"The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart,
and saves such as have a contrite spirit."
"God just wants me to be happy!" This is the calling card of the modern church in America. The average Christian in this country has bought into the lie that God is in Heaven planning and strategizing the best way to make them comfortable and satisfied. The church at Laodicea in Revelation 3 is described as exactly what the church at America is demonstrating. I will grant to you that this is an overview and is not exactly the way each and every Christian or church in America acts. However, for the most part, it would be an accurate description. It would do us good to heed the words of the prophet Amos: "Woe to them that are at ease in Zion!"
I believe that God's greatest desire is to transform His church to be more like Himself. In order to do this we must experience the sufferings of Christ. Suffering has as much to do with the heart as it does the body. While many believers around the world today physically suffer for their faith, God is calling the church in America to experience a suffering heart of anguish. On a scale of 1 to 10 how would you describe how broken your heart is for the things of God? When is the last time that you agonized over unconfessed sin in your life and in the church? How often do you spend long seasons of prayer for those around you who are lost and without Christ?
The psalmist tells us that God is near those who have a broken heart. This word broken literally means shattered into pieces. A broken hearted person's human ideals and perspective have been so dismantled that they can only now turn to Christ. All has fallen apart and having reached the bottom they look up for the will of the Father. If this was not graphic enough, we are told that God delivers those who have a contrite spirit. Contrite means crushed into dust. It is of no value in itself. When I read this, I thought of how God created man from the dust of the ground. He took what was useless, formed it, and breathed life into it. God wants to take believers that will experience the sufferings of Christ so much that their very spirit is crushed into dust and new life is breathed into their spiritual being.
I saw an interview this week with Jim Daly, the president of Focus on the Family. On a recent trip to China he was sitting in the Beijing airport. Some Chinese Christians recognized him and to his surprise told him that they were praying for the church in America. He asked what they were praying about. Their reply came as a shock to him. They said, "We are praying that the American church will experience persecution. You are too soft and comfortable. You need to know Christ more." I have no idea what the future holds, but unless America experiences a Great Awakening within the next two generations, we will greatly regret that we did not seek to be broken hearted before a holy God.
May you live a broken life before God Almighty!