Let it (not) be said that I belaboured this point: poverty of spirit is at the very core of our walk as Christians.
I have talked about the surrender of the sinner to the Lordship of the Saviour as an act that shows the poverty of spirit. In actual fact, poverty of spirit is such an alien concept to everyone, including Christians, that the sinner never really knows his surrender to be a function of spiritual poverty. It is the work of the Holy Spirit to help a man lose himself and acknowledge a greater power than his feeble self. And that humbling can only be allowed if such a person has a heart ready to surrender. For the Holy Spirit cannot convert a man without his consent and a man cannot be converted without the Holy Spirit. Ponder that awhile. However, note that the Holy Spirit is the bringer of spiritual poverty to them that seek it.
We will however be walking in folly to think it ends there. That working that brings conversion and the surrender of a man seeking God to the Lordship of Christ is but the very first step in spiritual poverty. It is the first, the easiest and the smallest step. When it ushers us into the light, we have but a tiny glow that will only grow in accordance to the amount of self we shed. The truth is that our spirits come into salvation but not our soul, at the new birth. And that is to say that our spirits become restored to the headship of our selves. However, the soul, for such a long time (since Adam) under the control of the flesh and it’s sinful nature, finds it really hard to come under the direction and influence of the regenerated spirit. That is the problem.
We come to Christ, but we still want our ways and our desires and all of that. Christ wants total surrender to Him, not just an initial acknowledgement. That comes only when we continue in spiritual poverty, losing our will to Him daily. Those magic words He said while praying in the garden must become our guideline every moment: not my will, but thine be done.
As we surrender more of our passions and desires, and sacrifice them on the altar of following God totally with all that we are, the light of Christ shines brighter and brighter in us. Our duty becomes a delight and we labour on and on, following His will in all things, till Christ is totally formed in us. That…that is the salvation of our soul. And it is in humility that we will attain it.
He that will save his soul must first lose it. He must consider himself nothing under the mighty hand of the living God and Father of Lights. He must become broken and helpless, relying on the only Strength available; Christ the King. He must become weak and then die to self. He must become less aware of his own desires and grandeur and glory, and become as nothing. That is the man God delights in.
So we see that it is not only in the conversion of sinners that spiritual poverty becomes relevant. That is really nothing compared to the humbling walk he must endure (and enjoy) to fully enter into the glory of God.
Consider Christ, the firstborn of the dead. Of the dead. Of them who have humbled themselves and died to self and have hence entered into God’s glory. He is the first of such people, being our captain. That is He whom we must follow. For the Word says we are to look to Him as author and finisher of our faith. He started it. He ended it. He is the first. And He is our example. And this is how He did it: spiritual poverty. He humbled himself.
Consider what Paul tells us in Philippians 2 from verse 3 to 11:
Instead of being motivated by selfish ambition or vanity, each of you should, in humility, be moved to treat one another as more important than yourself. Each of you should be concerned not only about your own interests, but about the interests of others as well. You should have the same attitude toward one another that Christ Jesus had, who though he existed in the form of God did not regard equality with God as something to be grasped, but emptied himself by taking on the form of a slave, by looking like other men, and by sharing in human nature. He humbled himself, by becoming obedient to the point of death – even death on a cross! As a result God exalted him and gave him the name that is above every name, so that at the name of Jesus every knee will bow – in heaven and on earth and under the earth – and every tongue confess that Jesus Christ is Lord to the glory of God the Father.
Our souls must die to this world to be alive in Christ. All our desires must be nailed to the cross and we must live for His good pleasure. His good pleasure.
I pray to die to self daily, more and more. I hope you will make this your prayer too.