Call to Action: Poor in Spirit

By Tamra Dalbey


Our current series is calling us to action. To push what we’ve come to know about God’s character out from our brains and into our daily lives. Now, I’m gonna go with a less than obvious choice here. Not many would see being weak or poor as an action plan for success. But it’s clear that this concept is Heavenborn, and contrary to the way man thinks. That is exactly why I think it’s worth meditating on…

“Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (Mat 5:3)

What does this poor in spirit mean? A very fitting synonym would be “needy”.  It’s the awareness that our spirit has no sustainability on it’s own. We’re like cracked up clay pots that have run dry. We depend solely on the Lord to put His life-giving water back in us. It’s our part to return to the Source of this water daily, hourly to be filled.


All humanity is broken and in need of saving; some of us have this realization while others don’t—or do, but conceal it. The Pharisees were master pretenders at being holy in their own ability.

Until we’ve come to the realization of our deep desperation and need for Jesus, I don’t see how we could live lives that are fully transformed. Until we know how low we truly are, He can’t be made high in us.

In the parable of the Pharisee and the tax collector, Christ gave us a beautiful illustration of what poor in spirit looks like:

But the tax collector, standing far off, would not even lift up his eyes to Heaven, but beat his breast, saying, ‘God, be merciful to me, a sinner!’ I tell you, this man went down to his house justified, rather than the other.” (Luke 18:13-14a)

It’s the people devastated by their brokenness that God gives His Kingdom to.

Of all the throngs of people that often surrounded Jesus, it was the broken ones that got to encounter Him directly and most powerfully.

The man lowered through the roof (1) got to receive Christ’s transforming miracle—not any of the “whole” men standing only a few feet away.

It was the blind beggar (2) that was touched in a special way that day— not all the men who didn’t need a hospital.

And the list goes on… need met with help.

For me personally, every time I have come broken down, devoid of my own ability, even my slightest whisper for His help has been heard. There’s a special interaction between Father and child that gets to happen, that otherwise wouldn’t.

When Paul pleaded for his “thorn in the flesh” to be removed, God’s answer was:
“My grace is sufficient for you, for my power is made perfect in weakness.”
Paul’s response is so right:
“Therefore I will boast all the more gladly of my weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may rest upon me.” (2 Cor 12:9)

I wouldn’t trade my weaknesses for any measure of man’s strength (painful as they may be)… because through them, I get to catch a glimpse of His glory.

We get the opportunity to become undone before Him. To acknowledge that we have no real strength without Him. And when we do… He comes through… with all His limitless resources that we’d otherwise not have access to. Oh the power, provision, protection, and peace He shares with the broken who’ll seek Him!

There are times we don’t get access to His strength, because we feel like we’re doing well on our own without it. It’s sad because ours is just a false sense of strength—not even a shadow of what He wants to do through us.

It’s so rewarding to be poor like this… for our God takes these emptied accounts and deposits in us His true riches. Hallelujah!

For the one who has experienced Him in this way, they cannot easily forget all He’s done. They search after His strength new each day, because they NEED it. These are the children who can’t help but fall on the Rock… expecting Him to fully support them and send them provision.

Their faith can’t be kept inside, they have to live it out, because He has saved them over and over and over again.

Have you ever had something in your life that was so big and daunting, something you feel was too far beyond your ability? That has been me in this season.

For me, the cycle usually looks like this: overwhelmed… frazzled… then discouraged (maybe some stress eating in there somewhere LOL).
There is a better way, and it has been the very definition of revival in my life.

Our breakdown for His breakthrough:
When: We are overwhelmed by our weakness…
Action: We choose God and trust in His ability, that He’ll carry us.
Then: We become OVERWHELMED with His strength.

This is true deliverance. Deliverance that takes us from “survival mode” (you mamas know what I mean!) to revival mode. No longer paralyzed by fear or discouragement, we believe that His strength is enough to accomplish any feat ahead of us. It exists! I know because I have experienced this increasingly often in this season.

Jesus left with us the ultimate example of weakness: the Lion of Judah became the Lamb of Calvary. Strength subjected Himself to torture, beyond anything we could imagine. They mocked Him, cheering, as He hung there in agony. Yet He stayed there, willingly.

How weak, my God, were You made for me!

The strong really have no need of the cross. But to the weak the cross is everything, our very life.
It’s with the same spirit of abandon, like that of the tax collector, that we can sing this song and really MEAN it:

I will kneel in the dust
At the foot of the cross
Where mercy paid for me
Where the wrath I deserve
It is gone, it has passed
Your blood has hidden me

May I never lose the wonder
Oh, the wonder of Your mercy
May I sing Your hallelujah
Hallelujah, Amen
    – Matt Redman

Something special happens when the Lord pours His Spirit out on the desperate. They can’t help but “spill over” the goodness and grace they’ve received to others. They are no longer content to be bystanders, merely witnessing the Kingdom. They are inspired to get their hands “dirty” for the Lord and His purposes. This is seen throughout the book of Acts (great name for that book btw). It so proves the point that a life changed looks and acts differently.

And so, for me, it has been my great deficits— my weaknesses— that have ignited my heart… and that to action. It’s from my spirit’s poverty that I desire to give everything back— conduct and heart— ALL to my good and faithful Friend.

“Therefore I am well content with weaknesses, with insults, with distresses, with persecutions, with difficulties, for Christ’s sake; for when I am weak, then I am strong.” (2 Cor 12:10)

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