Living Poor


“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Matthew 5.3

What does it mean to be “poor in spirit”? To be poor means to be utterly dependent on others and totally impoverished. The Greek word that Matthew uses here is the strongest word he could have used for “poor” (Gr. ptochos) it  literally means “undone, pathetic, miserable.”  This is the only place in the New Testament “poor in spirit” is used like this.

I am starting to understand this spiritual mystery a little. I have been a follower of Jesus for over 35 years, and I sit here pondering how I can live daily  “poor in spirit.”  To be miserable without God, and His presence? To be totally undone if He and I are distanced.  To have a motivation everyday to draw close, to need Him so badly, that I am pretty pathetic without Him.   I confess, I am so capable to not think or feel this for extended periods.  Without the conscience desires and heart-grooming to love Him more, I am able to live without that strong living connection, and consciousness  of Jesus’ presence.  I can study, function, think, eat, and even be kind and loving without being “poor in spirit.” But to live daily “ poor in spirit” is a different level of desire, motivation and heart posture.  It requires a consistent exposure to a posture of poverty in spirit I must posess.

To be needy in my spirit for Jesus, is something I cannot will, but I must “be”. How can this happen? What does this look like?

  • To be in such a love relationship with Jesus that distance brings my poor spirit distress.
  • To have such faith and true knowledge of the Lord, that I can do nothing of eternal value without working in tandem with His Spirit.
  • To verbalize, ponder, and meditate of my spiritual poverty and deep need for Jesus.
  • To know that “in Him I live, and move and have my being. (Acts 17.28), as I go about the daily, often, mundane routines of life not alone, but with the joy and light of Christ.
  • To not allow my experience, self-sufficiency, or knowledge to substitute a life that is indwelling with the living Christ.
  • To be with Jesus, to keep reminding myself of His glory, love, friendship, and life, which my life must be lost within.

To live like this is to live within the Kingdom of Heaven. To live without being “poor in spirit” is to live in the systems of this temporal world’s ways. To live in a state that we do not recognize we truly need Him in every way is to live in the un-desperate self-sufficient mode and the deception that Jesus does not matter and really doesn’t make a difference in who we are, and what we are doing.  May we not be deceived. May we desperately with all poorness throw our life, our day, our strength, our thoughts, our desires, into His hands.

Cultivate your poverty in Spirit daily by being with Jesus. More than a “devotion” or “quiet time” but a posture of heart that continues throughout the day.  Commune with Jesus in such a way, that if that communion is broken, you immediately know it, and return to being poor and needy for Him. So we really do live in poverty.

“For thus says the high and lofty one, who inhabits eternity, whose name is Holy: I dwell in the high and holy place, and also with those who are contrite and humble in spirit, to revive the spirit of the humble, and to revive the heart of the contrite.” Isaiah 57:15 NRSV

Pastor Nate Elarton

Learn the Discipline of Celebrating


Learn to Celebrate, 

Life is too intense. We are too intense.  We are too much in a hurry and too stressed out.  I have met too many people that are so unhappy, so ungrateful, so worried and burdened.  We need to celebrate more.  We have lost the spiritual discipline of celebration and of joy.  There is a spiritual discipline we need of celebrating.  Celebrations brings joy. Celebrations give us permission to laugh, to joke, to love.   Even the serious church-planting, tell-it-like-it-is apostle Paul tells us “Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice.” (Philippians 4.4)  Twice we are told to celebrate, as celebration invokes joy.  We all need more of that. This world needs more joy.

Reject moody, depression and celebrate.  Celebrate the little things. I was celebrating when I saw the sun and it got up to 50.  I grabbed my bike and rode around Temperance, celebrating the conclusion of a long winter.  I celebrate when I hear of God’s work in lives and the revelation of His love to others.  I celebrated with my kids when they call me with a bit of good news, a completed class, an honor bestowed, a goal attained.  I celebrate when we dedicate a baby and a family to the Lord at Compelled.   Wendy and I will celebrate in a few week as our son marries. When we praise we celebrate God’s goodness.  I am convinced this world is trying to snuff out the celebrations that keep our joy.joy

Isn’t praising the Lord and thanking Jesus really a celebration. At most churches it looks more like a sad vigil of some kind, it should be a celebration of joy as our hearts are filled with gratitude and love for all Christ is done and doing.

God’s people will celebrate the resurrection of Christ on Easter Sunday in just a few weeks. A reminder that He is alive, He is working, and He loves us!  Please get to your church to celebrate this history and live-changing truth.

Do you “celebrate” enough?  Are you too stressed out? Too intense?  Too rushed? Too angry?  Too moody?  Do you just stand there during worship and praise times.  it may be time to really  be baptized in the joy and gratitude of Christ.

Plan a celebration.   A walk, a run, a coffee with a friend, and mini-party with Christ to thank Him.  Allow your heart, mind, life, and home to be filled with joy, and a celebration and grateful heart is catalyst.

This world is full of a lot of sadness.  We will encounter many unhappy times, but we must not cease celebrating.  We all need  learn to celebrate better and to rejoice!

Nate Elarton

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