Are Christians Supposed to be Poor in Spirit?

How are believers supposed to view the statements made by Jesus in what we call the Sermon on the Mount – or the Beatitudes?

Matthew 5:

3 Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

4 Blessed are they that mourn: for they shall be comforted.

5 Blessed are the meek: for they shall inherit the earth.

6 Blessed are they which do hunger and thirst after righteousness: for they shall be filled.

7 Blessed are the merciful: for they shall obtain mercy.

8 Blessed are the pure in heart: for they shall see God.

9 Blessed are the peacemakers: for they shall be called the children of God. 10 Blessed are they which are persecuted for righteousness’ sake: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.

11 Blessed are ye, when men shall revile you, and persecute you, and shall say all manner of evil against you falsely, for my sake.

12 Rejoice, and be exceeding glad: for great is your reward in heaven: for so persecuted they the prophets which were before you.

Are we supposed to stay in an attitude of poorness in spirit? Some say so. If we acknowledge we are poor in spirit, we are acknowledging our dependence on God. Right? Are you sure?

Meekness, hungering after righteousness, mercifulness, purity of heart, peacemaking, and even persecution, all find support in our walk as believers. And at times we can feel poor in spirit and we mourn at times. Still, as a spiritual reality, poorness is not what we should be professing. How can we be poor in spirit when we have the Holy Spirit in and upon us, for power, and for so much more?

Jesus was teaching about what the kingdom of heaven was like. He said the kingdom was at hand. He even said it was here, for if he cast out devils by the power of God, the kingdom had come. Luke 11:20 But if I with the finger of God cast out devils, no doubt the kingdom of God is come upon you.

In the kingdom of heaven, no one is poor in spirit, neither does anyone mourn, for they are one with Jesus. Of course, we might mourn when we lose a loved one – but we don’t grieve as the unbelievers do. 1Thessalonians 4:13 But we would not have you ignorant, brethren, concerning those who are asleep, that you may not sorrow as others do who have no hope.

Are we also supposed to always mourn? Mourn for what? The word for mourn is much more than sorrow or grief. He is talking about lamenting. This is a deep, deep, despair and sorrow. We have no need to mourn. We have not lost Jesus. He is with us to the end of the age, for He sent the Holy Spirit, the Comforter, to us. Our joy is full. One who mourns has no joy.

This is the same way we should look at being poor in spirit. Of course we live and move and have our being in Him – thereby knowing we are dependent on Him. But what else do the scriptures say about our spiritual state in Him? Do we not have all spiritual blessings and riches in Christ Jesus?

Colossians 2:1-3 For I would that ye knew what great conflict I have for you, and for them at Laodicea, and for as many as have not seen my face in the flesh; 2 That their hearts might be comforted, being knit together in love, and unto all riches of the full assurance of understanding, to the acknowledgment of the mystery of God, and of the Father, and of Christ; 3 In whom are hid all the treasures of wisdom and knowledge.

Eph 1:3 Blessed be the God and Father of our Lord Jesus Christ, who hath blessed us with all spiritual blessings in heavenly places in Christ:

Jesus said the poor in spirit were blessed (happy and fortunate) and theirs was the kingdom of heaven. He also said He didn’t come to the well, but to the sick. He was saying that those who seek will find. Those who know they have need will seek to be healed. Those who think they have no need will not seek to be healed.

The Sermon on the Mount was about how to find the kingdom, and what that means. You have need, you mourn because you have not found it, but when you do, you be blessed. You will also be persecuted for His name’s sake. That’s just how it is. There is a cost, but the blessings far out weigh the costs, and even the costs will be rewarded.

Furthermore, in Him we have obtained mercy and purity, we are satisfied, and offer the gospel of reconciliation/peace to all who will believe. He was not saying we had to do these things to see the kingdom, but that we couldn’t possibly do them ourselves. Flesh and blood does not inherit the kingdom, and the works of flesh and blood cannot get us there. 1Corinthians 15:50 Now this I say, brethren, that flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God; neither doth corruption inherit incorruption.

In more than one place, Jesus set up impossible standards. He said our righteousness had to exceed that of the scribes and Pharisees. He said to pluck out our eyes if they cause us to offend. We know we can’t do those things in order to get into the kingdom.

Neither can we get there by being poor in spirit, nor see God if we are pure in heart, and so on. He alone makes us pure in the sight of God and we will see Him face to face on that great day. There is no other way. We can’t do it. In that respect, we are poor in spirit, for we can do nothing to get ourselves into the kingdom.

Know this: believers are not supposed to be going around under a cloud of mourning or of poverty in spirit. Only those who know they are poor in spirit can find the kingdom of heaven, but once we are in it by faith in Christ, we have all spiritual riches and blessings.  How can we be poor in spirit if we have Him? He did not leave us comfortless when He was taken up. He sent the Comforter. The kingdom is righteousness, peace, and joy in the Holy Spirit! Fullness of joy is ours! Rejoice!