I'm a daughter, granddaughter & niece of pastors. I love God & studying the Bible and want to empower others to do the same.
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3, NIV
God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. NLT
Isn’t the kingdom of heaven for everyone who believes in Christ and receives them as Savior? So why does it sound like only the financially poor receive heaven? The phrase here is “poor in spirit.” This isn’t talking expressly about physical wealth. It means humility. The Greek word literally means “one who crouches or cowers.” It means someone who has been brought low or realizes their lowly station in some capacity (even if they’re in a position of authority). I’ve known people who were physically poor and exceedingly arrogant, proud, and constantly bragging about something or other in their lives (probably to hide their insecurities). I have also been that person, using that deflection to distract people from having to discuss parts of my life that were humbled or not what I desired or that made me feel uncomfortable or ashamed. However, I’ve also had friends who were very wealthy and extremely humble, remembering where they came from, how much work it took to get there, and not treating people as lesser because they possessed or could afford less. If anything, that made them more generous to those who were appreciative and in need (I was such a one in need, and I’m eternally grateful for their generosity).
A person who is poor/humble in spirit is bowed down, giving respect and honor to whom it is due. Who deserves more credit, more honor and respect than the Maker of us and all we can see (Prov. 3:19-20), the Giver (and Remover) of all we “possess,” the Creator of life and love and all that is good? (Acts 14:17, 1 Tim. 6:13, Jam. 1:17) In order to receive the gift of heaven, we must acknowledge our lowly state as sinners (regardless of any other status, Rom. 3:23).
We must also realize that entrance into heaven requires absolute, complete perfection—something we can never achieve and have already forsaken long ago in childhood (Rom. 3:25). Our “good deeds” are the equivalent of “filthy rags” (Is. 64:6) used by menstruating women before pads and tampons were invented. Because it’s not enough to not sin in action, but also in heart, thought, intention (Jer. 17:9, Prov. 28:26). Doing the right thing for the wrong reason, or by the wrong means, or hiding a sinful thought life is still sin (Matt. 15:11, Is. 59:7). Sin is as simple and complex as disobeying God, right now (Deut. 28:25). Delayed obedience is still disobedience, is sin.
God is completely perfect when I never can be. For this reason, I must bow in recognition of His holiness and perfection and recognize my need for Him (Deut. 32:4, Ps. 18:30) to be what I am never capable of being or doing on my own, no matter my efforts. I need Him in order to know what the right thing to do is, and when, and I need His help to do it (Rom. 5:8), because sometimes obedience is hard. Sometimes God calls us to do impossible (for us) things that require His power and might and wisdom specifically so that we will go to Him, humbly, admitting our lack, and asking Him to step in and be and do what only He can, for and through us (2 Cor. 12:8-10). He is all-mighty, all-wise, and knows details and intricacies that tie into the lives of others that we cannot conceive. That’s why we need His help with timing as well as action. And even more, we need His undeserved grace (as all grace is) to forgive us and cleanse us from all our unrighteousness and make us white as snow, like Jesus is, by the blood of Jesus. And when we receive this grace, not just as a free ticket into heaven, but as a free ticket today into walking in freedom, away from all the things that used to chain and strangle and control us, freedom from trying to have all the answers or be perfect, then we are blessed. We experience blessings.
Freedom is one of the blessings we receive. Lightness is another (Matt. 11:30). Joy, much more than happiness, but even deep, lasting joy in difficulty is another, so is unshakeable peace, and there are so many more. We receive blessings when we humbly admit to the Father where we lack and ask Him to step in and be and do what we cannot, when we humbly surrender our whole lives, our days, our actions, even our people to Him, and are willing to do anything and everything HE commands us, by only His strength. Then the weight comes off us, the pressure to perform, to try to be perfect, or to please anyone but Him falls away. We are blessed. And not just blessed, but this Greek word also means happy (like giddy almost, a lightness, freedom) as well as guided, walking straight. We become like happy children who trust our Father to guide us the right way, on a clear, straight path, into an exciting adventure.
God is so abundant and generous that He blesses us with whatever we need in order to obey Him, whether His strength or wisdom or energy or endurance or whatever. He blesses those who are humble enough to turn to Him, with all the blessings of heaven. Heaven is filled with those who are filled with God’s perfect peace, with joy in His presence, with full perfect love of the Savior and each other, with all the gifts and traits we should long for and try to live as (Gal. 5:22-23). God can grant all these and more to us as well, the blessings of heaven, to any who are humble enough to ask, to admit we don’t have it, and we need His, whatever it is.
© 2021 Amanda Lorenzo
Naude Lorenzo on March 30, 2021:
This article is a blessing to everyone who reads it, May the Lord continues to use Amanda for His honor and glory, such a well spoken and dedicated young girl.