "poor in spirit" is to be a "jar of clay" as Paul says in 2 Corinthians 4. To be "poor in spirit" is to recognize the grace of God and the mercy of God in every situation in which you find yourself. To be "poor in spirit" is to be spiritually bankrupt. To be "poor in spirit" is to lower yourself in such a way that makes Christ look highly exalted!

Consider Psalm 99:5…

“Exalt the Lord our God;
Worship at His footstool!
Holy is He!”

This is a Lordship psalm; a psalm that is focused on the exaltation of the King of kings and the Lord of lords. The refrain of this psalm is the cry: “Holy is He!”

We are called to “Exalt the Lord our God” which is to give praise and glory and honor to the Sovereign King of all the universe. We are commanded to worship the Supreme Creator. We are given instruction to glorify and magnify the Lord of all. This exaltation leads us to fall to our knees and worship the Lord. To “Worship as His footstool” gives to us an understanding of who we are in comparison to the Lord. We are but servants of the King. We are to lower ourselves as much as we possibly can in order for the King to be magnified and exalted as much as possible. We are to humble ourselves before the Lord our maker. We are to become “poor in spirit” which is to realize that we have nothing to offer the King. For “Holy is He!” and sinners are we.

As the believer in Christ approaches his every day life, he must put his life in subjection to the glory of God. To be “poor in spirit” is to surrender all of your life and your will and your desires and your goals over to the Supreme Ruler of the universe. To be “poor in spirit” is to align all of your passions according to what God is passionate about. It is to ask God to make His will, your will. To make His desires, your desires. To make His plan, your plan. It means to sacrifice your selfish wants and replace them with a selfless desire to be a servant to your King.

"The Kingdom of Heaven"
Note that from the outset of the Sermon on the Mount that Jesus says that in order to be saved, we must recognize our depravity. In order to inherit the Kingdom of God, we must first realize that we are sinners who deserve the wrath of God to be poured out upon us. The "Kingdom of Heaven" is eternity with Christ. It is eternally experiencing the grace of God. It is eternally worshipping our Lord and Savior. This very thought should bring you joy and peace. This is what you should be longing for (2 Cor. 5:1-4). If you are not longing for Jesus, if you are not longing for eternity with Christ, then you should evaluate your soul's destination. The reality is that there will come a day when every knee will bow in Heaven and on earth and under the earth and every tongue will confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father. Before that day happens, you need to be surrendered to Christ. Before that day comes, you must already submit to the Lordship of Christ. If you have not done this, please consider it today. For “Today is the day of salvation!” (2 Corinthians 6:2).

Summary of the Beatitude
This first verse says, "blessed are the poor in spirit" and the basic understanding is this: You will find eternal joy, when you first realize that you can offer nothing and that Jesus Christ produces everything. You will find eternal joy, when you truly and whole-heartedly surrender all that you are to all that He is. You will find great joy, when you lower yourself as low as you possibly can, so that Christ can be seen as highly exalted.

There is much joy found in the life of the sacrificial servant, who has totally surrendered his life to His Sovereign King. There is Hope found in the Rock of our salvation. And there is blessing that is promised to those who are “like a tree planted by the streams of water.”
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