Poor in Spirit

Read Matthew 5:3

I can remember a time when I was a waitress and I was serving a young family of four. The mother was clearly exhausted and her two young kids were, well, being kids and playing at the restaurant. As I walked up to take their order, her son who was probably around 4 years old picked up his glass of water, and poured it into her glass of water, which was already full.

Water went everywhere.
I gasped.
Dad tried to stop it.
Mom yelled: “Son, what are you doing?? Why would you dump your glass of water in mine? Mommy already has enough water!”
She said I’m sorry. I said I’m sorry. And the son didn’t quite know what he had just done and just stared at the mess.

I think about this scenario probably more than I should. This boy trying to fill up a glass that was already full. And maybe it’s a cheesy illustration, but hold that picture for a moment.

How can you fill up a glass with more water if it’s already full?
You can’t. It has to be empty.

When Jesus starts the Sermon on the Mount, he doesn’t start with “Blessed are the ones who have it all together. Blessed are the ones who are filled with their good works. Blessed are the ones who are full of self-righteousness. Blessed are the ones who are full of their legalistic lists of do’s and don’ts. He starts with . . .

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)
Blessed are the ones who are empty, the ones who have come to the end of their rope, the ones who are spiritually bankrupt, the ones who have nothing left to offer.  Blessed are the ones who see their need for God.

Arthur Pink said “To be “poor in spirit” is to realize that I have nothing, am nothing, and can do nothing, and have need of all things. It issues from the painful discovery that all my righteousnesses are as filthy rags. It follows the awakening that my best performances are unacceptable, yea, an abomination to the thrice Holy One. Poverty of spirit evidences itself by its bringing the individual into the dust before God, acknowledging his utter helplessness and deservingness of hell. It is the Spirit emptying the heart of self that Christ may fill it: it is a sense of need and destitution. The one who is poor in spirit is nothing in his own eyes, and feels that his proper place is in the dust before God. {Pink, A.W., An Exposition of The Sermon on The Mount}

As long as we think of ourselves more highly than we ought, we are filled with pride, and have yet to taste of His grace. When we see ourselves as sinful, we see The Cross more clearly. When we see our need for God, we inherit the kingdom.

Seeing our emptiness is seeing our need for God. It’s seeing our need to be filled. It’s a gift of brokenness that leads us to our Healer.

Being poor in spirit is being brought low so that we can be lifted high.
Being poor in spirit leads us to riches in Christ.
Being poor in spirit is seeing our emptiness that leads us to His grace.


1.  What does it mean to be poor in spirit?  

2.  Read Isaiah 66:2, Psalm 51:16-17, and James 4:10.  What do all of these verses have in common?

3.  Have you had a moment in your life when you realized you were poor in spirit?  When did you recognize your need for Savior?

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s