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Poor in Spirit

When Jesus first began his ministry, he gave what is known as the “Sermon on the Mount” in Matthew, chapters 5-7.    What is interesting is he began this sermon with several Beatitudes.    Beatitude are defined as a state of utmost bliss and Jesus started them in this way; “Blessed are…”, and gave the condition followed by a reward.   The first of several of the Beatitudes is Mathew 5:3.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

The condition here is being ‘poor in spirit’ followed by their reward, ‘the kingdom of heaven’.   The word blessed here is also translated happy or happiness.   So what Jesus is telling us; We are blessed for being ‘poor in spirit’.   The immediate question the world would ask is WHY?    Why would we be blessed or happy if we are in this condition.   One thing you will see as you study scripture is that God simply does not view the world as most people view it.   God has a whole set of different values, a whole different point of view. 

The very first thing that Jesus addresses is their condition.   Jesus was speaking to a nation torn down, beaten down, and living under Roman occupation.    They had only one hope, the coming Messiah that had been prophesied for centuries.   He was going to change all of that for them.   He was going to restore Israel to all her glory.   What Jesus was teaching here, was how to live a life of happiness regardless of what condition you are living in.   He was not going to deliver them from Roman occupation, but he was going to deliver them into Eternal life and give them a way to find peace in their life while remaining the in same condition.  

The Apostle Paul said in Philippians 4:11-13

11 Not that I speak from want, for I have learned to be content in whatever circumstances I am.   12 I know how to get along with humble means, and I also know how to live in prosperity; in any and every circumstance I have learned the secret of being filled and going hungry, both of having abundance and suffering need.    13 I can do all things through Him who strengthens me.    (Underline is for emphasis)

Paul wrote that he had ‘learned’ to be content no matter what the circumstances are.   That is quite an accomplishment, and note that this is a ‘learned’ behavior, not something that you are born with.   The vast majority of us are never going to be rich, live in mansions, own yachts and private jets to take us any place we want to go.   Under no circumstances does that mean you cannot find happiness.   Many people measure happiness in terms of worldly success, but God does not see it that way.  

Your measure of happiness is determined, not by wealth or possessions, but by learning to be content with whatever you have, never coveting physical possessions that everyone else has, (not God, our families and friends) robs of our inner peace.   Jesus is talking about an internal condition which will control the outward person.  How do find the strength to do this.   Look back at what Paul said in Philippians’ in verse 13.   God will strength you.   God looks after his children.

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