Bible Studies & Devotionals

From Olive Branch Ministries

By Mark and Tinsley Baker

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What Is A Contrite Heart?

A contrite heart, a broken heart, a humble heart, these are just different ways of saying the same thing, but they can also have different meanings and itís important to understand the difference, so as to avoid confusion. What is a contrite heart? What is true humility in the Bible sense?

Iíve heard Christians pray God break me and make me into what you want me to be. I understand what they are saying, but when you look at the Word of God, you see that God wants a whole vessel that can be used unto His honor. Jesus paid the ultimate price for our redemption. He died so that we can be whole spirit, soul, and body. A broken water pitcher wonít hold water, and canít be used for the masters use. So my question is, what is true Bible humility, what does the Bible mean when it is talking about a broken heart? Letís look to the Word of God as always for the answers.

Ps:34:18. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, And saves such as have a contrite spirit.

19. Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

In this instance the Word broken means,-- crush, destroy, hurt, quench, tear. The Lord is near to those who have a broken heart, or a crushed or hurt heart.

When the righteousness have been hurt the Lord is there to deliver them. The Lord is not the one doing the crushing and destroying He is the one doing the delivering.

Jesus said, in

John 10:10. "The thief does not come except to steal, and to kill, and to destroy. I have come that they may have life, and that they may have it more abundantly.

In this instance there is deliverance out of the condition of brokenness. As vs. 19 goes on to say: Many are the afflictions of the righteous, But the Lord delivers him out of them all.

This gives the sense of there being healing and wholeness in Godís deliverance.

Psalms 51:17. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart These, O God, You will not despise.

In this case contrite means, -- Grieving and penitent for sin.

God does not despise a broken heart, this is true humility, and itís the first step to real forgiveness and cleansing. Real forgiveness only comes when you humble your heart before God. God does not do this for you, the Holy Spirit will draw you to the love of God, but you have to receive it.

Micah 6:8. He has shown you, O man, what is good; and what does the Lord require of you but to do justly, to love mercy, and to walk humbly with your God?

In Micah it says walking humbly with, you see in this case it is not talking about a crushed or bruised spirit, it is talking about walking with God, or in cooperation along with God. When you are walking under someone elseís authority, you have their full backing and support. One example of this would be a police officer who is directing traffic. He doesnít on his own have the power to stop a car but he has the authority granted him by his local govt. or municipality to stop cars, doesnít he? We all have authority we have to submit to, whether we like it or not, whether it be the traffic cop or our boss, without it there would be chaos. The highest authority we have to submit to is God. His authority is the ultimate authority we all have to submit to, either now or later! The Word of God tells us every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess that Jesus Christ is lord to the glory of God the Father. (Phil:2:11).

When I think of humility, I think of submitting to a greater authority. Or putting yourself in a place of subservience to, as in

1 Peter 5:6. Therefore humble yourselves under the mighty hand of God, that He may exalt you in due time,

7. casting all your care upon Him, for He cares for you.

This is not talking about a master and a slave, this is talking about walking under the authority of a caring Father. Thereís a huge difference! It is saying here to humble ourselves under the mighty hand of God, or putting ourselves under His authority. He is telling us to do this so that He can exalt us, however He canít exalt us unless we put ourselves in a place where He can do it. Itís His desire to exalt us, but we must do our part. Heís already done His part through the redemptive work of Jesus Christ.

How can we truly submit to God, what do we have to do? This is a straight foreword question that we all would like to know the answer to. We have to submit to His Word. His Word is His written will to us all. Godís Word is Godís will. You can not truly get to know God or know His will unless you read His Word. It is scriptural to ask God to give you a desire and a hunger for His Word, if you are earnest, you will get it. Jesus said in the gospel of Matthew.

Matthew 5:6. Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness, for they shall be filled.

It didnít say they might be filled, it said they shall be filled.

It starts when you acknowledge you donít have the answers, but recognize He does.

I donít have all the answers but Godís Word has all the answers, and as I learn of Him, and submit to His will, he will lift me up. It is an act of your will to submit, and it is also in your best interest. God always has our best interest in mind. His desire is to see us healthy and prosperous, as the apostle John wrote by the unction of the Holy Spirit,

3 John 1:2. Beloved, I pray that you may prosper in all things and be in health, just as your soul prospers.

This doesnít sound like the ravings of a mad dictator, this is the desire of a loving and caring Father. The Father always has our best interest in mind, always! If we can acknowledge that, it makes it a lot easier for us to submit to Him. Once you learn to trust God you will wonder why you never did in the past. He loves us more than we can comprehend.

Jesus said in Matthew,

Matthew 11:29. "Take My yoke upon you and learn from Me, for I am gentle and lowly in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.

  1. "For My yoke is easy and My burden is light.''

He is saying for us to take on His yoke, and learn of Him, He is gentle and lowly of heart, and that is the place where we find rest for our souls. If you only knew the true peace that comes when you enter into Godís rest, you would never want to leave. His Word tells us to labor to enter into that rest.

Hebrews 4:9. There remains therefore a rest for the people of God.

10. For he who has entered His rest has himself also ceased from his works as God did from His.

11. Let us therefore be diligent to enter that rest, lest anyone fall after the same example of disobedience.

Entering Godís rest is being obedient and submissive to His will. The Word is telling us to be diligent to enter that rest.

Rest is much better than works, rest is flowing with God, and walking with Him under His authority. Iíve been on both sides, and rest is better, even if it is a labor to get there, rest is better, learning of God and partaking of His fellowship and His life and His love is a life changing experience that you can only experience when you submit to Him. How about it?

Are you willing to take the first step. The first step is to acknowledge Jesus as Lord and savior.

If you donít know Him I would like to invite you to pray this prayer.

Dear Heavenly Father,

I come to you in the name of Jesus.

Your word says, "Öand the one who comes to Me I will by no means cast out." (Jn.6:37),

So I know You wonít cast me out, but You take me in,

And I thank you for it.

You said in your Word, "whoever calls upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.'' (Ro. 10:13).

I am calling on Your name, So I know You have saved me now,

You also said, "Öthat if you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes to righteousness, and with the mouth confession is made to salvation. " (Ro.10:9,10).

I believe in my heart that Jesus Christ is the Son of God.

I believe He was raised from the dead for my justification.

And I confess Him now as my Lord,

Because Your Word says, "Ö with the heart one believes to righteousnessÖ" and I do believe with my heart,

I have now become the righteousness of God in Christ. (2 Cor. 5:21),

And I am saved! Thank You, Lord!

I can now truthfully say, I see myself as a born again child of God!

Glory to God!!!! Amen.