Reaching the End of Your Rope - Hope 103.2

Reaching the End of Your Rope

“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!” (Matthew 5:3 Good News Bible).The first thing to note is that Jesus is not talking about material poverty. He is talking about attitude. A person who is poor in terms of worldly goods can still be very proud and […]

By Chris WittsSunday 19 Nov 2017Morning Devotions with Chris WittsFaithReading Time: 3 minutes

“Happy are those who know they are spiritually poor; the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them!” (Matthew 5:3 Good News Bible).

The first thing to note is that Jesus is not talking about material poverty. He is talking about attitude. A person who is poor in terms of worldly goods can still be very proud and completely unaware of their need of God’s love and forgiveness. Conversely, it is possible for someone who is financially secure to be acutely aware of their need of God.

In congratulating the spiritually poor, Jesus is not advocating intellectual ignorance or laziness. God has given us a brain and he expects us to use it. Nor is Jesus saying we should continually talk ourselves down or write ourselves off as failures. Being ‘spiritually poor’ means being conscious of our spiritual worthiness─that there is nothing we can do to earn a place in Heaven or even deserve the love of God. It is recognising that forgiveness, salvation and eternal life are generous gifts from God’s open hands, which we are to receive with open arms.

The Spiritually Poor Person

The New English Bible translates this Beatitude: “How blest are those who know their need of God; the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs.” The Message version offers this paraphrase: “You’re blessed when you’re at the end of your rope. With less of you there is more of God and his rule.” The truly spiritually poor person bows reverently and willingly before God. If there is such a thing as a pecking order of the universe, then the spiritually poor person has come to recognise their place in the grand scheme of things.

The Bible teaches that God is Lord of all creation and is, therefore, to be worshipped and revered as such. It also teaches that humankind has been placed in charge of planet earth—as steward, not as owner. We do well to remember that there is a much higher power than us, who is in supreme control. Christians believe this higher power to be a loving God, whom we are able to know and love personally through his Son Jesus.

Getting Above Our Station

There is a saying that is used for people who think they are more important than they actually are. Such people are said to be getting above their station. When we become proud or arrogant—especially towards God, thinking that we can live our lives with little or no reference to him—we are getting above our station.

People who know they are in need of God and ask for his help get it, simply because they are not too proud to ask. Thinking we are big enough to manage without God can hinder his being able to help. Just as a person needs to admit they don’t know all the medical answers when they visit a doctor, so we need to admit we are not all-powerful and all-knowing.

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A doctor can more easily make a diagnosis and recommend a course of treatment when a patient acknowledges that something is wrong and realises they cannot cure themselves. How daft is it to make an appointment with a GP if all we intend to do is sit in the surgery and tell the doctor what we think the course of treatment should be! We make far more progress when we recognise that we need help and then follow doctor’s orders.

Jesus tells the story of two men at prayer. One, a highly respected religious leader, stands up in the Temple and reminds God how he does all the right things—including fasting and giving money. He thanks God that he is so much better than everyone else. The other man, a despised tax collector, knows he’s done things wrong, knows he doesn’t deserve God’s mercy yet asks for it nevertheless. It is this man who goes home happy, says Jesus. He found the ‘be-attitude’ of being spiritually poor.

By: Stephen Poxon
Source: The War Cry, January 2004