“The poor in spirit are blessed, for the King of Heaven is theirs.”
Matthew 5:3 (HCSB)
DRINK IT IN…
So Jesus is in Northern Israel when He speaks his very first recorded sermon. It says in Matthew 5 that Jesus went up a mountain and he sat down and began to teach. I have been to Israel now three times. I have walked on the ground where it is assumed that Jesus taught this crowd referenced in Matthew 5. We call this first sermon of Jesus’, “The Sermon on the Mount.” In the area I have visited there are a lot of hillsides. Its funny to me, as you read the Bible, and see the word Mountain used a lot. The mountains that are referenced in the Bible, leads us to imagine mountains like the Rocky Mountains or, as I live in the Phoenix AZ area, our Valley is surrounded by larger mountains. However, please understand, if you actually saw what the Bible refers to as Mountains in the Israel area, you would do better to think more of a hillside instead of mountain. This area that I have visited where it is assumed that Jesus preached this sermon that we have recorded in Matthew 5 is an area that has a hillside that goes upward about 100 feet. Littered throughout the incline of this “mount” are a bunch of chair sized boulders. As I stood at the top of this hillside looking down, it was very easy for me to see how Jesus would have walked through the flat plain of the land, through the crowds gathered there, and walk up the incline of the hillside or “mount,” and then sit on one of those boulders and begin to teach. Its a very cool place to visit and I hope you will be able to travel there someday and see the sight for yourself. I try to lead a trip every two years, maybe you could be a part of the group I lead over to Israel next.
As Jesus begins to teach, He simply says, “The poor in spirit are blessed, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
First of all let’s simply define “Blessed.” Blessed does not mean happy. Blessed means approved. This teaching of Jesus could be translated, “The poor in spirit are approved by God and will inherit the Kingdom of Heaven.”
What does “poor in spirit” mean?
I do not think it means poor as in the opposite of being rich. Its not about the lack of houses, cars and bling. The Bible is loaded with faithful men and women that God used in mighty ways and they were wealthy. There is nothing wrong with being wealthy as long as you are “poor in spirit.”
Let’s look at it this way. Mankind…especially in America…values “HAVING & DOING.” The more you have the more successful you are in the eyes of the world. The more you do or accomplish, the more successful you are in the eyes of the world.
But Jesus didn’t teach this idea. Notice this teaching of Jesus’ doesn’t say, “Blessed are those who ACCOMPLISH poor in spirit or HAVE poor in spirit.” He says, “Blessed ARE the poor in spirit.”
So here is the deal…
WHO YOU “ARE” IS MORE IMPORTANT THAN WHAT YOU DO OR WHAT YOU HAVE!
This whole Hydrate series is about “winning from the inside.” I asked in a previous blog if your “happiness is portable?” The only way that happiness can be portable is if it is inside of you. If your happiness is in what you have or what you do, then if you lose what you have or can’t do what you do any longer, then your happiness would be gone too. Its like saying your purpose is found in your stuff and in what you do. But what if you lose the stuff or can’t do what you do any longer? Does that mean your purpose ends. No! Your purpose and your happiness must be portable. Your purpose and your happiness is in WHO YOU ARE.
Purpose is an “ARE”…not a Have or a Do! Happiness is an “ARE”…not a Have or a Do! (Do you understand this very important part?)
Jesus says blessed “ARE” the poor in Spirit. Maybe this is a good way to think about it, if you are still trying to understand “Poor in Spirit.” What is the opposite of poor in Spirit? The opposite of poor in spirit is “Self-Sufficient.” If you think you are self sufficient then you actually think that you don’t need God or anybody else. If you think you do not need God, then you are not “Poor In Spirit.” Thus…the Kingdom of Heaven will not be for you! If you think you are self sufficient, then others probably see you as arrogant. Those who ARE poor in spirit ARE humble. It might be fair to say that Jesus could have simply said, “Blessed are the humble, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.”
I want the Kingdom of Heaven so bad. I must continue to work on my “poor in spirit.” My humility. Don’t forget that Jesus told us in the Lord’s Prayer that we should be praying, “Thy Kingdom Come on Earth….as it is in Heaven.”
So…yes…we want to be in the Kingdom of Heaven for eternity. But in order for that to happen, we have to bring some heaven down to earth. That happens best when you ARE like the Kingdom of Heaven. Lots of people “DO” what Jesus commands, or “HAVE” Bibles they read frequently, but they ARE not like God internally. Do you know what I mean?
Be the ARE!
“SWEAT IT OUT”
The “Sweat It Out” section is simply meant to challenge you to action. In the “Drink It In” section I share some history and teaching. Now that you drank in the material above. How will you “sweat it out.”
If you will…I ask you to get a sheet of paper and write out, in one or two sentences…”Who You Are.”
Some rules. You can’t write what you do or what you have. Remember, who you are must be portable. You could lose everything in your life due to a tragedy but that wouldn’t take away “who you are.” So write down who you are. Keep it with you today. Revise it as you think of other things that describe who you are.
Another thing to ‘sweat out’ is to ask somebody you trust whether or not you ARE humble or ARE arrogant. Ask them to tell you straight up. Make sure you don’t get angry at them for being honest with you. LOL If you get angry at them for being honest…then you will know for a fact that you ARE not in fact….”Poor In Spirit.”
Be humble today. Be poor in spirit. Don’t think you ARE self-sufficient. Ask for God’s help and strength in everything you do. Make sure you ARE a friend to others so that you may have friends in your life too.
Being poor in spirit must be a huge thing to God because it is the first sentence Jesus spoke at the very first sermon He ever preached. Poor in Spirit is a sense of need. I need God. I need others. The day I think I have arrived and I can do everything on my own. That’s not a good day.
Be thankful that you need others. That is how God made you. Write down the names of people in your life that you are thankful for. Use technology to send them a quick thank you note telling them why you appreciate them. Let them know they are important to you and that you need them in your life.
Don’t forget to pause and thank the Lord for how He made you and thank Him for promising to never leave your nor forsake you. You need Him. I do too.
Blessed are the Poor In Spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven!