I think this is what Jesus was referring to when he said, blessed are the poor in spirit; for their is the kingdom of heaven. I may manage to keep setting aside time for devotions, Bible reading, prayer, fasting, journaling, meditating, corporate worship, Sunday School classes and other established forms of personal disciplines and still feel far from God, feel I am "just going through the motions", wonder if my faith is "enough". I can feed the homeless, visit those in prison, tend the dying, show up at the nursing homes, light the altar candles at church, lead a Bible class and yet be overwhelmed with a sense that I can't make a dent in the needs I see, be ashamed of my limitations and feel uncertain if I'm in the right place. But it is that very questioning, struggling, longing for more that draws us further along.
In other words, it is our own sense of being poor or low in spirit that nudges or drives or calls us to new dependence on God, new ways of understanding scripture, new ideas about prayer or how we could expand a ministry, or see the need to pass a ministry on to the next person God is calling to that work, or have our eyes opened to whom we should invite to work beside us, or how we might approach a struggling loved one. It is the springboard to stretching and growing and refining our capacity to trust, to love, to serve, to fulfill our purpose(s) over our time here on earth.
I believe that being poor in spirit is an indication of an unrealized capacity to more fully experience the kingdom of heaven in our own lives. I believe it is the capacity to be more rather than do more, although doing something new is often an effective catalyst to get things rolling.
So when we feel frustrated, let us neither beat ourselves up, nor give up, nor "soldier on", but rather let us slow down, thoughtfully contemplate, share with a trusted friend, wait with both confidence and a prayerful willingness to change. Let us anticipate with confidence the possibility of a new direction or an adjustment in emphasis or a sense of renewal and refreshment or simply the opportunity to rest more fully in the Grace of the kingdom heaven.
Most Loving and Trustworthy God, thank You for getting my attention when I am running off with more enthusiasm than judgement, more reliance on my own ability rather than Your direction, more self-righteousness than humility. Pour Your Spirit into my heart to guard against anything that distracts me from serving You in all I do. AMEN
The Beatitudes can be found in Matthew 5: 1-12. Verse 3 reads: Blessed are the poor in spirit; for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.