Thursday, February 1, 2018

Why the Kingdom of God belongs to the poor

One of the most peculiar things about the Kingdom of God is that Jesus said it belongs to certain people. Here is perhaps one of the most misunderstood sayings of Jesus that shows this:

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven. Mat 5:3

Oh, but is it now the poor in spirit (Matt 5:3) or just the poor (Luke 6:20, James 2:5) to whom it belongs? Firstly, it must be made crystal clear that Jesus in no way ever said or encouraged poverty. Poverty is a curse, it is a curse of the law (see Deut 28) one that Jesus paid the price for with His blood to redeem you from (Gal 3:13). In fact, God has always seen poverty as something He wants to rescue people from precisely because it is evil and not of His Kingdom (see Psalm 82 for example).

So what did Jesus mean? While Matthew put the distinction of "in spirit", both Luke and Jacob (who for some reason is called James in the English NT btw) did not bother to put that qualifier. They felt no need to. And as I pondered on this, I realized the answer must include something that is true both the poor "in spirit" and those who are poor in terms of the world's goods. Why is that?

What is the overarching theme of poverty, whether financial or spiritual? Hunger, thirst, and a total lack of self-sufficiency. That is the key - the poor do not see themselves as sufficient to be able to provide for their needs. And that is why the Kingdom of Heaven belongs to them - because they can easily accept that God is the Provider, both of the material and spiritual, they can more easily rely on Him and trust in Him. (Of course, though the invitation is for all to enter the Kingdom, how many do is another story... the Kingdom is theirs for the taking, but God will not force them in).

This is why Jesus said it is difficult for the rich to enter the Kingdom of Heaven. It is difficult for that person, not for God to do that (with God nothing is impossible). It is difficult for those who are rich in worldly possessions, who have gained wealth by the strength of their arm, their sweat, their cunning, their wisdom, their labor or even through an inheritance because they are so accustomed to having in of themselves these resources. "I'm a self-made man/woman and when there's no way I make my way." (We all think like this in degrees, some more than others). Those who are poor have no such custom or think very little in this way.

Now I'm not saying you fold your hands and do nothing and stop aggressively or passionately pursuing your dreams, careers, goals, business or whatever else it is you are doing. You can be a very successful, passionate individual with a strong "can-do" attitude and still cultivate a great sense that God is your strength and draw from Him wisdom, guidance and energy to move forward.

This is really about the spiritual eye of a person, it's about how you see yourself. I've tried being self-sufficient in God's grace with miserable results. It took me years to figure it out. Letting go and yielding to God is the way to enter and experience His Kingdom, to really possess it and see His promises become manifest in  your life. I've tried confessing His Grace, that He is all sufficient, but I was so double-minded so as to think that I still had to strive and strive and press forward for my own advancement in life. People with this mindset don't see His promises fulfilled!  They don't see precisely because they are under an illusion. It's not that God doesn't want His promises to become reality in our lives, it's that we don't really enter into a spiritual way of life to be able to accept them! 

It all boils down to how cognizant you are of where your abilities, strengths, opportunities, intellect, skills, talents, relationships and resources have really come from - do you see that God was your source all along or is it something you may say but you truly believe that the onus of the burden was entirely on you all along?

For the rich it is hard to let go of their perception of self-sufficiency while for the poor it is an easier spiritual reality to accept.

So no, we don't need to become poor either financially or spiritually, but we must change the way we think, from being self-sufficient to becoming a people that deep inside, we yield to God, to His Kingdom, we trust in Him to fill us, to provide for us, so that even in our jobs and careers we recognize that it is not our labor that brings success but rather that His Presence and His Favor on us, just as Joseph understood.


These series of posts are all about the Kingdom of God. They are my meditations on the Kingdom after Jesus appeared to me in a dream (the first time ever that this happened to me) and revealed to me that I had yet to understand "the ways of the Kingdom of Heaven" and that was why many of breakthroughs in life have yet to be realized. You can read more about what He told me right here. And yes, you can also God for these type of encounters! They are one of His promises.

And it shall come to pass afterward That I will pour out My Spirit on all flesh; Your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, Your old men shall dream dreams, Your young men shall see visions. Joel 2:28
Wait a minute, did he just say "old men"?!?

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