Poor in Spirit
The essence of true Revival
By Henry Jaegers
Over the last few months, my mind has been absorbed with how to become a more effective Christian. I recently purchased the classic study of the Sermon on the Mount by D, Martin Lloyd Jones which I believe to be the best book written on the subject. But no book can substitute for practical, every day experience and vital spiritual principles.
This morning as I lay in bed meditating on the word of God I received some practical information on how to understand the first beatitude. “Blessed are the poor in spirit for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”(Matthew chapter 5:3) up until this morning I thought I had a fairly clear understanding of what this meant, but I discovered something closely relating to its meaning through the work that I do in the hospital. By trade, I am a’ floor care specialist’. This work that I do has a greater application to understanding what poor in spirit means. Let me explain.
A definition that I have not heard used can properly be explained by the term “Removing the Veneer.” That seems to be a clear-cut definition of what revival is truly all about. The veneer is what appears to be genuine and makes the outward more attractive. In our floor care occupation, we have two methods of stripping the floor before applying the finish. We recently purchased a Boost machine which does a quick job to prepare for placing the wax. The reason why this machine is so good is because it doesn’t take all the wax off the floor. It doesn’t completely strip the old wax and it results in laying a base that we might call superficial. The result is a shinier floor with less wax and a brighter appearance. Now there is a difference when we actually strip the floor and remove all the old wax. It takes longer, it requires more wax, and results in a duller appearance. With the boost machine, it only requires two or three coats of wax to have a bright shiny appearance. With the actual stripping it may take five coats or more to cause a similar shine.
Having had a little experience in my own personal life in this matter of revival, I know that true revival can only occur when I am face-to-face with myself in the presence of God. Only Christians have the potential to experience true revival and yet I find there is a price to pay for this to happen. It is like stripping a floor. We must first remove the covering and pretence before the true beauty can take place. Removing the veneer requires two essential steps. First there must be the genuine desire for God to do his work in me. It is like hungering and thirsting after righteousness (which is another subject altogether) but there must be an inner dissatisfaction with the way things presently are. We must see the veneer that we are displaying as something ugly and abhorrent in the presence of our holy God. That means that we must pray that the Holy Spirit will anoint our eyes that we may see what we really are, not the image that we present to the world. It is between me and God. The second step in becoming poor in spirit is the willingness to do whatever is necessary. It is a painful process to remove the lies that we have entertained about ourselves for so long. Truth is painful. It requires that changes must be made and I must be willing to make these changes as I progress in my spiritual life. We must be willing to forget about what we have been taught in the past by our human teachers and find out what God wants us to know. Finding security in majority opinions is nothing short of spiritual slavery.
So what is the result of removing the veneer? “Theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” May we say it more emphatically as Dr. Jones does? They and only they possess the kingdom of heaven. It grieves my heart to come across professed Christians who know nothing about honesty, truth and are content to stay where they are spiritually. Only true revival can change that. It must begin in the pulpit through pastors who understands from their own experience how to remove the veneer and produce genuine Christians who indeed will know what true blessedness really is. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.” Are you ready for this first step?