“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” (Matthew 5:3)

Jesus addressed a large crowd of people who had come to a hillside to hear Him. As He began to speak, the things He said were so different from anything the people had ever heard that He must have sounded as if He were from another planet. We call this list as statements “the Beatitude”. Each one begins with the description of people being “blessed” a word that means to be happy; really happy. People had never been taught that they could experience joy like this, so Jesus’ words almost certainly startled them. Happiness, Jesus explained in each one, comes from the most unlikely sources.

Jesus told the crowd that those who are “poor in spirit” can be really happy. Genuine joy comes from the soul-jarring insight that we are spiritually bankrupt, with nothing to offer. This isn’t false modesty. It’s the real thing. Pride ruins relationships with God and with everybody else. When we measure ourselves by other people, we might look pretty good, but when we compare our motives and our behaviour to the fierce purity, perfection and majesty of Almighty God, we quickly become aware that we fall short.

The painful realization opens the door to Gods forgiveness, His purpose, and His presence. That’s what the Kingdom of Heaven is all about, the experience of God in our lives on earth and in Heaven.

Few of us long to be spiritually bankrupt, but a gripping sense of need as we stand before God is the first and most important step for us to gain insight into what really matters. Then we can experience the wonder of knowing God.