Spiritual Poverty

Jim Burgen in his book, No More Dragons, discuses the meaning of Jesus’ first beatitude – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” as follows:

Blessed, Greek word is makarios, which translated is, “Full of God; fully and wholly satisfied in God; connected to God and having God live in you.”

Poor translated is, “To crouch or cower like a beggar in abject poverty and complete destitution; unable to help oneself; dependent on the alms or gifts of someone else.”

Spirit means, “You. It’s not the flesh, blood, and bone. It’s the spirit that God breathed into you that gives you life. It’s the real, deep-down part of you. It’s your identity, your soul.”

Mr. Burgen summaries the first beatitude as follows, “Jesus said, ‘blessed are you when you realize that you have nothing to offer spiritually, because then, and only then, will you be ready to have me as king of your life.'”

I know that many times I have wanted to be in control of everything by myself. I have wanted to do things my way. And often my way involved wanting to escape from my feelings and responsibilities. But that just leads to more problems. In addition to not facing my problems and responsibilities, I now have the guilt and shame to deal with. So I get caught up in a cycle of craziness and insanity. An old Alcoholics Anonymous definition of insanity is that we keep doing the same thing over and over hoping for a different outcome.

The reality is that I am spiritually in poverty; I am spiritually poor. I do not have it within me to save myself from myself. Based on this first beatitude, I need to come to a place where I recognize that I need Jesus. I need him to be my Lord and Savior.

I remember a moment when I came to this realization, that I was unable to fix my problems by myself. I was at a very deep low in my addiction to pornography where looking at just pictures was no longer enough. I was beginning to desire venturing outside of my house and finding the real action. It scared me spit-less. The effort in needing to be that good Christian woman was unachievable based on what my desires were; meaning I wanted to go have sex for real even as a single woman. That was definitely not what a good Christian woman does. And because of the porn that I was watching, I was open to the idea of having a same-sex relationship. Needless to say I was very scared, and certain I was a pervert and already condemned by God.

I swallowed my pride and I asked for help. That help came through a very dear friend who is a counselor. As I shared my secret pornography struggle with her and my fear of seeking it out for real, she listened, loved me, and encouraged me to find a counselor. She then held me accountable. It took me three months to make that appointment with a counselor and she held me to it. I am truly grateful to my friend for pushing me outside of my comfort zone. As I met with my counselor, I now look back and wonder why it took me so long. Working with a counselor was life-changing. And I thank Jesus for speaking through both my friend and my counselor.

Jesus got me to the place where I needed to be; to be spiritually poor; to be in a place where I needed him to help me after coming to the realization that I cannot help myself. Jesus is my everything and I give him all praise, glory and thanksgiving.

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