A contrite heart
At one time I had the honor of teaching a youth series comparing world religions and in the process I learned quite a bit too. One truth that really sunk in was the main difference between Christianity and every religion out there. Religion is about humans making themselves right with God, following a to-do list. Christianity is not about what we can do but about Jesus already did.
With this in mind, I love David’s words in Psalm 51. The words were written after the prophet Nathan confronted the king about his affair with Bathsheba and the murder of her husband. David captured what God looks for-
“You do not delight in sacrifice or I would bring it; you do not take pleasure in burnt offerings. My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God will not despise.” Psalm 51: 16-17
When I mess up, or sin, God isn’t looking for me to do something to make a sacrifice to it right with him. Instead he desires a contrite heart, a heart that is remorseful or sorry for the sin.
When I look back over my life, I see so many ways I have fallen short. Yet God is not looking for me to go check off some list to balance the bad but rather that I have a contrite heart. Jesus already did the work to make things right between God and me. My part is to be sorry and to accept the gift Jesus offers. So easy and yet so challenging! Perhaps that is why so many are drawn to other religions for they want to fix the situation on their own, check off a list and be done.
Yet I can’t fix it, no one but Jesus can. Friend, if you are lost as to how to connect with God check out Jesus and the gift he offers. No checklist needed, just a contrite heart bowing at his feet.
God, my heart is heavy for the millions chasing after religious to-do lists trying to settle their eternity and burdened for the many who have given up seeking you at all so they can focus on self. Soften their hearts, Lord, to know truth. Give them ears to hear you calling. Open their eyes to all the ways you reach out to them.
Thank you for saving me from myself! Thank you for forgiveness, mercy, and grace. May my heart always be broken by my sin. Amen