A Humble Heart Precedes Religious Practice

In a recent reading for the Lent Reading Plan offered by YouVersion, Psalm 51 appeals to the sinner, his/her need to be penitent toward the Lord so that religion can be practiced with integrity. Religious practices included in the Psalm consist of teaching (v. 13), worship (v. 19) and possibly singing (v. 14?).

However, something must precede the religious practice of the individual as well as the community of God’s people in order for it to be accepted by God. Verse 17 highlights this: “The sacrifices God desires are a humble spirit—O God, a humble and repentant heart you will not reject.”

All of my teaching, shepherding, giving, singing, Eucharist participation, testifying and praying is in vain UNLESS my heart is humble and broken over my sin as it appears before the Holy One, the Most High God. Even with Jesus standing at the right hand of the Father as my righteous Advocate does not nullify the need for humility and repentance to precede religious practice (1 John 1:9). Rather, Jesus’ assures me that my humility and repentance will be met with grace and mercy because of his faithfulness.

As Lent continues, may I approach the Most High with humility because I am in every way a sinner, and may I approach him with confidence because Jesus Christ stands as Intercessor for the ungodly having conquered death by his resurrection.

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