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A New Earth, Oprah & Eckhart Tolle Quote Jesus – "Blessed Are The Poor In Spirit"
Eckhart Tolle, author of A New Earth, reviewed Chapter 2 online with Oprah quoting Jesus who said, “Blessed are the poor in spirit, for theirs is the kingdom of heaven.”
Tolle and Oprah discussed the illusion of ownership, identification, awakening, facilitating inner shift and personal transformation. All powerful truths and concepts worthy of our time and attention.
Oprah said, “You talk about the illusion of ownership on page 42. You say, “The ego tends to identify with being and life through comparison. And you use a quote from the Bible that Jesus said. …What does poor in spirit mean?”
Tolle replied, “No internal baggage, no identification.”
Still pondering the matter thoughtfully, Oprah continued to ask probingly, “I never knew that meant poor in spirit. How did you come up with such an interpretation of what poor in spirit meant?”
Pulling from his personal spiritual journey, Tolle elaborated, “It was a while after I went through this inner shift. It must have been three years later, I was visiting my mother and she had the New Testament on her bookshelf. I picked it up . stood up and began to read. Suddenly I saw the truths that were hidden there and that in many cases the conventional interpretation was a superficial interpretation of what Jesus said. And that was one of the things I immediately saw when he said ‘poor in spirit.’ . I realized it has to do with not carrying things inside so your spirit is very light. It has no burden. He was talking about waking up and living in that free state of consciousness. Amazing that you can suddenly read it and suddenly it gives everything a sense that didn’t make sense before.”
I agree with Toll that we need to be spiritually “prepared” and at a time in our life’s journey when we are open to truth and divine revelation. Such a divine intervention and encounter can indeed happen whether we are ready or not, after which our hearts open surprisingly suddenly and wonderfully. For Tolle, he was in a state of spiritual pursuit and yearning for divine insight, searchingly pursuing the mysteries of life.
Undoubtedly, religious and traditional interpretations can unfortunately miss the mark many times over what Jesus intended to convey through truth and revelation. Tolle was correct in referring to the fact that some “conventional interpretations” are “superficial”.
Jesus himself said to the Pharisees, who for many were excessively religious and strict: “By your tradition which you have delivered, you make the word of God worthless and do many such things” (Mark 7:13). Jesus reproached the Pharisees for taking away the power of God’s Word by burdening the people with lofty traditions to keep, which cut them off from the joyous experience of worshiping and serving the living God.
At one point, Jesus became so angry and frustrated with the Pharisees that he sternly told them, “Your father is the devil” (John 8:44). “He who is of God hears the words of God; therefore you do not hear them, because you are not of God” (8:47).
The scribes and Pharisees often tried to involve Jesus in religious debates in which they tried to assert their traditions. Jesus did not hesitate to confront them and said, “Why do you transgress God’s commandment by your tradition?” (Matthew 15:3) “This people draws near to me with their mouth and honors me with their lips, but their heart is far from me. But in vain they worship me and teach the doctrines and commandments of men” (15:8-9).
Unfortunately, religious doctrines are often nothing more than the traditions and commandments of men, without the love and life of God. Yet unsuspecting people who do not take the time to read the Bible for themselves are easily deceived and influenced by such self-righteous Pharisees. Many teachers and worshipers, clothed in the trappings of religiosity, are engrossed in observing traditional rites because they are more in love with the form than with the living God.
By identifying with their religious ideology, affiliation, and tradition, they have prevented themselves from approaching God wholeheartedly and freely. They demonize and reject any form or spiritual occurrence that fits their tradition or experience. Yet they abandon their own souls when they build a monument to the deadness of their own religious tradition.
However, God would have mankind “established in the present truth” and forever advancing spiritually from glory to glory (see 2 Peter 1:12).
However, most denominations prefer to erect a traditional monument to their founder rather than to Christ, the supreme head of the church and the author of life. By doing so, they replace Christ as the head and builder of His universal church, deify themselves in exclusivity, alienate spiritual seekers in their community, and stop looking to the “author and finisher of their faith,” who prefers form to substance.
However, Jesus is the head of the church (Ephesians 5:23) and the author and finisher of our faith (Hebrews 12:2); without which our faith fails, and the divine influence is cut off, when we seek to exalt ourselves religiously.
Only Christ can and will build his church (Matthew 16:18); by the pattern, protocol, and power of His Spirit, not by the leadership of a man-made denomination. Whenever a person, ministry, church or denomination seeks to direct and guide God’s move; be sure that God alone will leave them. God will never go where He is not acknowledged or needed.
I have personally experienced a religion that is ice cold and not pretty. At times I thought of networking and connecting with larger religious organizations that thought we could have a bigger impact together. However, when I called some of these “established” organizations, I found their secretaries and bureaucracies to be cold and alienating.
In one instance in particular, I called a very large worldwide ministry based in Orlando to ask. Instead of a warm welcome, I suddenly asked, “Who are you with?” I sensed a questioning tone on the other end and jokingly replied, “JESUS” spelling each letter by name.
The secretary was not amused or amused in the slightest and stuck to her organizational hierarchical mindset and kept asking the same question over and over because she was completely uninterested in me as a person who prefers to refer to me as an organization.
Fortunately, Jesus and the Holy Spirit are bigger and transcend religious labels and forms. Jesus walked through walls and on water. The Holy Spirit appeared and moved in many forms—as a gentle dove and as wind and fire. God always shocks and overcomes your theology, often breaking it completely.
Therefore, there is always a division when spirituality and religion collide. The then “established” religion always feels threatened when spirituality comes with a new awakening of humanity. Therefore, the initial reaction is usually to demonize and belittle new revelations, instead of investigating and investigating them further.
This is a knee-jerk tendency or a proud religiosity that is completely self-centered and fixated on me. What’s in it for me? How does this affect “my church,” “my sacrifices,” “my doctrine,” “my understanding,” “my interpretation,” etc. However, the ironic and self-righteous tendency is to go beyond “mine” and “me.” “with which religion often does what it wants, interprets it as it wants; but in the process they put God’s name on it in an attempt to validate and give themselves credibility.
This is why when Jesus came, his greatest opposition and enemies were from religious circles. Sinners, prostitutes, crafty businessmen, and foul-mouthed fishermen all loved and loved Jesus. It was a religious crowd full of manipulation and spiritual subtlety that Jesus could not stand and suddenly opposed, immediately exposing their own insecurities.
If the religious were truly spiritual, they would sit and listen to Jesus to find out if what he is saying is true and if it is of spiritual benefit to them. Instead, they quantified everything in monetary and self-serving terms, preferring to protect what was theirs instead of accepting what came from God Himself.
Religion sells God but lacks God’s divine life. Religion is subtly about projecting self-righteous attitudes, instilling fear in followers, bolstering the shallow ego through self-aggrandizement, building one’s denomination, protecting one’s affiliation, and spreading one’s ideological beliefs.
I was absolutely shocked when I lived in Brooklyn Heights where the Kingdom Halls of Jehovah’s Witnesses are located. I often spoke and discussed spiritual matters with the “witnesses” on Montague Street. When I asked them about Jesus’ admonition to care for the poor in Matthew 25, they said, “We don’t do that. God will take care of the poor. We just preach the Word.”
In return, I questioned the validity of the “Words” they preach because it is a New World translation. Then I mentioned, “He that knoweth to do good, and doeth it not, hath sin” (James 4:17). “But he that hath the goods of this world, and seeth his brother in need, and shutteth up his bowels of compassion against him, how can the love of God dwell in him?” (1 John 3:17).
Then the “witnesses” were silenced and left in shame. I myself was certainly often without and perhaps with a little, but neglected the suffering around me. However, I am not opposed to creating a religious doctrine that alienates the poor and suffering, that forsakes the divine and greatest commandment to love and uplift hurting humanity.
“Do not withhold good from those to whom it is due, when it is in your power to do it” (Proverbs 3:27).
Such man-made doctrines are often legalistic and demonic. The apostle Paul mentioned the doctrine advocated by the Vatican, which forbids priests to marry and betroth a wife. “The Spirit speaks expressly that in the last times some will depart from the faith, will give heed to seducing spirits and doctrines of devils, will speak lies and hypocrisy, will have their consciences seared with a red-hot iron, forbidding marriage, and commanding to abstain from the foods which God created to those who believe and know the truth received with thanksgiving” (1 Timothy 4:1-3).
Jesus is about love, life and spiritual enjoyment. Religion and the devil are about enslavement, control and death. Throughout the early church era, as evidenced by the book of Acts, whenever the religious council and establishment could not control the apostles, they sought to threaten, beat, imprison, and eventually kill them.
Jesus said it well: “Thief [speaking of the devil and religion] he comes to steal and kill and destroy, but I have come so that you may have life and life more abundantly” (John 10:10).
A religion deeply rooted in itself and its own preservation does not mind when its interpretation is completely useless, outdated or completely dead. As long as it elevates one’s head, he will fight to the bitter end to preserve it. Because forms are more important to them than the joyful and spiritual experience of life.
Therefore, when shedding our own inner baggage and identifications, we must often first begin with religiosity and how we often mistakenly relate to our loving Creator. Remember, God will not allow anyone, including a self-righteous denomination, to put Him in a box. God is bigger than your ideological, religious and mental box.
So when you cultivate poverty of spirit to attain heavenly riches, begin by ridding yourself of dead religion and vile, manipulative societies.
When you discover your dependence first and foremost on God alone, you can then welcome others into the family of faith and find a spiritual home for yourself.
When it comes to remaining poor in spirit, we should remember the words of the Apostle Paul who said he was “full” and yet “hungry” (Philippians 4:12). British revivalist Smith Wigglesworth, who raised several people from the dead and ministered to the healing of countless sick people, said he was content with his own discontent.
David, a man after God’s own heart, though he was a king and possessed countless things, cried out: “As the hart panteth after streams of water, so panteth my soul after thee, O God. My soul panteth for God, for the living God: when I come and appear before God? My tears are my food day and night” (Psalm 42:1-3).
“Now when I am old and gray, do not forsake me, O God, until I have shown your strength to this generation and your power to all who are to come” (Psalm 71:18).
Like Tolle, he moves inward, connects spiritually, and lives miraculously.
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