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Are you poor in spirit?

May 7, 2013 by Eric Stillman 0 comments

Posted in: Discipleship

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

Jesus’ Sermon on the Mount begins with this counterintuitive statement – “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” In other words, Jesus declares that God’s favor is not on the spiritually self-sufficient, those who exalt and justify themselves and think that their good works have made them righteous in God’s sight. Instead, God’s favor is on those who are spiritually bankrupt, who realize that in themselves they have nothing of spiritual significance to offer to God, but are completely dependent upon His grace and mercy. By the time Jesus is declaring to his disciples that they need to “be perfect as their heavenly father is perfect” (Matthew 5:48), I am sure Jesus’ disciples were all thanking God that God’s favor is on the spiritually bankrupt who recognize their utter dependence upon God for their righteousness, because none of them have measured up to Jesus’ commands.

With that reality in mind, I wanted to pass along a really powerful chart I found (written by Nancy Demoss) that contrasts proud, unbroken people with those who are humble and broken. Let this chart serve as a mirror, and if you see yourself among the “proud, unbroken people,” may it bring you to your knees in repentance, seeking mercy from our merciful God, so that He might make you poor in spirit and fill you with His Holy Spirit.

Proud, Unbroken People

1. Focus on the failure of others
2. Are self-righteous; have a critical, fault finding spirit; look at own life/faults with a telescope but others with a microscope
3. Look down, in a condescending spirit, at others
4. Are independent; have desires for everyone else to meet own personal needs
5. Always manipulating circumstances to maintain control; must have everyone do it their way
6. Have to prove they are always right
7. Claiming personal rights
8. Display a demanding spirit
9. Self-protective of time, rights, reputation
10. Desire to be served
11. Desire to be a success
12. Desire for self-advancement
13. Are driven to be recognized and appreciated
14. Cringe when others in the same field are praised, wishing it was them
15. Think ‘the ministry is privileged to have me!’
16. Think of what they can do for God
17. Feel confident in how much they know
18. Are self-conscious
19. Keep people at arm’s length
20. Are quick to blame others
21. Are concerned with being ‘respectable’
22. Are concerned about what others think
23. Work hard to maintain image and protect reputation
24. Find it difficult to share their spiritual needs with others
25. Want to be sure no one finds out about their sin
26. Have a hard time saying, ‘I was wrong. Will you forgive me’
27. Deal in generalities when confession sin
28. Are concerned about the consequences of their sin
29. Wait for other party to come and ask forgiveness in a conflict
30. Compare themselves with others and feel deserving of honor
31. Are blind to their true heart condition
32. Do not display any spirit of repentance, because they don’t need it

Humble, Broken People

1. Are overwhelmed with their own spiritual need (Matthew 5:3, 7:3-5, Luke 18:9-14)
2. Are compassionate; have a forgiving spirit; look for the best in others (Ephesians 4:32, Colossians 3:12)
3. Esteem all others as better than self (Phil. 2:3, Rom. 12:10)
4. Are dependent on God and His grace; recognize others’ needs and seek to meet them (2 Cor. 3:4-6, Phil. 2:4)
5. Surrenders control by giving freedom for others to do or see things differently (Rom. 12:1-2)
6. Are willing to yield to the possibility that they could be wrong, and thus, yield the need to always prove they are right(Rom. 15:2)
7. Yielding personal rights (Eph. 5:21)
8. Have a giving spirit (Rom. 12:13)
9. Are self-denying (Luke 9:23)
10. Are motivated to serve others (Matt. 20:26-28, Phil. 2:20-21)
11. Desire to be faithful to make others a success (John 3:30)
12 Desire to promote others (John 3:3)
Have a sense of unworthiness; are thrilled to be used at all; eager for others to get credit, honors and awards (I Tim. 1:12-16)
14. Rejoice when others are lifted up (Rom. 12:15)
15. Think ‘I don’t deserve to serve in this ministry’ (2 Cor. 4:7)
16. Know they can offer nothing to God, and seek for God to work through them in His power (Phil. 3:8-9, Titus 3:5)
17. Are humbled by how much they have not learned and wish to learn (Phil. 3:12, Prov. 1:7)
18. Have little concern with how others view them (Gal. 1:10)
19. Risk getting close to others; are willing to take those risks for the sake of love for others (2 Cor. 6:11-12)
20. Accept personal responsibility; can see and acknowledge personal failure (Matthew 7)
21. Are concerned with being real (2 Cor. 4:3-5).
22. Know all that matters is God and what He knows (I Cor. 4:3-5)
23. Die to own reputation (Phil. 3:7, Rom. 14:7)
24. Are willing to be transparent with others (2 Cor. 1:12)
25. Are willing to acknowledge and confess one’s sin; brokenness is the ultimate sign of personal success (Ps. 51:17)
26. Are quick to admit fault and seek forgiveness (I John 1:9, James 5:1)
27. Deal in specifics (Ps. 51:17)
28. Are grieved over the root of their sin (Ps. 51:5)
29. Take the initiative to be reconciled; gets their first (Matthew 5:23-24)
30. Compare themselves with God and feel desperate for mercy (Luke 18:9-14)
31. Walk in the light of true knowledge concerning their own hearts (I John 1:6-7).
32. Continually display a spirit of repentance, sensing their need for fresh encounters with God and the filling of the Holy Spirit (Eph. 5;18), Gal 5:16)
33. Thanked the Lord for using these words to bring brokenness to their lives.

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