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January 3, 2023

The Riches Of Poverty

The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret.
–2 Corinthians 7:10

In the first part of the Sermon on the Mount, Jesus takes our expectations about who is really blessed by God and turns them upside down. We call these eight paradoxes the Beatitudes (from the Latin “beatus,” meaning “blessed”). Jesus began by talking about the riches of poverty. Matthew 5:3 says, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Now, He did not say, “Blessed are the poor.” Jesus was not talking about material possessions. The Greek word for “poor” here means “to crouch like a beggar.” Jesus was saying, “Joyful are those who realize their spiritual bankruptcy.”

The apostle Paul said all of us have sinned (Romans 3:23), and Isaiah said even the best we can do is like a filthy rag to God (Isaiah 64:6). In order to experience God’s blessing in your life, you have to recognize your spiritual bankruptcy. One commentator translated it this way: “Blessed are the spiritual zeroes.” Do you ever feel like a spiritual zero–like you are unworthy of God’s blessing in your life? Realizing your spiritual poverty is the beginning place of blessing.

Second, Jesus talked about the comfort of mourning: “Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted” (Matthew 5:4). We tend to think about mourning in relation to losing a loved one through death or separation. If you are experiencing that kind of mourning, the Bible says you will be comforted one day.

But here, Jesus was also talking about those who mourn over their spiritual bankruptcy. Have you ever mourned over your own sinfulness? Jesus said you will be comforted–not only in the future, when you will be given a resurrected body free from sin, but here in this life as well.

Now, there are two kinds of sorrow for sin. If you are constantly wallowing in self-pity over your unrighteousness, that leads nowhere. But Paul said in 2 Corinthians 7:10, “The sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret.”

King David knew firsthand the comfort that comes from confessing your sins and receiving God’s forgiveness. In Psalm 32, he said, “How blessed is he whose transgression is forgiven, whose sin is covered!” (v. 1). There is no relief that can match that of knowing your sins have been forgiven.


Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Straight Talk About Your Happiness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2022.

Dallas Willard, “The Divine Conspiracy” (San Francisco: HarperSanFrancisco, 1998), 100.

Scripture quotations taken from the (NASB®) New American Standard Bible®, Copyright © 1960, 1971, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission. All rights reserved.


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