Spiritual Poverty

by Martin Luther

Listen, my beloved brothers, has not God chosen those who are poor in the world to be rich in faith and heirs of the kingdom, which he has promised to those who love him? (James 2:5 ESV)

You may wonder, “What? Do all Christians have to live in complete poverty and not own anything? Do we have to get rid of all of our honor, prestige, and power? What are prosperous people, such as business owners and government officials, supposed to do? Should they sell their possessions and give up their authority in order to buy heaven from the poor?” The answer is no. Scripture doesn’t say that you can buy heaven from the poor. But it does say that you should be counted among the poor and also be spiritually poor. Jesus said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3)

The little words in spirit show that self-imposed poverty won’t bring God’s blessing. It’s not intrinsically evil to have money, own possessions and land, or employ workers. These are all gifts from God and the way God has ordered our society. No one is blessed simply because he is a beggar and owns nothing. Jesus was talking about being spiritually poor, or poor in spirit.

The world can’t keep on going without money, respect for authority, land ownership, and servants. A lord or prince can’t be poor and fulfill his responsibilities in life. In order to carry out his official duties, he must have the necessary resources. So the idea that we must live in poverty in incorrect. The world couldn’t keep going if we were all beggars and owned nothing. We couldn’t support our families and servants if we didn’t have any money. To sum up, being financially poor isn’t the answer. So be satisfied with whatever God gives you, whether it’s poverty or prosperity. But be sure of this: each and every one of us must become spiritually poor in the sight of God.

from: Faith Alone – A Daily Devotional; edited by James C. Galvin.

Soli Deo Gloria!

2 thoughts on “Spiritual Poverty

  1. “We are not fundamentally good. We are not in any way spiritually self-sufficient. We are fallen sinners in desperate need of a Savior. We are spiritual paupers.” John MacArthur The Quest for Character 2006. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” How great His grace is. All we have to do is acknowledge our spiritual bankruptcy and our great need for His righteousness and the kingdom of heaven is ours. I always like to think of it in a simple human way… He tells us He wants a hole dug and then He tells us to sit down so He can dig the hole for us. I know, it’s not a very good analogy, but it works for me. He wants me to be perfect and commands for me to be so then He sits me down and says I will do the work in you because you don’t know how and even if you knew how you couldn’t possibly do it. That’s why His yoke is easy His burden is light and I hope to always find this so. Whenever I hang too tightly to this world my own burdern becomes too heavy but He is gracious to take it from me.


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