Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
As I write this blog, we are in the midst of holy week; Palm Sunday to Easter/Resurrection Sunday. On Friday we will remember the great price Jesus paid for our redemption by taking all the judgment on Himself for our sins. On Sunday we will celebrate Christ’s victory over sin, death and the devil by rising from the dead in His resurrection body. How are we to apply this to our lives so we can truly understand and appreciate these greatest moments in human history? I believe the key is found in the above verse, which according to the Gospel of Matthew, are Jesus’ first words on the sermon on the mount. If we are ever to receive Christ into our lives by faith and experience the gift of eternal life that the Holy Spirit brings into us, we must be “poor in spirit.” If you are tracking with me right now, you may ask “what does this mean and how do I find this?” The expression of being poor is spirit refers to the awareness of our state of helplessness and utter poverty we all have naturally in our spiritual life. According to the bible, we are all dead in our sins and lost without Jesus as our Savior and the Holy Spirit indwelling us. (Ephesians 2:1-3) It takes the very grace of God and the work of God’s Spirit in us to help us realize that on our own, we are lost and without hope for our sins. We may have thoughts and emotions about the death, burial and resurrection of Jesus Christ based on tradition or things we have heard, but without the Spirit of God living in us, we do not experience what Christ came to provide us, namely eternal life. Yes, thoughts and emotions can be very real and powerful, but the new life of Jesus in us is something entirely different; it can only be found when we first become “poor in spirit” and confess our need for salvation and our complete dependence on God to be forgiven. Why doesn’t everyone realize this? The pull and power of human pride, the deceptions of the devil and the lure of the world system are very strong! On our own, we would have to face God on Judgment Day and give account for all or sins and failures without any means to truly pay for them. Only by the incredible sacrifice of God’s perfect Son, Jesus, could the sin debt of everyone truly be paid. Only by the resurrection of Christ can we truly be assured that He is worthy of our complete trust. Only by the resurrection power of the Holy Spirit that raised Jesus from the dead can we live a transformed life by His grace. We are all truly “poor in spirit”, it’s just that not everyone has realized this or is willing to face the facts. We live in a culture that celebrates strength and self-sufficiency and looks at dependence and need as being weak and inferior. This is the greatest deception of the devil yet! To think we can be righteous on our own and can gain eternal life by our own merit is the greatest con Satan has pulled off. I pray that we all realize that to go to the Living God and confess our need for forgiveness and acceptance is the wisest and best decision we can ever make. Call on Jesus Christ and surrender to His love by faith, trusting only in Him for salvation. Be poor is spirit so you can find the kingdom of heaven and enter into an eternal relationship with Him and receive the glorious resurrection power that God has for you. Blessings!
Love in Christ,
Pastor Gary Houdek