I was two years old when I first saw beggars sitting on the side of the road. They were the poorest of the poor in the country where I grew up. Their contorted bodies, sometimes sightless eyes, flat expressions, and plaintive voices unnerved me.
At two I, of course, had no idea that —
- God never looks at the poor with revulsion, but with compassion.
- Jesus left heaven with its limitless and eternal wealth on every level and “he became poor, that we through his poverty might become rich” (2 Corinthians 8:9).
- When God regards me, He sees my spiritual poverty to be of more significance than whatever dreadful physical poverty I will witness.
- During the years as I follow Christ, I will both mature and also wrestle with how wretched I still am, just like Paul expressed in Romans 7:24, “Who will rescue me from this body that is subject to death?”
- I would find immense security and relief in these words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” because God isn’t looking for spiritual Olympic athletes. He has set the bar low. It is my own pride that imagines I can be superior to others.
Although there is no exaggeration or hyperbole in this statement from Jesus, there is a paradox. We are complete in Christ’s forgiveness and are also in a true war against spiritual poverty.
How does that make you feel? Does it change your perspective of the physically poor?
Jesus, thank you for becoming poor for me. I thought I would be “farther along” than this, but now I see your tender, tender mercy in defining part of blessing as being poor in spirit. It is only as you continue to cleanse me daily and live your life in me that I will have anything of value to offer in this life. Without you, I can do nothing. With you, all things are possible. Love through me as you will. Amen.
Go deeper — Carry this reassurance with you today, “The high and lofty one who lives in eternity, the Holy One, says this: “I live in the high and holy place with those whose spirits are contrite and humble. I restore the crushed spirit of the humble and revive the courage of those with repentant hearts” (Isaiah 57:15 NLT).
Photo Credit: Taneli Lahtinen