10. Life-Long, Yet Healthy, Grief? Psalm 31:10

Text:  “For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing; my strength faileth because of mine iniquity, and my bones are consumed.”
                                                                                                                   Psalm 31:10.

Good morning, constantly grieving Christian!  Grief for you and for me, throughout our Christian lives, has become a most constant aspect of daily living; so much so that we cannot go through a full day without feeling grief about some aspect of our own personal Christian lives, or some aspect of life in general in this 21st Century.

However, not all grief is negative grief for the genuine Christian!  No.  There are aspects of grief that are all too necessary for us to feel, if we would faithfully serve the risen Jesus Christ, and bring glory to His Name and not shame.  Read on, my friend.

Grieving over personal and national sin is a most healthy grieving for the Christian - for such genuine inner grief tends to drive us closer to the Living Lord God - in repentance for our trespasses against Him, and to seek communal and national repentance for the sins being committed in the world all around within the locations that we dwell. 

Jeremiah was known as ‘the weeping prophet’.  His tears were drawn from the urgent sense of sinfulness concerning Israel and the surrounding nations.  He cried tears to show how deeply the Lord God was grieved at the sins of His chosen nation.  We too must grieve for sins - personal, communal and national.

Verse 10. “For my life is spent with grief, and my years with sighing.  Grief is a sad market to spend all our wealth of life in, but a far more profitable trade may be driven there than in Vanity Fair; it is better to go to the house of mourning than to the house of feasting.  Black is good wear.  The salt of tears is a healthy medicine.  Better spend our years in sighing that in sinning…

“My strength faileth because of mine iniquity.  It is profitable trouble which leads us to trouble ourselves about our iniquity.  Was this the Psalmist’s foulest crime which now gnawed at his heart and devoured his strength?  Very probably it was so.”  (C.H. Spurgeon, Treasury of David, page 150)  (2 Samuel 11:1-17)

Sin does not rest easily in the breast of those born again of Christ Jesus.  Sin irritates, like a piece of sharp gravel caught within one’s shoe, and continues to cause discomfort to the believer until it is removed by confession to God and forsaking of it.  Fact.  If sin is permitted to beset, take root, within the believer’s life, it will always be accompanied by a Spiritual grief that multiplies as such sin continues.  Spiritual grief, magnifies sin.

“This I say then, Walk in the Spirit, and ye shall not fulfill the lust of the flesh.  For the flesh lusteth against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh; and these things are contrary the one to the other; so that ye cannot do the things that ye would.  But if ye are led by the Spirit, ye are not under the law.”  (Galatians 5:16-17)

“I find that when the saints are under trial and well humbled, little sins raise great cries in the conscience; but in prosperity, conscience is a pope that gives dispensations and great latitude to our hearts.  The Cross (bearing grief) is therefore as needful as the crown is glorious.”  (Samuel Rutherford 1600-1661)

It is my personal experience these past 36 years - since the Lord saved me in 1979 - that, like the apostle Paul, “…When I would do good, evil is present with me.  For I delight in the law of God after the inward man (the born again nature from God): but I see another law in my members (my old carnal nature), warring against the law of my mind, and bringing me into captivity to the law of sin which is in my members.”  (Romans 7:21-23)

Thus, if I am honest concerning my weaknesses and daily sin (and I am, to a fault!), I do sin every day, and this causes me much inner Spiritual grief.  However, that same inner grief of God’s spirit within me never fails to draw me into repentant confession of daily sins, faults, weaknesses, failings - and therefore grief assists me to seek progressive sanctification at God’s throne of ever-given grace!  Hallelujah!  Even my faults and failings work together for my Spiritual good!  Hallelujah!  What a Saviour we have!

“And we know that ALL THINGS work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to His purpose.”  (Romans 8:28)

When Spiritual grief has completed its Divine function, genuine Christian believers are drawn to God in true repentance, forsaking of sin, and renewed fellowship with Him.  Such a profound Spiritual grief is therefore seen to be a most healthy grief indeed!  Praise God for grief against personal, communal, and national sin!

Verse 10.  “…And my bones are consumed.  In David’s great Psalm of repentance, we hear him crying out, ‘Make me hear joy and gladness; that the bones which Thou hast broken may rejoice.’  He feels his sin so deeply that he mourns from the depth of his ‘bones’ for God’s forgiveness and restoration of inner joy.  I wonder, are we mourning as deeply as we should for our sins, and the sinful, God-forgetting, state of our nations?

Thought: Mourning for sin is a healthy mourning that brings God’s sure blessings upon us afresh.  “Blessed are they that mourn; for they shall be comforted.”  (Matthew 5:4)  Lord, forgive our sins - heal our lands.

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