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Tuesday, February 19, 2019

Matthew 5:3

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

This is the first beatitude that Jesus taught in the Sermon on the Mount. It is important to understand that Jesus is not teaching, "If you are poor in spirit, then the kingdom of heaven is yours," as if the kingdom is something earned by doing something. Jesus' choice of words in the beatitudes makes it clear that His meaning is: Behold the joy of the person who is poor in spirit because the kingdom of heaven is theirs.

The challenge of Jesus' words hits home when I ask myself, does "poor in spirit" really describe me? Do I acutely sense my own helplessness and poverty as I stand before my God? The kingdom belongs to those who readily acknowledge that they are completely spiritually bankrupt. There is simply nothing we can do to earn a place in heaven. In fact, the kingdom belongs to those who simply admit the truth that without Him, we can do nothing. The kingdom is not given as wages for work done, but is a gift of God to those who are bankrupt.

It is amazingly freeing when we admit the truth that we are weak and poor. Rather than letting weakness and helplessness paralyze us or depress us, it should encourage us to know this is something that Jesus greatly values. He declared that the poor in spirit can rejoice because they already possess the kingdom of heaven.

Tom Day

 

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