Read Luke 18:9-14
v 13. But the tax collector stood at a distance and dared not even lift his eyes to heaven as he prayed. Instead, he beat his chest in sorrow, saying, ‘O God, be merciful to me, for I am a sinner.’
This Tax Collector in Jesus’ story exemplifies ‘Poor in Spirit.’ He recognises his utter poverty in terms of self-dependence and personal merit. He knows that he has nothing whatever to offer God and depends 100% on God’s mercy for forgiveness. Jesus would have said of him, his is the Kingdom of Heaven. His poverty of spirit and the lack of personal merit that he acknowledges are evidence that the values of God’s Kingdom rule are in his heart.
It is appropriate therefore right at the outset of this series to dwell for a moment of the meaning of for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. It does not at all mean that God will give that person a place in his Kingdom because her/his character is somehow in tune with God, but rather that the characteristic ‘poor in spirit, is evidence that the Kingdom-rule of God is within that person’s heart. When a person sets out to walk with God it is because that person has the Kingdom of God rule in the heart. The characteristic follows from the person’s inner desire to submit to the King’s rule. The God-ward desire shapes the character.
Jesus is not saying ‘Shape your life this way, and you will get to Heaven’, but rather, when you submit your heart and mind to the Kingly rule of heaven this is what your life will become like and you will find genuine happiness.