“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
To be righteous and thus be blessed by God, you must be poor in spirit. The poverty under consideration is not the poverty of someone who works very hard and by doing so can scratch out a living with nothing left over for luxuries (i.e. penes). It is ptochos—the poverty that Lazarus experienced (Luke 16:20); it is of someone who is totally dependent upon others for all of life’s necessities. The poor in spirit are those who have filed for spiritual bankruptcy; like the prodigal son they do not approach their heavenly Father and demand “Give me”; rather, they humbly request “Make me” (cf. Luke 15:12, 17-19).
There are two primary characteristics of the poor in spirit:
- They have a proper view of God: High. Holy. Worthy. Sovereign. Perfect.
- They have a proper view of self: Lowly. Marred. Sinful. Unworthy. Dependent. Fallen.
This is the foundation of genuine righteousness. This is the key that opens the door to all the spiritual blessings in the kingdom of heaven.
Without this foundation, your pursuit of righteousness is in vain.