When analyzed, we find that the word “Blessed” is a poor translation of the Greek word makarios which was used in three different contexts. The first context in which makarios was used was to explain the Joy experienced by the Greek gods, because they were unaffected by human concerns. The second context in which Makarios was used was to describe Cyprus, and island the Greeks thought no one would ever want or need to leave. The third context in which Makarios was used describes a Joy that is independent of chance and change, a Joy that is absolutely self-contained.
It is imperative to note that the word “are” has been ADDED to this verse; it is not in the Greek text. This is deceiving because the word “are” connotes that it is a statement of fact when indeed, it is the exclamation of an exciting reality. So, we can derive that I literal translation of this verse would be, “Oh, the incredible joy of those who are poor in spirit!”
Jesus chose the word Ptochos, instead of the word Penes to describe poor. The word Ptochos refers to abject poverty and it conjures up images of a man cowering and crouching in a corner. When a man was described as being this poor his only means of survival was to cover his eyes, look away, and lift his hand as people passed by.(Luke 16:20) If you were in this state of poverty you were not allowed to look a higher class citizen in the eye. This person has absolutely no means to support himself. Penes on the other hand refers to a man who has nothing superfluous. He is able to support himself, but lives from one dollar to the next. (Luke 21:2). The picture painted because of this specific word usage is that “poor in spirit” means having no pride, no self-assurance, and standing empty handed before God.
So now we can derive, “Oh the incredible joy of standing empty handed and completely humbled before God realizing that we have absolutely nothing of value to give him, and covering our eyes while lifting our hand towards him in hopes that we might gain just a little bit of what he has.” Coming to this state of mind(complete spiritual humility) is in no way a human work that makes us somehow worthy of heaven, it is a divine work that makes us aware of our unworthiness. However, we are not to focus on our own faults, but rather focus on His holiness. When we focus on Him, it is hard to imagine anything else. We find ourselves becoming immersed in His holiness, and leaving everything else behind.
More biblical examples: (Luke 5:8; 18:9-14; Romans 7:18-20: Philippians 3:7-9; 1 Timothy 1:15)
Personality Characteristics That Reflect being “Poor in Spirit”: View yourself as nothing, and Christ as everything; Lost in the wonder of Christ (Matt. 18:1-4); Spending much time in prayer; Viewing scripture objectively and not subjectively; Exuberant praise of God.
Note: The kingdom of heaven is inferred to be now at this present time, not the future.