In my last two articles I explained that the Beattitudes are the image of God, which should become who we are, not just things we do. This is in stark contrast to the sin nature with which we are born. I also showed that while multitudes followed Him in the cities, only disciples followed Him up the mountain to receive His teaching; Sometimes, learning from Christ will be inconvenient – but always will be worth it.
Matthew 5:3 Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
What does it mean to be poor in spirit? This is a good definition for humility. Psalm 51:17 says, “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and contrite heart – These, O God, You will not despise.” When we stumble, when we sin, do we go before God in genuine humility for mercy? Do we hate that sin that so easily entangles, so easily catches our attention and draws us away from fellowship with God?
Jesus told a story about two men who were praying in the temple, one a Pharisee, the other a tax collector (Luke 18). The prayer of the Pharisee was self-centered, thanking God that he was not like many around him, an extortioner or adulterer or that tax collector. He bragged about his diligence in the tithe and in fasting.
But the tax collector approached God in humility – would not even raise his eyes toward heaven – cried out for God’s mercy on himself because he was a sinner. Jesus said that the tax collector walked away justified in God’s eyes.
Now, humility does not mean humiliation. When we go to God, we acknowledge that we have sinned, we cry out for His mercy. That we need to do. But this does not mean we approach Him like we are a worthless mongrel, like some beaten and abused dog.
If you have put faith in Christ for salvation, or if you are approaching God to receive that salvation, then approach boldly. You are a child of God! Hebrews 4:16 declares, “Let us therefore come BOLDLY to the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy and find grace to help in time of need.”
Humility says, “I messed up Lord. Have mercy.” It says, “I am in need Lord of that which only You can provide – Your grace, your help and strength in my time of need, in my time of weakness and temptation.”
There is a blessing that goes with true humility toward God – inheriting the Kingdom of heaven. In other words, your very salvation depends on it.
It is popular in certain circles of the professing church to downplay their sin. I have seen reports that some say you should not confess your sins to God because it cheapens His grace (this is rank heresy, by the way). Other preachers refuse to address sin from the pulpit. This is worldly, natural reasoning completely devoid of any spiritual truth. The Bible is full of warnings to repent, that those who willfully continue in sin will NOT inherit the Kingdom of God, the Kingdom of heaven.
On the other hand, those who are becoming poor in spirit, a genuine attitude of humility before God, will inherit the Kingdom. This means not only confessing your sin, but learning how to leave the sin behind in obedience to God. We can go to God for mercy when we mess up, but it is greater still when we go for grace, for His help in our time of need.