‘You Poor Thing!’ It’s Not What Jesus Meant.

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

Self-loathing plagues the church. Because I know that there was once a chasm between God and me, that shouldn’t erode my present view of myself. I shouldn’t wonder how God could, and will, love me if I have so far to go to be like His Son. That makes it all about me when it should be all about the nature and character of a loving God.

‘Poor in spirit’ does not mean pathetic. When someone we love suffers, we might say, “You poor thing.” We mean that they are laid low, downcast, and languishing. Is this the posture Jesus is advocating as a way of life?

No. To be poor in spirit is to know that I am completely dependent on God. I’m not arrogant. I’m honest with others and myself. I don’t inflate my abilities to look good. I don’t pretend to be perfect in order to rise to a position of spiritual leadership. I know that I struggle with my flesh and can freely admit it without injured pride. With great confidence, I cast myself on God’s grace.

The one who has never acknowledged his sinfulness and need for a Savior cannot enter the kingdom of heaven. Jesus makes it clear that someone like the tax collector has it right, the one who beat his chest in the temple and said, “Be merciful to me, Lord, a sinner!” He will inherit the kingdom of heaven because he was poor in spirit.

Knowing that I am sinful and dependent on God for spiritual life is not the same as living with a nagging, low self-image. If a drowning man is rescued, does he live his life condemning himself for having nearly drowned? I think not. He’ll rejoice that his life was saved and extol the one who snatched him from the waters. He’ll be joyful that he was given a 2nd chance at life.

I am poor in spirit and I am grateful that You saved me. I live life loved with my head tilted to the sky. Amen

 

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