Saturday, November 23, 2013

Blessed are you who are Poor

Read: Luke 6:20

What does it mean to be poor in spirit? The closest single word that describes poor in spirit is “humble”. I want to give a more detailed definition, and then try to convince you from scripture, in future posts, that this definition is correct.
To be poor in spirit means to humbly acknowledge that I am spiritually and morally bankrupt, with nothing to commend me to God. I am spiritually worthless.
Not only does what I just said go against our culture, it goes against our human nature. It is offensive. But Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit.”

Being poor in spirit is a state of complete repentance before God. It’s not something that can be put on or acted out. It’s not self-pity, or self-hate or self-loathing.

Being poor in spirit is also not about having no value as a person. We have value. As Jesus said, “we are of more value than many sparrows.” We have value to God, but we have no moral goodness of our own. It is in this way that we are spiritually worthless.

So what is the opposite of poverty of spirit? What does it mean to be “rich in spirit”. It means that I have spiritual and moral value, and I have some redeeming features to offer God. It means I deserve God’s mercy, or even that I don’t need God’s mercy.
There’s no blessing for the “rich in spirit”; there’s only a curse: a pronouncement of woe.

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