Christian Theology

April 17, 2008

On Being Poor in Spirit

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of God. Matt. 5:3

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? In Matt. 13:44 Jesus tells this parable, “The kingdom of heaven is like a treasure hidden in the field, which a man found and hid; and from joy over it he goes and sells all that he has, and buys that field.” To be poor in spirit is to realize that nothing we have is worth more than the kingdom of God. Knowing this, we become willing to part with anything we have if it hinders us from receiving the kingdom. This is why Jesus said, “No one of you can be my disciple who does not give up all his own possessions.” (Luke 14:33)

When we think of possessions, our minds automatically go to things like our homes, cars, big screen televisions, and the luxuries with which we live, and this is certainly part of it. But Jesus goes much further when He says, “If anyone loves even his mother and father more than me, he cannot be my disciple”. Jesus is also including our families in this equation. Do you love your children more than Him? What about your health? If he decided to test your faith with disease, would you still trust Him? When Jesus speaks of possessions, He means everything; our careers, our reputations, even if our aspirations are to be leaders in the Christian community, all of these are to be handed over if He asks. The idea of “possessions” is so complete that it includes everything we hold valuable. Nothing is to be more valuable to us than Christ.

Being poor in spirit is directly related to our faith. We know that, “without faith it is impossible to please Him, for he who comes to God must believe that He is, and that He is the rewarder of those who seek Him.”(Heb 11:6). Without faith you could never come to Him, because believing that He is and that He will reward those who seek Him is an aspect of faith. If you don’t believe this, than you will not come to Him and thus you do not have faith. We also must realize that it is not the “coming” by which we are justified; it is the “faith”, but the “faith” produces the “coming.”

The same applies to being poor in spirit. The only way we can be “poor in spirit” is to truly believe that He is more valuable than anything we have, and believing that He is more valuable than our possesions is an aspect of our faith also. The entire chapter of Hebrews 11 is about faith, and it lists what some of God people we’re willing to sacrifice because of their faith in God. Abraham was willing to sacrifice his son Isaac (Heb. 11:17) Moses “chose rather to endure ill-treatment with the people of God, than to enjoy the passing pleasures of sin; considering the reproach of Christ greater riches, than the treasures of Egypt (Heb 11:25,26).

“Still others had trials of mockings and scourgings, yes, and of chains and imprisonment. They were stoned, they were sawn in two, were tempted, were slain with the sword. They wandered about in sheepskins and goatskins, being destitute, afflicted, tormented– of whom the world was not worthy. They wandered in deserts and mountains, in dens and caves of the earth (Heb. 11:36-38).”

Why would these people be willing to give up so much? It was because, by faith, they became poor in spirit. Nothing in this life was worth sparing if it meant not inheriting the kingdom of God.

When the rich young ruler came to Jesus and said, “What must I do to be saved” Jesus told him to sell all he had and to give it to the poor. Jesus was not telling him, do these works and you will be saved, because works cannot save us. Instead, Jesus knew that His heart lacked faith, and was therefore not poor in spirit. He did not believe that following Jesus was more valuable than the things of this world.

Being poor in spirit is not taking vows of poverty, which can be acts of pretense, or despising the blessings God has given us. Instead it is a condition of the heart. As Matthew Henry said,

this poverty of spirit is a gracious disposition of soul, by which we are emptied of self, in order to our being filled with Jesus Christ.” He also said it was, “To be contentedly poor, willing to be emptied of worldly wealth, if God orders that to be our lot; to bring our mind to our condition, when it is a low condition. Many are poor in the world, but high in spirit, poor and proud, murmuring and complaining, and blaming their lot, but we must accommodate ourselves to our poverty, we must know how to be abased, Phil. 4:12”.

Today as we consider whether we are poor in spirit, may the Lord use this meditation to show us the true state of our hearts before Him? May He work in us a “spirit of poverty” regardless of our outward state. May we be humbly willing to serve our Lord wherever He may lead. May nothing be more valuable to us than our precious Savior. May we understand that we have nothing of value apart from Christ. Let us realize that we are the “unprofitable servants” (Luke 17:10), as we remember that the thief on the cross speaks of our condition when he said, “We deserve to die for our evil deeds, but this man hasn’t done anything wrong.” Yet Christ responded to him “Today you will be with me in paradise”.

Hold nothing more valuable than this pearl of great price. Be willing to sell all you have to purchase it, if it is required of you. Such actions will not merit you anything toward salvation, but they prove that your faith is a living faith, by which you are justified, thus showing that you are poor in spirit and blessed because yours is the kingdom of God.

-Doug Eaton-

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  1. Great stuff, Doug. “He means everything; our careers, our reputations, even if our aspirations are to be leaders in the Christian community.” How convicting. Thanks, I needed to hear that.

    Comment by james — April 17, 2008 @ 11:11 pm | Reply

  2. Thank you for this insightful reflection. I would only add that the most direct and fruitful path to poverty of spirit is found in total abandonment to the Divine Will of God. Not unlike marital vows: “…for richer or poorer, in sickness and health, in good times and bad”…to be properly disposed to poverty of spirit, we must unite our finite and frail will with the eternal and perfectly just will of God. With holy indifference and a joyful heart, acceptance of everything that that He permits or actively sends our way, whether bitter or sweet, is the mark of one who loves God as He commands. Because the subject loves his Maker, he also loves His will. In as much as we advance on this path, we hope to imitate Our Blessed Lord in that kenotic moment of His Passion: “…not my will but yours, Father”. This is poverty of spirit.

    Comment by Nicholas — October 8, 2008 @ 3:33 am | Reply

  3. Doug,
    I love the picture on top. Where did you take that?
    Paul wrote in Philippians 4:12&13 – “I know what it is to be in need, and I know what it is to have plenty. I have learned the secret of being content in any and every situation, whether well fed or hungry, whether living in plenty or in want. I can do everything through him who gives me strength.” When Jesus spoke on the mount, he spoke of the Kingdom of Heaven belonging to such as those. Doing everything through Jesus Christ is a condition meaning to submit to Gods will – in everything you do. Being content with just the shirt on your back – that is being poor in Spirit. Surrendering to God everything you have. Just like the widow who gave two lepta in to the offering at the temple. She gave everything she had to live on. In Jesus eyes, she had given more than all the others gave. This is amazing to me! May God bless those who are poor in spirit.

    Comment by David — September 21, 2009 @ 3:47 pm | Reply

  4. Hi, Doug Eaton- I was reading my Bible today Mathew 5 and I came across a verse (Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven). Didn’t know what it meant,then googled and found your explanation. It really explained what being poor in spirit meant and am grateful thank you very much.
    God bless You.

    Comment by Asangire suzan — January 5, 2010 @ 5:25 am | Reply

    • exactl the same for me , and this is like how many years later since u wrote this ? The word of God knows no time frame , its power is everlasting , healing hearts in past times as well as today .

      God bless

      Comment by Chenai — September 11, 2011 @ 7:22 am | Reply

      • ha! i also read matthew 5 today, and googled this phrase. :)

        Comment by me — February 13, 2012 @ 2:09 am | Reply

        • Same!
          God bless you my brother!

          Comment by Anonymous — June 5, 2012 @ 4:48 am

        • Yup, same for me. Poor in spirit did not mean much, now I have s better idea of its meaning and hope that I can live it. I came by this site as an exercise teaching myself what it means to be meek. This surely is a Godsend. The word of God is alive.

          Comment by Chuck — December 13, 2012 @ 9:41 am

    • Ha! Funny its 2013 and its the same story for me, was reading the beautitudes and I wanted to know what it meant to be poor in spirit and here we are. The word of God really is eternal

      Comment by slimiphie — January 16, 2013 @ 12:38 pm | Reply

      • Me too haha Praise The Lord!

        Comment by Anonymous — March 29, 2013 @ 9:32 pm | Reply

  5. Hi, my heart was full of joy when i saw your detailed explanations of being poor in the spirit. Pls more powers to your elbows. Keep it up!.

    Comment by Nwigwe, john — April 8, 2010 @ 5:51 am | Reply

  6. Hi Doug, Nice treatment. Tozer has a great chapter in Pursuit of God, Chapter 2 The Blessedness of Possessing Nothing. We have to learn to “dispossess” in this life.
    Missionary David Cox – Mexico

    Comment by David Cox — April 23, 2010 @ 8:22 pm | Reply

  7. I’ve already given up all my possesions three times in my life. I love god but this time I am going to keep what I have currently and work hard to pay down my debt.

    Comment by Barbara Andrews — January 6, 2011 @ 9:54 am | Reply

    • i’m interested to hear more. why did you give it all away? were you in a community that was able to support you through this? i can see why it would be a struggle to give everything away with no support or plan. you indicate you used credit cards to support yourself. i believe this is isn’t exactly what christ meant by selling all you had and living off the support of the christian community. i think the idea of a commune is more accurate. getting a group of people together who sell their worldly things, share and support one another like in the acts church. if you did this all alone, i can see how it was a great struggle. i cannot pretend to know what god asked of you, but it strikes me as curious that you had to rely so heavily on credit card debt. blessings to you!

      Comment by me — February 13, 2012 @ 2:13 am | Reply

    • oh dear, i think you misunderstood it. Remember that any man or anyone who cant provide for his/her family can be compared to an infidel… Being poor in spirit from my own perspective with regards to what doug said is simply not valuing what we have than christ…so please pay your debts. God bless you. *amen.

      Comment by marcus — February 3, 2013 @ 10:55 pm | Reply

  8. is being poor in spirit those who do not know Jesus?

    Comment by steve — January 10, 2011 @ 5:48 am | Reply

    • mmm… Thank you for asking… Indeed not knowing Christ would leave any man in poverty… However is it that they would receive the Kingdom of God? Are those who don’t know Jesus blessed? (Greek indicates Divine Favor) Are they Divinely Favored by God for not knowing Jesus? I would initially say no to your question. However it is a viable question, and one I think should be considered as should all things when considered truth. Let us be quick to Listen, slow to speak and slow to get angry… I greatly appreciate your question…

      Comment by Jonathan D. Burian — June 17, 2011 @ 4:23 pm | Reply

  9. Very thoughtful and introspective. Many seem to believe that tke treasure of the kingdom is gained by works. However even the faith to believe is the gift of God through Jesus Christ His Son Thank you for your thought provoking abticle, D.M, ThD.

    Comment by Anonymous — January 11, 2011 @ 7:41 pm | Reply

  10. Thank the Lord for using you to help illustrate the analogy of being “poor in spirit” This was truly insightful. Continue to be a blessing

    Comment by Noel Perry Jr. — January 12, 2011 @ 7:53 am | Reply

  11. Thank you so much for explaining this so beautifully. It definitely helps me look at The Sermon on the Mount in a new light.

    Comment by Kristine — January 12, 2011 @ 10:53 pm | Reply

  12. Thank you for the further explanation of being poor in spirit. I just happen to be reading “The Pursuit of God” by Tozer and decided to google for more on the topic. Your article was very helpful and easy to read and understand.Thanks for your help.

    Comment by Anonymous — February 7, 2011 @ 8:49 am | Reply

  13. I still don’t understand what it means. Are you saying that it means “are poor *for* spirit”? That is not supportable in the Greek, is it? (EN)

    By the way, there is a definite article, so it would be “THE spirit” – or rather, “the breath.”

    Comment by WoundedEgo — February 12, 2011 @ 10:58 am | Reply

    • What I think he means is that we should live subconciously knowing that we got nothing but only Jesus Christ even if in reality we have a lot, this will enable us to go on trusting Jesus alone even when all those things are taken away from us. It will also leave us with the capability of fully depending on Jesus for all our needs.

      Comment by Anonymous — June 28, 2011 @ 11:36 pm | Reply

  14. I was just reading the Beatitudes and did not know what Jesus meant by being poor in spirit. Your explanation made that clear to me by God’s grace :-)

    Thank you so much for writing the truth. I pray that God blesses you and yours in Jesus name, amen!

    Comment by Remi — March 12, 2011 @ 6:46 am | Reply

  15. please,
    I would like to cite some of the articles for my web minstry – if I may,do you have a preference regarding the individual articles or the entire blog?
    Br Andrew

    Comment by Br Andrew Blair EFO — March 16, 2011 @ 11:03 pm | Reply

  16. Please provide the chapter and verse of this: “If anyone loves even his mother and father more than me, he cannot be my disciple”. I’m aware that Jesus said something about anyone not hating his mother and father cannot be his disciple, but I’m not aware of your euphomized version that you put in quotes as if Jesus actually said those words.

    Comment by Rizdek — March 18, 2011 @ 1:57 am | Reply

    • I believe he was referencing Matthew 10:37

      Comment by D Logan — April 24, 2012 @ 2:03 am | Reply

    • Better yet Luke 14:26

      Comment by D Logan — April 24, 2012 @ 2:05 am | Reply

  17. thank you for this awaress my wife love here mother and son more than god saying she is save. but i have awas know this were not right well you pray for here thank you so much from pastor hubert lee battle.

    Comment by hubert — May 28, 2011 @ 12:26 pm | Reply

  18. Thank you. This is so inspiring and wise.

    Comment by Catherine Sylvest Schaff — June 25, 2011 @ 7:36 pm | Reply

  19. I think that rather than burning it, it is much more appropriate to use it as toilet paper, personally.

    Comment by WoundedEgo — June 26, 2011 @ 10:04 am | Reply

  20. Simply put it keeps us in right standing with the one who gave His life for mine and for yours. Nothing compares to Jesus Christ and I do mean nothing. Thank you for this insight and truth it is a true reminder of why we are given life and to give it back. What encouragement!

    Comment by Michelle — August 15, 2011 @ 8:25 am | Reply

  21. Thank you for good lesson.I blessed so greatly.
    Philpo from Tanzania

    Comment by Philpo John — August 25, 2011 @ 4:41 am | Reply

  22. This is my first day of a self-study of the sermon on the mount. Thanks! This is great!

    Comment by Nate W, — October 17, 2011 @ 3:16 pm | Reply

  23. Great explanation. God bless you!

    Comment by Anonymous — October 24, 2011 @ 9:35 pm | Reply

  24. Hello,

    Just writing to ask a quick queston. If we feel that we have been treated unfairly,
    is it “unChristian” to sue the party that harmed us, as in the doctrine of “turning the
    other cheek”?

    If we don’t sue, aren’t we indirectly condoning the perpetuation of bad practice?

    I had to ask this because I was treated very unfairly at work and want to sue
    my institution. I have been thinking about this matter for almost 6 months now
    and am still undecided.


    Comment by Anonymous — December 19, 2011 @ 11:17 pm | Reply

    • Forgiving the people DOES NOT mean condoning the wrong done to you. If you have a legal complaint, you should ask for redress. I was in a similar situation. Unfortunately, bullying in the workplace is not (yet) illegal. I forgave my tormentors and moved on. The company went bankrupt eight months later. God moves in mysterious ways.

      Comment by Chris — February 3, 2012 @ 3:22 pm | Reply

    • are u for christ and in christ? If yes then know that u no more live for yourself but for christ,anything done against u is done against Him….u dnt fight for christ rather He fight for us and if u have truly surrendered then allow him to defend…GOD defend u graciously AMEN!!!

      Comment by forster — May 1, 2012 @ 1:22 am | Reply

  25. I liked the way that verse has been explained. Keep it up.

    Comment by Eric k cherop — December 29, 2011 @ 3:09 am | Reply

  26. Thank God for the gift of Holy Spirit that is at work in you, giving you insight to the truth of the word of God and gift of Faith through which is impossible to please God. May God keep you and may you continue to be a blessing. Amen

    Comment by Firmword — January 14, 2012 @ 3:14 am | Reply

  27. Thank you for writing this. I was just having my quiet time and reading the Beatitudes and wanted to know what it meant to be “poor in spirit.”

    Comment by Anonymous — March 8, 2012 @ 11:38 am | Reply

  28. Wow….I was in the car wash and it struck me…what does being poor in spirit mean? I googled it when I got home and here I am! Thanks for this insightful piece!


    Comment by Peter Orji — March 24, 2012 @ 3:35 am | Reply

  29. thanks so much for the wonderful explanation. Just understood what it means to be poor in spirit. Like you rightly said ‘not taking vows of poverty, which can be acts of pretense or despising the blessings God has given us. Instead it is a condition of the heart’. May, God grant you more understanding and insight to His word in Jesus name.

    Comment by flourish — March 25, 2012 @ 8:55 pm | Reply

  30. Wow! I read Matthews 5:3 tonight and wanted to know more about what it means to be “poor in spirit”.Have mercy Lord! I must repent. I have not lived by faith the way I should. My suffering has been self inflicted. I have lived like this world is my home. Thank you for sharing this message, as it has help me to see myself and inspired me to change. To God be the glory!

    Comment by D Logan — April 24, 2012 @ 1:53 am | Reply

  31. i was jux meditating on matt 5 when i came accross this poor in spirit,i did all i could to understand but couldn’t fully then i was led by the spirit here,i understand now and so GOD bless u for creating dis blog…….this must have been an old blog buh GOD’s word never gets old and i hav gotten my share….GOD BLESS once again AMEN!!!

    Comment by forster — May 1, 2012 @ 1:30 am | Reply

    • This says it is an idiom but does not show an example in the literature:

      Mt. 5:3 – Poor in spirit. Means something like ~to come to the end of the
      line This one is more difficult, perhaps ~ humble
      person; those lacking in pride, because they do not have a misdirected pride
      in their life.

      Comment by bibleshockers — May 2, 2012 @ 2:08 pm | Reply

  32. I came across this… However, I think this is probably an idiom that has a meaning other than the literal combination of the words, though nothing I see points to examples of the idiom being used in secular or religious literature of the time.

    Comment by bibleshockers — May 2, 2012 @ 2:06 pm | Reply

  33. ‘To be poor in spirit is realising that nothing we have is worth more than the Kingdom of God.’ Thank you!

    Comment by Unati — May 27, 2012 @ 6:42 pm | Reply

  34. I too loved the explanation given for poor in spirit. We need to lay down OUR fleshly spirit and allow the Holy Spirit to guide us instead

    Comment by — June 9, 2012 @ 8:22 am | Reply

  35. I am grateful for your article, it’s essential as many of us are searching for happiness and purpose, more so the reason for this “closeness with God”… why can’t we live lives that are balance, why is it essential to have God in everything and above everything? I am learning and your article is helpful.

    I would like to add that in one’s material wealth, the poverty of the spirit, can also be very present… actually overwhelmingly so. Jesus is our wealth, and when we realize it, accept it and embrace him more…. we can then enjoy happiness.

    thanks again

    Comment by Anonymous — July 10, 2012 @ 11:25 am | Reply

  36. Pls pray 4 me. I earnestly desire d manifestation of d 9 gifts of d spirit. I got BA since 1988 wit no full manifestation of dese gifts. Please pray 4 me 2 receive them. I do pray in tongue. I do not know whether they re genuine or i am faking them bc even as do it fluently i perceive no inward feeling as people confess. Help i know ur prayers will do me much good. God bless you.
    Festus Okoro

    Comment by Okoro festus — July 13, 2012 @ 5:50 pm | Reply

    • Not to discourage you, but the majority of the time, the desire to speak in tongue is followed by a deceiving spirit. I too speak in tongue, but it was a counterfeit that I was practicing. You will realised that your faith for Christ will slowly degrade…remember the scripture? The gift of tongue is for the apostles only and may have already ceased, 1 Corinthians 13:8. Instead pray for wisdom when reading the bible and pray that God will help you to finish it. The bible is not an easy book to finish as some would boast falsely with a lying tongue. Now, may God Himself encourage you, because I’m only a poor in spirit man who relies on God everyday. Be blessed.

      Comment by Bruce — November 15, 2012 @ 4:01 am | Reply

      • Speaking in tongues is not just for the apostles of old. i do speak in tongues and i feel edified whenever i do it. I would say don’t force yourself to speak in tongues, if u desire it and have prayed for it, wait till you receive it. There are great people that never spoke in tongues!. Paul says “I would like every one of you to speak in tongues, but I would rather have you prophesy. He who prophesies is greater than one who speaks in tongues, unless he interprets, so that the church may be edified”- 1 Cor 14:5.

        Comment by Mary — March 8, 2013 @ 6:28 am | Reply

  37. Doug: With the others I say, good piece. I looked it up as I am working on a series on the Beatitudes. An idea that emerges to me in this “preamble” to the “constitution of Christianity” is that Our Lord is bearing down on the three negative motivators that rob us of the blessings of God: Lust of the Flesh (desire to consume, or carnal lust); Lust of the Eyes (desire to possess, or greed for riches); and Pride of Life (desire to control, or power disease). And here, with the first Beatitude, is our need to be poor in Spirit, to be empty of all that we would otherwise trust in and be distracted by–the true spiritual poverty. Then, with the following Beatitudes, we move on to consider what should be in our life in God.

    Comment by Art Tyree — August 4, 2012 @ 3:59 pm | Reply

  38. Thanks for writing this. In my reading of the bible this morning, I didn’t understand “poor in spirit.”. Now, I understand.

    Comment by Jennifer — September 5, 2012 @ 3:51 am | Reply

  39. [...] Jesus starts off His public ministry with His “Sermon on the Mount” (Matthew chapter 5, 6, & 7), with the Beatitudes, and this scripture verse, in…Matthew 5:3… “Blessed are the poor in spirit, For theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”  (NKJV)   Here is a link to what Jesus was trying to teach us when He tells us we should be “poor in spirit”… [...]

    Pingback by Gods group thoughts for 10/22/2012 “God Resists the Proud” | Gods group — October 22, 2012 @ 4:06 am | Reply

  40. Great article.
    Very enlightening and easy to understand.
    Worth reading. :)

    Comment by Faye — November 3, 2012 @ 3:24 am | Reply

  41. NLT makes the bible really easy to understand. Poor in the spirit means, “to rely/depend upon Him.”
    Be bless, God honours those who honours Him.

    Comment by Bruce — November 15, 2012 @ 3:25 am | Reply

  42. To be ‘poor in spirit’ isn’t referring to worldly wealth at all. It’s when we recognize our spiritual poverty, our spiritual inadequacy and realize our need for Jesus and for salvation. This is being poor in spirit.

    To have possessions isn’t evil. Jesus spoke to each person what they needed to hear. He wasn’t telling the rich young ruler he was evil for being rich. It was his heart that was the problem. Jesus understood the young ruler’s loyalty’s were to himself because of his love for indulgences. So Jesus exposed this to him in order to lead him to salvation. Jesus was friends with many wealthy people but he didn’t tell them they must sell everything they had. If they had done that then Jesus wouldn’t have been placed in a wealthy man’s tomb as was prophesied in the old testament.

    We should surrender our hearts to Jesus. For were the heart is that where our treasure lies. We should place this loyalty above all things and be ready to serve God in whatever manner He leads us to with all our heart, soul and mind, within our personal relationship with Him in accordance with His Holy doctrine.

    Some argue that Jesus was born poor to point out the need to give up worldly possessions, but there was a reason Jesus was born poor. It had to do with his intention to subject himself to the misery of this world so as to better associate himself with our suffering, identify himself as the one spoken about in the scriptures, complete the work given to him by God and also to illustrate his character to mankind. He is our Lord and Savior because he has suffered all and conquered sin. We pray to one who understands. And although He is now surrounded by unimaginable riches in Heaven His heart is with His Father and with mankind. Not sown up in riches.

    Our God isn’t a poor God. He is the owner of all things. We are heirs. But the TREASURE of Heaven IS GOD AND JESUS. We must recognize this.

    So this passage is a reference to the condition of the heart and it’s loyalty’s and not the condition of the bank account. Go and sell all that you have and it will never gain you Heaven. Only the blood of Jesus can do that. FOCUS ON JESUS.

    Comment by Corey — November 15, 2012 @ 6:09 am | Reply

  43. To be ‘poor in spirit’ is a reference to the heart recognizing it’s poverty and revealing the need for salvation and the things of God. It isn’t a vow of literal poverty. Blessed are ‘poor in spirit’ as those who realize their spiritual inadequacy and unfitness for Heaven for this will lead them to seek the mercy of God, fuel their desire for salvation and discovery of Jesus. This has nothing to do with money.

    Comment by Corey — November 15, 2012 @ 6:22 am | Reply

    • What about here? Luk 6:20 And he lifted up his eyes on his disciples, and said, Blessed be ye poor: for yours is the kingdom of God.
      Luk 6:21 Blessed are ye that hunger now: for ye shall be filled. Blessed are ye that weep now: for ye shall laugh.

      Comment by WoundedEgo — November 15, 2012 @ 7:39 am | Reply

      • Jesus was encouraging the poor believers. He wasn’t making a statement that you need to be poor financially to enter Heaven. Luke was a physician. He wasn’t a poor man. He was an educated man, a doctor and a believer. No one has been called to put a yoke upon the necks of people who are financially independent? Our calling is to serve God through our faith and imitation of Jesus obedience to the commandments and to love one another. Not to judge. I didn’t die for anyone. I have no right to judge them.

        I myself and absolutely financially poor. I say this not in defense of myself.

        Comment by Corey — November 15, 2012 @ 10:58 am | Reply

        • Was he only encouraging the poor? What about “selling what you have, giving it to the poor and then following Jesus”? Some have, I believe, interpreted it that way and formed communities where they practice this. “Spiritualizing” a text sometimes is a convenient way of avoiding its uncomfortable plain meaning.

          Comment by WoundedEgo — November 15, 2012 @ 11:39 am

        • Dear Sir/Madam, thank you for your reply. :)

          I don’t think I’m ‘spiritualizing’ anything.

          This isn’t about being comfortable or uncomfortable with the meaning of the passage, I’m simply commenting on the danger of reading something that isn’t there. I’m poor so I’m not afforded a choice of being comfortable with poverty. Jesus was speaking with one man regarding what that man needed to hear because of the specific deficiency in his heart and character. Is having a lot of food evil because some people tend to eat too much?

          Believe what you want to believe but understand it’s irresponsible to place your personal convictions on the conscience of others and then attempt to pass it off as biblical doctrine. Otherwise, I’m happy that you’re happy.

          The deeper meaning is where the human heart lies. “THE BIBLE”. A testimony of Jesus Christ that reveals the heart of man. God isn’t a banker. He’s the creator/redeemer, Lord of all things, not just interested in our salvation but in our fullness of life in Him.

          Therefore if you care to donate every earthly dime you have to God then more power to you. God did not command this of everyone but perhaps you feel compelled and that’s great.

          He did command tithe and offerings. He did demand our complete love, faith and loyalty. ‘Love works no ill toward his neighbor, therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.’ Rom. 13:10

          So, I commend you for your sacrifice. As it is said in Proverbs 19:17, ‘He who gives to the poor lends to God and God will repay.’

          If God so forces a yoke of poverty upon mankind He may as well force obedience too. But the Bible teaches that ‘God loves a cheerful giver.’

          Farewell, friend. I wish you great blessings in your walk with Jesus.

          Comment by Corey — November 15, 2012 @ 11:08 pm

        • “…Is having a lot of food evil because some people tend to eat too much? …”

          Does the 3rd gospel mince words? Luk 14:33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

          Comment by WoundedEgo — November 16, 2012 @ 4:43 pm

        • Dear woundedego, [which isn't your name]

          It’s funny that you use the word ‘mince’. Since you’re amending the pure message of salvation through faith to include your personal conviction message.

          I don’t understand your obvious underlying attempt at being offensive since I mean you no harm but I elect to discontinue this discourse as it is unfruitful.

          May God bless you and protect you.


          Corey Cross

          Comment by Corey — November 16, 2012 @ 5:25 pm

        • Dearest Corey, it appears you won’t be able to engage in adult conversation for many, many years. I get that. But when you find your way, please do call. Thanks.

          Comment by WoundedEgo — November 16, 2012 @ 7:00 pm

        • Again an insult hidden behind anonymity. What part of the Bible does that come from? Brother? Such admirable humility and courage on your part. You must be proud. Thanks for demonstrating your ‘Christianity’, Mr. Ego.

          Comment by Corey — November 16, 2012 @ 8:52 pm

  44. The article is beautifully written for all to understand. What inspired me the most was reading the comments as it is lovely to know so many have such beautiful hearts that are being groomed by the holy spirit- in a world one often feels so alone surrounded by so much greed, arrogance and hardened hearts. I realize the world has not gotten worse, it has always been the world, but the evil of the world is more obvious as information has become so easily available, we know things that once were easily covered from the eyes of men. It is very hard to be thankful when you are in misery due to the chastening of the Lord to the point you curse the day you were born as Job did, “may that night I was conceived, my mother be barren, may there be no light, how I hate my life and wish death……” but the truth is if you are blessed to be chastened this way its perhaps the greatest gift one can ever receive in this life- it separates you from the desires of the world and seeking the world to fill the insecurities that have been fed to you and drilled into you as a result of living in a fallen world! All my life I thought if I could be a great success I would be worth something- worked myself sick literally, I was envious of others and was always in competition in becoming more successful. And yet it means nothing- I truly learned i became poor in spirit when I was shown a friends 10 carat 1 million dollar engagement ring and felt nothing- i did not see possessions as having any worth but rather looked at the diamond and said, to myself yes its beautiful, but will it heal your broken heart, will it comfort you when you are in sorrows, will it be a friend to you when you need a friend? Of course not. That is the deception and reality of most of society, believing the lie that money, nice things will fill the void when in actual reality this keeps you from receiving all the beautiful blessings Jesus wants to give you- that are abundantly beyond all we could ever ask or think of. Its really insane how as humans we all seek the same need: Love. Yet we fall for the trap of believing the world provides this. We believe this because we always see people that have everything seem to be happy- I ask when you are miserable do you let everyone see it? Do you cry in the coffee shop in line getting your coffee or at your work desk? Neither do all those who appear to have everything, we dont see them crying in bed at night or the problems they have- we all suffer from the same things and need the same things the difference is very few understand that a war is at hand- we can run after the things that are born of flesh and always never be satisfied or we can be born of the spirit fully surrendered and have complete rest and peace, AMEN. If you envy anything of the world such as the things others have you are not free! Oh I thank God I have peace, there is nothing like it, it is so true that when Jesus says, my yoke is light, my burden is light, I will give you rest. Rest from never feeling good enough, rest from never feeling fulfilled, rest from trying to hard- it truly is exhausting living in the world. I just didn’t know how exhausted and sick I was until I learned this great spiritual gift- poor in spirit. It did not come easy my whole life was sucked out of me where I am controlled by an illness- its been 8 surgeries and many treatments with no end in sight- but in the process my eyes have been opened and I no longer place value on the things of this world as they merely are just things- but Jesus is truly my saving Grace without him I would of hung myself- but through his love I am able to survive- and i know this life is only for short while- but eternity well is eternity. It may seem impossible to gain the gift of being poor in spirit and it is impossible if you try on your own, but if you sincerely pray and ask God to change your heart to love the things of him- your life will never be the same. You will start to see how the smallest of things you do have so much power, the helping of someone in need, giving a compliment, making a child laugh all these things we can all do that cost nothing gives so much life to another that no amount of money can do. I have not written about this or even really share this with a group but felt compelled to share the work of Christ in my life so that you too will be blessed by the sweet and savory fruits of his holy spirit giving you complete freedom, rest and peace.

    Comment by Genny — November 22, 2012 @ 8:53 pm | Reply

    • Beautifully stated, Genny. I completely agree … may the Peace of Christ be with you.

      Comment by rgb — December 18, 2012 @ 7:03 pm | Reply

  45. I have been blessed very much. I have now understood what it means to be poor in spirit and I pray to God that He will help my siblings, friends and me understand being poor in spirirt more and more.

    Comment by Leonard Okyere Afeke — December 7, 2012 @ 10:55 am | Reply

    • Thanks for your touching comments, Genny and Leonard. Real people, real experiences and struggles in Christ. God bless you both. :)

      Comment by Corey — December 8, 2012 @ 4:50 am | Reply

  46. I am a skeptical person by nature. I question everything, especially my own principles, ideals and certitudes. This has me constantly seeking God as the foundation of my principles and the guide of my life. While this is a difficult road, it keeps me focused on God and his will.

    I believe there are many who are strong in spirit, who are certain and lead their lives with confidence little adversity. I think this strength in their spirit makes them less likely to seek something higher, God. This is what I believe is meant being weak in spirit – humble, seeking God as the authority and we are his servants.

    Comment by rgb — December 18, 2012 @ 7:00 pm | Reply

  47. I was reading Matt.5 and decided to know much about being ‘poor in spirit’. Reading your explanation enlightened me greatly. God bless you.

    Comment by STANLEY — January 3, 2013 @ 10:30 pm | Reply

  48. Am bless by your words/explanation mtt 5:3 tnk u may God bless u with more revelation!

    Comment by I.N.Bindul — January 26, 2013 @ 9:41 am | Reply

  49. a much better explanation is given here:

    Comment by arnold Z — March 10, 2013 @ 11:16 am | Reply

  50. Thank you! I didn’t understand this phrase & this was really helpful!

    Comment by Allison — March 11, 2013 @ 10:00 am | Reply

  51. I had trouble understanding this verse so I google it found think website which was indeed insightful.

    Comment by Kensly — March 16, 2013 @ 7:55 pm | Reply

  52. Is “If anyone loves even his mother and father more than me, he cannot be my disciple” Is it in contra with what Paul said, when He says Husbands should love their wives and vice versa to the wives as Christ loved the church.if so, how then can we be disciplined towards being disciples and loving our families?

    Comment by henry — March 20, 2013 @ 7:55 am | Reply

  53. It is really unfortunate what we know christianity to be these days. But then I know that it does not just end in my now understanding this text and also commenting. I pray, and I cry over it – to be justified from the perspective of the master himself, since it is the issue of the kingdom; and I think that brother Doug has been helped by the Holy Spirit to here outlay that perspective the way for us to understand the master. No wonder St. Paul cried in the bible “that I may know him…..”, including “the fellowship of his suffering”. No wonder it is a narrow gate. And David himself cried “As the dear panteth for the water brooks, so my soul….” But all these while we never really understood the spirit behind these passages, neither do I even a bit. Oh Lord, I need your help. We are inexcusable if we dont know in deeds his way.
    Bro Doug, may the Lord also help you, that these texts he has helped you to put down do not stand against you on that day.

    Comment by Eric — May 28, 2013 @ 5:12 am | Reply

  54. Thank you Doug,
    I was studying the Bible and when i got to the particular words, “Blessed are the poor in spirit” I stopped and wondered what it actually meant. I knew it was not what the flesh meant it to be. I asked Jesus what it meant. I slept thinking about it. I woke up without an answer yet. I read my bible and I listened to the preaching on tv this morning before going to work as usual. Still nothing. It still burdened me and i knew i must still look out. I searched the net and found others my spirit didnt say yes to. When what is said brings peace to my spirit, it is a confirmation for me. Thank you for writing this. Someone had asked where you got that picture up there. I see a red pen up there. It is beautiful. For me, it is also a confirmation that what i read is true because, it was the red letter words of Jesus in the bible that I was studying and making notes as well! Stay Blessed!
    Nana – June 12, 2013

    Comment by Anonymous — June 12, 2013 @ 1:30 am | Reply

    • Hi I am Lawrence Fernandes.
      while i was reading the bible i came across the beatitudes out of which i did not understand The one saying Happy are those who are poor in spirit for the kingdom of god belongs to them.
      and thanks for the explanation given by Mr Doug. thank you very much

      Comment by Lawrence — June 16, 2013 @ 1:11 am | Reply

  55. Thanks for this definition, which rings true. It is a difficult concept for the layperson to understand. Your expanding on the subject helps, as well.

    Comment by Anonymous — June 22, 2013 @ 5:43 am | Reply

  56. It is really inspiring. I now know what 2 be poor in spirit means. God bles u sir

    Comment by Master gideon — July 3, 2013 @ 11:50 pm | Reply

  57. I`m pleased to read your article on sermon on the`s just an eye opener as per the meaning.God bless you Sir.

    Comment by onyeagba,i.j — July 6, 2013 @ 6:41 am | Reply

  58. Nice one

    Comment by Wande — August 3, 2013 @ 6:45 pm | Reply

  59. love this

    Comment by michael nyathi — August 19, 2013 @ 7:06 am | Reply

  60. May the Peace of our Lord Jesus Christ be with you my brothers and sisters,

    Thank you Doug, the Holy Spirit has shown you the meaning of being poor in Spirit as spoken of by our Lord in His Teaching of the Beatitudes. May God’s Grace, through the Holy Spirit, continue to work in all of US to spread the Good news of our Lord’s Salvation! All who accepts that our Lord Jesus Christ has died for our sins and has defeated death are blessed with the Grace of the Holy Spirit in them, we become the Temple of God, the Holy Ground, the REAL BODY of Christ our LORD, Alive, helping our brothers and sisters, spreading the Good news, a shelter for others both in their physical need and in their awakening!

    Your brother in Faith in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ!

    Marlon Manuzon

    Comment by Marlon Manuzon — August 26, 2013 @ 5:12 pm | Reply


    Comment by JEYAKUMAR — August 30, 2013 @ 6:32 pm | Reply

  62. This is a topic that is close to my heart… Best wishes!

    Comment by Alex — September 28, 2013 @ 6:58 pm | Reply

  63. I read Galatians today and that second last paragraph clicked into place. The subject of works versus faith has been on my mind for a while. I would like clarification about being “poor in spirit”. Is it a result of faith or does it lead to faith? Or even both?

    Comment by nolan loewen — November 17, 2013 @ 8:34 pm | Reply

  64. Thank you for writing this :-) just a little mistake that I spotted- “it lists what some of God people we’re willing to sacrifice” do you mean ” what some of God’s people were willing to sacrifice”? But anyway it didn’t affect the content so feel free to ignore this.

    Comment by Bevin — November 19, 2013 @ 5:44 pm | Reply

  65. Doug, you certainly seem to be educated and logical, however I find it strange that someone if your gifts should find that this passage refers to the “materiale”. There are ultimately two natures within creation-the temporal and the spiritual. This passage distinctly refers to the “spirit”, and yet, confusingly, you make the point that it is referring to material goods. Did I read this too sloppily? When you transgressed this distinction early on in your treatise, I kinda skimmed through the rest.

    Comment by Richard — December 28, 2013 @ 9:47 pm | Reply

  66. I pray that all who read this scripture now understand that as Christians, everything we do is in the image of Christ. Lay down the proud and worldly, come on up for the rising.

    Comment by Heidi — February 2, 2014 @ 7:15 am | Reply

  67. All I can say is; God bless you for this wonderful reflection!! For only by d Spirit of God could you have discerned this.

    Comment by cyril — March 12, 2014 @ 10:58 am | Reply

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