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Promise of the Month - October, 2005

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

At first, this seems like an odd statement. In our world, we tend to think that blessed people have good looks, talent, riches, nice home, new car, designer clothes, the newest gadgets, the best cell phone plan, and so on. Because Jesus says differently, we should pay attention "For by him were all things created, that are in heaven, and that are in earth, visible and invisible, whether they be thrones, or dominions, or principalities, or powers: all things were created by him, and for him" (Colossians 1:16 KJV). So, let's examine this verse and try to understand how our's can be the kingdom of heaven.

Poor in spirit may mean humble.
The Bible tells us "God resists the proud, But gives grace to the humble. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time" (1 Peter 5:5-6 NKJV). It also tell us that "whoever exalts himself will be humbled, and he who humbles himself will be exalted." (Matthew 23:12 NKJV) and "Whosoever therefore shall humble himself as this little child, the same is greatest in the kingdom of heaven." (Matthew 18:4 KJV). God told us through the prophet Isaiah "For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones." (Isaiah 57:15 KJV). Clearly, God is in favor of humility, and being humble is needed for salvation.

Poor in spirit may mean being in distress.
We don't often think of people going through trials as being blessed. However, in times of trouble, people cry out to God and they are open to receive Him. When things are going too good, we often feel that we don't need God. David called out to God during his trials. "In my distress I called upon the LORD, and cried unto my God: he heard my voice out of his temple, and my cry came before him, even into his ears." (Psalm 18:6 KJV). He knew that God could lift him higher than any of his troubles. "Hear my cry, O God; attend unto my prayer. From the end of the earth will I cry unto thee, when my heart is overwhelmed: lead me to the rock that is higher than I." (Psalm 61:1-2 KJV). He also cried out to God often. "Be merciful unto me, O Lord: for I cry unto thee daily." (Psalm 86:3 KJV).

David also wrote about others who cried out to God. "The righteous cry out, and the LORD hears them; he delivers them from all their troubles. The LORD is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit. A righteous man may have many troubles, but the LORD delivers him from them all" (Psalm 34:17-19 NIV). "He will fulfil the desire of them that fear him: he also will hear their cry, and will save them" (Psalm 145:19 KJV).

Paul also spoke of suffering with Christ. "The Spirit Himself bears witness with our spirit that we are children of God, and if children, then heirs--heirs of God and joint heirs with Christ, if indeed we suffer with Him, that we may also be glorified together. For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us. For the earnest expectation of the creation eagerly waits for the revealing of the sons of God." (Romans 8:16-19 NKJV).

If we want fellowship with Christ, then we will look for Him in out suffering and distress. After all, fellowship happens when people share experiences. Christ suffered for us, and we can use our distress as an opportunity to come closer to Him.

Poor in spirit may mean totally surrendering ourselves to Jesus.
He told us "For whosoever will save his life shall lose it: but whosoever will lose his life for my sake, the same shall save it." (Luke 9:24 KJV). Jesus also said "... If anyone desires to come after Me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow Me. For whoever desires to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. For what profit is it to a man if he gains the whole world, and is himself destroyed or lost?" (Luke 9:23-25).

Actually, poor in spirit may refer to all of these things and more. When we surrender ourselves to Jesus, we grow in humility, and we learn to share our suffering with Him. Salvation only comes when we make our spirit poor so that we can realize that "... by grace you have been saved through faith, and that not of yourselves; it is the gift of God, not of works, that no one would boast. For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared before that we would walk in them." (Ephesians 2:8-10 WEB).

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