Blessed are the Poor in Spirit

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The Sermon on the Mount by Carl Bloch

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. – Matthew 5:3 (ESV)

Jesus promises a governmental position in the government, or rule, of the heavens to all those that are poor in spirit. Remembering that the heavens, being the location of God’s governmental throne, are clearly above the earth, we can see that Jesus is promising a place of authority in His own personal government that is ruling over all that exists both on the earth and above it. What is clearly implicated here is that poverty of spirit is a necessary requirement for ruling in God’s government. Lucifer was cast down because he lost poverty of spirit and chose to embrace the power and strength of his own spirit. This led to him becoming so deluded that he challenged God in his own might, resulting in a flash when God cast him down from his privileged, governmental position.

When lucifer embraced personal power in his own spirit, he changed from being one of the most beautiful of all creatures to being the most dark and terrible of all beings. He was transformed from one filled with light to one filled with oppressive darkness. His rejection of poverty of spirit transformed his being into a selfish, dark, and evil being with a capacity to destroy that has brought destruction not just to his own nature, but has also brought manifold destruction to others in his corruption of one third of the angels and his subsquent acts in corrupting all the earth. Lucifer so successfully transmitted this disease to humanity, that we too embraced strength in our own spirit, with the end result being that our inner man became corrupt and depraved as well and human history has became the tale of the dark deeds of humanity. Do we consider the disastrous consequences of embracing the strengh of our own spirit, rather than the poverty of it as Jesus exhorts us to do? Do we consider that strength of spirit may be cloked in religious language and religious ambition so that we may end up pursuinig the very thing Jesus desires us to reject within a religious framework?

Jesus, on the other hand, calls us to poverty of spirit. He calls us to return to the primary issue of the garden and re-embrace the leadership of God in refusing the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. Rather than embracing the promise of its fruit, we are to bring our spirit in poverty before God desiring to once again know the thrill of being filled with His spirit rather than dominating others with our own. His Spirit alone is capable of ruling over others while keeping the well being of others as His first priority. Our spirits are not equipped to rule as His is and so any time we attempt to live out of our own spirits, the inevitable result is selfishness, pain, and suffering. Only God’s Spirit has the capacity to rule others in a way that is ultimately selfless. We do not have that capacity in our own spirits and to thing otherwise is delusional, though it be couched in religious language.

For this reason, only those that embrace poverty of spirit will be equipped to rule in the government of God. This is truly a high call because Jesus is offering us access, not just to the government of the earth, but to the government of the heavens. As we noted at the start, the government of the heavens sits over all creation and is the location of God’s very own throne. How high an exaltation Jesus offers us! Yet, at the same time, the qualifications for that exaltation are paradoxical. To ascend to the high place, our spirits must embrace a low place. We sit enthroned in government with God only when we acknowledge our total lack and poverty, not when we stand on our own accomplishments and power. Who can embrace such a thing? Who will empty themselves that they might be exalted by God? Who can lay aside from our natural methods of improving ourselves? Who can reject our human ideals of embracing power, ability, and stature thinking that our strength offers something to God that is necessary to His government? Do we desire what Jesus offers or do we have the secret desire that we may rule over our brethren in the age to come?

Only the poor in spirit can stand in the place God desires us to stand. Only the poor in spirit will endure in that place. Anyone else, no matter how talented, gifted, or accomplished, when raised to the right hand of God will fall in corruption just as lucifer did, corrupting both himself and others. Nothing exists in isolation. Everything any creature in creation does reverberates throughout creation impacting others. For that reason, God cannot allow an individual to be open to the place of corruption because an individual’s corruption never remains isolated. When you and I fall, others fall as well. Our corruption touches all those that we make contact with and so our corruption is not just an issue of our own personal nature, but it is an issue of our effect upon others. For this reason, a ruler in God’s government must lay aside his own strength, which will enslave and corrupt others, that he might be filled with the strength and Spirit of God which alone is fit to rule over others in a benevolent way.

Poverty in spirit is not just a phrase, it is a critical reality that you and I are called to embrace. To neglect this offer is to suffer great loss for Jesus is offering us an incredible place of privilege if we are willing to embrace His requirement. The offer is great, but the cost of that position is high as well. Forget your own achievements, ministerial or otherwise. In Matthew 5:3 Jesus gives you what He wants to see on your resume if you desire a place in His government, and it’s a poverty in your own spirit, not the massive strength that sadly we spend so much time pursuing. Let us embrace His paradigm so that on that great day, He can invite us with joy in His voice to sit on His very own throne with Him participating in His brilliant rule.

In short, the answer is clear. Embrace lack that you might prosper. Ask for emptiness that you may be filled.  Beware the temptation of your own spiritual fullness though and in your filling, stay in the place of poverty.

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