Last week I preached on the first half of the beatitudes which has been a very fruitful study for me. I thought it would be nice to share some of the insights I’ve gained from studying the passage and hopefully encourage you in your walk.

To give a little background, the beatitudes are the first part of the Sermon on the Mount that is found in Matthew 5-7. In this sermon Jesus is teaching the disciples about what he expects of them and what they need to be like to be his disciples and be in his kingdom. In fact in the beatitudes he uses a neat device called an inclusio by stating at the beginning and the end of the beatitudes, “for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”

The first of the beatitudes says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The idea of being poor in spirit sounds really strange to us and may bring to mind all kinds of false images. I say false because they don’t correctly portray what Jesus is trying to convey. The idea of being poor in spirit means having a correct understanding of who you are in the light of who God is. The example that comes to mind is that of Isaiah when he enters the throne room of God. Remember what he said? “Woe is me! For I am lost; for I am a man of unclean lips… (Isa 6:5)”

At the heart of someone who is poor in spirit is a person who repents of their sins. While we are new creations in Christ and have been set free from the bondage of sin, the truth is that we do still sin. We still carry around with us this flesh that is constantly at war with our new nature, and sometimes, we continue to do those things that we wish we wouldn’t. How do you and I deal with those sins? Do we ignore them and continue on with life, or do we repent and turn to God for forgiveness? I’ll admit that there are times in my life when I don’t turn to God. It can be very easy to justify not repenting – “God’s will forgive me, and he already has!” we like to tell ourselves (at least I do). But a person of the kingdom is one that is known to be repentant.

Bow your head and bend your neck and confess your sins to God. It hurts and knowing that Jesus died for THAT sin in particular only adds to the guilt. Yet in Christ we have forgiveness and he loves us as his children and the guilt we feel is a tool of Satan to drive us away from God. Take some time today and spent it in heartfelt prayer repenting of your sins and thanking God for the forgiveness we have in Christ.