poor in spirit

Savior before Teacher

Who is Jesus to me? He has to first be Savior and LORD before He can be my Teacher. Anyone who only calls Him Teacher must be hopeless, because no pupil or disciple could really accomplish His teaching; not even the best ever student could accomplish his teaching. I need Jesus first to be Savior and LORD. I need first that very realization that I cannot accomplish even a portion of his teaching, because THEN I am 'poor and humble in spirit' enough to know my need for rescue from my undeserving and incapable condition.

Only then can I look with any confidence at His teaching for my life as His disciple and follower. Without His rescue I would only live in despair all the days of my life in comparison to the life he teaches me to live.

Ozzie Chambers wrote, "He came to make me what He teaches me I should be."

I am saved and controlled and covered by His Spirit in those places I wish I could do on my own but could never hope to accomplish on my own. If I begin with my poor and humble need, Jesus says, "You are blessed." (Matthew 5)

You will be happy if you begin with your humble view and realization that you could never accomplish the half of His teaching on your own if not for His Spirit and salvation within.

The hope of communion

The experience of absence is not the absence of experience. I have heard this many times.

"If you asked a man who is poor in spirit to describe his prayer life, he might well answer, 'Most of the time my prayer consists in experiencing the absence of God in the hope of communion.'" - Brennan Manning

Brennan adds another dimension to our desired connection with God through successful prayer: the hope of communion.  The man who is truly poor in spirit is there because he continues searching after and coming before God regardless of whether he experiences or FEELS connection with God each time.  He keeps coming back because he has HOPE.  He has a hope for communion.  We cannot allow ourselves to be thwarted by the experience of absence when we approach God.  I believe it will happen more often than not.  On the other hand, as one who truly longs for God through it all, I have to continually go back to God with the HOPE of communion, and I must maintain that hope every time I approach the throne and lap of God the Abba.

Psalm 27:4 says,

"One thing I ask of the Lord this is what I seek: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to seek him in his temple."

Matthew 5:3 says,

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

Spiritual Suicide

The spiritual life is made up of a series of reality checks we would like to avoid. In saying that, there is no LIFE in our spirituality if we avoid these realities. When we walk away from those realities, we commit, what Brennan Manning calls, "spiritual suicide". Spiritually, we would rather give up all-together than to actually engage the realities that require us to give up living life on our own terms.

We are hell-bent on selfishness and avoiding the Christ-centered life, and we refuse real spiritual life when we keep focusing on ourselves.

The New English Bible translation of the beatitude says:

"How blessed are those who know that they are poor, the kingdom of Heaven is theirs."

The moment I come to terms with how poor  I actually am is the moment I enter the verge of something great. The moment I quit avoiding the reality that I am not the center of my universe I can begin to have spiritual growth.

The moment I come to accept that I am relentlessly selfish, broken, and tore up is the moment I reach a threshold of real spiritual LIFE.

I am, in those moments, really settling into the reality of the poor in spirit. I coming to accept the fact it is okay not to be okay all the time because I simply am not okay all the time.

This is a reality check I need frequently and constantly if I want true spiritual life and to never commit spiritual suicide.