Morning & Evening Daily Devotional Reading– December 18
by Charles H. Spurgeon, Revised and Edited by William C. Neff
“Tear your heart and not your garments.”
Tearing garments and other outward signs of religious emotion are easily performed, but are frequently hypocritical. To feel true repentance is far more difficult, and consequently far less common. Men will give their attention to the most detailed and minute ceremonial regulations as a means of merely pleasing the flesh. True religion, however, is too humbling, too heart-searching, too thorough for the tastes of worldly men.
Outward observances can also be temporarily comfortable. Public pageantry can please the eye and ear, feed self-conceit, and promote self-righteousness, and, for this reason, it can be ultimately delusive. At the point of death and at the Day of judgment the soul needs something more substantial than ceremonies and rituals to lean upon. Apart from a sincere heart of godliness all outward religion is utterly empty.
Heart rending is a divine work that is solemnly felt. It is a secret grief that is personally experienced, not in mere form, but as a deep, moving work of the Holy Spirit upon the inner-most heart of each believer. It is powerfully humiliating, and, therefore, it purges God’s people from sin; and yet it also sweetly prepares the heart to receive His gracious gifts—gifts He keeps from the proud. His work in men’s hearts is distinctly discriminating for it only belongs to His chosen ones.
But how can we tear our hearts when they are naturally hard as marble? We must take them to Calvary. A dying Savior’s voice tore the temple veil in two, and He is just as powerful now. O blessed Spirit, let us hear the death-cries of Jesus, and our hearts will be torn as you command.[M&E]