May 25, 2011

PS 51:17 The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
a broken and contrite heart,
O God, you will not despise.

It doesn’t matter how much we do for God if our hearts aren’t right before Him. This is a vital and often overlooked truth. Legalism ignores it completely! David is spoken of as “a man after God’s heart” not because he did everything right, because he certainly didn’t. Rather, it’s because he knew how to repent and humble himself before God. Even to old age he maintained the simple truth he learned as a young shepherd boy, that God is God, utterly trustworthy and praiseworthy, worthy of our total devotion and obedience. This Psalm is rightly famous, because it records his repentance after his horrendous sin of trying to cover up adultery with murder. We would certainly not think someone guilty of that was “a man after God’s heart!” However, the whole point is that we are all guilty before God, because as James points out, (James 2:10) if you’ve broken God’s law in any point, you’re guilty, period. Even minor sins need to be repented of. That’s why the cross of Christ was and is essential, to make total forgiveness available to all who would repent and believe. A heart that insists on its own righteousness is not right before God. We should live like Paul, so that we are free of any reason for self-accusation (1 Corinthians 4:3-4), but we must recognize that only God is perfectly righteous and holy, and walk humbly before Him.

I could certainly never claim sinless perfection, but that hasn’t kept me from self righteousness at times. The temptation to see the sins of others as worse than my own is always there. I need to maintain David’s attitude expressed in Psalm 51 and offer up to God the sacrifice of humble, grateful praise that He desires, because He knows that giving it is what I need. As a pastor, I am even more responsible to “teach and admonish with all wisdom” (Colossians 3:16) than others. Failing to exercise full humility and gratitude for God’s grace as I do so would be foolish indeed! That doesn’t mean overlooking areas in which the believers need instruction and correction, but it does mean applying the instruction and correction in gentleness and love, as well as the power of God.

Father, thank You again for the learning experience of dealing with my young grandsons for these two weeks. Help me apply each lesson You teach me in all humility, gratitude, and faithfulness, so that I may continue to grow as Your disciple, raising up others to be Your disciples as well, so that Your plans may be fulfilled on Your schedule for Your glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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