Focus verse: Matt. 5:3 “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven”
What a contrast! To be “blessed” is to be happy. But, how can I be happy when I am poor in spirit; or poor in anything?
These words of Jesus to the stiff-necked Jews convey a tone of desperation and utter poverty. The Jews wanted their promised Messiah to come and deliver them from the Roman Empire; to set things right and have the world crawl humbly to the kingdom of Israel. Instead Jesus delivers a message that confuses them…and us completely. If you want to gain the Kingdom of Heaven, you must be poor in spirit. Not poor in God’s spirit but poor in man’s spirit, which is a spirit centered on SELF. Jesus makes a point. As we empty out the ME, God wants to fill us with HIM.
There was never a time in my life that was more applicable than January 2007. My wife Cheryl had been diagnosed with breast cancer. It must be a mistake! This can’t possibly be happening to us, can it? We were believers and had faithfully served in our fellowship for years. How can God allow this to happen to “good people”? The short answer is found in Romans 3:10; “There is no one righteous. No, not one.” I remembered this from hearing the testimony of Pastor Jon Courson who tragically lost both a wife and daughter to separate car crashes. Now, was it my turn? My step-daughter and two grandkids had been killed in a crash just over a year before. Was I going to lose Cheryl also?
Then Cheryl snapped me back to reality when she said, “either we walk what we say we believe or what good is it?” Cheryl’s cancer was beyond my control. I was at the end of myself; but God was just getting started. During Cheryl’s recovery, I learned that the Kingdom of Heaven, indeed, touches us in this life when we submit to God. James 4:7-8 says “Submit to God … Draw near to God and He will draw near to you.” Submit your poor, weak and inadequate spirit to Him and He will bless you with His riches.
- What things do you hold onto in times of trouble rather than God?
Next Week’s Scripture: Matthew 5:4