“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
It is common practice by those outside of Christianity (and some inside) to quote the first four words of that sentence and stop both mind and mouth. It is not a modern phenomenon, but it has found a secure home in modern American thought. Victimhood is the golden calf of the woke and media shepherds as though poverty was a virtue. As they would have us believe, poverty is the direct result of oppression.
What Jesus was actually speaking about is a spiritual virtue. To be poor in spirit does not mean to be lacking in spirituality. Some would have us believe that to be spiritual is some kind of choice about lifestyle that disregards religion. Of course, this is utter nonsense. Human beings are spiritual creatures. We are born a living spirit, and we carry our spirit with us into whatever realm awaits beyond the physical life we are now experiencing.
Christians call that realm heaven. This is more than the minute glimpse of golden streets, walls of jasper, and gates of pearl that John saw. To be equipped for that heavenly realm requires a certain type of spiritual poverty—to wit a humility of spirit That is, a spirit that does not boast itself, parade itself, or set itself above others. It is a spirit of love—pure and undefiled by self-promotion. The poor in spirit have a clear vision of a proper relationship with their Creator.
Who decides what is proper? That is simple enough to answer—the Creator. God is not “the man upstairs”. He is not a man at all. He is the Creator who made us for Himself. He also gave us a free will to choose between a loving relationship or an adversarial one.
Though most of us never read them, when we enter a website, we are asked to agree to the terms and conditions associated with the site. The same is true with God. You may enter His kingdom, but only if you agree to His terms and conditions. The difference is, God takes them seriously, and violating His community standards carries a more severe penalty.
The poor or humble in spirit realize this relationship truth and hold God in the awe due Him.