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Blessed Are the Poor In Spirit

Katie Ignatowski

May 12, 2024

Bottom Line

Jesus is inviting us to exchange our self-sufficiency for a life of God-dependency.

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Message Notes
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Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Matthew 5:3
The Spirit of the Sovereign Lord is on me, because the Lord has anointed me to proclaim good news to the poor. He has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted, to proclaim freedom for the captives and release from darkness for the prisoners.
Isaiah 61:1
I bathed you with water and washed the blood from you and put ointments on you. I clothed you with an embroidered dress and put sandals of fine leather on you. I dressed you in fine linen and covered you with costly garments. I adorned you with jewelry: I put bracelets on your arms and a necklace around your neck, and I put a ring on your nose, earrings on your ears and a beautiful crown on your head. So you were adorned with gold and silver; your clothes were of fine linen and costly fabric and embroidered cloth. Your food was honey, olive oil and the finest flour. You became very beautiful and rose to be a queen. And your fame spread among the nations on account of your beauty, because the splendor I had given you made your beauty perfect, declares the Sovereign Lord.
Ezekiel 16:9-14
To some who were confident of their own righteousness and looked down on everyone else, Jesus told this parable: “Two men went up to the temple to pray, one a Pharisee and the other a tax collector. The Pharisee stood by himself and prayed: ‘God, I thank you that I am not like other people—robbers, evildoers, adulterers—or even like this tax collector. I fast twice a week and give a tenth of all I get.’ But the tax collector stood at a distance. He would not even look up to heaven, but beat his breast and said, ‘God, have mercy on me, a sinner.’ “I tell you that this man, rather than the other, went home justified before God. For all those who exalt themselves will be humbled, and those who humble themselves will be exalted.”
Luke 18: 9-14

"This beatitude indicates that those who have come to the end of their own resources, who know that they cannot sustain hope and purpose out of their own strength, and who have thrown themselves on the mercy of God will not be abandoned."
- Craig Blomberg

Bottom Line

Jesus is inviting us to exchange our self-sufficiency for a life of God-dependency.

"I am deeply convinced that the Christian leader of the future is called to be completely irrelevant and to stand in this world with nothing to offer but his or her own vulnerable self. That is the way Jesus came to reveal God’s love."
- Henri Nouwen

He [Christ] made himself nothing by taking the very nature of a servant, being made in human likeness. And being found in appearance as a man, he humbled himself by becoming obedient to death— even death on a cross!
Phil 2:7-8

Jesus is proclaiming a kingdom of God-dependency by showing its fulfillment in himself.

We become poor in spirit by recognizing our true condition of powerlessness and submitting to God’s work in us, receiving his transforming grace.

Action Steps

  1. Pray that God would show you where you’re struggling to fully depend on him this week.
  2. Engage a practice this week that reminds you of your true state of powerlessness. Ask God to cultivate a deeper sense of dependency on him.
    1. Fasting
    2. An act of generosity that requires you to give up something that you would otherwise have.
    3. Silence and solitude
  3. Learn / reflect on the story of someone who was poor in spirit but wholly dependent on God. If you have young children, engage them in learning about their story. Some examples:
    1. Mother Teresa
    2. Harriet Tubman
    3. Desmond Tutu
    4. Corrie ten Boom