Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matthew 5:3 ESV)
Being poor in spirit cannot be feigned because God can truly see the state of our hearts. While we may pretend and act to portray a certain attitude and appearance, nothing passes by the Lord without him taking notice.
There is a fine balance between living with false humility and arrogant pride. If we are honest with ourselves, we know what we are capable of doing in terms of good and evil. And most of us would admit that we are imperfect. How we respond to our imperfections is what I believe Jesus is referring to when he says “poor in spirit.” Some of us shy away and isolate in shame, while others tend to toughen up with a shield of denial. So where can we discover the blessing between these two conditions?
I believe the answer lies in how much we are open to learning and improving based on God’s feedback. I once heard a teacher say that the Bible will reveal who you are. It is the mirror that helps us assess our spiritual maturity against God’s statutes. I suppose that is why many do not even want to read or believe it because facing a few ugly truths about ourselves is never easy. But that is where God’s love and grace settles in. A well-known pastor would always say, “God isn’t mad at you. He is mad about you!” He goes to great lengths to bring you into a relationship with him.
In essence, being “poor in spirit” is acknowledging how much we are dependent on God for his advice, protection, and provision because we are a constant work in progress, fallible and frail. The blessing is understanding the favor we have with God because of his love and grace.
I believe our Father values our obedience and submission to him, which is why he rewards our acts of faith. We don’t have to pretend; we can just be who we are as long as we want to be better than we were yesterday. And by better, I am not referring to social status, possessions, or abilities. Rather, I am referring to the fruit of the Spirit: love, joy, peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness, and self-control (Galatians 5:22-23).