Category Archives: charity

Why We Practice Religion

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.”

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The Least of These

“The King will answer and say to them, ‘Truly I say to you, to the extent that you did it to one of these brothers of Mine, even the least of them, you did it to Me.’”
‭‭Matthew‬ ‭25:40‬ ‭NASB
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When we believers care for the poor, the sick, the hungry, the thirsty, the prisoner – all those in need – it is as though we are doing these things for Jesus. We show that we are believers, that our faith is real. Those who live this way are true Christ followers. Those who don’t are not.He cares for the needy. He cares about our physical needs. He cares for the physical needs of His creatures because He loves them. He expects us to reflect His character by loving and caring for the physical needs of others as well. These are the works of true faith.

Do you reflect God’s love like this? Do you have time for the needy? Do you want to?

When we serve others, sacrifice for others, love others, we serve and sacrifice for and love Jesus.

We become comfortable and content with our self-centeredness. We so often live lives of isolation that are focused entirely on “me and mine,” but our lives should not be this way. We desperately need to care for the material and physical needs of others as outward evidence of a real faith.

Pray something like this:

God, I know that I need to change. I know that I need to release this self-centeredness and live outside myself. I have told You honestly that I want to be more like Christ. But in this way, honestly, I don’t, and I don’t know how to be different. God, I need You just to give me the desire to care for the needy, for anyone outside my immediate, close circle.

 

Without His grace, this cannot happen in us, but He wants to transform us.