Spiritual Self-Awareness

1.18.24 Devo Image

“Now when Jesus saw the crowds, he went up on a mountainside and sat down. His disciples came to him, and he began to teach them. He said: ‘Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven. Blessed are those who mourn, for they will be comforted. Blessed are the meek, for they will inherit the earth.’”—Matthew 5:1–5 (NIV)

Today, we begin our examination of the most famous teaching ever shared: the Sermon on the Mount. It’s a provocative and counter-cultural discourse about what happens when we live as God intended. He begins this world-changing discourse with what’s now famously known as the Beatitudes. 

Today, we’re going to look at the first three. Why did I lump them together? Because these have a strong common thread: “God blesses those who are poor and realize their need for him, . . . God blesses those who mourn, . . . God blesses those who are humble” (Matthew 5:3–5 NLT). As I read these verses, here’s the common thread the Lord revealed to me: spiritual self-awareness. Where am I getting that from?

God blessed those who are poor and realize their need for him. 

I recently read an article in which the authors stated that poor people from impoverished countries view their lives as more meaningful because they find fulfillment through “life-enriching religious tradition over immediate gratification.” This isn’t the first time I’ve heard something like this either! You see, what Jesus is telling us is that in order for us to receive the inheritance of His kingdom, we must understand our lowliness, our emptiness, our helplessness, and our hopelessness apart from Him! 

We must be fully aware of the fact that apart from Him, we have nothing, we can do nothing, and we are nothing. We are wholly unworthy of being in His presence. Why? Because of our sin! 

God blesses those who mourn.

So often, people take this as a blanket statement regarding grief and mourning and apply it to all situations. This has led to much misinterpretation of this verse. This begs the questions: What is Jesus referring to here? What kind of mourning does God bless? What kind of mourners will be comforted?

Theologian John Gill explained it best when he said, “Blessed are they that mourn for sin, for their own sins; the sin of their nature . . . which is always working in them, and is a continual grief of mind to them.” Again . . . self-awareness of who I am apart from Jesus: powerless, weak, unworthy, and sinful. 

As I learned this truth of Jesus’ words, I was so floored. I discovered that the person who understands their position, stands before God, and mourns their sinfulness is truly attuned to the Holy Spirit. This person has a godly sorrow. And according to 2 Corinthians 7, godly sorrow produces repentance! That’s why the mourner is comforted by God! Because “the sorrow that is according to the will of God produces a repentance without regret, leading to salvation . . .” (2 Corinthians 7:10 NASB). And this all circles back to the final Beatitude: God blesses those who are humble.

Do you see it, friends? Humility and meekness come from a heart that understands who God is, who we are apart from Him, and who we are in Him! And because we have this spiritual self-awareness, we can walk in gentleness, patience, peace, and forgiveness toward others because we know they’re in the same boat as us! We can act and react as Christ did, without anger or wrath, instead responding with mercy, kindness, and love because we know we’re wretched sinners apart from Jesus, that we’ve been forgiven much by God, and that we’re compelled to love much. 

Pause: What does it mean to you to be spiritually poor? Does your sin grieve you and cause you to have a godly sorrow?

Practice: Read Romans 7:14–25, 2 Corinthians 7, John 18:23, Acts 16:37, Matthew 11:29, and Romans 12:19.

Pray: Father, I know who I am apart from You. I know in my sinful nature, I’m wretched and wicked, unworthy to be called Your child, to be in Your presence, and to enter into Your kingdom. I know that apart from Your grace, Your Spirit that lives in me, and Your power that rests on me, I am nothing, I have nothing, I can do nothing, and I deserve death and hell. But as Titus 3 says, when Your kindness and love appeared, You saved me, not because of who I am or anything good or righteous I had done, but because of Your mercy. You saved me through the washing of rebirth and renewal by the Holy Spirit, whom You poured out on me generously through Jesus Christ my Savior, so that, having been justified by Your grace, I have become an heir having the hope of eternal life. Thank You, wonderful God and Savior, for this indescribable gift. May I never forget who I am apart from You, and may this self-awareness lead me to live like Jesus and love others like Jesus. Amen.

About the Author

Danny Saavedra

Danny Saavedra is a licensed minister who has served on staff at Calvary since 2012, managing the Calvary Devotional and digital discipleship resources. He has a Master of Arts in Pastoral Counseling and Master of Divinity in Pastoral Ministry from Liberty Theological Seminary. His wife Stephanie, son Jude, and daughter Zoe share a love of Star Wars, good food, having friends over for dinner, and studying the Word together as a family.