September 16: The Comfort of Grief (Matt 5:4)
Jesus brings to us yet another paradox for our consideration, "Bless are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted" (Matt 5:4). In this beatitude, he is not speaking of bereavement over the loss of a friend, job, position in life, etc. Rather, in keeping with the ethics of a new kingdom, he is speaking of a spiritual mourning - one that leads to blessing. To mourn in a manner that leads to blessing is to consider at a personal level our sin in view of God's holiness. It is only as we consider the nature of our sin before a holy God that we are then led to see the beauty of Jesus Christ, the Savior from God who delivers us from sin. In this way, the blessing of conversion follows the mourning of conviction. Have you considered the nature of your sin before the holiness of God? For the Christian, this ought to lead not to despair, but to delight in the comfort that is promised. Thus while we must appropriately feel the conviction of sin, we must also embrace the consolation of Christ.
You must be brought to feel your guilt in God's sight. Many acknowledge this in words, but they do not thoroughly feel it in their hearts. But if the Holy Spirit awakens your soul, if you are really brought under His blessed influence, then you will not merely speak of being a sinner; but you will feel, and that deeply, the burden and guilt of sin. What a difference there is between the cold acknowledgment that you and all the world have sinned, and that deep conviction of sin which leads you to cry out in the agony of your soul, 'God be merciful to me — the sinner!'
There can be no real happiness, until you have felt the misery of your sin, and had it removed. Your wound must be probed and laid open, before it can be healed. And is not this a blessed misery, if it leads to happiness?
In my morning devotions, my soul was exceedingly melted, and bitterly mourned over my exceeding sinfulness and vileness. I never before had felt so pungent and deep a sense of the odious nature of sin as at this time. My soul was then unusually carried forth in love to God and had a lively sense of God’s love to me. And this love and hope, tat that time, cast out fear.
If you can look on sin without sorrow, then you have never looked on Christ. A faith-look at Jesus breaks the heart, both for sin and from sin. Try yourself by this test.
Sin is…the unwillingness of man to acknowledge his creatureliness and dependence upon God and his effort to make his own life independent and secure.
Robert Murray McCheyne
Learn much of the Lord Jesus. For every look at yourself take ten looks at Christ. He is altogether lovely…Love much in the smiles of God. Bask in his beams. Feel his all-seeing eye settle on you in love. And repose in his almighty arms.
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