Remember that blessed is translated from the word makarios which is defined as happy, blessed, and to be envied. (Strong).
This is the first of the Beatitudes. The word for poor in this verse is translated from the Greek word ptochos. The word is defined, "to crouch or cower like a beggar – properly, bent over; (figuratively) deeply destitute, completely lacking resources.” (Strong). It is not merely poor but absolutely in need. In a position where one has no choice but to beg because he cannot fill his need on his own.
The word spirit is translated from pneuma which means spirit, wind, or breath. (Strong). It is our life force. It is ourselves as we relate to God. It is in fact the same word that is used to denote the Holy Spirit when the word is preceded by the adjective holy.
Therefore, poor in spirit means destitute of spirit, begging in humility for spiritual needs to be met. Romans 5:23-25 tells us that we are all in spiritual poverty and that Jesus provides the way to meet those needs. It reads,
“for all have sinned and fall short of the glory of God, 24 and are justified by his grace as a gift, through the redemption that is in Christ Jesus, 25 whom God put forward as a propitiation by his blood, to be received by faith. This was to show God's righteousness, because in his divine forbearance he had passed over former sins.”
Although all have sinned and consequently every person needs Jesus, only some ever acknowledge the need. It is for those who concede it that the Kingdom of Heaven is given. Those people who recognize they are dependent on Jesus to meet their need, not just once but every moment of every day, who are given the joy of salvation, the joy of living in the Kingdom of Heaven even now while we walk on earth.
The more we understand how much we have sinned and how there is nothing we can do on our own, the more we admit our necessity and reliance on Jesus the more we are able to celebrate and be overjoyed at His grace and mercy. Romans 5:19-21 reads,
“For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so also by one Man’s obedience many will be made righteous.
20 Moreover the law entered that the offense might abound. But where sin abounded, grace abounded much more, 21 so that as sin reigned in death, even so grace might reign through righteousness to eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.”
Genuine happiness is not gained by pretending to be good. Authentic bliss is not achieved by justifying or ignoring one’s turpitude. True joy is reached when we are able to recognize our sinfulness and ask Jesus, the only one who can to forgive us and make us righteous.
Choose happiness. Don’t close your eyes to your depravity, recognize it. Submit yourself as the beggar you are to Jesus and let Him freely give you the richness of His grace. Jesus turns the tears of mourning over your sin to gladness and praise for His salvation. Jesus quoted Isaiah 61 about Himself. Read verses 1-3 and see that Jesus will do it for you too.
“The Spirit of the Lord God is upon me,
because the Lord has anointed me
to bring good news to the poor;
he has sent me to bind up the brokenhearted,
to proclaim liberty to the captives,
and the opening of the prison to those who are bound;
2 to proclaim the year of the Lord's favor,
and the day of vengeance of our God;
to comfort all who mourn;
3 to grant to those who mourn in Zion--
to give them a beautiful headdress instead of ashes,
the oil of gladness instead of mourning,
the garment of praise instead of a faint spirit;
that they may be called oaks of righteousness,
the planting of the Lord, that he may be glorified”
Let Jesus turn your mourning to gladness, let Him give you a garment of praise instead of a faint spirit.
References Strong. (n.d.). 3701. makarios. Retrieved from Strong's Concordance: http://biblehub.com/greek/3107.htm
Strong. (n.d.). 4151. pneuma. Retrieved from Strong's Concordance: http://biblehub.com/greek/4151.htm
Strong. (n.d.). 4434. ptóchos. Retrieved from Strong's Concordance: http://biblehub.com/greek/4434.htm