Blessed Are the Poor In Spirit
I love the Savior Jesus Christ. He is my Lord, my God, my salvation, my friend. I love to read is teachings and strive to put them into practice.
The Savior taught, in John 17:3, "And this is life eternal, that they might know thee, the only true God, and Jesus Christ whom thou has sent. One of my many goals this year is to get to know God the Father and His son Jesus Christ better.
One of my favorite sections in the New Testament is found in Matthew chapters 5-7, better known as "The Sermon on the Mount." What better way to come to know the Lord and our majestic Father than by studying the teachings in this wonderful discourse and striving to apply them. This is the first in a series of weekly articles going through each of the attributes Christ discusses in this marevelous sermon. I will be using the King James version of the bible as a reference for the sermon and referring to it as well as other scriptures that make up what is are called The Standard Works in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. The Standard Works consist of the King James version of the Holy Bible (KJV-HB) , the Book of Mormon - Another Testament of Jesus Christ (BOM), the Doctrine and Covenants (D&C), and the Pearl of Great Price (PGP).
In Matthew 5:3 (KJV-HB) it states:
Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
What does it mean to be "poor in spirit"? How are those who are poor in spirit "blessed"? What is meant by the "kingdom of heaven"?
Poor In Spirit
What does it mean to be "poor in spirit?" In looking footnote b for this verse, (Matthew 5:3, KJV-HB) "poor in spirit" means poor in pride, or humble. In other words, then, those who are poor in spirit are humble before the Lord. To be humble means to have a broken heart and a contrite spirit, meaning that we recognize the hand of God in all things and in all ways acknowledge is goodness and tender mercies which he extends toward us. It also means that we are submissive to Him, even as Christ was submissive to Him, saying, as Christ did, "Father, thy will be done and the glory be thine forever," (See Moses 4:2 PGP). Additionally, it means that we are willing to come to Him, to keep His commandments and to show our love for Him by so doing.
How are those who are "poor in spirit" blessed? The Latin beatus is the basis of the English “beatitude,” meaning “to be fortunate,” “to be happy,” or “to be blessed" (See footnote a Matthew 5:3 KJV-HB). It can be said, then, that those who are humble, and contrite before the Lord, are blessed with happiness. They are fortunate and have the blessings of the Lord active in their lives. In the Book of Mormon, in Alma 36:1, Alma taught his son, "My son, give ear to my words; for I swear unto you, that inasmuch as ye shall keep the commandments of God ye shall prosper in the land." Those who are poor in spirit, strive to keep the commandments of God. Because of their humility before Him, they are blessed and prosper all that they do.
Kingdom of Heaven
What is meant by the "kingdom of heaven." It refers to the Kingdom of God in Heaven, the holy place where God and all His holy angels dwell. In the Book of Mormon, in 2 Nephi 31:20 it states:
Wherefore, ye must press forward with a steadfastness in Christ, having a perfect brightness of hope, and a clove of God and of all men. Wherefore, if ye shall press forward, feasting upon the word of Christ, and endure to the end, behold, thus saith the Father: Ye shall have eternal life.
If we will feast upon the words of Christ, which help us to understand His commandments so that we can apply and live by them, and do all we can to apply the teachings found in Christ's words throughout our lives, we will inherit the Kingdom of God in Heaven, and have eternal life.
This is a bold statement. However, it is not without precident. Paul taught the Romans, "The Spirit itself beareth witness with our spirit, that we are the children of God: And if children, then heirs; heirs of God, and joint-heirs with Christ; if so be that we suffer with him, that we may be also glorified together." We are children of God. We can be heirs with Christ if we are willing to "suffer" with Him. In otherwords, we have to be willing to do whatever He asks us to.
King Benjamin, ancient Nephite King and prophet we learn of in the Book of Mormon, gives further clarification to the need to be willing to do whatever God and Christ ask us to do. In Mosiah 3:19 King Benjamin teaches:
For the natural man is an enemy to God, and has been from the fall of Adam, and will be, forever and ever, unless he yields to the enticings of the Holy Spirit, and putteth off the natural man and becometh a saint through the atonement of Christ the Lord, and becometh as a child, submissive, meek, humble, patient, full of love, willing to submit to all things which the Lord seeth fit to inflict upon him, even as a child doth submit to his father.
The Lord Jesus Christ and our Heavenly Father love us. They want to bless us. They want us to return to live in the kingdom of heaven with them, and to be joint heirs, receving all that they have prepared for us. All that they ask of us is that we will be humble before them and keep the commandments they have given us throughout our lives. In return they promise to bless and prosper us in this life, giving us joy and happiness here and now, and eternal life in the world to come. I know these things are true. As I have strived to apply the principles mentioned above, I have found great joy and happiness in my life. We can all do the same. I also know that as I continue to live these principles, and strive to help my family and everyone within my sphere of influence to do the same, I will be a joint heir with Christ and will inherit the Kingdom of God in Heaven.
For those of you who are already doing the things discussed here, God bless you for your efforts. Continue to be strong and firm and you will come off conquerers.
For those of you who are not applying the principles discussed here, I invite you to take a look at your life and determine now to change. You can do it. We all can.
Christ's invitation given 2000 years ago (see Matthew 11:28-30) still stands today:
Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.
Write something about yourself. No need to be fancy, just an overview.