Five Ways God's Kingdom Is Different #2

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Poor in Spirit

I have been reflecting lately on the Beatitudes.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit. . . ."

I have read that "blessed" is translated "happy," or, more properly, "in your happy place." As in, you are in your happy place when you are poor in spirit.

And in my journey, I have gone through different ideas of what that means, and different ways of considering how Jesus relates to that statement.

Because I look at Jesus and see the fullness of the godhead bodily, and it makes me uncomfortable to think of him as poor in any way except financially.

I don't think of Jesus as impoverished in spirit, as if his spirit was anemic. I find it hard to imagine how "poor in spirit" relates to Jesus.

But then I go to the next verse, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted." And I can see that in Jesus. There is Jesus, after all, weeping over Jerusalem the week before the Crucifixion.

And I like that this verse doesn't say, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they will get more mourning." No. The end result is comfort. But the mourning comes first.

Matthew Jacoby, in Deeper Places, a book about the Psalms, talks about how we, as humans, are good at mistaking reality, thinking that we have some control. And then we realize that we don't.

And our response to this is lament. He says "the pain of reality too easily wells up from underneath like volcanic lava. Ironically, when this happens, we are closer to reality, which is why Jesus declared that the 'poor in spirit' are blessed (Matt. 5:3). It is they who are closest to the truth."

Ah. That is a definition of "poor in spirit" that I love. That we are entering into the reality of the world, the brokenness of the world, and it grieves us. But that is the right response.

Of course, Jesus came for restoration. So that we might have life. So that he might leave us a Comforter.

But if you find yourself poor in spirit, if you are mourning and you aren't quite sure this is yet your happy place (in fact, you know that it isn't), may you find yourself turning more to Jesus, clinging more to him, and finding him worthy of trust.

And worthy of praise.


Amy's pic

Amy Lykosh
John and Sarita's oldest daughter
Second-generation Sonlighter
Homeschooling mom to five

P.S. While I personally have never been diagnosed with depression, I have dear friends who have walked that path. I have gone through a time of despair. And if that is you: take heart. This message is not to overwhelm you. This is a reminder that in the midst of our pain, in our darkest hours, Christ is near. He is the One who holds us, and our world, together.

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