Advancing the Conversation of Jesus
As Jesus launches into some of His first public teachings, He has already begun to do wonderful things in healing and touching the lives of so many in His new ministry among them as the new Rabbi in town. He has already chosen a few men to follow in His dust-to be taught in His way. So now the question automatically arises: “Jesus, how does your teaching differ from all of the other Rabbis’ teaching that we have grown up with? How does your teaching compare with what we’ve been taught?”
It all begins right here: “Blessed are the poor in spirit”. You are blessed if you have this quality of being poor in spirit. The term “poor in spirit” is a word that means that you must beg in order to live. You are that desperate! It’s having a right evaluation of yourself before God. He’s God and self-sufficient and I am not!
Jesus is speaking to a massive group of people who have been taught by some of the most haughty men who have spent their lives outlining what it means to be right or righteous before God and that system is really a performance system of attempting some level of perfection. Jesus begins at the very opposite end of the spectrum. Righteousness begins when you understand your total need for God-your spiritual poverty!
To be “poor in spirit” means to have a right evaluation of yourself before self, God, and others. All of life begins right at this point. Possessing a right evaluation of yourself before self, God, and others is true humility-the exact opposite of the blindness of pride. Pride is one of the seven deadly sins; it’s universal among humans and it’s devastating! Pride always seeks to be exalted, to be first and to be praised. Pride blinds you to the point that you don’t see your self for who you are becoming, you position others in a crippled, weakened condition, and you begin to think that you may be God-the center of the universe!
Pride is an insidious cancer that skews your thinking, distances you from enjoying your relationships, and sets you up for a fall in whatever you do. Being “poor in spirit” is coming to grips with your humanity! It’s the realization that we are all broken and spiritually bankrupt! One of our main addictions is that we are stuck on ourselves-our self-centeredness-the big “I” for everything to revolve around.
So, SECRET #7 is: The follower of Jesus has a right evaluation of himself before God. You know that without God you are pretty bad off on the inside in need of supernatural empowerment, yet you are not as bad as you could be, since you were created by the God of gods and He doesn’t make junk. So, there is a wickedness (the downside) and a wonder (the upside) about you. This is a right evaluation of yourself before God. Those who reaffirm their poverty before God are operating within the very presence of God and therefore they are practicing God’s kingdom on earth and have the assurance that they are in possession of the kingdom of heaven. Those who are poor in spirit are the ones who will receive the kingdom of heaven. The Kingdom belongs to those who know and admit their need for God. It all starts here. You see, it’s only when you come to the end of yourself (poor in spirit) that you finally realize that God is enough. The follower of Jesus has a right evaluation of himself before God. He is God and you? You are not!