Blessed are the poor in spirit
"... for theirs is the kingdom of heaven." Matthew 5:3
The poor in spirit can look at their own condition without illusion or pretense; they accept the fact that, by themselves, they are small, weak and needy — incapable of pleasing God, undeserving of any merit or gift, and unworthy to stand in His presence.
Thus poverty of spirit is the genuine, unpretentious humility of a heart that knows its own utter inadequacy and turns to God with Whom "nothing is impossible". In Him they find peace, power, wisdom and love sufficient for every trial and task. For all the incredible riches and resources of the Kingdom are available to the poverty-stricken children of the King.
Amazing grace, how sweet the sound
That saved a wretch like me.
I once was lost, but now am found,
Was blind, but now I see.
Thank you, precious Lord, for your amazing love. Thank you for reaching down to me in all my weakness and failure and giving me a brand-new identity, purpose and life. Though I am poor, I am rich; for I partake in all your fantastic heavenly treasures. What an inheritance is now mine! Please tell me more about this condition that opens all the doors of the Kingdom to me. Let me know your heart and mind. I love you, my King!
FIRST DAY: Read Matthew 5:1-3. Poverty of spirit is the first step into the kingdom of God. There is no alternative route - we must become empty before we can be filled.
A. What does the word "blessed" mean? (Use a dictionary, but remember that this tool is inadequate to fully present the wonder of this word. Ask God to give you additional insight by His Spirit in you as you look to Him and work on the lesson this week.)
B. Read Ephesians 2:1-10. In order to understand your own spiritual poverty, look at yourself apart from the life of Jesus Christ.
1. According to these verses, what was your condition before you were joined to Christ?
2. Who are you now? (What is your new identity in Christ?)
3. How do these verses deepen your appreciate for your new identity in Christ?
2 Corinthians 5:17
1 Peter 2:9
D. How did the change take place? (See Romans 6:4-8)
SECOND DAY: Jesus Himself demonstrates the "poverty" which opens the door to the Kingdom.
A. "Behold Him" in the following passages and describe His attitude toward Himself and toward His Father. (Remember the exhortation, "Have this attitude in yourself which was also in Christ Jesus...")
John 5:19, 30
B. Having looked at your Lord's example, explain how Jesus manifested genuine humility or poverty of spirit. (There are many forms of false humility. You may want to contrast some of these with what you see in Jesus.)
THIRD DAY: As a "new creation" in Christ, we need to live each day aware of our own need and dependent on His life.
A. How is this truth illustrated by the vine and the branches in John 15:4-5?
B. What does 2 Corinthians 3:4-6 tell you about your new life in Christ? (Are you, in yourself, still essentially poor in spirit? Do you live in continual awareness of this poverty? What, then, does God promise you?)
FOURTH DAY: Read 2 Corinthians 4:5-7.
A. Look again at your identity in these verses. Who are you now?
B. If you indeed are "poor" and empty, you are and will continue to be filled. With what?
C. Why is this truth so significant? How does it encourage you this day?
FIFTH DAY: Because you were "poor in Spirit," recognized your need, and trusted the Savior, God "delivered you from the domain of darkness and transferred you to the kingdom of His beloved Son." (Matt. 5:3 and Col. 1:13) By identification with the death and life of Jesus Christ, your present "citizenship is in heaven." (Phil. 3:20) Yet, only as you continue to "seek His kingdom" rather than look for fulfillment in the world, can Jesus freely share with you the mighty resources of "the kingdom of heaven".
In His Word, God gives many glimpses of the glory of life in His kingdom. As you seek Him with all your heart, you will discover so much more of its riches.
A. What do the following passages tell you about the kingdom of God?
1 Corinthians 2:9-13
Ephesians 1:3-6, 15-20
B. Based on these Scriptures, what His kingdom means to you.
SIXTH DAY: Having looked at the meaning of "poor in spirit" and at the wonders of "the kingdom of heaven", we gain deeper understanding of the word "blessed".
A. Why are the "poor in spirit" blessed?
B. Write a statement of thanks to God for how He has "blessed" you, expressing confidence that He will continue to do so. You may also want to read Psalm 103 and discover with David more reasons to be filled with thanks to God.
The Secret of Abundant Life: Lesson 3
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