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Sunday, June 2, 2019

How Poor in Spirit Are You Really?


It's a spiritual shield which can infuse an area, even people, with the sweet, serene simplicity of the Spirit. It can elevate us to new spiritual heights. It can stop Satan dead in his tracks, even at times when we feel spiritually powerless.

You have known, and maybe have been inspired, by songs which stirred your soul to the Savior. Unfortunately, it can often be difficult or impossible to find songs which consistently keep your spirit elevated.

For these reasons, we have built a fourth and (for the time being, at least) final sister Facebook group: "Songs of the Heart".

"Songs of the Heart" will give you a place to find uplifting music which puts a smile on your face, elevates your emotions one minute, and tearfully thanking Jesus for His love for you the next minute.

This new Facebook group doesn't focus on the Tabernacle Choir (which has several other Facebook groups), but instead, other artists -- both LDS and not -- who enliven, motivate and inspire us to greater happiness and deeper spirituality. It's open to people of all Christian denominations as a place of gathering, of sharing, of mutually uplifting under the magnificent vibrations of love, holiness and a little bit of fun.

To join "Songs of the Heart" and engage in the discussions about the songs there, go to the group's homepage, here. There, read the group rules and click the red "Click Here to Join 'Songs of The Heart'" link at the bottom of the page. That takes you to the Facebook group. Click the blue "Join Group" button and answer some simple qualifying questions, and we'll clear your subscription request right away.

We look forward to seeing you in "Songs of the Heart" today!

How Poor in Spirit Are You Really?

Recently, it was my privilege to spend time with two separate friends in separate discussions. I say "privilege" because I learned a lot, and I say "discussion" because the main topic was -- you guessed it -- themselves.

Actually, in one case, it wasn't really a discussion. It was more of a monologue, which I was "blessed" to partake of. In the other case, the "discussion" was a book, which focused on how awesomely fantabulous the person was despite frequent "hardships."

In both the monologue and the book author, the personal pronouns of "I," "Me" and "My" were flowing as fast, frequent and free as a kid in Willy Wonka's Chocolate Factory. Unfortunately, the mentions about God? Ummmm, not so much.

I admit: it's always kind of interesting to hear about others' personal spiritual experiences. But when such "humble" self-absorption and self-importance goes on page after page, minute after minute, on and on and on, I start to wonder...

Poor in Spirit?

In the opening stanza of His Sermon on the Mount, Jesus said, "Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven" (Matthew 5:3). It's the first of nine statements of who is blessed. This is parallel with Psalm 34:18, "The Lord is nigh unto them that are of a broken heart; and saveth such as be of a contrite spirit."

Just what did He mean?

Most New Testament scholars agree that "poor in spirit" does not mean lacking in spirit, be it courage, the Holy Ghost or religious awareness. Instead, it is that poverty is not only a physical condition, but also a spiritual one. Such true, undefiled humility is absolutely genuine and unlike it's identical counterfeit, "spiritual pride."

How can you tell the difference? The personal pronouns of "I," "Me" and "My" are absent or rare. And the attribution of anything good, wholesome or worthwhile is genuinely, sincerely and solemnly redirected to another source. They recognize that they are utterly and completely nothing.

In my opinion, the Savior was saying, "Blessed are they, who in spirit, recognize that they possess nothing" or "Blessed are those who, in their spirit, are conscious of the fact that they do not possess one thing."

It all belongs to the Father.

  • If the car has their name on the title, it does not belong to them.
  • If the house has their name on the mortgage, it does not belong to them.
  • If the checking account is in their name, it does not belong to them.

These are all physical things, which I believe all of us readily admit belong to the Father.

But in Matthew 5:3, we're talking about the poor "in spirit." That's not a physical paradigm, but a spiritual one.

  • If true humility is demonstrated through their lives, it does not belong to them. It belongs to the Father.
  • If righteousness is manifested in them, it does not belong to them. It belongs to the Father.
  • If goodness is exerting its influence through their lives, it does not belong to them. It belongs to the Father.
  • If power flows through them to the needs about them, it does not belong to them. It belongs to the Father.

Anything spiritually valuable that they possess is not their own.

They are conscious that a person does not really possess any righteousness. Any he thinks he possesses is self-righteousness. He does not possess any humility or goodness. He does not possess any power, for all things belong to God (D&C 104: 14-18) and, naturally, all things bow in humble reverence before God’s throne (D&C 76:93).

Until you are truly poor in spirit, you are not in the Kingdom.
Anyone who thinks he or she has righteousness is far from the Kingdom.
Anyone who thinks he has humility, goodness or power is far from the Kingdom.

If Jesus gave all glory and honor to the Father, why not you as well?

Jesus never boasted of his own humility, goodness, righteousness or power. Yet you never saw Him with anything less!

"Why callest thou me good? there is none good but one, that is, God" (Matthew 19:17)

Jesus declared that even the very words that He spoke belonged to the Father; they were the Father’s words.
"For I have not spoken of myself; but the Father which sent me, he gave me a commandment, what I should say, and what I should speak." (John 12:49)
Jesus said that the works that He did were not His own works, they were the works of the Father.
"Believest thou not that I am in the Father, and the Father in me? the words that I speak unto you I speak not of myself: but the Father that dwelleth in me, he doeth the works." (John 14:10)
What He heard from His Father He spoke, and what He saw of His Father, He did. And He NEVER took the credit. Ever. He gave it ALL to Father.

As a son or daughter of God, you must be brought to the place where you know the words which you write (to inspire or uplift others) are not yours. Your inspirational works are not yours. The results are not yours. Your humility is not yours, your gifts are not yours, your calling is not yours, your ministry is not yours, your car is not yours, your house is not yours, your family is not yours, your children are not yours, your parents are not yours.

Everything belongs to Him.

"Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven"

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