Matthew 5:3 - "Blessed (Happy) are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"Happy are the Poor in Spirit..." This seems to be the classic example of an oxymoron. Happiness and being poor in spirit are two ideas that should not be mixed together, and yet, Jesus does. How does being poor in spirit lead to being happy?
Not only does Jesus teach this but it is the foundational beatitude upon which the remaining beatitudes stand.
When God created everything it was perfect, lacking nothing. We were complete, lacking nothing. When sin entered the picture it stripped us of our perfection and completion.
We are empty and completely incapable of reversing our condition. We are miserable, unable to find anything that brings true and lasting satisfaction. Sin made our spirits dead, incapable of knowing, and relating to God. But that isn't the end of what sin did, sin introduced "Pride".
The sin of pride comes directly to humanity from Satan's DNA. He wanted to be God, who has all power and needs nothing, and to receive the praise and glory and honor for it. This infection ruined him and led to his being kicked out of Heaven down to the earth. When, in the form of a serpent, he sank his fangs into Adam and Eve, through his lies, his DNA became part of theirs.
They are the father and mother of all humans. Now we, whether we realize it or not, have this infection. Now we want to be able to provide for ourselves, to stand on our own without needing anyone else, even God. When we can't provide all that we need (and nobody can) we languish in feelings of lack and inadequacy.
This is so deeply ingrained in the sinful nature (the flesh) that it does its work unnoticed, below the radar. Most people have a hard time with someone suggesting that they want to be like God. We live hyper-aware of our inability to live up to God's standard of holiness. We have no conscious delusions that we are anything like God, so it's inconceivable for someone to suggest that we want to be like God.
But this paradox, the product of believing Satan's lies, is working within people. A desire for something we can Never have, and then the constant turmoil because we can't.
Poor In Spirit
When Jesus says "Happy are the poor in Spirit" I believe He is talking about people who are aware of their lack and inability and embrace it. God did not create us to be our own providers. He is Jehovah Jireh, the Lord who provides. Embracing our lack and our inability to be right on our own IS the place of Happiness, Peace, and Rest. It is not until we realize this that we can call upon God's power to work in and through our lives. Only God is equipped to exist on His own, without the help of an outside source.
One of the ways God describes our relationship is in the Father/Child way. Good fathers protect and provide for their children. The children do not worry about how the rent or the mortgage are going to be paid. They don't worry about where money for food is going to come from. That is Papa's job.
The lie at work in all of us is that we are responsible for things that we are incapable of doing. Sin is at work in all of us. We experience the same struggle Paul, the great Apostle, did.
Romans 7:15-25 - "I’m a mystery to myself, for I want to do what is right, but end up doing what my moral instincts condemn. 16 And if my behavior is not in line with my desire, my conscience still confirms the excellence of the law. 17 And now I realize that it is no longer my true self doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin in my humanity. 18 For I know that nothing good lives within the flesh of my fallen humanity. The longings to do what is right are within me, but willpower is not enough to accomplish it. 19 My lofty desires to do what is good are dashed when I do the things I want to avoid. 20 So if my behavior contradicts my desires to do good, I must conclude that it’s not my true identity doing it, but the unwelcome intruder of sin hindering me from being who I really am. 21 Through my experience of this principle, I discover that even when I want to do good, evil is ready to sabotage me. 22 Truly, deep within my true identity, I love to do what pleases God. 23 But I discern another power operating in my humanity, waging a war against the moral principles of my conscience and bringing me into captivity as a prisoner to the “law” of sin—this unwelcome intruder in my humanity. 24 What an agonizing situation I am in! So who has the power to rescue this miserable man from the unwelcome intruder of sin and death? 25 I give all my thanks to God, for his mighty power has finally provided a way out through our Lord Jesus, the Anointed One! So if left to myself, the flesh is aligned with the law of sin, but now my renewed mind is fixed on and submitted to God’s righteous principles.
To be Poor in Spirit in a way that leads to happiness, is to accept the fact that only God is good and that we are not. That our Heavenly Father never intended for us to please him by using our own power. He is our Father, our Abba. Him helping us is His delight, not a bother.
One of Satan's tactics is to tempt you to sin and then condemn you for being tempted. In this case Satan points out our inability to do what is right and then condemns for it.
A blackmailer's power over another person is that they know a dark secret about them and threaten to let everyone else know. As long as the secret exists the blackmailer holds power over his victim. But the victim can take the blackmailer's power away by revealing the secret themselves, embracing the consequences.
The way for us to take away Satan's power over us is to acknowledge and confess our lack and inability and cry out to God to do for us what we cannot do for ourselves.
NEVER accept Guilt or Condemnation over what Paul called that "Intruder" in our humanity, Sin is a part of our current reality, but Jesus died and rose again conquering sin and death for us. We won't be free from the struggle against the intruder until we leave this life through death or the rapture. Until then trust that God's Goodness, Grace, Ability, and Love for you are enough. That is why Jesus came.
Be happy, trust that your faith in Him and His Son, Jesus Christ, will carry through this life and into eternity with Him, forever.