HOW CAN I BE POOR IN SPIRIT?
Bro. Sowders, how shall I make myself poor in spirit to make my home in the Kingdom of Heaven?
ANSWER: That is what Jesus said, didn’t he? And it brings in another thought of what we were saying awhile ago and I ought to know – if not I ought to find out. Jesus said: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the Kingdom of Heaven.” (MAT 5:3) The question says, “How can I make myself poor in spirit to make my home in the Kingdom of Heaven?”
Well if you are a married person and have a husband or wife, the first thing to do is to let the husband or the wife collect some of your spirit. If you would go to a furniture store and buy $1,000 worth of furniture on the installment plan the collector would come around to collect on that bill.
And then you go and buy something else, somewhere else and go somewhere else and buy something else. Those collectors would keep you so poor you would not have a dollar in your pocket. Well the Lord bought us and we belong to Him – He bought us with His own blood. Paul said: “For ye are bought with a price; therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1CO 6:20) Since He bought us with His blood, we haven’t paid Him all that is due Him yet.
We have still got some of our own spirit in us. He sends the collector around occasionally for us to pay some of the old debt. Then you get stirred up – ”Look out now, Frank, watch out, watch yourself,” “I’ll just put it on you.” What are you going to do? Not let Him have it? Are you going to retain it and use it? But if your husband says, “Look out now wife, don’t you dare look at me cross any more.” Amen. Amen. “Blessed are the poor in spirit, children of the heavenly king.” “Oh, bless the Lord.” We used to sing that song plenty loud. We thought we were poor in spirit.
Jesus was poor in spirit. “Who, when he was reviled, reviled not again; when he suffered, he threatened not; but committed himself to him that judgeth righteously.” (1PE 2:23) When His accusers were standing around in throngs accusing Him this way and that way, Pilate marveled because He opened not His mouth to defend Himself. He was dumb before them and opened not His mouth. There was not enough of His own spirit in Him to retaliate. Pilate said to Him, “Speakest thou not unto me? knowest thou not that I have power to crucify thee, and have power to release thee? Jesus answered, Thou couldest have no power at all against me, except it were given thee from above.” (JOH 19:10-11)
I’m glad He did say something there and it shows to us the devil has no power but from above. God has to give Him authority when He does something to some of God’s children.
We used to revel in these lessons all the time. Did you ever see a Jack-in-the-box? They would have a button on the outside of the box and you press that button and up would come Jack out of the box. You could touch any part of the box, but unless you touched the button Jack would not fly out! So it is – husband or wife always knows where the button is. The thing to do is just don’t touch the button. But if somebody does touch the button, be sure Jack doesn’t fly out!!!! Let him be so dead that when the button is touched and the lid flies off Jack is all coiled down in the box, and there is nothing in Jack to fly up.
So if you want to be poor in your spirit, let the Lord have His way and I’ll guarantee you, you will be poor in spirit in just a short time. But we are so apt to have our way a-n-y-h-o-w! That kind of a person will never make it in the Kingdom of God, for “Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the Kingdom of heaven.” When I say something to you and you get offended and I have said the right thing, but your spirit is so rank you can’t stand it – that is not ‘poor’ in spirit. “But the wisdom that is from above is first pure then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be entreated, full of mercy and good fruits.” (JAMES 3:17) Easy to be told of their wrong, and to be approached. If you are poor in spirit, “All right, all right.” Too poor to get mad at you. You take a person with not a dollar – not a cent in their
pocket, they are too poor to give it to you. If there is none of the old spirit in you and some fellow comes up to you and says something to you that conflicts with you, you are just too poor to give him anything. A person that is poor in spirit, there is no retaliation in him, no comeback. Let people say what they want to and he just says, “Bless the Lord” – but not out loud – for by doing that you might be getting revenge.
Did you ever see a husband say, “Look out here, where were you at yesterday?” The wife starts singing, “Halleluia what a thought.” You had just as well be cussing, as singing that way when the husband is trying to find out where you were at yesterday.
“Blessed are the poor in spirit.” Some people are so rank and can’t be beat down for they have such a rank spirit. Some husbands would not say a thing to their wife for they know their wife is so wild if they would say something, she would snap the top of their head off and to prevent it, they say, “Honey I have that job done, honey what did you say?” I’ll tell you right now, God doesn’t want such as that in the kingdom either. He wants men to be men and women to be women! Men to take their place and women to take their place. When they are willing to take their place and when the husband says something, you say, “What is it dear?” “Oh yes, I went uptown yesterday and went to Bacon’s and stayed there 15 minutes and went, etc.” He says, “Oh, that is all right.”
Well that is really doing business in Christ the right way. Helping and assisting each other. Why a husband and wife can live forever without a quarrel. But who is willing to be crossed and told what to do and not retaliate? Willing to be bossed? That is the hardest thing in the world – to be bossed! Everybody wants to be boss, but nobody is willing to be bossed. Therefore if you want to be poor in spirit – “Praise the Lord, praise the Lord” in spite of whatever happens. For if you don’t this is the result. Your spirit is ironed, cross, crabbed, cruel and mean as old nick himself!!! Isn’t it awful when a woman or a man is so contentious and ugly in their spirit you can’t tell them to do this or that? They tell you, “Oh, you are always wanting to boss somebody.” Well, you ought to be bossed until you are so poor you can’t come back at a person.
It has been a long time since we talked on that, but we must come to that place. People here are automatically coming to that life. Our meetings expose everything that is not right – every rank spirit, for everybody can put a question here. If a bad spirit does exert itself during the week, a question is put up and we deal with it and it uncovers it and when we see where we were wrong in it and if I want to do things in a profitable way, if I do, then how am I to do to become poor in spirit? If a husband rises up against the wife and she will do it – just praise the Lord, praise the Lord and if he slaps you then turn the other cheek. But say I imagine some husbands are afraid to touch their wives because there is a scrap right there. But I would hate to have a husband or a wife that was afraid of me. I would, I’ll tell you the truth. To think my spirit was so rank, so bitter, so nasty, so ugly that before they would stir that old thing up, they would not tell me what they wanted to tell me. I’m sure you can’t love anyone who is that way, the way you would want to. For if they would be liking you, they can’t love that ugly nasty spirit. A person with that in them can’t get in the Kingdom of God with that kind of a spirit.
If the Kingdom of God is within you, it is because the King has made a route into you and He can’t live with that thing in there. “Blessed are the poor
in spirit.” In other words, blessed are they with no spirit, for theirs in the Kingdom of God! Why? Because the Kingdom of God is within you! “And when he was demanded of the Pharisees, when the Kingdom of God should come, he answered them and said, The Kingdom of God cometh not with observation: Neither shall they say, lo here or, lo there! For, behold, the Kingdom of God is within you.” (LUKE 17:20-21) Christ is reigning on the throne of our heart and throughout the entire body. It is within us and we must be poor in spirit before the Kingdom of God can ever be in you. If He is not in you the other thing is and someone can look right in your face and say “You hypocrite, you dirty skunk” and spit right in your face and you can praise the Lord. If you can’t stand your husband to stick his finger in your face, what would you do if some young upstart would spit in your face in a courthouse. For we will look so ugly to them, they will do anything despicable to you.
Say, do you think you could stand it? You have a chance to see now behind closed doors. Let the husband or the wife rob you of everything you have got so when you stand before the throng you can be Stephen whom they stoned to death. “He, being full of the Holy Ghost, looked up steadfastly into heaven, and saw the glory of God, and Jesus standing on the right hand of God.” “And all that sat in the council, looking steadfastly on him, saw his face as it had been the face of an angel.” (ACT 6:15) Why did he look like an angel? Because of the fact there was no spirit in Him, because of the fact it had been worked out.
“And when they bring you unto the synagogues, and unto magistrates, and powers, take ye no thought how or what thing ye shall answer, or what ye shall say: For the Holy Ghost shall teach you in the same hour what ye ought to say.” (LUKE 12:11) I had better get rid of all that old thing that old spirit, for if some woman just spit in your face and you would get so hot in your spirit you would say, “The dirty old scamp.” – Then the judge would say to you (after being brought to court for preaching the gospel) “Have you anything to say?” – Oh, Oh, Oh, – you have already kicked Him out. But if Jesus is going to rule supreme in your life, then the Holy Spirit will speak through us and make them bow their heads with shame and bring the tears. But say, you have got to be meek, lowly, broken, humble, submissive – let the husband or the wife say what they will, you be sweet, kind, gentle, and willing to listen.
I have heard people say, “I don’t see why God is leaving me here all this time, why doesn’t He take me home?” I’ll tell you people, He is leaving you here to get you ready to go. And there is a lot of truth in that. He is making us ready for heaven and we will never be ready as long as that old wild spirit is in there. “But let it be the hidden man of the heart, in that which is not corruptible, even the ornament of a meek and quiet spirit, which is in the sight of God of great price.” (1PET 3:4)