THE POOR IN SPIRIT
Memorise: Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:3
Read: Luke 18:9-14 (KJV)
9 And he spake this parable unto certain which trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and despised others:
10 Two men went up into the temple to pray; the one a Pharisee, and the other a publican.
11 The Pharisee stood and prayed thus with himself, God, I thank thee, that I am not as other men are, extortioners, unjust, adulterers, or even as this publican.
12 I fast twice in the week, I give tithes of all that I possess.
13 And the publican, standing afar off, would not lift up so much as his eyes unto heaven, but smote upon his breast, saying, God be merciful to me a sinner.
14 I tell you, this man went down to his house justified rather than the other: for every one that exalteth himself shall be abased; and he that humbleth himself shall be exalted.
Bible in one year: Leviticus 13, Jeremiah 8:4-17, Hymn: Sing hymn 6
Some people believe that the poor are automatic candidates for making heaven; hence they see them as being blessed. Nothing could be further from the truth. This error is derived from a wrong interpretation of the scripture in today’s memory verse. No matter how poor you are, if you are not reconciled with your Maker, the Kingdom of heaven is a mere illusion for you. Whereas, you may be as rich as Father Abraham himself was, and when you die, you will still make heaven.
Revelation 19:5 says, “And a voice came out of the throne, saying, Praise our God, all ye his servants, and ye that fear him, both small and great.” Irrespective of whether you are rich or poor, once you meet the condition for admission into the Kingdom of God, you will be granted access. What is this condition? Revelations 21:27 gives us insight into this: “And there shall in no wise enter into it any thing that defileth, neither whatsoever worketh abomination, or maketh a lie: but they which are written in the Lamb’s book of life.”
The question then is this: What type of “poor” was Jesus referring to in Matthew 5:3? It is the poor in spirit, and not the poor in wealth or riches. Who then are the poor in spirit? They are those who realise their spiritual insufficiency as touching the requirements of God with regards to righteousness, and they have a thirst in their spirit to overcome this inadequacy. This thirst will metamorphose into a search for God and for His mercy. The Almighty God is always waiting to receive such people, and He leads them on the path of righteousness through His Son, Jesus Christ. Like the publican in today’s Bible reading, the poor in spirit have no righteousness of their own, and hence, they cry for the mercy of God.
The “rich in spirit” on the other hand will never cry for God’s mercy; they will always reply on their own righteousness. Of such is the Pharisee in our Bible text. Concerning the poor in spirit (the publican), Jesus Christ said “this man went down to his house justified rather than the other. “Therefore, for anyone to enter into the Kingdom of heaven, such a fellow must first humble himself or herself at the Cross of Jesus Christ, confess his or her sins, forsake them with a promise never to return to them again, and then ask for grace to live a life that is pleasing to God Almighty (1st John 1:9).
Father, I humble myself before Your throne of grace today; please forgive my spiritual pride and take me to Your side by Your mercy. At the end of my life, let me reign with you.
Open Heavens Daily Devotional guide was written by Pastor E.A. Adeboye, the General Overseer of the Redeemed Christian Church of God.