The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit;
A broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Psalm 51:17 NASB
What God truly wants from us, more than external ritual, is for our hearts and our spirits to be broken over our sin, for us to be truly sorrowful because we understand that our sin is an affront to, a rebellion against, an attack on God Himself. He won’t turn away from someone who is truly sorrowful over their sin.
Outward religious ritual, while commanded by God, is not the point. He wants us to understand why we practice the religion, why the sacrifices were necessary. He desires hearts that recognize Him for who He is and sin for what it is. He desires authentic recognition and true contrition.
Christ-followers are sinners saved by grace. When we sin, we break His heart, so our hearts should be broken. Perhaps you regret your sin, but you are still far from being sorrowful, contrite, broken-hearted over it.
God desires true contrition over our sin because a broken spirit and a contrite heart lead to true repentance.
We treat sin lightly, glibly. This, in turn, means that we don’t give Christ’s sacrifice on the cross the respect, the seriousness that it deserves. We don’t give God Himself the respect He deserves.
I need a broken spirits, hearts that are broken and contrite over our sin.
But this is not within our human nature. Christ must change not only our understanding of sin but our very nature, so that we see sin as the rebellion against God that it truly is. God wants to change us into the image of Christ. To be so, we need to be sorrowful and contrite over the things that make us unlike Him.
Pray simply this: “God, please break my heart over my sin.”