Live a Life God Can Bless
May God guide us into a passion for investing our lives in his kingdom, that we would have the most joy and peace possible here on earth as well as in heaven.
We all want to live blessed lives. But the path to blessing the world offers runs contrary to the path God calls us to walk. In this first devotional of the week, we’re going to look at how we can live a life God can bless. May he help us to live in a way that honors him today.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”Matthew 5:3
My wife is one of the most godly, practical people I have ever had the pleasure of knowing. She has taught women’s Bible studies for nearly forty years and has several wise sayings she is well-known for.
For example, when our sons were growing up, she often encouraged them to “live a life that God can bless.” She was right: experiencing the blessing of an all-knowing and all-powerful God is the key to our best lives.
But how do we do this?
Yesterday we explored God’s promise to “heal our land” if his people “humble themselves, and pray and seek my face and turn from their wicked ways” (2 Chronicles 7:14). This week, we’ll focus on the first of these imperatives: humility.
Our verse for today comes from Jesus’ first beatitude, or path to blessing, found in Matthew 5:3: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” The word blessed is a translation of the original Greek word makarios, which refers to a deep inner joy that nothing in life can give or steal. By contrast, “poor” in our verse does not mean poverty (penes) but instead describes absolute destitution (ptochos). It means a person who has no food, clothes, or possessions of any kind.
The phrase “in spirit” shows the kind of poverty Jesus means. To be “poor in spirit” is to recognize our spiritual bankruptcy before God. The New English Bible translates this phrase well: “Blessed are those who know their need of God.”
Why? "For theirs is the kingdom of heaven."
"The kingdom of heaven" is the place where God rules as king. In Matthew 6:10, Jesus taught us to pray, “Your kingdom come, your will be done, on earth as it is in heaven.” Here’s the problem: We will only make God our king when we know how much we need him. Otherwise, we'll attempt to be king instead.
It’s here we discover the foundational question for all genuine success, joy, peace, and happiness in life: Who is your king: you or God?
Being poor in spirit starts with admitting that we don't know how to live our lives or make our own decisions, so we always pray first. We put God in charge of our problems and ambitions, our struggles and our dreams.
When we are poor in spirit, we recognize every day that life is not about us. What truly matters is living in a way that glorifies Jesus and invites the people around us to make him their king. It’s understandable that people would judge Christ by Christians. When we live in ways that honor our Lord, we lead others to honor him as well.
Everything we do is a means to this end.
So here's the question: Are you "poor in spirit"? Have you been living your life with God as king, or have you been trying to take control yourself?
If you’re not sure, think about it in these ways.
When was the last time you surrendered an important decision to him?
What was the last problem you entrusted to him in prayer?
What about the last time you surrendered your will and chose his, even though you may not have understood or agreed?
And if you were to ask him, would God say he is your king today?
If not, know that God isn’t looking at you with frustration and disappointment. Rather, he’s inviting you today to recognize that he loves you more than you can comprehend and desires to see you live a life full of blessing and joy.
Will you let him be your good king today?
1. Meditate on the difference God makes when he is king of our lives.
“Seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you” (Matthew 6:33).
2. Ask the Spirit to show you any area of your life where you are not “poor in spirit” but living as the king of your life and world.
“Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you” (1 Peter 5:6).
3. Decide to make God your king in every area of your life. Ask him to help you trust that he can do more with your life than you can on your own.
“Whoever humbles himself like this child is the greatest in the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 18:4).
A surgeon can only help patients who humble themselves enough to admit they cannot heal themselves. As we go today, let us walk in humility as well, admitting our need for God and submitting our lives to him.
When we are “poor in spirit,” Jesus promises that we will be “blessed.”
Will you live a life that God can bless today?
Will you help someone else do the same?
Extended reading: Micah 6
Let us walk in humility as well, admitting our need for God and submitting our lives to him.