The following is an email I sent to a pastor friend who is preaching on the beatitudes this Sunday. As I was thinking through the blessing towards the poor in spirit, there was a worshipful convergence of a lot of thoughts, Scriptures, books and songs that I have been thinking about recently…
I am mentioning “blessed are those who are poor in spirit,” which I define as spiritual poverty not spiritual immaturity. I wrote this one liner that I am going to use Sunday, maybe it can spur your thinking on the subject. Here is the thought:
Spiritual poverty is realizing that there is nothing that I have in myself that is of any value in God’s economy.
This is not just the experiential outcome of total depravity, it is something different. It is not that we are corrupt in our soul, will and lives. It is that our inner spiritual life is impoverished. It is empty. It is worthless and useless. We are completely spiritually bankrupt. We are hopeless, helpless, dazed and confused in all spiritual matters. We have no direction home to return to our Creator, no roadmap in our hearts, no inner light, no inner consciousness, no divine spark, no little man on the inside pointing us towards God, truth, peace, satisfaction or life. When we come to realize this, we become poor in spirit. Only then can we inherit the kingdom of God. Only then can we look outside ourselves to see God’s revelation of himself through himself (Barth) which is Jesus, the Word of God, the Way of God.
When we become poor in spirit we confess the truth of Jesus’ words that we can do nothing without him (John 15:5).
“Thunder on the mountain, rolling like a drum
Gonna sleep over there, that’s where the music coming from
I don’t need any guide, I already know the way
Remember this, I’m your servant both night and day”
— Bob Dylan
Heaven is the source of the music, the place where we will sleep and Jesus is the WAY.
Let’s continue to proclaim this truth. We are poor. Jesus is rich. We have no direction home. Jesus is the way.