Repentance should always be the motivation in furthering our sanctification in the Lord. The human heart has to be constantly guarded, constantly examined, and constantly searched. Our flesh is so very prone to wander, and so apt to cast stones at others, particularly within our own churches. We can spot folly and sin so easily in the lives of others. But when in comes to our own, we either justify or ignore it altogether.
The greatest obstacle to the forward movement of the church is a prideful heart. Pastors and congregants alike are responsible and guilty of this. Church wars have sparked over people on both sides of the fence wanting things a certain way, not based on scripture, but based on their personal preference.
But this subject is taboo. It is not spoken of publically, only whispered about behind closed doors. And so, the cancer remains hidden, although everyone knows it’s there. However, pride unattended to leaves a church in critical condition and can eventually be the cause of death.
My prayer is that reading this will cause others to uncover the cancer of pride. My hope is that issues will be addressed in love, and void of an accusing finger. And for this to take place, the first person to repent must always be the one who chooses to bring this issue into light. Repentance must first begin with me.
I pray that the Lord would search my heart. More over, it is my great hope that he would break it. I pray that He wound my soul with the arrow of conviction to the point where I have no pride to speak of. Lord, there is nothing within me that is worth boasting about. I pray that God would allow me to see the vast expanse between His Holiness and my utter depravity. It is only when we have nothing that He becomes everything. When we are weak, He is strong.
As William Carey expressed in a letter to his son at the end of his life, I am convicted that at times I have not been passionate enough, that I’ve not labored in prayer enough, and that I have not sought His beauty as my treasure in all things. It is not enough that man should preach the Gospel. It is not enough that he do good deeds. Actions say nothing to a God who looks at the heart.
That is why brokenness is the most precious gift that God could bestow upon a child that He loves. The writer of Hebrews says that God disciplines not everyone, but those that He loves. A pastor cannot properly love his flock or God unless He has been broken and cleansed of all his iniquities. This is exactly why King David cried out as he did in Psalm 51. He was not justifying his sin or even trying to hide it. David wanted the cleansing of God, because he desired more than anything to be used by God! Pride was no where in the prayer of David. Instead, there is a desperation and a realization of his need of repentance. Consider King David’s words below in Psalm 51;
“Have mercy on me O God, according to your steadfast love; according to your abundant mercy blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin!
For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight, so that you may be justified in your words and blameless in your judgment. Behold, I was brought forth in iniquity, and in sin did my mother conceive me. Behold, you delight in truth in the inward being, and you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.
Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you. Deliver me from bloodguiltiness, O God, O God of my salvation, and my tongue will sing aloud of your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise. For you will not delight in sacrifice, or I would give it; you will not be pleased with a burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.
Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the walls of Jerusalem; then will you delight in right sacrifices, in burnt offerings and whole burnt offerings; then bulls will be offered on your altar.” Psalm 51.
Notice David confesses that only after God breaks his heart and cleanses his soul is David able to teach transgressors the ways of God. The pulpit of the man of God should be first marked by humility and brokenness. Only when we are shown to be weak can we be made strong. Because it is God within the man who the power of God will flow! And God searches the earth to and fro for the man who is humble and repentant.
As a pastor, Psalm 51 must be my heart’s desire. It is not enough to read the works of David, I must be able to identify with his plight. The burden must be real. And this can only come when man is honest with himself. When his eyes cease to focus on the flaws of others and begin to be disgusted with his own short comings before our Holy God.
It is hard to stomach talking to a prideful man, but to a man who has been apparently broken, one will eagerly lend an ear. If we want our churches to kill the cancer of pride, it must start with the leadership.
Pray for your pastor and church staff. Pray that God would cleanse them of pride and personal opinions. Pray that God would breath into their very soul so that they are but a mere megaphone for God to speak His word.
But also pray for their hearers. Pray that their congregants would be infected by this same spirit of brokenness before God almighty. May pride and the preferences of man be cast aside like old filthy garments in exchange for the precious humility of Spirit. Pray that the church becomes the church. Not man’s church, but His church.
And pray for your own soul, that God may grant you the heart of King David. If in reading this, your first thought is to think of someone other than yourself who needs to repent, then you have missed the point and exposed the pride that lies dormant within your own heart.
Revival does not start with a great number of people in a building. Revival starts personally, and it spreads from one transformed individual to another. Let Psalm 51 be taken personally by the lover of God. This is my prayer. This should be our prayer.
A church that is full of complaining and back door meetings is a church that is entertaining pride and is no threat to the kingdom of darkness. But a church that weeps over its sin is a powerful tool in the hand of our sovereign Lord!