Poverty of spirit – living freely

By Dave Henning / February 11, 2023

“Poverty of spirit is living detached from the incessant need to cling to things that prop up our false self.  In this regard, it’s the gradual movement toward a nonreactive and carefree existence, living freely from the depths of God’s acceptance.”- Rich Villodas

As Rich Villodas moves on in Chapter 5 of Good and Beautiful and Kind, he notes that the person who’s poor in spirit doesn’t live a self-protective life.  Because this person needs to protect, possess, and prove nothing.  Hence, the author offers brief comments on each word.

 1.  Nothing to Protect.  Thus, no need exists to live in a way that covers your weaknesses and failures.  In addition, there’s no need to protect an idealized version of yourself.  Finally, the humble person recognizes the need to own the issues beneath his/her life.  And that process enables one to be freer and more loving.

 2.  Nothing to Possess.  Therefore, the poor in spirit live radically detached.  Furthermore, living according to a healthy detachment allows us to be present with others.  Since we don’t need their praise or criticism to establish our sense of well-being.  We’re children of God.

3.  Nothing to Prove.  Consequently, Pastor Villodas underscores, our righteousness and belovedness transcends our rather limited attempts to prove ourselves, win an argument, or exercise power over another.  However, the humble live free from all this.  Above all, Rich adds, “The discipline of not having the lasts word is humility in a nutshell.”

In conclusion, the author notes, a lack of defensiveness marks one of the greatest gifts we can give people.  Because a healthy soul exhibits a willingness to be curious, open, teachable, and humble.  And when defensiveness shows up, it reveals an area of life not crucified with Christ.

Lack of humility closes us off to God’s love as well as needed insight from those around us.  So, when we lower our defenses, we make space for others and the gifts they carry.

Today’s question: How do you respond to Pastor Villodas’ description of poverty of spirit?  Please share.

Tomorrow’s blog: “An ancient path – a commitment”

About the author

Dave Henning

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