Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

The poor.

As a nation, we usually take care of the poor. The poverty level for a family of four is set at $18,850. That means that anyone below that level is eligible for economic assistance is such areas as Head Start, Low-income houme engergy assistance, state children's health insurance programs, and much more. For a complete list, if you really want one, you can go here. Our government generally recognizes that when the poor can't sustain themselves financially, the rest of the nation that is better off helps out.

Some of us have probably seen people that are much poorer than others. When I went on a mission trip to Mexico, I saw people living tar-papered shacks. It was insanely depressing. The poverty of those people make the poor in America look rich in comparison. But when you don't have enough money to pay for housing and food, it doesn't matter how wealthy you are in comparision. There is a point where the poor must realize they can't make ends meet on their own and receive assistance or perish.

We all have a pretty good grasp on what it means to be physically poor, but, oftentimes, I think we don't have a concrete grasp on what it means to be spiritually poor because we can't see spiritual poverty as easily as we can see financial poverty.

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

Being poor in spirit means at least three things.

First, we are humble. We must completely surrender our will to God because we know that our will is tainted compared to his. We surrender all of our pride for the good things of the past because we know that our good works amount to nothing in trying to be spiritual.

Second, we need to be repentant. The poor in spirit will quickly turn away from the wrong paths they find themselves on because they should lack the pride and stubborness that force people to continue on their wrong way. Pride brings stubborness, but spiritual poverty brings genuine repentance.

Third, we need to be completely dependent upon grace. We, as the spiritual poor, should acknowledge that we are failures and can't sustain ourselves. Our nation values self-reliance, but this is another area where Jesus' teachings go contrary to those of our nation. Being poor in spirit is an affirmation that we aren't able to be spiritually self-reliant. All of our spiritual success is completely dependent upon the grace of God.

Tomorrow, excluding any major events between now and then, we will talk about the blessing that the spiritual poor receives.

Watch out for potholes.