“The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and contrite heart.” Psalm 51:17
It’s amazing to find Bible verses like this is the Old Testament. In the Old Testament, Israel was constantly offering animal sacrifices for their sins and didn’t know God’s full plan for salvation or that Jesus would come to take away the sins of the world. So that’s really interesting that David would realize that the thing that God really wants is for us to come to Him in humility and brokenness and be willing to surrender our lives to Him. Jesus told the parable of the two men who came to the temple to pray. One was a proud self-righteous man who thanked God that he was better than other men. Another man was a tax collector, who stood at a distance and wouldn’t even lift his eyes to Heaven, but begged God for forgiveness for his sins. Jesus said that the second man got forgiveness but the first man got nothing.
The same is true with each of us. In our natural selves, we are bound up in sin and have no power to overcome the cravings of our sinful nature or to bear fruit like love, joy, peace, patience, or kindness. When we come to God, we should come with him with a broken and contrite heart. It’s not because God delights in our misery. It’s just the only condition that can allow Him to work on our lives and change us. That’s why it says in another Psalm:
“The Lord is close to the brokenhearted and saves those who are crushed in spirit.”
But all of this requires quite a bit of sacrifice. To be willing to humble ourselves and come before God in brokenness and contrition is not an easy thing to do. But that is the sacrifice that God requires from each of us before His grace will really work in us to allow us to change and become the kind of people we were meant to be. Truly, it’s a small price to pay for how much we get in return.