Often, we hear of Christians praising someone saying, “He is very fervent for the Lord and has served Him in many ways…” Or we hear of someone commenting, “So and so has such a strong faith.”
While it is good to affirm and encourage one another, we must be careful that they do not morph into praises that give rise to pride. We must view matters with the proper spiritual lens.
Gregory of Nyssa, a well-established early Church Father, once described God as being perfect and infinitely Good. As such, the believer’s attempt to attain God’s Goodness is a continuous journey and will never ever end…
In our Christian journey, how do we respond if we increase in wisdom and spiritual maturity?
Do we react with smugness and glow with a sense of achievement?
Or… does the good progress makes us more broken, contrite and reliant on God? Does it make us more sensitive and aware of our sinfulness before the living God? Does it make us realize that we are countless miles away from being “Good” as defined by God?
And what does it mean to have a broken and contrite heart? In Psalm 51, David came before God with a broken and contrite heart. He had committed adultery followed by murder and sought restoration with God.
To have a broken and contrite heart means
- To feel guilty and remorseful over our sin and to repent;
- To confess that though we have hurt others, we have ultimately sinned against God;
- To humbly confess our sin before God, affirm His goodness and ask for forgiveness;
- Once forgiven, to be restored in our relationship with God.
Why does God value a broken and contrite heart?
Isaiah 66:2 says
“Has not my hand made all these things, and so they came into being?” declares the Lord. “These are the ones I look on with favor: those who are humble and contrite in spirit, and who tremble at my word.”
When we grieve over our sin, humble ourselves before God and ask for forgiveness with a repentant heart, God will forgive us and renew our hearts. We will be flooded with God’s grace and thereby experience restoration.
Paradoxically, when one’s spiritual maturity increases, he will become more aware of his sinfulness. This stems from having a broken and contrite heart. In such a state, the awareness of sin allows for repentance and cleansing, resulting in a transformed heart. It is this transformation that leads to further spiritual growth.
The question is: Are we willing to go through this transformation?