Jesus presents us with His Kingdom Manifesto beginning in Matthew Five. He introduces His famous Sermon on the Mount with the announcement of 8 states of blessedness. Each declaration begins with "Blessed." These eight conditions are often called the "Beattitudes."

Blessed in this context can be translated "happy" but happiness in modern English usually describe sentiment based on the circumstances. The phases presented by Jesus are far from solely emotional and have foundation even farther beyond changing circumstances. These pronouncements represent spiritual conditions that transcend this temporal world. They are Kingdom concepts presented to call all who hear them to come up higher to the plain where heaven invades earth.

The term I choose to employ to describe these eight states of blessedness is "equilibrium." Equilibrium is the state when all influences are in balance with one another. It can be viewed as harmony. The Hebrew concept of "shalom" can be evoked to explain it. The theological term of "righteousness" also helps us understand the equilibrium Jesus is proclaiming in these verses of scripture.

Equilibrium in this passage describes an inverse ratio. The balance struck in this equilibrium is not 50-50. It is 100% and 0%. These conditions of a person imply that it requires 100% of God and 0% of me for the blessed state of equilibrium to be found. Thus, Jesus makes the most remarkable statement concerning those who are citizens of the Kingdom. He unequivocally declares that it is the "Poor in Spirit" who possess the Kingdom of heaven. What a conflicting statement! What a contrasting declaration! Who would have ever called poverty and destitution blessed? When has bankruptcy ever been considered a happy condition to be in? Why does Jesus begin His sermon on the Kingdom of heaven with such a strange pronouncement? The answer is that the Kingdom of heaven is not of this world and does not conform to the standards of the earth.

To be poor in spirit is to be totally depraved which is the true condition of man. As children of father Adam, all have sinned and come short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23). Spiritual poverty is our condition without God. We are hapless, unable to find our way. We are helpless, unable to change our lot. We are hopeless, desperately lost without divine intervention. Francis Capone says that the Kingdom of God is for the littlest, the least, the last, the lowest, the lost, and the loser. Jesus says unless you become like a little child, you cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven. He further declares that if you do not care for the least of these, He does not know you. It is the first that will be last and the last first in the Kingdom of God. When Christ stooped to wash His disciples feet He was declaring the value of service and forever turned the world upside down, making the lowest the greatest in His Kingdom. It is the one lost lamb that the shepherd pursues in Luke 15. In essence, the Kingdom of God is for losers!

The Kingdom is for those who have come to recognize their hopelessness without God. Being poor in spirit is blessed because it represents the recognition of one's true state and looks solely to the Father for life. Being poor in spirit is the admission of helplessness and the declaration of "I CAN'T! When we finally arrive at the inevitable conclusion that we cannot make it on our own, the Father replies that we were never intended to. We can't because we can't. We are unable. We do not possess the capacity to save ourselves from our sins. We cannot enter the Kingdom of heaven without a tremendous amount of assistance from God.

We are extremely poor in spirit. In fact, we are dead. We owe a debt that can never be repaid until Christ steps up and offers Himself as the ransom for many. He is the firstborn Son who came to earth to bring many sons to glory. The Kingdom of God is possessed by the former losers in this life who the world considered the lowest, the least, the last, the lost, and the littlest. Those whom the world would reject have become the citizens of the Kingdom of God.

Don't be offended by the words of Jesus. Embrace them. Accept your absolute spiritual bankruptcy and enter the Kingdom. When we recognize our real condition and receive God's remedy in Christ, then we begin to understand what He means when he says, "Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven." The journey to finding our identity in Jesus begins with admitting our total and complete spiritual poverty and our total helplessness to alter our situation. When we recognize our true spiritual destitution, then the Father can step in and make us His own. It begins with accepting reality and allowing the sufficiency of Jesus to make us brand new.

Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven. Welcome to a journey of a lifetime that begins with us at our lowest and finishes with us at the heights of experiencing and demonstrating our family likeness to the Father and the Son by the Holy Spirit.