Broken before God

Posted on January 15, 2018 By Steve Gray

If you ask most Christians what they want from God, there are very few who will want a broken and contrite spirit.

Being broken, contrite and humble does not fit into the theology of popular American Christianity. And yet, it is in this place that David hungered and thirsted for righteousness like never before.

Psalm 51: 9-11 – “Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. 10 Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.”

“Psalm 51:17 - My sacrifice, O God, is a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart you, God, will not despise.”

When David spoke of a broken and contrite heart in Psalm 51, he wasn’t referring to the effects of a failed relationship or a mere “missing of the mark.” He was utterly destroyed by the reality of who he had become. He could no longer stand the thought of himself and desperately needed God to change him.

To see ourselves for who we truly are – broken and in dire need of a savior – is a humbling place to be. It’s a place where spiritual revival breaks forth. And yet, many Christians rarely, if ever, willingly strive to be broken before God.

A broken and contrite spirit is a good thing?

After David committed adultery he realized just how desperately he needed the power of God, and how insufficient his own strength was in keeping him in the will of God.

We can certainly learn from what happened in the aftermath of David’s sin– his broken and contrite heart.  Like David, we need to be broken because:

  1. Broken people must rely on a source greater than themselves to survive. That source is Jesus.
  2. Broken people put no confidence in themselves because they are aware of their weaknesses.
  3. Broken people make room for God because they know if they are too full of themselves, they will fail.

And truly, this is what the Christian life is all about: Emptying ourselves of pride, self-sufficiency, personal pleasures, and sin, so that we can make room for God.

The Church Needs to Get Broken Before God

If we’re being honest, we give ourselves way too many excuses. We disregard our sin, we overlook our consistent shortcomings, and when we mess up we’d rather be coddled than corrected.

But David chose a different route. He sacrificed his self-esteem, personal defense, and his feelings to have a broken and contrite spirit.

The Church needs to willingly humble itself before God. We must not, like David, wait until we reach rock bottom to cry out for purity, holiness and His presence. We must acknowledge our flaws now and cry out for God like never before. Because even on our “best days,” we are in desperate, desperate need of God.