“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3).
 
Are you getting comfortable with feeling poor in spirit? If so, you are on the right track. I tell men, “I don’t want to lead any man into combat who says he is not afraid. I want men who admit they are afraid but are comfortable with fear.” It works like this with being “poor in spirit”: getting comfortable over time.

What happens if you’re not comfortable with the poor-in-spirit feeling? It means you will have all the needs — all the unpleasant experiences — but you will fail to take advantage of them. Sometimes you are weary, heavy-laden, thirsty, sad, discouraged, hurt, disoriented, inadequate. Then what? Don’t wallow in it; go to Him!

Jesus is telling us, “No, listen, trust Me; being poor in spirit (admitting you don’t have what it takes) is where I start walking you out of Darkness and into My Light.

 

Jesus is telling us, “No, listen, trust Me; being poor in spirit (admitting you don’t have what it takes) is where I start walking you out of Darkness and into My Light.” Click To Tweet
 

Write this down: When I feel poor in spirit, Jesus is giving me His help. He opens the resources of heaven to those who feel their total need for God. This is also called humility.
 
We need Jesus’ assurance of being there for us in order step into this kind of transparency and vulnerability. It is the place of surrender… and He gladly meets us at this point of our need.

 

Jesus, the Son of God, was poor in spirit. That was His starting point 24/7. This is what enabled Him to “do nothing of Himself, unless it is something He sees the Father doing.” It was His path to “the Father abiding in Me does His works” (John 5:20; 14:10).

 
Jesus, the Son of God, was poor in spirit. That was His starting point 24/7. Click To Tweet
 

Jesus wasn’t trying to prove Himself, to be self-sufficient, or to establish His own worth. He received all that He needed because He was poor in spirit. It’s a very different way to live!
 
Most of us are hard-wired with a Performance Based lifestyle. We instinctively try to measure up, be good enough, prove ourselves. This is the darkness. When you are in that zone, you can feel the joy slipping away. So go to school on this feeling. Learn to spot your Performance Based response and call it out! Identify that way of living as darkness; that’s moving in the right direction.

 

Learn to spot your Performance Based response and call it out! Identify that way of living as darkness; that’s moving in the right direction. Click To Tweet
 

You can’t personally make yourself poor in spirit, but you can come to Jesus feeling very needy and ask Him for His gift. He never turns down this request because this attitude lines up with His kingdom.
 
The desire to measure up, to be good enough is part of the darkness. Even those of us who have tasted the Savior’s love struggle with Performance Based thinking. In fact, this “old think” seems to live in our very bones and is responsible for our resisting transparency and blaming others for our failures. Let’s get honest and embrace our need.
 
This is Jesus’ first step on the way out of darkness. I invite you to follow this series and to revisit this work each day, ideally with a notebook or journal.
 
Let’s start by making a note of every time you notice Performance Based habits and thinking. You might already have a few well-worn insights into these. Write each one down, bring them into the light, and make these dark, familiar places your meeting points for God.
 
I welcome your questions or comments along this path in the comments below.
 
Yours on the path,
 
Jerry

 

This series is excerpted from Jerry Daley’s book about the 8-Fold Path, entitled Following Jesus Into the Blessing.