We've been taught all our
lives to be independent, indispensable, and stubborn
and supper efficient.
An inner voice says,
"Prove it to them! You can do it. You don't need
At the very heart of our
problem is pride. It is our single greatest
detriment to coming to Christ, as well as spiritual
growth and maturity.
Jesus confronted a group
of Pharisees in His day with what is urgently needed
in our day. "Now the Pharisees, who were lovers of
money, were listening to all these things and were
scoffing at Him. And He said to them, 'You are those
who justify yourselves in the sight of men, but God
knows your hearts; for that which is highly esteemed
among men is detestable in the sight of God'" (Luke
16:14-15). I have a strong suspicion that things
King Saul of Israel is a
good example of this spiritual problem. He was forty
years old when he began to reign over Israel. He had
a problem with pride that he never dealt with and it
became his downfall. Saul's son Jonathan smote the
garrison of the Philistines in Geba and his father
stole the show.
Jonathan smote the
garrison of the Philistines that was in Geba, and
the Philistines heard of it. Then Saul blew the
trumpet throughout the land, saying, "Let the
Hebrews hear." All Israel heard the news that Saul
had smitten the garrison of the Philistines, and
also that Israel had become odious to the
Philistines. The people were then summoned to Saul
at Gilgal (1 Samuel 13:3-4).
It was nothing but cheap
pride and vainglory at the expense of someone else's
work. King Saul got the credit for his son's
triumph. It is just one of many example of the
wicked pride of Saul. He was disobedient to the
core. His life is a string of disobedience and lies
to cover up his evil ways. He is disobedient and
uses deception to cover up his evil heart.
Then the word of the Lord
came to Samuel, saying, "I regret that I have made
Saul king, for he has turned back from following Me
and has not carried out My commands." And Samuel was
distressed and cried out to the Lord all night.
Samuel rose early in the morning to meet Saul; and
it was told Samuel, saying, "Saul came to Carmel,
and behold, he set up a monument for himself, then
turned and proceeded on down to Gilgal." Samuel came
to Saul, and Saul said to him, "Blessed are you of
the Lord! I have carried out the command of the
Lord." But Samuel said, "What then is this bleating
of the sheep in my ears, and the lowing of the oxen
which I hear?" Saul said, "They have brought them
from the Amalekites, for the people spared the best
of the sheep and oxen, to sacrifice to the Lord your
God; but the rest we have utterly destroyed"
Saul stooped so low as to
try to use worship as a scheme to cover his
trickery. Finally God gave up on Saul. "For
rebellion is as the sin of divination, and
insubordination is as iniquity and idolatry. Because
you have rejected the word of the Lord, He has also
rejected you from being king" (v. 23). Saul rejected
the Word of God and God rejected him (v. 26).
Note the principle that
abides in this observation of a man's pride. 1
Samuel 16:7 states it clearly for us. The Lord said
to Samuel, "Do not look at his appearance or at the
height of his stature, because I have rejected him;
for God sees not as man sees, for man looks at the
outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the
King Saul had a problem
with pride and he did not want to face his problem.
John W. Shepherd said,
"The poor in spirit is one who recognizes his
poverty in spiritual things and seeks the blessing
of God in his own spiritual enrichment."
THE PAIN OF SPIRITUAL
You can never deal with a
problem until you recognize that the problem exists.
As we have just observed, Saul wasn't willing to
face up to the fact that he had a problem.
The worse kind of disease
you can have is one that effects the nerve endings
so you cannot feel pain. Our culture is a culture
saturated with a preoccupation with self which
emphasis happiness, bliss, and all the comforts of
life with no emotional pain.
Pain, in whatever form is
the pressure that motivates us to look outside of
ourselves for help. It provides motivation to
get up and do something. God can use our emotional
pain to make us aware of our spiritual poverty and
Spiritual growth doesn't
take place until there is change. We cannot stay the
same and go with God. He won't allow it. We will
find every excuse under the sun to prevent change
from taking place in our lives. It is uncomfortable.
We don't like it. We resist it. But our spiritual
growth won't take place until we are willing to face
the need for changes.
When you stop growing,
you stop living. When you stop changing you stop
growing. You get into a rut and you rust out
spiritually. J. H. Newman well said, "To grow is to
change, and to have changed often is to have grown
much." We fear change because it is unpredictable.
Our security blankets are all gone. The old ways of
doing things is always safe, but not necessarily
healthy. The new is untested and discovering our
spiritual "blind spots" is not always easy. The
truth is it is not easy for anyone to grow. There is
emotional pain when we become aware of our spiritual
failures. Growth never takes place in a vacuum. It
comes through conflict, pressures and circumstances.
In Matthew Jesus 5:3
describes the theological concept of
"conviction." Conviction means to "bring to
light, expose, set forth, expose someone's sins
before the Lord, demonstrate, prove; convict or
convince someone of something, point something out
to someone, be convicted; reprove, correct, show him
his fault while you are alone with him" (Greek
English Lexicon of N. T. by
Bauer, Arndt, Gingrich).
Jesus told the story of a
Jewish man who had two sons. The younger son asked
for his share of the estate and went to a distant
Gentile country. He squandered his estate with wild,
reckless living. He wasted the whole sum with the
wildest unrestrained extravagance.
Things went great until
he ran out of money. "Now when he had spent
everything, a severe famine occurred in that
country, and he began to be impoverished" (Luke
15:14). He joined himself to a hog farmer and he
sent the young man into his fields to feed his hogs.
"And he would have gladly filled his stomach with
the pods that the swine were eating, and no one was
giving anything to him. But when he came to his
senses, he said, 'How many of my father's hired men
have more than enough bread, but I am dying here
with hunger! I will get up and go to my father, and
will say to him, "Father, I have sinned against
heaven, and in your sight; I am no longer worthy to
be called your son; make me as one of your hired
men" ' (vv. 16-19). "And he got up and came to
In contrast to King Saul
this young man came to his senses, literally
"himself." He came under conviction in a moment of
self-realization. He had been beside himself. The
young man came to a deep realization of his
spiritual need and repented. He realized he was the
same kind of employee as his "father's hired men"
and they "have more than enough bread, but I am
dying here with hunger." His father's servants had
great abundance, more than they can eat while he was
dying of starvation.
We too must come to the
place where we realize all the riches of heaven are
at our disposal and we sit and sulk and lament in a
pigsty. All the power of God rests upon us when we
claim our inheritance. We live as heirs of God and
draw from God's riches. You are a son, not a slave.
But the only way you get out of a pigsty is to come
to your senses and confess, "I have a problem."
THE PRIVATION OF
Jesus said, "Blessed are
the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of
heaven" (Matthew 5:3).
The word Jesus used for
"poor" describes absolute and abject poverty. The
root means "to crouch, or to cower." It describes
the poverty that is beaten to its knees. He is a
beggar who has nothing at all and must live on other
men's labors. He is "so poor that he only obtains
his living by begging" (R. C. Trench, Synonyms,
pp. 121-22). He has been reduced to the very act of
begging––covering his face with his hands in an act
of being ashamed to let the giver know his identity.
He is absolutely destitute. They are so oppressed
and disillusioned "they are in special need of God's
help. They are poor, miserable, beggarly impotent"
(Arndt, Gingrich, p. 728).
This kind of person is
conscious of his spiritual destitution, and feels
his need. It is a painful experience. It is the
opposite of self-sufficiency. The spiritually poor
person is aware of his condition and has enough pain
to seek relief.
Ultimately we are talking
about a man's attitude toward himself.
Isaiah 6:5 reminds us of
such a response, "Woe is me for I am a man of
unclean lips." The prophet Isaiah came to grips with
his spiritual need. He experienced the pain of his
sinfulness and depravity. He was saying, "I am not a
spiritually prosperous man." I am guilty before God.
The Holy Spirit brings us
to the place where we realize, "I am not as
spiritually mature as I thought I was." "I am a
sinner; I have a need." "I have a problem and
it is really worse than I ever thought. God I want
And if you never come to
that place you will never get help.
It is an attitude of
utter dependence upon God. Until we admit our need
we can never receive what God has for us. God always
gives His best to those who leave the choice with
Poverty of spirit is the
opposite of spiritual pride. Jeremiah saw the
depravity of man when he wrote, "The heart is
deceitful above all things and desperately wicked"
(17:9). What a contrast this is with the cleansed
pure heart of 20:9 when grace is experienced.
observes: the word "poor does not only signify one
in a condition of want, but rather one who is aware
of the condition, and seeks relief . . . to be
inmost reality conscious of need, of emptiness, of
dependence on God, of demerit; the true estimate of
self, as blind, evil, weak, is intended; the
characteristic tone of feeling pointed to is
self–abnegation." Our proud, arrogant
self-confidence must be broken. It is a "lowly and
just estimate of ourselves, our character, our
achievements, based upon a clear recognition of our
own necessities, weaknesses, and sins."
Do you feel the pain of
your depravity so badly that you want to do
something about it? Congratulations, you are poor in
spirit. Only then can we receive help.
Why do I want to
become aware of my spiritual poverty?
It is the only way I can
become more like Jesus. I cannot stay the way I am
and become like Him. I have to change. I have to
take off some attitudes and behaviors in my life and
put on attitudes of Jesus like those found in
I want to become a better
witness and have the ability to share Christ in a
more mature manner.
I want to develop my
talents, abilities and gifts in a more responsive
I want to become all that
I am capable of being in Christ Jesus.
I want to enjoy the
fullest, highest, super abounding life that God
offers me in Christ Jesus (John 10:10b).
I want to be a person who
has God's blessings.
I want to be a
spiritually prosperous person who is identified with
pure character and who has a sense of God's approval
founded on His righteousness. I want to be the kind
of person who enjoys God's favor and who is destined
to enter His eternal kingdom. I want to stand right
in the sight of God by means of the imputed
righteousness of Jesus Christ. As a spiritually
prosperous, or "blessed" person, I want that
consciousness of perfect peace, perfect joy and
perfect rest. The whole emphasis is on God's
marvelous grace. It is something God does for the
person who confesses his poverty and relies wholly
upon God and His provision. God gives His best to
those who live in absolute, abject spiritual
poverty. It is for those of us who consider
ourselves the worst kind of sinners, "the chief of
sinners." If there is no sense of poverty, there is
no blessing from God. Of course, the paradox is
absolutely amazing––the poor in sprit are extremely
rich. "For you know the grace of our Lord Jesus
Christ, that though He was rich, yet for your sake
He became poor, so that you through His poverty
might become rich" (2 Corinthians 8:9).
None of these spiritual
goals can be achieved in my life unless I am willing
to become aware of my needs and grow from them in
How do we come to a
sense of spiritual poverty?
We must accept the
responsibility for our own lives. No one else can
accept it for us.
We must know
ourselves––our strengths, weaknesses, fears, hidden
desires, ambitions, gifts, natural abilities, etc.
and be honest with ourselves. We must see ourselves
the way God sees us.
We must accept that which
cannot be changed, change that which can be changed,
and have the wisdom to know the difference (Romans
We must make a commitment
to change and begin now. Ask the Holy Spirit to take
control of your life.
Be yourself to the glory
SPIRITUAL POVERTY AND
Nicodemus was a devoutly
religious man who was spiritually dead (John 3:3,
5). He had been born physically and he needed to be
born spiritually. There is no difference between Nic
and any other person. He had to come to a sense of
his spiritual need. Jesus told him,
"Truly, truly, I say to
you, unless one is born of water and the Spirit he
cannot enter into the kingdom of God. That which is
born of the flesh is flesh, and that which is born
of the Spirit is spirit. Do not be amazed that I
said to you, 'You must be born again.' The wind
blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it,
but do not know where it comes from and where it is
going; so is everyone who is born of the Spirit."
Nicodemus said to Him, "How can these things be?"
He was a highly educated,
cultured, moral, religious successful man who had to
realize that he was spiritually dead. "The wages of
sin is death." "The soul that sins will surely die."
The apostle Paul made the same emphasis in Ephesians
2:1-3. We were all born spiritually dead.
Spiritual birth and physical birth do not take place
at the same time. One is involutional; the
other is a volitional choice.
King David realized his
need when he cried out in Psalm 51:4, "Against Thee,
Thee only, I have sinned, and done what is evil in
Jesus told another story
that drives home this need in Luke 18:9-14. The
writer Luke begins by telling us why Jesus told the
story. "He also told this parable to some people who
trusted in themselves that they were righteous, and
viewed others with contempt." Two men went up to the
temple to pray one a Pharisee and the other worked
for the Internal Revenue. He was a tax–collector.
This is how they were praying.
The Pharisee stood and
was praying this to himself: 'God, I thank You that
I am not like other people: swindlers, unjust,
adulterers, or even like this tax collector. I fast
twice a week; I pay tithes of all that I get.' But
the tax collector, standing some distance away, was
even unwilling to lift up his eyes to heaven, but
was beating his breast, saying, 'God, be merciful to
me, the sinner!' I tell you, this man went to his
house justified rather than the other; for everyone
who exalts himself will be humbled, but he who
humbles himself will be exalted" (vv. 11-14).
One man realized his
poverty. The other remained arrogant. God's remedy
is to eternal life. We can receive this gift from
God as we acknowledge and confess to Him our
sinfulness and believe on His Son who died for us on
the cross. John 3:16–17 makes it very clear that we
must believe on Christ as our Savior. "For God so
loved the world, that He gave His only begotten Son,
that whoever believes in Him shall not perish, but
have eternal life. For God did not send the Son into
the world to judge the world, but that the world
might be saved through Him." Romans 5:6–8 reminds us
of why Christ died for us. "For while we were still
helpless, at the right time Christ died for the
ungodly. For one will hardly die for a righteous
man; though perhaps for the good man someone would
dare even to die. But God demonstrates His own love
toward us, in that while we were yet sinners, Christ
died for us." If there is no sense of poverty there
is no recognition of our need for the gift of
salvation. We are saved by grace alone through faith
alone in Jesus Christ alone.
"I would say," writes
Lloyd-Jones, "that there is no more perfect
statement of the doctrine of justification by faith
only than this Beatitude: 'Blessed are the poor in
spirit: for theirs (and theirs only) is the kingdom
of heaven.' Very well then, this is the foundation
of everything else." In deed it is the foundation of
everything we are in Christ.
John R. W. Stott
reinforces that great truth: "Indeed, the very first
beatitude proclaims salvation by grace not works,
for it pledges the kingdom of God to 'the poor in
spirit,' that is, to people who are so spiritually
poverty-stricken that they have nothing in the way
of merit to offer. . . . To be 'poor in spirit,' is
to acknowledge our spiritual poverty, indeed our
spiritual bankruptcy, before God. For we are
sinners, under the holy wrath of God, and deserving
nothing but the judgment of God. We have nothing to
offer, noting to plead, nothing with which to buy
the favour of heaven."
"Nothing in my hand I
Simply to thy cross I
Naked, come to thee for
Helpless, look to thee
Foul, I to the fountain
Wash me, Saviour, or I
Stott continues, "This is
the language of the poor in spirit." John Calvin
wrote: "He only who is reduced to nothing in
himself, and relies on the mercy of God, is poor in
spirit." (John R. W. Stott, The Message of the
Sermon on the Mount, p. 36-39
SPIRITUAL POVERTY FOR
If we take these words of
Jesus seriously we realize that we cannot attain to
them. We can never merit salvation. It is drives us
to seek Christ. The eminent New Testament scholar
Leon Morris observes:
But when we have received
this salvation as God's free gift, the sermon shows
us how we should live in the service of our gracious
God. It shows us what life is like in the kingdom of
God. The sermon removes all complacency. The
followers of Christ cannot say, "I have done all I
should; I am the complete servant of God." No matter
how far we have gone alone the Christian road the
sermon tells us that there is more ahead of us. . .
But if it stretches our horizons in this way, it
also enables us to understand more of what the grace
of God means. . . . We should bear in mind that the
teaching that follows is addressed to disciples
rather than the general public (The Gospel
According to Matthew, pp. 91-91).
D. M. Lloyd-Jones well
said, "No man can live the Sermon on the Mount in
and of himself, and unaided. There is nothing that
so leads to the gospel and its grace as the Sermon
on the Mount."
Romans 7:14-28 is a
humbling passage of Scripture is we are honest with
ourselves. The apostle Paul was incredibly honest
and open with us. This is a Christian, a mature
believer, who is wresting with the reality of his
spiritual poverty. "Wretched man that I am! Who will
set me free from the body of this death? Thanks be
to God through Jesus Christ our Lord! So then, on
the one hand I myself with my mind am serving the
law of God, but on the other, with my flesh the law
of sin" (vv. 24-25).
"It was the
self–sufficiency that springs from spiritual pride
that our Lord condemned," writes Dwight Pentecost.
The Pharisees were intensely proud self–righteous
men who declared they needed nothing. They spurned
free, imparted righteousness that comes from God (2
Corinthians 5:21). The arrogant, spiritual proud
receives nothing from God. Spiritual pride is
evidence of sinfulness. The spiritually poor have an
attitude of utter dependence. They have come to the
end of self-rule and cry out to God for deliverance.
We live in a day when
Christians like to brag about their religious
experiences. The apostle Paul had an experience that
ranks far above any we have received. He told about
it in 2 Corinthians 12:5–10 in only a few words. He
waited fourteen years before he even mentioned the
ultimate Christian experience, and he mentions it
only once to illustrate what God was teaching him in
his present circumstances. Listen to the poverty of
this spiritual giant in his own words:
Because of the surpassing
greatness of the revelations, for this reason, to
keep me from exalting myself, there was given me a
thorn in the flesh, a messenger of Satan to torment
me—to keep me from exalting myself! Concerning this
I implored the Lord three times that it might leave
me. And He has said to me, "My grace is sufficient
for you, for power is perfected in weakness." Most
gladly, therefore, I will rather boast about my
weaknesses, so that the power of Christ may dwell in
me. Therefore I am well content with weaknesses,
with insults, with distresses, with persecutions,
with difficulties, for Christ's sake; for when I am
weak, then I am strong.
Years ago we had this
friend who was a Medical Doctor who was doing his
residency at Tulane University Medical School. He
stood up one Sunday morning during the prayer and
praise part of the worship service. His incredibly
beautiful wife was sitting beside him and he said:
"I want you to pray for me. I have a problem
with lust." His honesty woke up that whole
congregation. He hastened to say, "No, I am not
living in sin. I have not betrayed my wife. But I
have a problem and I want to deal with it. And I
want you to pray with me and help me." You don't
find that kind of honesty in most worship services.
The Holy Spirit must bring us to this place of
honesty before we can grow spiritually.
FOR THE POOR IN SPIRIT
Let take a quick
inventory of our lives:
At what point in my
life have I experienced poverty of spirit?
When have I experienced
Where is the pain in my
If you could ask Jesus to
change one thing about your life what would you ask
Him to change?
What is the one sin you
seemingly cannot overcome?
Where is your vulnerable
spot? Where is your churning place?
What is your
deepest personal needed?
God allows, even brings
circumstances and opportunities into our lives to
humble our hearts so we will listen to His voice and
turn from our sinful ways and obey Him. God can use
the experiences in our lives to get our attention,
to cause us to trust Him and grow spiritually and
then out of that growth reach out and minister to
others who need a touch of His grace.
What are the
results of such poverty?
You become completely
detached from things, and God means everything to
you. That is the greatest benefit. You come to the
place in your life where you realize your utter lack
of resources to meet life and you find your help and
strength in Him. You realize you can do nothing
without divine assistance; you have no power in
yourself to do what God requires. Jesus put it this
way, "I am the vine, you are the branches; he who
abides in Me and I in him, he bears much fruit, for
apart from Me you can do nothing. If anyone does not
abide in Me, he is thrown away as a branch and dries
up; and they gather them, and cast them into the
fire and they are burned" (John 15:5–6).
Praise God for the
In his chapter "Praise
God for the Furnace." A. W. Tozer writes: "It
was the enraptured Rutherford who could shout in the
midst of serious and painful trials, 'Praise God for
the hammer, the file, and the furnace.'
"The hammer is a useful
tool, but the nail, if it had feeling and
intelligence, could present another side of the
story. For the nail knows the hammer only as
an opponent, a brutal, merciless enemy who lives to
pound it into submission, to beat it down out of
sight and clinch it into place. That is
the nail's view of the hammer, and it is accurate
except for one thing: The nail forgets that both it
and the hammer are servants of the same workman.
Let the nail but remember that the hammer is held by
the workman and all resentment toward it will
disappear. The carpenter decides whose head
shall be beaten next and what hammer shall be used
in the beating. That is his sovereign right.
When the nail has surrendered to the will of the
workman and has gotten a little glimpse of his
benign plans for its future it will yield to the
hammer without complaint.
"The file is more painful
still, for its business is to bite into the soft
metal, scraping and eating away the edges till it
has shaped the metal to its will. Yet the file
has, in truth, no real will in the matter, but
serves another master as the metal also does.
It is the master and not the file that decides how
much shall be eaten away, what shape the metal shall
take, and how long the painful filing shall
continue. Let the metal accept the will of the
master and it will not try to dictate when or how it
shall be filed.
"As for the furnace, it
is the worst of all. Ruthless and savage, it
leaps at every combustible thing that enters it and
never relaxes its fury till it has reduced it all to
shapeless ashes. All that refuses to burn is
melted to a mass of helpless matter, without will or
purpose of its own. When everything is melted
that will melt and all is burned that will burn,
then and not till then the furnace calms down and
rests from its destructive fury." [A. W.
Tozer, The Root of the Righteous (Camp
Hill: Christian Pub., 1986), pp. 134-36.]
Oh come Lord Jesus and
make us aware of the dross in our lives that needs
to be burned up. Help us to be sensitive to You and
Your Word and to humbly listen to You as You probe
our hearts. Let's be honest. Do we quickly quench
His Spirit's quiet probing voice, or do we sit in
contemplation and confess our sins to Him and draw
form His strength to overcome?
Poverty of spirit is
referring to the deep convicting power of the Holy
Spirit who brings to light and exposes our sins
before the Lord.
There is no one in the
Kingdom of God who is not poor in spirit. R. V. G.
Tasker well said, "The proudly self–sufficient are
Leonard Cramer makes
application by paraphrasing: "Congratulations to the
poor in spirit––they have enough pain to want
deliverance." The helpless and hopeless person puts
his whole trust in God alone.
translates our text, "Blessed is the man who has
realized his own utter helplessness, and who has put
his whole trust in God."
Warren Wiersbe on The
Beatitudes correctly suggested that this attitude:
"Means knowing yourself, accepting yourself, and
being yourself to the glory of God. . . It is
complete absence of pride, a complete absence of
self-assurance and of self–reliance; a consciousness
that we are nothing in the presence of God. It is
nothing that we can produce; it is nothing that we
can do in ourselves. It is a tremendous awareness of
our utter nothingness as we come face to face with
God. We look to God in utter submission to Him and
in utter dependence upon Him and His grace and
It means knowing
yourself––your strengths and weaknesses, your hidden
desires, your ambitions, your spiritual gifts, and
natural abilities and being honest about yourself.
It also means accepting
yourself––you accept others because you have
accepted yourself. You can accept criticism; you
have a right attitude toward things.
It is being
yourself to the glory of God.
If you will recognize
your spiritual poverty you can become spiritually
prosperous by receiving Christ.
Is it worth the pain?
That is determined by the
blessing. The spiritually prosperous person is poor
in spirit so that he can receive the kingdom of
heaven. Remember the blessing that comes with this
beatitude? "Blessed are the poor in spirit, for
theirs is the kingdom of heaven." The pauper is
rich! He is under the sphere of God's rule where at
any given time His rule is acknowledged. We cannot
have that if we are self–righteous. The poor
recognize and submit to the sovereignty, royal power
and dominion of the Lord. He rules over the hearts
of those who are poor in spirit.
Therefore, all the rich
benefits and blessings of His kingdom belongs to its
subjects. That is the paradox. I am poor, yet I am
rich! In no sense can we merit the kingdom. We are
too poor. But being what they are they possess
it. Jesus said it is "theirs alone." "Those who are
not poor in spirit can never have membership in the
kingdom" (Morris). The kingdom of God is spiritually
discerned and one day His kingdom will be displayed
in universal glory and manifest to all. Jesus said
in Luke 17:21, where the King is, there is the
Kingdom. The poor in spirit acknowledge in their
heart the reign of the King and His Kingdom.
Therefore, the subjects of the Kingdom are the
objects of His care. The Lord provides for those who
are spiritually poor. He provides for His people in
Entrance into the kingdom
of God is by the new birth (Matthew 18:3; John 3:5).
The greatest blessings conceivable are found in the
kingdom of God. Note the emphasis Jesus gave––it is
now. It is not merely in prospect, but in present
One of the most enjoyable
experiences I have ever had was with a carpenter
named Victor. We were working together on a
community development project building a water
reservoir for the Waoranie Indians in Ecuador's rain
forest jungle. Victor lived so far out in the jungle
in an isolated area that the only radio station he
could pickup was the short–wave broadcast of HCJB,
in the capital city of Quito. He kept hearing the
radio spot, "Lea la Biblia" (Read the Bible), and if
you don't have a Bible send 20 Sucres and we will
mail you one. Victor was hard as a rock. He wrote to
HCJB and said he wouldn't send then 20 Sucres, but
if they really wanted him to have one they would
send it. The secretary in Spanish Radio did just
that. Victor began reading the Bible. The only place
he knew to begin was from the first page. So read
from cover to cover, again and again. He was still
hard as a rock. In time, his wife became critically
ill and was flown by Missionary Aviation Fellowship
to HCJB's Shell Mera hospital and her life was
saved. While in the hospital a missionary
nurse led her to Christ. Victor was still reading
his Bible, even though he had not put his trust in
Christ as his Savior. His wife came home and shared
with Victor her testimony of how she put her faith
in Jesus Christ. As he listened he humbled his heart
and with deep conviction of his unbelief and sin his
wife led Victor to put his faith in Christ. The Holy
Spirit brought Victor to a realization that he was
lost, a spiritual pauper, who could never be saved
unless he trusted in Christ. Today Victor preaches
all over the jungles of Ecuador. Victor had to come
to a sense of spiritual poverty to come to Christ,
and you do too.