By   •   September 1, 2004   •   Topics:


What does it mean to be poor in spirit, as Jesus said we ought to be? I don't understand this, because it seems to me that we ought to strive to be rich in spirit, not poor. Or am I missing the point?


Your confusion is understandable; after all, the Bible does warn us against being empty and impoverished in our souls, and urges us to seek spiritual riches instead. Jesus said, “For where your treasure is, there your heart will be also” (Matthew 6:21).

But Jesus also said that there is another kind of spiritual poverty—one we should seek. He said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). What did He mean? Simply this: We must be humble in our spirits. If you put the word “humble” in place of the word “poor,” you will understand what He meant.

In other words, when we come to God, we must realize our own sin and our spiritual emptiness and poverty. We must not be self-satisfied or proud in our hearts, thinking we don’t really need God. If we are, God cannot bless us. The Bible says, “God opposes the proud but gives grace to the humble” (James 4:6).

Pride can take all kinds of forms, but the worst is spiritual pride. Often the richer we are in things, the poorer we are in our hearts. Have you faced your own need of Christ? Do you realize that you are a sinner and need God’s forgiveness? Don’t let pride or anything else get in the way, but turn to Christ in humility and faith—and He will bless you and save you.

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  1. Rufus says:

    Thanks a lot for such teaching I had a big problem to understand.God bless you

  2. Leigh says:

    Thank you for your reminder of what that verse meant. My first pastor preached that all the ‘blessed’ statements on the s.o..t.mount were ladder steps, from the start of salvation ‘learning ones poverty of spirit’ before God’,through to the final blessed, being persecuted for one’s faith and life in serving God. I think my pastor got his source from the Puritan, Thomas Watson. Thank you again, and I wish you well.

  3. obidiugwu kingsley says:

    Thanks for this wonderful explanations

  4. Juan Cepeda says:

    Simply beautiful and fulfilling words of wisdom. Thanks.

  5. Joseph says:

    I have surrendered my life to Jesus but I still feel emptiness in my heart and spirit and I’ve been calling on God to take total control of my life. What should I do?

    1. BGEA says:

      Would you like to talk to someone, Joseph? Someone from our team would be happy to connect with you online. Look for the chat button on this page: