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Sometimes in order to understand something, we examine the opposite. We’ve learned that the phrase “poor in spirit” refers to an attitude of dependence on God. This attitude can also be understood by looking at the opposite. The church in Laodicea was the opposite of “poor in spirit.” In Revelations 3:17, Jesus accused them with these words: “You say, ‘I am rich; I have acquired wealth and do not need a thing.’ But you do not realize that you are wretched, pitiful, poor, blind and naked.”(NIV)
Wow! What a description! These followers of Jesus thought everything was going well. They were financially prosperous. Yet, Jesus said they were really as spiritually poor as beggars — as if they were blind and naked. In fact, Jesus was also sickened by their lukewarm efforts to follow him. As he said in verse 16, “So, because you are lukewarm—neither hot nor cold—I am about to spit you out of my mouth.”(NIV)
What can we take away from this? First, it is harder to be poor in spirit when we are financially prosperous. We so often think our material state reflects our spiritual state. Second, we really do depend on God’s mercy, just like a destitute beggar depends on the generosity of others. And finally, aren’t you glad that God is merciful and showers us with both spiritual and material blessings?
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Bumper music “Landing Place” performed by Mark July, used under license from Shutterstock.