Wednesday, January 25, 2012

When a broken heart brings you joy

I will be starting on Monday as the children's ministry director at First Baptist Winchester. I'm so excited for the opporutunity to personally disciple children on a regular basis. There is a real reason why Jesus tells us "unless you turn from your sins and become like little children, you will never get into the Kingdom of Heaven." Matthew 18:3 Children can exemplify the gospel message in such a profound way. Ministering to them challenges me to live a life that pleases God daily. As adults we can learn a lot from the example of the children around us.

I was watching my youngest son one day and he was the perfect example of a contrite heart. Psalm 51:17 tells us, “The greatest sacrifice you want is a broken (contrite) spirit. God, you will gladly accept a heart that is broken (contrite) because of sadness over sin.” This is what I observed.

Our son had not been doing very well in school and we were discussing with him some of his behavior. I could see it on his face before he even said a word.

First, he agreed with us that the things he had been doing were wrong. He understood that those things were not what we expected of him, nor was he bringing honor to God or himself by his actions. For adults that means calling sin sin. Sometimes we try to dress it up to take the sting out. We use euphemisms and compare our actions to choices others have made. We have to learn to agree with God's definition of sin.

Second, I could see the tears forming in his eyes as he thought about the things he had done that day. He was truly sad because of his sin. He was not just trying to get out of punishment. And he readily agreed that he should be punished, but he took responsibility for what he had done, and he put into his own words what things he would try to work on.

This is not the first time I have my son visibly moved by something he has done and he knows in his heart that it is wrong. Our sin already grieves the heart of God. If we think of the abundance of grace He has freely lavished upon us, it should grieve our hearts too.

But here's the good news. God gladly receives us when we are sad because of our sin. He is looking for those who will be broken-hearted by their sin and will come to Him for grace to face another day. When we can own up to what we have done, that is the first step to show God that we are sorry and we want another chance to do better. Then the challenge is trusting Him to empower us to do better. Contrary to popular belief, we do not have it within us to be better, it is God in us that makes that possible.

I love His name....Immanuel...God with us. When you have a contrite heart, God will turn your sorrow into joy. May you know that joy this week.


  1. Congratulations on your new position! That is so exciting, and I know it's going to be a very rewarding experience for you. Thank you for sharing that story about your son—you really had a lot of insight. He's lucky to have a mom like you! And you are so right—God is there for us, even when we're sad or remorseful because of our sin. He is incredible.

  2. Thanks. That son has such a heart for God. He has been saying that he wants to be a missionary since he was about 7. He says he wants to tell everybody about God. So it is not uncommom for him to say something so spiritually profound or at other times it just moves me to my core. I am very blessed to have him.