“Blessed are the POOR IN SPIRIT, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Poor in spirit” means to be humble, and devoid of pride. Humility is the realization that all your gifts and blessings come from the grace of God, bringing one an inner peace that allows one to do the will of God. These people keenly feel their inadequacies. unworthiness, and helplessness without God’s grace. They don’t try to hide these things under a ‘cloak’ of self-sufficiency, but are honest and grieved about them—driving them into the ‘arms’ of God.
This does not refer to physical poverty. Sometimes riches do often ‘trip up’ people. The self-sufficiency of the rich causes them to be complacent about searching for God, but a poor person’s circumstances give them a ‘running start’ in the spiritual realm, since their desperate circumstances will often led him to seek God fervently.
However, “poor in spirit” does refer to spiritual poverty, and they realize that they have no resources that will get them into Heaven. They are spiritually ‘destitute’ and therefore are totally dependent on God’s grace (In sharp contrast to what the world says, “Happy are the rich, famous, self-sufficient, and proud”). God identifies with people who are spiritual ‘beggars’, not with those who are arrogant and self-sufficient—and ‘receives’ those who cry out for His mercy (Luke 18:10-13). There must be a deep ‘submission’ and an ‘emptying’ of self before you can be ‘filled’ by God.
Admitting your weaknesses is the beginning of happiness—and one of the hardest things you will ever do. To know true happiness you must first be poor in spirit and acknowledge you can do nothing on your own.
When you are poor in spirit, you will praise and thank God for His grace in the knowledge that everything you have is a gift from Him. There is no arrogance in them, no self-righteousness, no self-sufficiency—free from their own pretensions.
They realize that they bring nothing of their own power, possession, or merit that would contribute to receiving the Kingdom of Heaven. So, they depend totally on God’s wisdom, and not their own (Proverbs 14:12), and depend on God’s ‘strength’ (Psalm 94:22).
The paradox of depending on God is that the more weak one is, the more one should depend on God; and the more one depends on God, the stronger one gets! The prophet Isaiah put it this way: “But those who trust in the Lord will find new strength. They will soar high on wings like eagles. They will run and not grow weary. They will walk and not faint” [ Isaiah 40:31 ].
A person that is “poor in spirit” also depends on God’s ‘timing’—knowing that while they are ‘waiting’, God is ‘working’ (in the ‘background’), and that a delay is not necessarily a denial. They trust that God will provide at the proper time. Again, the prophet Isaiah states: “At the right time, I, the Lord, will make it happen” [ Isaiah 60:22 ]. God always gives His best to those who wait! Just beware, Satan will try to make you settle for ‘second best’, and if you get in a hurry and try to ‘answer’ your own prayer, you will probably make a terrible mistake.
A person “poor in spirit” will also depend on God to ‘defend’ them—so they don’t ‘respond’ to unfair attacks or unjust criticism. (“God blesses and protects all those who run to Him” [ Psalm 2:12 ]).
This person also depends on God to supply all their needs. Their job is a ‘channel’, but God is their ‘source’ of their supply. (“And my God will supply all my needs from His abundant wealth, because of what Christ Jesus has done for me” [ Philippians 4:19 ]).
If you want to know true happiness you must be poor in spirit. That means you must understand your spiritual helplessness. If you recognize your spiritual poverty, you will possess the kingdom of heaven now. Augustus Toplady summed all that up in the hymn “Rock of Ages”: “Nothing in my hand I bring, Simply to Thy cross I cling.”
When a person understands who they are in light of who God is, only humility toward God can result.
Does ‘humility of spirit’ mark your life right now?
“Poor In Spirit” Related Bible Verses:
“Blessed is the man against whom the Lord counts no iniquity, and in whose spirit there is no deceit.”
[ Psalm 32:2 ].
“This poor man cried, and the Lord heard him and saved him out of all his troubles.”
[ Psalm 34:6 ].
“As the deer longs for streams of water, so I long for you, O God. I thirst for God, the living God. When can I go and stand before him?”
[ Psalm 42:1-2 ].
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin! For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me.”
[ Psalm 51:1-19 ].
“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.”
[ Psalm 51:17 ].
“For he delivers the needy when he calls, the poor and him who has no helper. He has pity on the weak and the needy, and saves the lives of the needy.”
[ Psalm 72:12-13 ].
“It is better to be of a lowly spirit with the poor than to divide the spoil with the proud.”
[ Proverbs 16:19 ].
“Better is the end of a thing than its beginning, and the patient in spirit is better than the proud in spirit.”
[ Ecclesiastes 7:8 ].
“For thus says the One who is high and lifted up, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: “I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with him who is of a contrite and lowly spirit, to revive the spirit of the lowly, and to revive the heart of the contrite.”
[ Isaiah 57:15 ].
“All these things my hand has made, and so all these things came to be, declares the Lord. But this is the one to whom I will look: he who is humble and contrite in spirit and trembles at my word.”
[ Isaiah 66:2 ].
“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven.”
[ Matthew 18:4 ].
“But when Simon Peter saw it, he fell down at Jesus’ knees, saying, ‘Depart from me, for I am a sinful man, O Lord.’”
[ Luke 5:8 ].
“But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’”
[ Luke 18:13 ].
“For I know that nothing good dwells in me, that is, in my flesh. For I have the desire to do what is right, but not the ability to carry it out.”
[ Romans 7:18 ].
“Wretched man that I am! Who will deliver me from this body of death?”
[ Romans 7:24 ].
“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.”
[ Romans 12:3 ].
“For the sake of Christ, then, I am content with weaknesses, insults, hardships, persecutions, and calamities. For when I am weak, then I am strong.”
[ 2 Corinthians 12:10 ].
“But he gives more grace. Therefore it says, ‘God opposes the proud, but gives grace to the humble.’”
[ James 4:6 ].
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FRUIT OF THE SPIRIT #2:
The Preamble to the Declaration of Independence, states that “we are endowed by our Creator with certain inalienable rights, life, liberty and the pursuit of happiness.”
Webster’s defines “happy” as synonymous with “joy” and “a very glad feeling; great pleasure; and “enjoyment because of your life, particular situation, or event.”
The thing is, happiness has to do with circumstances, but even Webster’s notes that joy is a sense of “great happiness”—something ‘higher’ and deeper than happiness or pleasure. The Greek word for joy, used in Galatians, is “chara,” which adds the nuance of well-being, a calm delight or a profound gladness—making it a deep inner quality. The verb form of “chara” is “rejoice.”
Everyone wants to be “joyful” and most people try to ‘achieve it’ in varying ways and intensities. Some seek it in athletic endeavors, hobbies, travel, dancing, fashion, home improvements, wealth, status, alcohol, food or drugs. Except for a brief period of satisfaction and sense of well-being, no matter how ‘secure’ the sources of our joy seem, they all fall short long term—failing to fill that empty ‘place’ inside us.
In the Bible, King Solomon conducted a series of ‘experiments’ in his quest to discover, by practical experience and analysis, how to get the most and best out out of his life.
He searched in his heart on how to gratify his flesh with wine, great works, gardens and orchards, all kinds of fruit trees, water pools, male and female servants, herds and flocks, silver and gold, special treasures, male and female singers, and musical instruments of all kinds. He became great, very wise, and excelled more than all who were before him in Jerusalem. Whatever his eyes desired he did not keep from acquiring it. He did not withhold himself from any pleasure. But, when he looked at all his works and labors, he came to the conclusion that “all was vanity and grasping for the wind. There was no profit under the sun.”
Solomon admitted that his quest rewarded him with a certain amount of joy, but he still found it unsatisfactory. We might think that with all his wealth, good health, and discerning mind, he would have had joy in abundance. But that was not true. His ultimate conclusion was that only ‘in’ God can we experience ‘real’ joy.
The thing is, today, believers are given something Solomon did not possess all the time—the Holy Spirit—and as a result, our satisfaction comes from Him and not from favorable circumstances.
When we let the Word of God dwell within us richly, we will be filled with the Spirit and the “Fruit of the Spirit” will be manifested in us. Joy will be present in our lives because the quality of our relationships with God and others will be godly and consistently based on love.
Joy is gladness from experiencing a right relationship with God and ‘fellowship’ with others. Joy comes from seeing God ‘work’ in all things—even in our struggles and hardships.
Biblical joy is inseparable from our relationship with God and springs from our knowledge and understanding of the purpose of life and the hope of living with God for eternity when there will be joy forevermore. If God is actually present in our lives, His joy can be in us (Psalm 16:11). Joy is the sign that we have found our purpose, our reason for being! This then allows us to have joy even during hardships. “Consider it pure joy, my brothers, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith develops perseverance” [ James 1:2–3 ].
Now, this does not mean we have joy because of the pain and torment of a ‘storm’ of life. It means that we have joy because of our relationship with God, and have faith in His promises, protection, and provision. In ‘tough’ times we are told by the prophet Nehemiah that, “The joy of the Lord is your strength” [ Nehemiah 8:10 ].
We can ‘seek’ joy all we want, but we will not find ‘true’ joy merely by seeking pleasurable excitement. The greatest of joys, however, are those that arise when we are so absorbed in some creative task that we are set free from self-concern—yielding wholeheartedly to the creative purpose God ‘working’ joy into our lives.
Jesus has great joy when He sees ‘growth’ in us—and wants to share His joy with us. This joy is based on being rightly related to God and to one another; the delight of watching God’s work unfold in one another’s lives; and the satisfaction of helping each other become the Christ-like men and women we were created to be.
This kind of joy just doesn’t happen. It ‘flows’ when we let the Word of Christ dwell richly within us, and we seek to be ‘filled’ with God’s Spirit—when we let Jesus lead us into deep and honest connections with others, and when we begin to delight in God’s continual work in our lives and the lives of others.
“God has given each of you a gift from his great variety of spiritual gifts. Use them well to serve one another…Do it with all the strength and energy that God supplies. Then everything you do will bring glory to God through Jesus Christ” [ 1 Peter 4:10, 11).
It appears that for us to experience biblical joy, the fruit of God’s Spirit, we need godly inner qualities that we do not possess by ‘nature’. As with love—the love that springs from us naturally is but a pale reflection of God’s love—so also is it with joy. Until we come to the point where, by faith, we are supremely confident of God’s presence in our life—of His providence toward us in the past, present and future—we will not experience the enduring fullness of satisfaction God wants us to have.
This joy is a delight of the mind arising from the consideration of a present or assured possession of a future good. When joy is moderate it is called “gladness.” When our desires are limited by our possessions our joy is contentment. When joy has so long possessed the mind that it has settled into the deepest part of our being, we call it “cheerfulness.” When it is raised to the highest degree of joy it is “exultation.” This is natural godly joy.
There is a ‘moral’ joy that arises from our good actions or behavior. This kind of joy is called peace, or serenity of conscience. If this godly behavior is honorable and our joy rises higher, it may be called “glorious”—and we credit God for its presence in our life.
Just before Jesus was crucified, He promised the disciples (and us) that He would “pray to the Father, and He will give you another Helper, that He may abide with you forever” [ John 14:16 ]. This is the Holy Spirit—the third ‘person’ of the Trinity (God) that comes to live ‘inside’ you when you are reconciled to God the Father. He is your “advocate,” reminds you all what Jesus taught, guides you to all truth, and assists you in living a joyful life!
Relationship with the Spirit is essential to any real joy you will ever have!
“Joy” Related Bible Verses:
“You have given me greater joy than those who have abundant harvests of grain and new wine.”
[ Psalm 4:7 ].
“Therefore my heart is glad, and my whole being rejoices; my flesh also dwells secure.”
[ Psalm 16:9 ].
“You make known to me the path of life; in your presence there is fullness of joy; at your right hand are pleasures forevermore.”
[ Psalm 16:11 ].
“For his anger is but for a moment, and his favor is for a lifetime. Weeping may tarry for the night, but joy comes with the morning.”
[ Psalm 30:5 ].
“You have turned my mourning into joyful dancing. You have taken away my clothes of mourning and clothed me with joy,”
[ Psalm 30:11 ].
“Light is sown for the righteous, and joy for the upright in heart.”
[ Psalm 97:11 ].
“This is the day that the Lord has made; let us rejoice and be glad in it.”
[ Psalm 118:24 ].
“Those who sow in tears shall reap with shouts of joy!”
[ Psalm 126:5 ].
“A joyful heart is good medicine, but a crushed spirit dries up the bones.”
[ Proverbs 17:22 ].
“Then he said to them, ‘Go your way. Eat the fat and drink sweet wine and send portions to anyone who has nothing ready, for this day is holy to our Lord. And do not be grieved, for the joy of the Lord is your strength.’”
[ Nehemiah 8:10 ].
“These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.”
[ John 15:11 ].
“So also you have sorrow now, but I will see you again, and your hearts will rejoice, and no one will take your joy from you.”
[ John 16:22 ].
“Until now you have asked nothing in my name. Ask, and you will receive, that your joy may be full.”
[ John 16:24 ].
“Rejoice with those who rejoice, weep with those who weep.”
[ Romans 12:15 ].
“May the God of hope fill you with all joy and peace in believing, so that by the power of the Holy Spirit you may abound in hope.”
[ Romans 15:13 ].
“So that by God’s will I may come to you with joy and be refreshed in your company.”
[ Romans 15:32 ].
“I am acting with great boldness toward you; I have great pride in you; I am filled with comfort. In all our affliction, I am overflowing with joy.”
[ 2 Corinthians 7:4 ].
“Complete my joy by being of the same mind, having the same love, being in full accord and of one mind.”
[ Philippians 2:2 ].
“Always be full of joy in the Lord. I say it again—rejoice!”
[ Philippians 4:4 ].
“Though you have not seen him, you love him. Though you do not now see him, you believe in him and rejoice with joy that is inexpressible and filled with glory,”
[ 1 Peter 1:8 ].
“But rejoice insofar as you share Christ’s sufferings, that you may also rejoice and be glad when his glory is revealed.”
[ 1 Peter 4:13 ].
“And we are writing these things so that our joy may be complete.”
[ 1 John 1:4 ].