Being poor in spirit is not the same as being in poor spirits. The word poor here means someone so destitute that they don’t even have food. How can that be blessed? Let’s take the opposite extreme, someone who believes they are spiritually filled and in need of nothing. This attitude makes someone obnoxious, self-satisfied, shallow and unpleasant to be around. Such people may constantly judge us as inferior and compare us with their so-called higher level of spirituality. They are in fact deluded by spiritual fools gold. Being poor in spirit is simply facing up to the facts. We are all desperately poor and in need of God’s merciful provision.
What does “poor in spirit” really mean? Poor people are dispossessed and abandoned, and have a deep sense that the world has failed them. Can a wealthy person be poor in spirit? Wealth deceives us into thinking that we are more important than the “little people.” Has the world provided for us or has the world in reality failed us? Jesus did not say “poor in possessions” but “poor in spirit.” The description is independent of this material world. The blessed of God rely on God not this world’s possessions, but boldly face the truth of our abject spiritual poverty. We are blessed people when heaven rules us, not material possessions.
What is more than happy? Being blessed is more than happy! After Jesus gave the Beatitudes during his sermon on the mount, it was written down in Greek using a word that is usually translated as blessed in English. However, it has also been translated as happy at times. A discussion among translators has been whether happy or blessed is a more accurate translation. Most translators seem to have come to the same conclusion, that happiness can be fleeting, but blessedness remains. The beatitudes are not keys to a fleeting emotion, but a core inner condition. So, the word blessed was chosen, because yes, we can be more than happy.