Blessed are the poor in spirit. Matthew 5:3
As I ponder this beatitude this morning, I find my self, my being, somewhat emptied of certain needs or desires. Well, not completely, of course, for I am human and sit here typing on a computer to even write this. I have not given up all things of this world, mind you. I still have a house and food on the table, clothing, a computer, Netflix subscription and much more. But I am emptying of what has been a main purpose, that of giving care to my mother for fifteen years for she is with the LORD. I still have purpose as I continue to be a wife, the best I can, for my husband. I have purpose here for I like to journal my spiritual walk. But I have holes.
As I ponder this verse in Matthew, I am emptying more and more for I want to be close to my LORD. Close, VERY! Some of my so-called purposes in life are just hole-fillers. They really are not a God-called purpose. They appear before me and I think I need them. It is the “me” that calls for certain purposes in life, certain things. BUT…this “me” needs to be a clean vessel for Christ, for His grace and mercy.
From Thomas Watson’s (1620-1686) The Beatitudes, “The glass is first emptied before you pour in wine. God first empties the man of himself, before he pours in the precious wine of his grace. Till we are poor in spirit, Christ is never precious. Before we see our own wants, we never see Christ’s worth. When a man sees himself almost wounded to death, how precious will the balm of Christ’s blood be to him! When he sees himself deep in arrears with God, and is so far from paying the debt that he cannot sum up the debt, how glad would he be of a surety! ‘The pearl of price’ is only precious to the poor in spirit. He that wants bread and is ready to starve, will have it whatever it cost. He will lay his garment to pledge; bread he must have or he is undone. So to him that is poor in spirit, that sees his want of Christ, how precious is a Saviour! Christ is Christ and grace is grace to him! He will do anything for the bread of life. Therefore will God have the soul thus qualified, to raise the price of his market, to enhance the value and estimate of the Lord Jesus.”
Poverty of spirit makes Christ sweet to the soul.
John Calvin (1509-1564) spoke of the poor in spirit: “They who see nothing in themselves, but fly to mercy for sanctuary”.
Paul came to know that he was not the center of the earth, that life was not all about Saul, but that Christ was his life and lifeline. …and may be found in Him, not having a righteousness of my own derived from the Law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which comes from God on the basis of faith,… Philippians 3:9
As Jesus spoke to a group in parables, He spoke about those who held some people in contempt or felt themselves righteous in themselves. But then Jesus compared them with this tax collector: “But the tax collector, standing some distance away, was even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but was beating his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, the sinner!’ I tell you, this man went to his house justified rather than the other; for everyone who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who humbles himself will be exalted.” Luke 18:13-14
From Thomas Watson’s writing in The Beatitudes: There are four things may persuade Christians to be poor in spirit.
1 This poverty is your riches. You may have the world’s riches, and yet be poor. You cannot have this poverty without being made rich. Poverty of spirit entitles you to all Christ’s riches.
2 This poverty is your nobility. God looks upon you as persons of honour. He that is vile in his own eyes is precious in God’s eyes. The way to rise is to fall. God esteems the valley highest.
3 Poverty of spirit sweetly quiets the soul. When a man is brought off from himself to rest on Christ, what a blessed calm is in the heart! I am poor but ‘my God shall supply all my need’ (Philippians 4:19). I am unworthy but Christ is worthy. I am indigent, Christ is infinite. ‘Lead me to the rock that is higher than I’ (Psalm 61:2). A man is safe upon a rock. When the soul goes out of itself and centres upon the rock, Christ, now it is firmly settled upon its basis. This is the way to comfort. You will be wounded in spirit till you come to be poor in spirit.
4 Poverty of spirit paves a causeway for blessedness. ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit.’ Are you poor in spirit? You are blessed persons. Happy for you that ever you were born! If you ask, Wherein does this blessedness appear? read the next words, ‘Theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven’.
Father, I am not empty. I want to be. I want to be a vessel for Your honor, sanctified, set apart for You, and useful to You, my Master. LORD, guide my steps that I would empty for You rather than fill this earthen vessel myself. My spirit lives with You in this vessel for You have come to live in me. I am Yours. I am Your beloved and Your child. May I be as clay and be molded as You will, not as I will, LORD.
Nevertheless, the firm foundation of God stands, having this seal, “The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Everyone who names the name of the Lord is to abstain from wickedness.” Now in a large house there are not only gold and silver vessels, but also vessels of wood and of earthenware, and some to honor and some to dishonor. Therefore, if anyone cleanses himself from these things, he will be a vessel for honor, sanctified, useful to the Master, prepared for every good work. 2 Timothy 2:19-21
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