Stuck in my Heart

Sometimes getting a lyric stuck in my head is annoying. An “ear worm,” we sometimes call it.

But today I got a lyric stuck in my heart, and it turned out to be a good thing.

It’s a line from “Jesus Paid It All,” and probably not the one you would expect.

“Sin had left a crimson stain….”

Instead of all those lines about Jesus, grace, and forgiveness, it was this line about sin that got stuck.

And, for me, on this day, it was a good thing. Because after taking some time to consider and remember the toll sin has taken on my life, I can better appreciate Jesus, grace, and forgiveness.

Sin and Self-Awareness

Psalm 36:1-12
For the director of music. Of David the servant of the Lord.

An oracle is within my heart
concerning the sinfulness of the wicked:
There is no fear of God
before his eyes.
For in his own eyes he flatters himself
too much to detect or hate his sin.
The words of his mouth are wicked and deceitful;
he has ceased to be wise and to do good.
Even on his bed he plots evil;
he commits himself to a sinful course
and does not reject what is wrong.

Your love, O Lord, reaches to the heavens,
your faithfulness to the skies.
Your righteousness is like the mighty mountains,
your justice like the great deep.
O Lord, you preserve both man and beast.
How priceless is your unfailing love!
Both high and low among men
find refuge in the shadow of your wings.
They feast on the abundance of your house;
you give them drink from your river of delights.
For with you is the fountain of life;
in your light we see light.

Continue your love to those who know you,
your righteousness to the upright in heart.
May the foot of the proud not come against me,
nor the hand of the wicked drive me away.
See how the evildoers lie fallen–
thrown down, not able to rise!
__________________________________________

As I read these words I am reminded of the power of self-awareness. If we do not understand our place in this world — we are children of God, not God — we will never be able to understand what we do or why we do it. When we flatter ourselves into thinking we are something other than God’s, we lose our respect for God and and awareness of our own sin.

O God,

Thank You for Your unfailing love and faithfulness.

May we live our lives in Your shadow.

In Jesus’ name, Amen.

A Hostile Will

Today I received by e-mail this quote from the writings of John Stott. It’ s just too good to keep to myself. Enjoy.

“Ostensibly Jerusalem rejected Christ on theological grounds, and outwardly the Pharisees condemned Jesus for blasphemy. But beneath these intellectual and doctrinal objections was a hostile will. Jesus had exposed their hypocrisy and unmasked their sins. Their pride was wounded. They felt humiliated. They hated him for his holiness. They were jealous of his influence on the common people. These things were at the root of their repudiation of Christ. But it was more respectable to find fault with his theology than to admit their moral embarrassment. Their doubts were a cloak for their sins. It has often been so. I do not say it is always so, because of course many people have genuine theological problems. But frequently a man’s deepest need is not intellectual but moral, and his supposed inability to believe is really an unwillingness to obey.”
–John Stott, from “Authentic Christianity”, p. 179