What Does It Mean to Be Poor in Spirit? Billy Graham’s Answer

By   •   November 12, 2015   •   Topics:

man sitting on bench

In a world often driven by material possessions and financial gain, the concept of seeking to be poor in any facet of life seems counter-intuitive. Billy Graham explains why spiritual poverty is critical for believers growing in their relationship with Jesus Christ:

Q: 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?

A: 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.

Learn more about God’s love for you.

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published but you will receive our next BGEA ministry update. You can opt out of future emails at any time.

16 Comments

  1. Ann Shaffer says:

    Thank you for serving our Lord and savior and helping many to see Way the Truth and to understand the Life which is only possible through Jesus Christ our Lord. God bless you

  2. Michael McLaren says:

    God bless you for giving everything you do every day! God bless you

  3. sylvia says:

    Happy belated birthday Dr. Graham, you are loved by many but most from God our Father.

  4. Samuel Silguero Jr says:

    Sometimes i feel like everyone is smarter, handsomer,quicker, or for that matter just better, but in my faith I know God loves me just the way I am, thank God for Billy Graham n all that He is!

  5. NDUKAIFE ANYAMENE says:

    Thanks for explaining this ‘poor in spirit’ l now understand it better

  6. NDUKAIFE ANYAMENE says:

    Thanks for explaining this ‘poor in spirit’ l now understand it beter

  7. Tracy Batzel says:

    Happy belated birthday Dr. Billy Graham with love

    1. michael says:

      And I watched part of that Billy Graham special myself.

  8. Debbie says:

    Poor in spirit is not knowing the Lord, only he can give peace and happiness, and especially in troubled times.

    1. Lois Workman Shroyer says:

      “Happy Belated Birthday” to Billy Graham. I was saved at one of your meetings in Pittsburgh when I was 13 years old. God give you strength for each new day. Love in Christ, Lois Workman Shroyer

  9. Ayor peter Kwaku says:

    I’m an Islamic converts.of recent many preachers have left the message of salvation for different reasons. Glory be God that people like you still maintain yours. God bless

  10. Jane says:

    Let us all who name the name of Jesus press toward the mark of the high calling in Christ Jesus who can do all things for us if we repent and give ourselves over to Jesus. In other words sell out for Jesus and make him FIRST AND TELL EVERYBODY OF HIS GOODNESS AND LOVE FOR ALL OF US REGARDLESS OF WHAT CHURCH WE BELONG TO AS LONG AS IT IS A BIBLE BELIEVING CHURCH. I AM A 20 YEAR BREAST CANCER SURVIVOR, A FIVE YEAR GYN CANCER SURVIVOR, AND A SURVIVOR OF DOMESTIC VIOLENCE AND I CAN TRULY SAY THAT GOD HAS BEEN ON MY SIDE AND I LOVE HIM I, REPENTED OF MY SINS MANY YEARS AGO. GOD IS WONDERFUL EVEN WHEN THINGS ARE GOING BAD FOR US BECAUSE ALL THINGS IN OUR LIFE WORK TOGETHER FOR GOOD TO THEM THAT LOVE HIM AND ARE CALLED ACCORDING TO HIS PURPOSE.