Today's Word of Encouragement
DESTITUTE IN SPIRIT
Sunday, May 24, 2020
Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven (Matthew 5:3).
In the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus initiated His 3½ year ministry of rescuing lost souls from judgment and restoring God’s Kingdom on earth. He began by outlining what it means to be His disciple and a citizen of His Kingdom. Carefully read the Sermon and you will see the values we honor as model citizens are 180̊ opposite of the values Jesus honors in His Kingdom.
‘Blessed’ is often translated ‘happy’. Here it means ‘divinely bestowed well being’. It is akin to the Hebrew shalom, but shalom is a blessing bestowed by a person to another person - it’s a blessing ‘hoped’ for, but not assured.
Jesus promised God’s blessing of personal well-being to those who possess the spiritual principles of His Kingdom. That well-being is not necessarily physical, though it may include it, but it certainly includes spiritual well-being, which every true disciple of Jesus Christ is concerned with. Spiritual heath promotes and expands the Kingdom of God. They know that.
Such spiritual health begins with being ‘poor in spirit’. In fact, a person cannot enter the Kingdom unless he/she is spiritually poor. A person cannot be saved apart from being spiritually poor. One’s ‘spirit’ is his/her rational soul. It is the inclination or influence which fills and governs a person’s soul, his/her rational consciousness. That must be stressed - this is not about feelings or emotions, it’s about a person’s mind and will.
To be ‘poor’ in spirit is to be spiritually destitute - helpless and powerless to accomplish anything spiritual. A person cannot be saved without realizing he/she possesses nothing deserving of God’s mercy or salvation. A person can say or do nothing in the salvation plan but to accept it when the Holy Spirit offers it. This is biblical truth, not religious dogma.
What is the ultimate end? Theirs is the Kingdom of God.
The Spirit himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs—heirs of God and fellow heirs with Christ, provided we suffer with him in order that we may also be glorified with him (Romans 8:16-17).
Jesus offered His Kingdom to Israel, but they rejected it by sending Him to the cross. Every Christian inherits that Kingdom. But he/she doesn’t have to wait until death to inherit it. An inheritance is received upon an inheritor’s death, not the inheritee’s death. Jesus died and rose again, making His Kingdom inheritable to all who believe in, and receive Him as Lord and Savior - immediately.
“Thank you, Father, for Your Kingdom that comes to those who know Your Son, Jesus Christ, and that You are still drawing people to Your Kingdom through Him. Remind me that to be poor in spirit is to be a continual trait in my life, not a one-time experience - that I do not deserve even Your passing consideration. Remind me that anything achieved in my life or ministry that brings honor to Your name is not by my might, or by my power, but by Your Spirit.”