Blessed are the poor in spirit,
for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.
Blessed are those who mourn,
for they will be comforted.
Blessed are the meek,
for they will inherit the earth.
Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled. (Matthew 5:3-6)
Kingdom requirements. That’s what these are. Kingdom requirements. It’s what you need to see it. It’s what you need to be in it.
This is not Jesus being extra special nice to people who haven’t gotten a fair shake in life. This is not Jesus giving the poor a break. This is Jesus announcing the arrival of the kingdom of God and describing who is going to be a part of it. This was the first thing he said. This is where it all starts.
Proud people don’t get in. Rich people don’t get in. Successful people don’t get in. Self-righteous people don’t get in. Happy people don’t get in. Competent people don’t get in. And it’s more than just getting in. People like this don’t even see it. They don’t know what it is. They can’t. They are blinded by their own sufficiency.
What are these blessings and how do you get them? You get them by becoming like this. And how do you get like this?
Life does this to you. Your desire to be pleasing to God – your desire to be like Christ – will make you like this. It will break you. It will show you how much you are not mourning over yourself and your selfishness. It will show you how proud you are. It will show you how far you are from being righteous. The people who get into the kingdom of God are the ones who realize they least deserve it. Let me rephrase that because I think it’s stronger than that: The only people who get into the kingdom of God are the ones who realize they don’t deserve to be there.
And here’s the other reason why this works. This is how you come to realize your need for the Holy Spirit in your life. This is how you finally get it that it is the Holy Spirit who does all of this. God breaks us down to bring us up. It’s a requirement of spiritual transformation to be broken. God strips us of everything we thought gave us an advantage because the Holy Spirit only comes to the disadvantaged.
The Holy Spirit doesn’t come alongside strong people to make them stronger; the Holy Spirit comes inside the lives of those who know they can’t make it any other way.
Now go back and read those “blessed”s again and realize Jesus is saying this the start. This is where it all begins.