On October 14th, 2018 God taught me a lesson. It was a beautiful Sunday Autumn afternoon. My youngest son was with me in the church office while my wife and two girls were going for a walk along the local trail. I sometimes spend Sunday afternoons getting ready for the evening service. This was one of those times.
To my surprise, when my lovely wife teenage girls returned to the church, they came bearing a gift. My oldest daughter walked into my office carrying a beer box. Heineken I believe. As I begin to contemplate the reality of this situation and ‘what this looks like’, my second daughter comes strolling in with a kitten in her arms! Next comes my wife with a look that essentially tells me … ‘Honey, you’re not going to believe what just happened!’
As the story unfolded through the accurate description of my very emotional teenage daughters, this poor little guy was essentially left in a box along the walking trail in desperate need of being rescued. How could anyone walk by and not intervene? The rescue of this kitten was obviously something that needed to happen to help right all the wrongs within fallen humanity itself! OK, I am being a little dramatic, but remember we are talking about two teenage girls holding a very cute (yet malnourished) little kitten, in a church! What options do I have!
To make a long story short, we brought the little guy home. The vet told us that “Milo” was only four weeks old when we got him. He’s now going on 11 weeks and is doing well. The vet says that ‘he’s hit the jackpot!’ True.
But this is where my lesson begins. It’s been said that if there was one essential characteristic of being a Christian, it is that we must be ‘poor in spirit’ (Matthew 5:3). Why? In order for something to be filled, it must first be emptied. Milo helps me understand what Jesus is saying here.
To be poor in spirit is not about being physically weak or natural shy. This is not a personality trait nor the suppression of it. Jesus is addressing matters of spirit. It is found in the spirit of Gideon who viewed himself to be from the smallest clan of the weakest tribe when God asked him to lead. It is in line with the spirit of Moses who felt deeply unworthy for the task God called Him to. It is expressed in the words of David who said ‘who am I that You Lord would come to me’. It is found in the heart of Isaiah who acknowledged before God that he was a man with unclean lips.
Being poor in spirit is further illustrated by Peter who naturally was aggressive, self-assertive and self-confident, yet said to Jesus ‘depart from me Lord for I am sinful man’. It is the same for Paul who considered all his fleshly achievements to be ‘dung’.
To be poor in spirit means that there is a complete absence of self-reliance, self-assurance and pride. It means that we are tremendously aware of our ‘utter nothingness’ as we come face-to-face with Almighty God. All of our money, wealth, education, degrees, gifts, abilities, birth status, and prestige are all … dung.
It means we look to God in desperation for His mercy and grace to be applied to our lives each and every day. It means that we are dependent upon God for life itself. It means that we are like Milo. We are finished without Him.
Considering asking yourself if you are like that? How do you really feel about yourself in terms of God and being in His Presence? What are your thoughts about your life and how you live it?
To help become people who are poor in spirit, consider these three things. 1. Look to God. The more I look at Him, the more I realize about myself and my sinful condition. All I can say is that I fall horribly short of His Glory and am in need of His Mercy and Grace daily. 2. Look at Him in His Word. Read the Bible. Look at who God is and what He expects from us. Put yourself in the shoes of the ancient writers. Contemplate standing before Him. Look at God through Jesus in the Gospels. You may find yourself asking for help and an increase to your faith. The disciples did. 3. Keep Looking at Him. The more we look at Him, the more helpless we ought to feel about ourselves and our abilities. Keep looking at Him and we will become more poor in our spirit by trusting Him more.
I often remind myself of the Apostle John on the Island of Patmos. John knew Jesus, yet fell dead at His feet when the Resurrected Christ drew near. When we exhibit that spiritual condition, we can expect to have His hand upon our lives to revive us because:
For the High and Exalted One who lives forever, whose name is Holy says this:
“I live in a high and holy place, and with the oppressed and lowly of spirit,
to revive the spirit of the lowly and revive the heart of the oppressed.
Go to Him. Pray to Him. He is better than hitting any earthly jackpot. He gives us the very Kingdom of Heaven. Wow! That reality can be yours today. He gives it to those who are poor in spirit.
Pray with me. Father, I desire this. I understand that this is a spirit thing, and so I ask You, Holy Spirit to come and transform me now in this moment. Thank You for leading me to Jesus. Jesus, I believe that You are God’s One and Only Son who died for me. Thank You Jesus for Your forgiveness and Your grace. I yield and give my life to You now. Come and be my Lord and Saviour. Come and forgive all my sin and take my shame. Come and reign in my life as King. I trust You and I need You. Help me to walk with Your Holy Spirit. Fill me with Your Presence and Power. I love You Jesus. Amen.
If you prayed that prayer, please send me a note or contact me. I’d love the opportunity to connect and share more.
We are journeying together to experience His Kingdom in our lives now! It is happening. The revolution has begun!