Who Are The Poor In Spirit?

Catch (a man) at the moment when he is really poor in spirit and smuggle into his mind the gratifying reflection, ‘By jove, I’m being humble,’ and almost immediately pride – pride at his own humility – will appear.

C.S. Lewis – Screwtape Letters.

What does poor in spirit mean? Do we have to be poor in order to be in a state of spiritual poverty? People, both believers and non-believers have different interpretations of this verse. But what does the Bible tells us?

Bible Reading

Today’s devotional reading is from the Gospel according to Matthew 5:3. Please, read our recent devotional from the Book of Leviticus 20:26: Happiness In Working Out Our Holiness

Genuinity of the poor in spirit

I remember the story my husband told me, that he was taught the people who are poor in spirit are those who own nothing. This is the same teaching I got when I was a kid. And both of us were wrong. Being poor in spirit means spiritual poverty. One does not have to be financially poor to be considered poor in spirit. 

To think of it, often it is those with lots of worldly possessions that have spiritual poverty. The reason is that they value more what they have here on earth than what Jesus is offering to all of us. Martin Lloyd Jones has written an informative book about the Sermon on the Mount that is helpful in understanding the Matthew 5 passages.

Stumbling block: Pride in being poor in spirit

To be poor in spirit means that we acknowledge our spiritual bankruptcy. Moreover, this includes that we know we are sinners and deserve the wrath of God because of our transgressions. And that Jesus Christ is our only hope to fill the emptiness in our lives. However, this is not an easy task to do for most of us.

Pride gets in the way. C.S. Lewis describes it that Satan and his demons trick us to get accountable for our sins and then insert a sense of pride for doing so. Satan knows that humility is the virtue God wants to see in His people. But because we are fallen, we are easily tempted to take hold of our pride and control.

Therefore, let us be vigilant in our actions and ask the Holy Spirit to show us areas in our lives when we become proud and confess it to God through His Son Jesus Christ. Furthermore, we should be aware that we are poor in spirit, and we need Jesus’ saving grace. And ask the Holy Spirit to defend you against the many tricks and temptations of the enemies.


This is the time for your journaling. Reflect on these questions. Ask the Holy Spirit to test your faith and your walk with Christ.

Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves. Know ye not your own selves, how that Jesus Christ is in you, except ye be reprobates? — 2 Corinthians 13:5 KJV.
  1. What do you think poor in spirit means?
  2. Do you recognize your spiritual bankruptcy?
  3. Have you accepted Jesus Christ to fill the poorness in you? Accept Jesus Now.
  4. Why do you think we need to acknowledge our spiritual poverty?
  5. How does this affect our lives?


Almighty Father, we praise your holy name. We acknowledge that we are spiritually poor and not worthy of all the graces you give. Yet because you love us, you continue to bless us with your mercies. Reverently, we ask for your forgiveness of our sins (mention your sins). O Lord, Jesus Christ, thank you that you bore our punishment and provided an opportunity for us to be united with the Father. Thank you that you have sent the Holy Spirit to guide us as we wait for the day that you will come to judge both the living and the dead. May we never be far from you and continue to guide us in our walk with you.

We pray in Your mighty name. Amen.

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