Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3)

For the original audience, this would have been a shocking statement. It should also be shocking to us!

First, this teaching was (and is) counterintuitive. How can a spiritually poor person possess a spiritual kingdom? Common sense – in this case, the definition of words – tells us that poverty is the opposite of possessions.

Second, this teaching was (and is) countercultural. People assume that the kingdom of heaven belongs to the spiritually rich—the religious leaders and spiritual professionals.

A ladder is only useful if the first step is close to the ground. The Good News is that everyone can become poor in spirit. It’s a step that literally anyone can take.

Entering God’s kingdom begins once we admit spiritual poverty, which is humility. This is what it means to be saved by grace through faith in Jesus. Humility believes that we are not enough, but that Jesus is.

Humility is attractive—we like humble people—but few people choose to humble themselves before God and others. There are many challenges to a life of humility. The temptations come from within our hearts and are encouraged by the messages around us. Nor can we forget the enemy, who is constantly working to create distance between us and God.

Humility ought to be a daily habit, we should never “grow” out of spiritual poverty. We need to create personal rituals and reminders that increase our dependence on God while decreasing how much we rely on our own understanding.

How did spiritual poverty show up in your life today?

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