At Bethlehem, we have a church-wide Bible memory program called “Fighter Verses.” Fighter Verses are short passages of Scripture selected to equip the believer in the fight of faith. This year, the plan is to memorize the Sermon on the Mount.
I stink at Bible memory and always want to do better. But this year, I am resolved to memorize Matthew 5:3-7:27. I have changed my Bible reading plan this year, which I am hoping and praying will make the difference in succeeding with my resolution.
Anyways, this week as I was reciting the verses, I forgot a couple words, and the difference really got me thinking. See if you can catch the words I left out (and whatever you do, DON’T look at the title of this blog!): “Blessed are the poor, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” Matthew 5:3.
Just for a second, ponder if that statement was true. For starters, we Americans wouldn’t have a chance at having the kingdom of heaven. But one’s possession (or lack thereof) of riches actually has nothing to do with having the kingdom of heaven.
As the verse really goes, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” To be poor in spirit has everything to do with spiritual state. Charles Finney lists several aspects of being poor in spirit: to “understand our own guilt and helplessness”; “that nearly the whole power of the sensibility continually tends to selfishness”; “a realizing conviction of being shut up to the grace of God for help”; “a conviction that we are shut up to faith in Christ as the only possible way of obtaining help”; “a deep and abiding sense of the absolute need we are in of a Savior from our utter wickedness, helpless and just condemnation”.
So, blessed are those people. Blessed, because they have found Christ as their treasure and not themselves…or their wealth (or lack thereof).