“God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him,
for the Kingdom of Heaven is theirs. (NLT)
The one key difference between Christianity and other faiths is that all other faiths seem to suggest we can climb up some sort of ladder to the deity. Christianity tells us the deity clambered down the ladder to us.
In other words, we are helpless to please God by trying harder to be good. God sends his perfectly good Son, Jesus, to live the perfect life and die the sacrificial death so we don’t have to climb any ladders.
Which is what this first of Jesus’ beatitudes seems to be saying. Material poverty is not in view: it is spiritual poverty that matters here. Of course those who are materially poor may well recognise more clearly their need of divine help. But irrespective of our material wealth, we need to recognise our utter inability to please God by trying so hard to be good.
We rely on Jesus’ goodness not our own, though this same Jesus urges us to live a good life. We admit our own inadequacy and rely instead on Jesus’ adequacy. We become Christians by admitting we are helpless to meet God’s perfect standards.
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The way to a richer sort of life is to confess our spiritual poverty. The way to get divine help is to confess our human helplessness.