The sermon recorded in Matthew’s account covering chapters five, six and seven known as the “Sermon on the Mount” came about a year into the Lord’s earthly ministry. He had established Himself and had a large following especially in Capernaum and the region of Galilee. It was there that Jesus went up from the Sea of Galilee to the mount just to the west leading the multitude assembled in the foundational points of Christianity. Some have called these principles delivered “the planks to the platform” of Christianity.

The very first “be-attitude” was: “Blessed are the poor in spirit for is the kingdom of Heaven” (Matt. 5:3). The Lord did not begin at this teaching randomly, nor did the Holy Spirit inspire such by accident. Its placement was intentional, significant, and strategic. All the other fundamentals following are contingent on a poor/broken spirit. This is of course the broken spirit of man before God—the condition of heart which God will not despise (Psalm 51:17).

Humbling self has always seemed difficult for men and women throughout the ages. Human nature seems to push men, women, boys and girls to lift/promote themselves even in religion. The New Testament teaches something quite different. In fact a consistent principle from these words of Jesus can be seen throughout the new covenant. Notice the practical teaching of James: “Humble yourselves in the sight of the Lord and He will lift you up” (James 4:10). Similar is the statement “Humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God and He will exalt you in due season” (I Pet. 5:6). It is not man or woman’s job to do the lifting/exalting, but rather it is God’s. Self promotion or exaltation is not compatible with the purity of Christianity. The bowing of the knee and will to God is what brings greatness and promotion in the Kingdom. Inspiration says cast your cares on Him because He cares for you (I Pet. 5:7). As difficult as it may be, getting self out of the way is required to realize the kingdom of Heaven. This should be self evident as no one can get there on their own!

A life led poor in spirit before God produces a good conscience. While the apostle Paul said he had lived in all good conscience before the Lord (Acts 23:1), he found peace that passes all understanding when he humbled himself saying: “what will You have me to do” [Lord] (Acts 9:6). How many living and dead have quarreled with the obedient act of water baptism? It is the humble beginning revealing one poor in spirit seeking to please God, and comes from a good conscience (I Pet. 3:21). A life given to humility before God maintains a good conscience.

Jesus said the first and great commandment is to love God with all your heart, soul and mind (Matt. 22:37). To make 2022 the year it should be, a Christian must be dedicated to putting first things first. Happy New Year!


-David Hill