Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
‘Poor in spirit’ does not mean lacking in earthly conditions or worldly wealth, for a destitute man may display much pride – an affluent one humility of heart. Neither does it mean intellectually deficiency – nor lacking in academic proficiency, for mental poverty is not necessarily a state of blessedness – neither is ignorance the state of ‘bliss,’ as defined by the old, hackneyed platitude.
It is poverty in spirit, disposition of heart upon whom this beatitude is pronounced. It is the humble of heart. It is the humble heart that is conscious of their unworthiness before the Lord. Humility is not thinking meanly of oneself nor is it berating oneself in front of others – indeed this can often lead to inverted pride – as others counter your self-reproach! But humility of heart involves a dying to self and a living to Christ…
Humility is it holding one's talents, gifts, aptitudes, or artistry as little or no account, but it is letting Him work through us, to His praise and glory. We are to recognise our place and privilege as God’s redeemed children.. and we are to put self of the altar of sacrifice by saying, ‘not my will but Thine be done.’ Oh yes, humility is a gentility of spirit, which bows reverently before the Lord. It is the one that is poor in spirit has a teachable spirit – that says:- “It is not I that live I but Christ, lives in and through me.” Gal.2:20
Only once did Jesus refer to His own deep humility of heart and poverty of spirit, when He said: “I am meek and lowly in heart” Matt.11:29 But throughout His earthly journey, in action and attitude, humility streamed forth. As the Creator of the universe, He humbled himself. He made Himself of no reputation. He took upon Him the form of a bond-servant. He became obedient unto death, even the death of the cross. Phil.2:7
Humility of heart and poverty of spirit is the first of all Christ’s beatitudes. It is the bedrock upon which all subsequent graces and blessings rest. Poverty of spirit and humility of heart is the first grace proclaimed in His sermon, and one by one humility bubbles and streams through each subsequent blessing – as beatitude by beatitude, you can trace this thread of Godly grace: “Blessed are they that mourn…” “Blessed are the meek …” “Blessed are pure in heart..” "Blessed are they that mourn..." “Blessed are those that hunger after His righteousness ..”
And throughout Scripture, it is the meek and humble that delight the heart of God… for pride is always brought low, before humility is lifted high. First Jeremiah and then James gives us the command…to “Humble yourself..” Humble yourself in the sight of the Lord, and he shall lift you up.” James 4:10
Poverty of spirit and humility of heart is a key that opens the gate to God’s grace. Poverty of spirit and humility of heart is what God seeks in each of His own. Spurgeon reminds us: True humility is a flower which will adorn any garden.
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