Roy knows he needs to grow spiritually; to love God and His creation, read the Bible, and apply its truths. But he struggles to believe that a major reason to grow is that he is in a deep and severe state of neediness and incompleteness. Yet the Bible teaches that all of us are in this state.
Like Roy we all need God’s grace and mercy. By our very nature, we are a broken people, with no hope except for God. Not everyone is aware of his or her neediness, however, some are. Jesus described those who are aware of their neediness as poor in spirit: “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matt. 5:3). A poor person is dependent upon others for survival. Not a flattering picture of us! We don’t see people greeting each other in church with, “Wow, you’re such a poor person. Please become my mentor.” Yet the kingdom of heaven belongs to those who experience their dependency. Spiritual poverty is about living in reality.
Roy understood this when he thought of spiritual poverty as experiencing his state of incompleteness before God. This can be due to weaknesses, unfulfilled needs, emotional injuries and hurts at the hands of others, and our own immaturities and sins. It has to do with those parts of our self that are not what they should be and that we cannot repair in our own strength. When Roy experienced at a deep level his neediness, incompleteness, and dependency, the way he actually was, he was overwhelmed. Spiritual poverty is the cure for narcissism, self-righteousness, and a host of other problems. When our eyes are opened to our brokenness, we do not “feel better about ourselves”; rather, we feel that something is missing. Yet Jesus calls this a “blessed” condition because it helps us get closer to God. We are driven to God the source of healing and hope. Do we have spiritual hunger and thirst?