How We Can Be Poor In Spirit?


In the famous Sermon on the Mount, Jesus gave the beatitudes—the descriptions of the blessed life that we could all have when built on the right attitude and principles.

One of the things Jesus shared is the concept of being poor in spirit. In Matthew 5:3, He says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."

What does it mean to be poor in spirit, and why would God want us to be poor? Some may suggest that God is referring to economic poverty in the scripture, but that's not the case. Sure, we are warned many times of the dangers of wealth and money, but that doesn't mean that God wants us not to have enough. In fact, it is God's ways to bring provision and even abundance to a point that you can be a channel of blessing for others as well.

Jesus talks about being "poor in the spirit," not in bank account. So how can we be poor in spirit?

Acknowledge Spiritual Bankruptcy

To be poor in spirit starts with first acknowledging that at the spiritual level, all people are bankrupt. We have nothing left in the spirit. Moreover, we're not just spiritually bankrupt, we are spiritually dead. Colossians 2:13 says, "You were at one time spiritually dead because of your sins and because you were Gentiles without the Law. But God has now brought you to life with Christ. God forgave us all our sins."

Our spiritual death is caused solely by our sinfulness. Our iniquity has murdered our spirit and drawn us away from God who is the only source of spiritual life. Apart from Christ, there can be no life beyond our mortal bodies. And as we are spiritually dead, what we need is resurrection of the spirit to live beyond this life.

Rely on Christ's Spiritual Revival

The kingdom of heaven is most generally used to refer to eternal life. What Jesus is telling us here is that we cannot receive eternal life without acknowledging our spiritual death. Why? Because it's only in humbly acknowledging our spiritual depravity that we can look to the full power of Christ's finished work on the cross.

We are saved by grace through faith. We cannot revive our own spirit with good works and we are in no way spiritually "hanging on to dear life" because we still keep some laws. We're all corpses as far as God's kingdom is concerned. But because Christ died for our spiritual death and was raised from the dead, we are raised up with Him.

To be poor in spirit does not end with acknowledging out spiritual bankruptcy. It can only end by embracing the spiritual wealth we have inherited in Christ through God's grace. There's no other way to the kingdom of heaven.