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. Mark Griffin says:

    Thank you so much for your explanation. I have been struggling with this same piece of scripture, and have come across some misleading interpretations. Thank you for all you do.

  2. wilson murithi says:

    Praise God! Thank you for explanition;i was reading my Bible when i really wanted to know the meaning of “poor in heart” and i came across this sermon.I was very inspired;just to humble myself ,help me Jesus.(be blessed)

  3. Debra Hendricks says:

    Thank you for this subject our life group is studying the beatitudes and God has allowed me to be the facilitator.

  4. Isaiah Ayem says:

    Please I need Christ my life, some times I appear to be serious with God but in a short while, I remain empty. remember me and my family in your prayers for the devil is capitalizing on my weaknesses. thanks

  5. Marianne Jones says:

    Thanks for being a reliable source on the internet. Marianne

  6. Chinnababu says:

    Praise Yahweh, our heavenly Father. This is really good explanation helpful for many. I am blessed. Thank you.


  7. Hugh says:

    On reviewing teachings of my childhood, I discovered that I didn’t really know all about Jesus meanings on The Sermon on the Mount. A child has his own interpretation that really needs revisited at various stages of ones life. this is very helpful for me. Thank you

  8. Georgette carter says:

    We can gain the whole world,and still lose our soul! we are blessed to have a God to love us beyond our possesions.

  9. Byron Bastian says:

    This is very inspiring

  10. Rev. Tony McNeil says:

    Thank you. Excellent explanation of what it is to be poor in spirit.