From the writings of the Rev. Billy Graham
When the Apostle Paul went to Athens, Greece, he saw people who were like many in our world today: They were trying to put together the puzzle of life. The average Athenian of that day was a religious person who had numerous gods and followed numerous philosophies in their search for truth. One group of philosophers thought that happiness and pleasure were the goals of life. Another group, the Stoics, believed that the world was governed by reason or logic, and the goal of life was to accept whatever life sent to them. Some philosophers argued with Paul—others were searching for truth. We must not let anything—or anyone—keep us from Jesus, who alone is “the way, the truth, and the life” (John 14:6).
So what did Jesus mean by being “poor in spirit”—and how could it lead to blessing? Certainly, Jesus never contradicted Himself. Jesus was teaching that to be poor in spirit meant that we come to understand our spiritual poverty. (No one is more pathetic than the person who’s in great need but not aware of it!)
The soul requires as much attention as the body. It demands fellowship and communion with God. Unless the soul is fed and exercised daily, it becomes weak and shriveled. Wise is the person who openly confesses their lack of spiritual wealth and in humility cries out, “God, be merciful to me a sinner!” (Luke 18:13). In God’s economy, spiritual emptiness comes before filling, and spiritual poverty before riches. Happiness, Jesus said, comes from admitting our spiritual poverty and then asking Him to come into our lives, and we come to know what living the abundant life really means.
(This column is based on the words and writings of the late Rev. Billy Graham.)