Why it must begin with poverty of spirit


April 23, 2014

Matthew 5:3

Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. 


Remember the game show “Family Feud”? Imagine this question in that format. “100 executives, men and women, surveyed were asked, ‘What is the top quality you are looking for in hiring a leader?” Or what if we altered the question to ask about the top quality you are looking for in a husband or wife?

What would the survey say? What are the chances the #1 answer would be, “Poverty of spirit?” Odds are poverty of spirit would not crack the top 100 answers. It seems absurd doesn’t it? Even more absurd is Jesus making this the very first point in THE SERMON. And when we consider that the rest of THE SERMON is built on this foundation, that without this “prerequisite” we can’t even take the rest of the class, it becomes critical that we understand what he is talking about.

I love the way Wesley tees this up:

“Poverty of spirit, in this meaning of the word, begins where a sense of guilt and of the wrath of God ends; and is a continual sense of our total dependence on him, for every good thought, or word, or work; of our utter inability to all good, unless he “water us every moment”; and an abhorrence of the praise of men, knowing that all praise is due unto God only. With this is joined a loving shame, a tender humiliation before God, even for the sins which we know he has forgiven us, and for the sin which still remains in our hearts, although we know it is not imputed to our condemnation. Nevertheless, the conviction we feel of inbred sin is deeper and deeper every day.” p.16-17

The Bible of my youth put it this way, “Blessed are they who know their need of God.”

Remember, these aren’t the terms of a software agreement we merely click to  “Accept.” Poverty of spirit is a deep disposition of the soul that is itself a gift of the Holy Spirit. Ask Him for it. He loves to share.

Get your copy of Wesley’s Sermons on the Sermon on the Mount HERE. Use the code DAILYTEXT for a 25% discount. 

J.D. Walt writes daily for Seedbed’s Daily Text. He serves as Seedbed’s Sower in Chief. Follow him @jdwalt on Twitter or email him at jd.walt@seedbed.com.

Get the Daily Text delivered to your inbox fresh every morning. Subscribe HERE.


Farmer. Poet. Theologian. Jurist. Publisher. Seedbed's Sower-in-Chief.