Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. (Matt. 5:3)

ONE OF THE BEST PARTS of visiting a cafeteria-style restaurant is that you get to choose what you want to eat. You can skip whatever it is that you do not like or what does not sound good. The Beatitudes in Matthew 5–7 are not optional. Jesus never intended that we would put into practice some of His instructions while ignoring others.

God’s expectations for living often contradict what society teaches. Being poor in spirit is not a topic you will find discussed anytime soon on a daytime counseling television show. To be poor in our spirit means that we are reliant on God instead of ourselves. It means we are not inappropriately proud because of what we have accomplished, thinking we have done it on our own. It means that our value and worth come from what God has done in and through us.

Heaven belongs to those who rely on God. The salvation we might try to offer on our own is poor because we cannot save ourselves. Our attitudes will be poor when we try to control our own minds because we need the Holy Spirit to transform the way we think. We will never please God through our own wits or resources. Rather, we will please God by trusting Him completely.

To have all Jesus has to offer, offer all you are to Him.

Jim Dunn is the executive director of Church Multiplication and Discipleship for The Wesleyan Church. He resides with his family in the Indianapolis area.