Wednesday, July 27, 2016

Why are the Poor in Spirit Blessed?

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Why are the poor in spirit blessed?

It baffles me each time I ponder on this passage, especially today when you see almost no one in church desiring to be poor in spirit. Is there? They all want to be somebody---they want titles, degrees, positions, recognition, the most number of members, the highest church income, the mega-est church of all.

You can be poor in spirit even with all the above---prestige and even riches---but the problem is, I have yet to see someone who is. Well, there's Mother Teresa. Who else?


Most of us just want to talk about ourselves and what we do and have [1 John 2.16]:

For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father, but are from this world.
I also wonder why Jesus made poor in spirit number one among his Beatitude teachings, considered by many as his centerpiece teaching.

Wouldn't God reward the greatest achievers of all? Why didn't Jesus say, "Blessed are those who achieve great things in ministry for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"?

What is it in being poor in spirit that appeals to the heart of God?

What a waste of time and effort to be doing something that will not make you blessed in the eyes of God. Sure, many people claim they're blessed---but being poor in spirit is the last thing you'd see in them. God has determined that only the poor in spirit are truly blessed or happy. You cannot add to that.

Does this mean no one is really blessed, and all their rantings about being "blessed" are mere empty words?

No wonder many in church ministries are stressed out and sickly. They're not really blessed. Okay, some ailments may be blessings in disguise, but you'd see it by their fruit. Is your sickness a blessing when you're always irritated and a difficult person to deal with? Is your ailment a blessing if you love only those who care for you?

Imagine serving God and being sick with stress-related ailments. It just doesn't make sense. And stress is often the result of frustration---failing to get or achieve what you desire (and doing away with what God desires, which is to be poor in spirit).

The Beatitudes talk a lot about being blessed and a key to this is being poor in spirit.

We start with being poor in spirit. Without that, there's no way we can mourn, be meek, hunger for righteousness, and so on. In fact, we cannot do any church ministry that counts in God's eyes without first being poor in spirit.

So what's being poor in spirit really all about?

Listen to what Ellicott's commentary has to say on this:

"Here the blessedness is that of those who, whatever their outward state may be, are in their inward life as those who feel that they have nothing of their own, must be receivers before they give, must be dependent on another’s bounty, and be, as it were, the 'bedesmen' of the great King. To that temper of mind belongs the 'kingdom of heaven,' the eternal realities, in this life and the life to come, of that society of which Christ is the Head."


Benson, on the other hand, mentions how, "These are happy (people), because their humility renders them teachable, submissive, resigned, patient, contented, and cheerful in all estates; and it enables them to receive prosperity or adversity, health or sickness, ease or pain, life or death, with an equal mind...because theirs is the kingdom."

Here's how I describe poor in spirit---when you desire nothing except what God wants and are too helpless to do it except that God does it through you--lest you boast.

And earth has nothing I desire besides you. [Psalm 73.25]

Even Christ emptied himself and took the form of a servant or slave. You have to empty yourself to desire nothing.

And "desiring nothing" is what most church people today do not have. They claim to desire to do "God's will" but all they do is equate (or masquerade) their own desires with God's desires.

Jesus desired nothing in this world that's why he was born poor and died poor---and yet he was really rich in the Father's eyes. Though money was never a problem to him, he didn't need properties for his church and never bothered about how many members he had or how much was his church income. He even just let Judas steal money from the ministry bag.

What good is it for someone to gain the whole world, yet forfeit their soul? [Mark 8.36]

In effect, Jesus was saying how gaining the world has only one sure result---forfeiting your soul. And there's only one way to fight off gaining the world---being authentically poor in spirit. Too bad that all human effort can only end in gaining the world.

Poor in spirit is everything that the world despises and hates. No wonder it's first in the center of God's heart---the very first thing in Jesus' Sermon on the Mount (and what makes it so powerful). Thus, if the world likes you, you're not poor in spirit, no matter how "humble" you look (a lot of people can fake humility so masterfully).

It is impossible to give up everything you have and follow Christ if you are not poor in spirit. Because then, you won't be able to "desire nothing." You will hold on desperately to what you have.

The poor in spirit are blessed (or happy or fortunate) because they have nothing of the world. Zero, Nil. Void. Pffft! They desire nothing. They just desire God and his Word. And if some people get attracted to that, then they have a ministry. 

Pastors normally "desire" to have a ministry, and especially a big one. A mega one. So they grab and pull people into their church buildings and think up gimmicks to make them stay there. Church people may applaud this but this, too, is of the flesh. A desire.

Have you tried to forget about ministry and just desire nothing but God and his Word? Then you have become poor in spirit. Then you begin to look strange to people and they start asking questions. Then you desire nothing but to share Jesus to them.

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