Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
If I would choose a passage from Scripture to have on my tombstone, it would be this one. Something I aspire to, actually, not necessarily something I possess. In fact, too often I seem empty of it.
It’s so easy to be full of one’s self, or maybe for us who are further along it can be more subtle in that we see ourselves as full from the Lord, with emphasis on ourselves. That reminds me of people talking about “Spirit-filled churches,” or referring to themselves as Spirit-filled. Emphasis at least too often ends up being on self, or at least so it seems to me.
The really Spirit-filled people, and might I add, churches, are those who are more and more empty of themselves. They are too overcome to imagine that anything good can come out of them at all. So anything good is of God, and all else is suspect and in need of removal through brokenness and repentance.
Does this sound far out, or too severe? Consider the Apostle Paul’s picture he portrays in 2 Corinthians 12. He is tormented by a thorn in the flesh, no less than a messenger of Satan to keep him from being conceited because of the revelations God had given him. And he came to see that it was actually in his weakness that Christ’s strength became evident.
For too many of us, this might seem extreme. We have things pretty well in hand in the Lord, with God’s help. But we need to get past that to where it’s either all God, or nothing at all. We need to be content as those aspiring to be among “the poor in spirit.” And thus among the blessed ones. In and through Jesus.