Friday, December 30, 2011

A Broken Heart and a Contrite Spirit

Today I read Hebrews 9 which is all about the covenant Christ made with Israel and how He fulfilled it during His time here on earth. Paul talks for a bit about the tabernacle that the Israelites had in the days of Moses and how it was built by hands and then states that Christ enters into the tabernacle made without hands, or our hearts.

Each of us needs to take the opportunity to allow Jesus Christ to enter into our hearts. We do this by performing the ordinances He has asked of us and by offering up an appropriate sacrifice of a broken heart and a contrite spirit. That is a phrase we hear often in the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints but I wonder how many of us actually understand what it means. What is a broken heart and a contrite spirit?

To be contrite means to show remorse, or sorrow for what you have done. It means to be repentant and to have Godly sorrow. It means to have the desire to change and to be better than you currently are. It means to have the desire to be as Christ is, to live with God again and to make the changes necessary to become as we need to be in order to abide His presence and live with Him again. In other words, for Him to work the change in us so that we can become as He is, we need to offer up our pride, our sins, everything that we are that is not in harmony with Him and His teachings. God cannot abide sin in the least degree of allowance. Even any sin at all would cause Him to cease to be God. So we have to be cleansed every whit from sin if we hope to become as He is.

Jesus Christ offered Himself up as a sacrifice for us so that we might be able to return o live with Him someday. It was always the plan that He would do this. We all agreed to it. In order to take full advantage of what He did, we have to want it. We have to want it as badly as we wanted to do the sins that caused us to need the Atonement in the first place. That is what it means to come to Him with a broken heart and a contrite spirit. It means to want His will to supplant ours. A broken heart I have always felt to be self explanatory. When you have a broken heart you feel like you have let God down. It's the same feeling any teenager has felt when the love of their life, so they think, has spurned them. It is what turns us to God in the first place, that feeling of loss and helplessness.

Jesus Christ is the author and finisher of our salvation Paul says. We need to do things His way. That is going to be very hard for some people, especially those who have a sense of entitlement about them. But unfortunately for those whose pride gets in the way, it most certainly is God's way or the highway when it comes to salvation. As Elder Jefferey R. Holland so eloquently put it not too long ago, the Gospel of Jesus Christ is not a fast food outlet, we cannot have it "our way". We must do it the way God has prescribed and we must be willing to shun all evil and offer up our sins and our pride as a sacrifice. Once we do that, we will be worthy to enter into His presence, His rest. Oh what a wonderful day that will be. Somedays I really long for it. Until tomorrow.

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