Ever step back and question what an instructor is saying?
Ever question God’s outrageous promises?
He opened His mouth and began to teach them, saying, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Matthew 5:2-3
Matthew Henry described poor in spirit as
to sit loose to all worldly wealth … to be as little children in our opinion of ourselves, weak, foolish, and insignificant … to come off from all confidence in our own righteousness and strength, that we may depend only upon the merit of Christ for our justification, and the spirit and grace of Christ for our sanctification. That broken and contrite spirit with which the publican cried for mercy to a poor sinner, is that poverty of spirit.
Daniel knew what it was like to be poor in spirit. He was one of the young men brought to Babylon to become Nebuchadnezzar’s eunuch. The Israelite eunuchs were to be trained in all the wisdom of the kingdom and to eat as the king dined.
But Daniel purposed in his heart that he would not defile himself with the portion of the king’s meat, nor with the wine which he drank: therefore he requested of the prince of the eunuchs that he might not defile himself. Daniel 1:8
Here was a young man who had been taken from his mother and father, from his homeland, from his religion, sitting at the mercy of a keeper. He had no power, and, yet, he requested to eat vegetables and drink water, rejecting the delicacies of the palace and relying upon God alone to bring favor upon him.
Daniel laid the foundation of his life and career in Babylon with this single act of dependence upon God, and he waited upon God to keep him healthy, wise, and favored.
It’s an upside down life we live.
For whoever wishes to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake and the gospel’s will save it. Mark 8:35
A form of this verse is in Matthew, Mark, and Luke. The principle must be important.
To possess the kingdom of heaven, we must release our grip on the world, relinquish our pride, and refocus our efforts. We must exchange these to grasp heavenly riches, to boast in the Good News, and to depend upon the everlasting life-giving power of Jesus.
Father in heaven, thank You for Daniel’s example. Show us where we need to loosen our grip on the world and how to cling to You. You are all we need. In You, we live and move and have our being. In You, we can boast. In You, is the strength, the power, and the wisdom that will sustain us. In You, we rest.
John Piper’s thoughts, Blessed are the Poor in Spirit Who Mourn