“Trust in the Lord with all your heart; do not depend on your own understanding. Seek his will in all you do, and he will show you which path to take. Don’t be impressed with your own wisdom. Instead, fear the Lord and turn away from evil.” Proverbs 3:5-7 (NLT).
God’s thoughts and plans for me always lead to a future filled with hope. (Jeremiah 29:11.) He gives life and peace to those who are “poor in spirit” (Matthew 5:3). If we are poor in spirit, we are willing to listen to God and hear and obey what He says.
Poor in spirit
Poor in spirit doesn’t mean that we are afraid or shy. It means that I long to be like Jesus, my Master, but that I understand it is impossible to do that on my own. I have a sinful human nature in which there is nothing good, so “I want to do what is right, but I can’t,” as Paul says in Romans 7:18 (NLT), even though I really want to do right with all my heart.
If I am poor in spirit, I will go to God to find out what His will is in every decision I have to make, before I open my mouth, before I make a judgment. It makes me willing to learn and receive instructions from God through His Holy Spirit. Then I receive the power to do what He wants me to do and I have grace over my life. Everything works together for my good, because I love God. (Romans 8:28.)
The normal thing is to trust in my own understanding; to be strong in myself. I react and act without thinking and base my decisions on past experiences. I am led by my feelings and thoughts, and judge according to what I see or hear. I do my own will instead of God’s will, and there is no grace over any of it. This can only lead to further problems. It is the opposite of being poor in spirit.
If we want to learn to be poor in spirit, then we need to follow the example of our Master, Jesus.
He lived to do the will of God and was poor in spirit all the days of His life. When He came to earth as a man, He had to learn everything from the Father. (John 5:30; John 12:49; Philippians 2:5-8.) He also had to learn obedience, as is written in Hebrews 5:8 (GNT): “But even though he was God's Son, he learned through his sufferings to be obedient.” Therefore He could teach His disciples with the words: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5:3.
As His disciple I also have to be poor in spirit and I should fully understand that I know nothing as I should know it, and I have to learn everything from the Master. I also have to learn obedience through the things that I suffer. (1 Corinthians 8:2; Hebrews 5:8; 1 Peter 4:1.)
I have a human nature in which there is nothing good, and God is asking me to not give in to the reactions that come up from this human nature when I am tempted. And it can be difficult to be obedient, it is a “suffering”. (Romans 7:18; Romans 8:12-13; Colossians 3:5.)
But if I am willing to admit that the root of the problem is in my own sinful nature – then I can go and ask God for help to overcome. (Hebrews 4:15-16.) And God hears the prayers of the poor in spirit.