In Matthew 5:4 Jesus said, "Blessed are those who mourn, for they shall be comforted." The mourning Jesus mentions here is a sincere grief due to sin. Sadly, most of us simply don't grieve our sin and the sin this world suffers from. We downplay it, we justify it, we ignore it, and we accept it - but few of us actually grieve over it. So how exactly does one grow in spiritual grief? Here are three suggestions...
1. Godly grief grows from the seed of God's Word.
In Romans 7:7 Paul says, "Yet if it had not been for the law, I would not have known my sin." Simply put, you can't grieve sin you're not aware of. As we plant God's Word in our hearts, it uncovers the presence of our sin. This is one of the countless reasons it's so crucial we plant Scripture in our hearts each day.
2. Godly grief grows in the soil of God's holiness.
Comparison has a way of creating clarity. Only when we compare ourselves to the spotless canvas of God's holy splendor do we get a sense of our sin. If our Godly grief is going to grow, our understanding of God's holiness must as well. This growth demands study. In addition to God's Word, I would highly recommend A.W. Tozer's The Knowledge of the Holy.
3. Godly grief grows by the sustenance of God's Spirit.
John 16:8 says, "And when he [the Holy Spirit] comes, he will convict the world concerning sin..." You can't grow in Godly grief apart from the nourishing and convicting work of the Holy Spirit. Think about a plant. I know less about plants than Lady Gaga knows about modesty, but here's what I do know: If you take a perfect planter, fill it with healthy soil, plant a seed in it, and place it in a dark closet it, it will not grow. It needs the sustenance of sun and water. Just like a plant can't grow without sun and water, people aren't convicted of sin apart from the power of the Spirit. We are dependent on the Spirit for this work and prayer is always the proper response to dependence.
Let's seize the daily opportunity to get in God's Word, meditate on His holiness, and beg the Spirit to break our hearts for what breaks His.