Parents, have you ever been accused of being an armchair quarterback? You know, that parent that knows exactly what your child needs to do to “up his game.” My son, Tyler, played travel soccer for years. During the game, I would shout my pearls of wisdom to encourage Tyler. My gems were greeted with his stern stares. One day I decided to offer them to the coach. He was very kind and listened respectfully and when I was finished, he thanked me and said something to the effect of, “Oh, Tyler has a great head on his shoulders; he knows exactly what he needs to work on.” In other words, Tyler is well aware of his strengths and weaknesses. I was both proud and leveled.
Having a proper view of myself has never been my strong suit. I have spent most of my life vacillating between thinking better of myself than I should and being my own worst enemy. When I was asked to write this devotion on the first Beatitude, I was reminded of this shortcoming.
Matthew 5:3says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
“Poor in spirit” is a misunderstood concept in the Bible. I have heard people define it as downcast, downtrodden, oppressed, and unworthy. When I set out to study the Scripture, my definition was humble. While this is accurate, I realized it was incomplete. Warren Wiersbe adds, “To have a correct estimate of oneself.” Again, this is not my strength.
In 1990, my sister began “witnessing” to me. While on vacation, she shared her “conversion story” with me. She explained that she now knew Jesus and was going to spend eternity with Him in Heaven and if I did not repent I would spend mine in Hell. Honestly, I do not remember her exact words but this is what I heard. I was appalled! What kind of person did she think I was? I was not breaking any laws; I was a good person (mostly). I was 26 years old and had the world by the tail. I was a successful Occupational Therapist; running my own pain management clinic in Texas. I was independent, successful, married, and well on my way to my first child. I was living the American Dream. Then in 1995, my world imploded. With marriage problems, health problems, and parents divorcing, I found myself lost for the first time. Life was out of control and I was out of control. I needed help. In April 1995, I was broken and felt alone. Humbled by my circumstances, I repented of my sin and asked Jesus to be the Lord of my life. Over the next two years, the Holy Spirit would reveal the truth of who I was and the life I had been living. According to the world, I had it all, but in truth, I had been an enemy of God (Romans 8:7), completely separated from Him and without hope (Ephesians 2:12). I was focused on the world and pursuing all it had to offer (1 John 2:15-17), living for myself (Ephesians 2:1-3).
Twenty-five years later, Jesus and I have covered a lot of ground together. Over the years, the Holy Spirit has taught me much about who I am in light of my Perfect Savior. At times, the conviction has been so heavy that I questioned my salvation and His presence in my life. Consumed with my tendency to always fall short, I began to pray and ask God to show me how He sees me. He lovingly reminded me that I am a sinner saved by the grace of God (Ephesians 2:8), chosen and adopted by Him (Ephesians 3:1-8), loved by Him and bought with a price (John 3:16). He began to show me all that He had accomplished in me through Jesus Christ (Ephesians 2:10) and reminded me that through Him I can do all that He calls me to (Philippians 4:13) and bear fruit that will glorify Him alone (John 15:16). God is so good! Yes, He is good all the time!
To the Lost:
Please do not allow the father of lies (John 8:44) to convince you that you are good enough. God would not have sent His only Son to die on a cross for you if there were any other way. It is not enough to believe in His finished work on the cross. After all, Satan himself believes and is committed to keeping you convinced that you are all you need. You must confess your sin and receive Him as Savior (Romans 10:8-9). The choice is yours.
To the Believer:
In confessing your need of a Savior and asking Jesus to be the Lord of your life, you have displayed the first Beatitude – “poor in spirit.” Choosing to humble yourself under His Lordship has opened the door to all His blessings and promises. Welcome to the family! Please keep reading!