Poor in Spirit: I Can’t but Jesus Can

“Blessed are the poor in spirit… Blessed are those who mourn…” (Matthew 5:3-4)

Jesus gave this teaching to His disciples in the Sermon on the Mount. They were with Him on the slopes around the Sea of Galilee while He was ministering to a vast multitude of people. Mark 3:13 & 14 tell us that by personal invitation Jesus invited these disciples to join Him at a higher level, so He might teach them how to be part of His solution and answer to the problems at the bottom of the mountain.

Jesus taught the disciples His first two attitudes: to be poor in spirit and to mourn. Poor in spirit means broken in spirit and mourning can be applied to what we experience while we are learning that we are poor in spirit. I paraphrase these first two attitudes with the words “I can’t but He can.” One of the best ways Jesus teaches us that we can’t is failure. We hate to fail. We loathe failure. We are driven in many ways by the fear of failure. That’s why mourning can be involved in learning these first two attitudes.

Another application could be that Jesus is teaching His disciples to look down the hill at the hurting multitude. He is asking, “What makes you think you can be an answer and solution of Mine to their problems if you never know what it is to mourn and experience a broken spirit that confesses “I can’t but He can?”

Have you learned this yet? Are you letting the experiences of your life be vehicles through which Jesus teaches you these first two blessed attitudes?

Dick Woodward, 23 March 2010

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