The biblical concept of being poor in spirit is foundational to every aspect of the Christian life. Foundational to salvation is a heart-level acknowledgment of our need for a Savior. Foundational to experiencing God’s love is acknowledging our great need of love. Foundational to heavenly peace and joy is an acknowledgment that this world truly offers us neither. If we want all that God in his grace offers, we must pursue a lifestyle of being poor in spirit. May you experience more of the depth of God’s love this week as you discover God’s heart to minister to those desperate for him.
Scripture:“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
To be poor in spirit is to seek wealth in heaven rather than in the things of the world. Jesus says in Matthew 5:3, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” We have no reason to be poor in spirit if we’re after the world. The world does not reward those who acknowledge their weaknesses. The world does not revere and honor those who are open and honest about their brokenness. But God says in Proverbs 29:23, “One's pride will bring him low, but he who is lowly in spirit will obtain honor.” Seeking wealth in heaven and honor from the One, True God requires us to live in light of the fact that we are dust. God rewards only those who obey his command to be poor in spirit.
Scripture is clear that our actions here on earth affect our eternal life. Jesus says in Matthew 6:19-21, 24,
Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also. . . . No one can serve two masters, for either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve God and money.
What Jesus is not saying in Matthew 6 is that we are not to have any form of money here on earth. God knows our needs, and in the very next section of Scripture he tells us not to fear for them because he promises to provide (Matthew 6:31-32). What he is saying is summed up in in Matthew 6:33, “But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”
To be poor in spirit on earth is to be rich in heaven. God honors and blesses those who live according to his commands rather than seeking pleasure in the world. Psalm 113:7-8 says, “He raises the poor from the dust and lifts the needy from the ash heap, to make them sit with princes, with the princes of his people.” When we seek earthly wealth, it dies with us. But when we live in truth, acknowledging that we are dust and that all the worldly pursuits are fleeting and folly, all that’s left is to give our heart to God.
Take time today to assess whether you are pursuing the things of the world or if your heart is solely devoted to God’s kingdom. Assess whether you are seeking fulfillment for your spiritual need or attempting to fill the voids in your life with earthly success. And commit your heart to the Lord alone that you might receive heavenly reward that will satisfy you for all eternity. God longs to bless his children. He longs to provide abundantly for all your needs both here on earth and in heaven. But the gateway to both is narrow and requires you to be poor in spirit. May your heart be entirely God’s today as you seek satisfaction and provision in him alone.
1. Meditate on the value of seeking the kingdom of God above all else. Allow Scripture to inform the posture of your heart toward being poor in spirit.
“Do not lay up for yourselves treasures on earth, where moth and rust destroy and where thieves break in and steal, but lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust destroys and where thieves do not break in and steal. For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also.” Matthew 6:19-21
“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.” Matthew 6:33
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3
2. In what ways are you seeking the things of the world over the kingdom of God? In what ways are you attempting to appear spiritually rich rather than poor in spirit? In what ways are you seeking wealth here rather than in heaven?
“And when you pray, you must not be like the hypocrites. For they love to stand and pray in the synagogues and at the street corners, that they may be seen by others. Truly, I say to you, they have received their reward." Matthew 6:5
3. Take time to confess any pursuits of the world to God and receive his forgiveness. Ask him to show you how your work and relationships fit into seeking his kingdom first. Commit all your finances, friends, and family to him.
The Bible speaks so strongly about earthly wealth because it can be so tempting, and because it carries with it a false sense of satisfaction. It’s so easy for our hearts to become wrapped up in the things of this world when they’re readily available to us. Earthly success and wealth are so enticing. But if we make time to discover the wealth of affection, satisfaction, joy, peace, and purpose that are found in seeking God’s kingdom alone, the things of this world begin to come into a correct perspective. What is wealth here in comparison to eternal reward given to us by God himself? What is worldly pleasure in comparison to honor and blessing from the King of kings? Make space to simply enjoy God today in order that all other pursuits might fall into place in light of his unconditional love and desire to bless you.
Extended Reading: Matthew 6
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