“Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” Matthew 5:3. “Poor in spirit” translated here literally means “to crouch or cower as one helpless.” In Galatians 4:9 it is translated “beggarly.” It is a humble spirit that all believers should have where they understand that only through God’s grace can they be saved and their lives have any meaning. This verse calls on Christians to recognize that there is no room for pride in their lives or any faith in themselves to be good or otherwise worthy without God.
John McArthur has described poor in spirit as “The opposite of self-sufficiency. This speaks of the deep humility of recognizing one’s utter spiritual bankruptcy apart from God. It describes those who are actually conscious of their own lostness and hopelessness apart from divine grace.”
Being poor in spirit is a prerequisite for deploying our spiritual gifts and otherwise serving God effectively. We must understand that there is no ability for good in us apart from God and that any good we are capable of doing comes entirely from God working through us.
The reward for the poor in spirit is the Kingdom of Heaven both here on earth and one day being with God in heaven. “For thus saith the high and lofty One that inhabiteth eternity, whose name is Holy; I dwell in the high and holy place, and with him also that is of a contrite and humble spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite ones.” Isaiah 578:15.