The other day I listened to a sermon by John Piper that heavily encouraged the importance of a daily contrite heart before God. He made the argument that if we have a weightier understanding of our depravity we are able to better adore God’s graciousness. Like a boat, the heaver the body is (contrition), the higher and larger the mast can be raised and the sails can fly(praise and gratitude!).
That makes sense to me in my little head. But after listening to the sermon, I didn’t quite know how to do it. I used to think that the people who were very sensitive to their sinfulness and who can perseverate on it continually where…I don’t know….wrong. I thought, “Stop looking at how gross you are and look at the cross, look at grace! Grace! Grace!” That’s what I do! Piper poses that though that OF COURSE is step two, it is ever so important to do step one of having a broken and contrite heart before the Lord. We are not supposed to be internally destructive, but we are to remember our sins for humiliation before God and glory to God. Looking at our vileness should lead us to His praising his OVERWHELMING grandeur.
Okay, so I was ready to do this! I wanted to have a contrite heart.
So I made a list.
I wrote out on a page a list of all my “Top Sins” in life. After I had wrote them out, I went back over and slowly read and sort of unpacked each one as I went through. Wow. Let me tell you, that was NOT a pleasant experience. But when I was finished, and went to the Lord in prayer, I understood more why it increases my adoration for God. My prayer to Him went something like this:
Lord, I am no where close to being a woman who completely follows you and is completley devoted to you. I too often compare myself with others and think, “Oh I am not that bad” though really I am! I should be looking only to your Son as the one I measure up to, and not to your other subjects. And oh do I fall short. My sin is such a wicked offense against you, your role, and power in my life. It is so constant, so belittled; how are you not enranged with disgust against me? Yes, you are slow to anger-but how long will you put up with this blatant disrespect I show you, O Lord? How long will I ungratefully abuse your grace, mercy, and forgiveness before you declare “enough!” and send me to hell where I belong? Why do I think I can trick you to being pleased with my sparatic offerings and diddys of praise when more often than not, I am ignoring you and your ways?
(step two :))
HOW REMARKABLE IS YOUR STEADFAST LOVE OH LORD. THOUGH NEGLECTED AND UNAPPRECIATED, YOU WILL NEVER LEAVE ME NOR FORSAKE ME. THOUGH I HAVE DONE AND CONTINUE TO DO NOTHING THAT MERITS YOUR FAVOR, YOU HAVE GRACIOUSLY CHOSEN TO ALLOW ME TO BE YOUR DAUGHTER. I AM LOVED WELL BY YOU THOUGH I DO NOT LOVE YOU WELL. YOU HAVE PLANS FOR ME THOUGH I MAKE MY OWN SELFISH, SELF-PROMOTING PLANS. LORD, I HAVE DONE NOTHING TO DESERVE YOUR MERCY, FAVOR, GRACE, OR LOVE. THANK YOU THAT THOUGH MY NATURE IS TO OPPOSED YOU-YOU HAVE GIVEN ME A NEW HEART. ONE THAT THOUGH CONSTANT IN IT’S FAILURE AND WANDERINGS-DESIRES TO PLEASE AND SERVE YOU. WITHOUT YOU PLANTING THAT DESIRE IN ME, I WOULD STILL BE MOVING FORWARD IN LIVING TO PLEASE MYSELF AND SERVE MYSELF AS RULER AND LORD.
I am wicked. You are glorious.
I am guilty. You are perfection.
I am a breath. You are eternal.
I am selfish. You are righteous.
Yet. Yet you chose to redeem this undeserving, wicked child to give her purpose and joy in you!”
My prayer is that this post encourages you to dip deeply into your heart to see what it means to be contrite for the purpose of growing closer to our wonderful Lord and King. I long for us to see Him more clearly and more lovely. I want our love for God to increase, and if remembering and being broken over our sin is the way to get there-then that is what we should do! Let’s pray to God to help us see our depravity in a way that honors Him and increases our understanding and affections for Him. Though a broken and contrite heart does not feel natural to many of us, we need it to see Jesus Christ magnified in more glorious splendor and overwhelming majesty!