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The Beatitudes: The poor in Spirit

The Poor in Spirit

The humility in spirit
alone brings us to God

In Matthew chapter five (5), we are introduced to the Beatitudes which the Lord Jesus uses to open the famous Sermon on the Mount. These short sayings form a series of paradoxes (or notions expressed in an almost contradictory manner). The thoughts spoken by the Master in these blessed sayings run completely against to what we commonly would expect. Because the sayings are paradoxes, we must understand that the point of view from which Jesus begins is a spiritual point of view, certainly not a material, or physical one. Let’s not dismiss the brevity of these sayings, but rather consider the message of Jesus Christ as he spoke in these blessed sayings, or epigrams.

“Blessed are the poor in spirit” —Matthew 5:3

When we ask, who are “the poor in spirit?” Some answer that it refers to the poor in material things, others say to those who are mentally deficient. But I must ask how was the Lord Jesus going to say that those who live in material poverty or those who are abnormal in their minds are blessed? It is absurd to think that. The general concept that many of us have is that the blessed ones are those who have material property, or in other words, the rich, those who are great and powerful in the world. To those who have a materialistic concept, of course, these words of Christ, “blessed are the poor,” clash in their minds. But as we said above, Christ was speaking from the spiritual point of view.

Then, who are “the poor in spirit“? We can say that they are those who have a humble opinion of themselves; they are those who feel the need to depend on God for everything. They are those Who are not proud, vain, or self-praising.  The Teacher spoke of these, and not the materially poor, or the mentally retarded.

There are people who, although they are materially poor, are very haughty, very proud and rebellious toward God. They do not want to obey the gospel of Christ, nor do they even have any interest in hearing the word of God. Nevertheless there are other people who, although they are materially rich, are very humble of heart and are obedient to God, and thank God every day for all that they have. Then, it does not matter what we have or do not have from the material point  of view, rather how we are from a spiritual point of view. “The poor in spirit” are the humble of heart, those who feel that they need God, those who depend on God in everything that they do in this life.

It would be good to read now the following passages to better understand this concept: Matthew 18:3, “And said, Assuredly, I say to you, unless you are converted and become as little children, you will by no means enter the kingdom of heaven.” John 15:5, “I am the vine, you are the branches. He who abides in Me, and I in him, bears much fruit; for without Me you can do nothing.” Philippians 2:3, “Let nothing be done through selfish ambition or conceit, but in lowliness of mind let each esteem others better than himself.” Isaiah 66:2, “‘For all those things My hand has made, and all those things exist’, says the Lord. ‘But on this one will I look, on him who is poor and of a contrite spirit, and who trembles at My word’.”

God helps each one of us to recognize that without God we are nothing in this world; that we need God and His spiritual blessings which He offers to us through His Son Jesus Christ, such as pardon of our sins and eternal salvation, etc. Let us be humble of heart, “poor in spirit.” We show this by being obedient to God, wanting to do what His Son Jesus Christ commands, in order to be happy, enjoying the blessings of God.

985//900//904Tr.   — Roberto V. Spencer

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