“Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3.
This verse is a part of the Sermon on the Mount given by Our Lord and Saviour Jesus Christ to the disciples.(Matthew 5:1-12) It seems a bit weird to be blessed in poverty and to me it seemed even weirder the fact of being poor in “Spirit”. The Bible often explains the meaning of this word “Spirit” relating to light, life, strength or even God Himself as in the following verses “The spirit of a man is the lamp of the Lord searching all the inner depths of his heart” (Proverbs 20:27), “And the Lord said My spirit shall not strive with man forever, for he is indeed flesh; yet his days shall be one hundred and twenty years” (Genesis 6:3), “Watch and pray, lest you enter into temptation. The spirit is indeed willing but the flesh is weak” (Mark 14:38), “God is spirit” (John 4:24) and “But you will receive power when the Holy Spirit comes on you; and you will be my witnesses in Jerusalem, and in all Judea and Samaria, and to the ends of the earth.” (Acts 1:8). In such a case, why should the spirit be poor? What exactly does this phrase “Poor in Spirit” mean? Looking at the Scriptures, we find that being poor finds a special place (Refer Luke 4:18). Jesus Himself became poor for our sake though He was rich (Refer 2 Corinthians 8:9) and set an example of being poor, being humble and without any desire for material riches. The verse ‘It is hard for a rich man to enter the kingdom of God’ strikes a direct relation with the ‘poor in spirit inheriting the kingdom of heaven’. This adds meaning to this latter phrase as letting go of the material desires within our spirit and completely depending on the Lord for everything. Not just that, oftentimes we fail to remain humble when we expertise on something or feel confident upon ourselves. We think that we do not find a need to kneel before the Lord asking for His help. But, being poor in spirit means being humble and completely depending on God, that makes us long for Him, to want more of Him , with an unquenchable desire for Him in our lives. This is what the poor do exactly, they are always in shortage and long for more, there is always a need in them and they also accept their weakness. Therefore, it is also possible to look at it this way, Poor = Weak and Spirit = Strength. Therefore, Poor in Spirit = Weak in our strength. When we have a realisation that our real strength is in God even when we feel strong, that is being poor in spirit. Jesus Christ humbled and submitted Himself completely unto the will of the Father thereby setting an example of being ‘poor in the spirit’. Let us also practice to humble ourselves and completely depend on the Lord even on those things we are confident about, to be blessed.