Wednesday, April 20, 2016

Being Poor in Spirit

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3).

If you are poor in spirit, certain characteristics will mark your life.
The Puritan writer Thomas Watson listed seven ways to determine if you are poor in spirit (The Beatitudes [Edinburgh: The Banner of Truth Trust, 1971], pp. 45-48):
1. You will be weaned from self—Psalm 131:2 says, "Surely I have behaved and quieted myself, as a child that is weaned of his mother: my soul is even as a weaned child." When you are poor in spirit you will focus not on yourself but on glorifying God and ministering to others.
2. You will focus on Christ— II Corinthians 3:18 says that believers are " ... with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord." When you are poor in spirit, the wonder of Christ captivates you. To be like Him is your highest goal.
3. You will never complain—If you are poor in spirit you accept God's sovereign control over your circumstances, knowing you deserve nothing anyway. Yet the greater your needs, the more abundantly He provides.
4. You will see the good in others—A person who is poor in spirit recognizes his own weaknesses and appreciates the strengths of others.
5. You will spend time in prayer—It is characteristic of beggars to beg. Therefore, you will constantly be in God's presence seeking His strength and blessing.
6. You will take Christ on His terms—Those who are poor in spirit will give up anything to please Christ, whereas the proud sinner wants simply to add Christ to his sinful lifestyle.
7. You will praise and thank God—When you are poor in spirit, you will be filled with praise and thanks for the wonder of God's grace, which He lavishes on you through Christ (Eph. 1:6).
Do those principles characterize your life? If so, you are poor in spirit and the kingdom of heaven is yours (Matt. 5:3). If not, you must seek God's forgiveness and begin to live as His humble child.
Dr. John MacArthur
Grace Community Church

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