Being poor in spirit

Being poor in spirit

Being poor in spirit has a great promise attached, but what does poverty of spirit really mean?

The way of poverty is the way of life, because “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3. “The poor have the gospel preached to them.” Matthew 11:5. Being poor in spirit means that, in your own eyes, you possess little or nothing of the heavenly treasures and virtues. Everybody is poor when it comes to these things, but not everybody realizes it. Those who do are poor in spirit.

God loves self-acknowledgment so much that He has decided to lead all those who are poor in spirit into the kingdom of heaven. The secret is having partaken of the treasures of God’s kingdom, to abide in poverty, because as long as one lives in this state of poverty in spirit, one constantly partakes of more and more of these treasures.

This is where the Corinthians had come to a standstill. They were (through what they had received from God) already rich. (1 Corinthians 4:8) A person can acknowledge to a greater or lesser degree. The greater a person’s poverty in spirit, the more progress he will make.

Some people are content to sin and then to ask for forgiveness, so they don’t receive any more from God. Others are content with overcoming the most “base” sins, so they receive nothing more from God. Others, again, feel rich when they have gained victory over the things they have received light over, and so they don’t press in any further. But the important thing is to preserve this poverty in spirit until the very end!

In theory, everyone can be poor in spirit; but what really counts is being poor in spirit in reality. A person can easily profess with their mouth that they have learned that they understand nothing, but in reality they can be conceited, and as stubborn as a mule.

The way of poverty is the same as the way of weakness. “For when I am weak, then I am strong.” 2 Corinthians 12:10. God’s power is made perfect in our weakness. An acknowledgment of our weakness – being poor in spirit – draws down to us the power of God and His kingdom, by faith. 

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This article is translated from Norwegian, and first appeared as a chapter titled “The Way of Poverty” in the booklet “The Way of Life in January 1935.
© Copyright Stiftelsen Skjulte Skatters Forlag | ActiveChristianity

Scripture taken from the New King James Version®, unless otherwise specified. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson. Used by permission. All rights reserved.