SELF-ABSORPTION IS A PRISON

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Betty: The bottom of your heart…where is your heart? The heart can be open to light and it can be open to darkness. But the heart that’s not fully given to the Lord, can be a very dangerous place. So, when we cry out of the depths, what I hear in it is, “We are in a very deep part of ourselves crying HELP!” And the Psalmist had kind of a fear that he was is in danger, unless God hears his voice. To really say this Psalm, you have to stop and realize this is you. This is what’s going on right now. This part of you that’s being arrogant and not wanting to repent and give God what he is asking of you is really a danger for you. So, “Out of the depths of my heart, I cry unto to Thee.” Help me. See, you will get much more out of the Psalms. The liturgy is meant to pull us out of self-absorption. Self-absorption is a prison. It keeps us locked away from God. 

What I’m hearing today is, “If God was not constantly intervening, we, of ourselves, would not be capable of getting out of the stuck places of the depths of our heart.” We need God’s mercy. We can’t just decide we’ve had enough of our brazen selfishness and that now we are going to repent and be saved. If it weren’t for God’s mercy, we couldn’t be saved. We’ve got to look at the seriousness of life and how much we take God’s mercy for granted. Did you pick that up in the Psalms before? 

If it weren’t for God’s mercy, you would be stuck in your arrogance forever. You would be in hell. But God has had mercy on you. See, “out of the depths, I cry unto thee, Oh Lord,” is really a very desperate place the Psalmist is in. He’s saying, “Help!” I’m  really gonna get stuck here and get lost here if you, in your mercy, don’t intervene.” We arrogant people don’t want to see ourselves as so in need of God’s mercy that we can’t even decide, “Now we’re gonna repent and be saved.” If it weren’t for God’s mercy, we couldn’t get saved. We got to look at the seriousness of life and how much we take God’s mercy for granted. Did you pick that up in the Psalms before? No. The only way you could pick it up was to go into this place of pure arrogance where we had to work today trying to get you out of it. So, it’s, “Out of the depths, we cry unto Thee. Oh Lord, hear our prayer. Lord, save me despite myself.” Some people don’t want to realize how totally dependent they are in each moment on God’s mercy. It’s like, “I repented.”  In other words, I deserve Heaven. I deserve salvation. No you don’t. But that’s how arrogant we are. We want to tell ourselves, “God has to bring us into salvation.” No, God does not have to save you. God can choose to save you. But don’t ever get so arrogant, you think you can demand it. This is one of the dangers of so-called holy people. That’s how they become the Pharisee that Jesus pointed out. They start taking salvation for granted. But the Psalmist reminds us that we all have the depths, regardless of how much we try to serve the Lord. But for His grace, we, too, could fail. “Lord, have mercy. Help us not to be arrogant and take your salvation for granted. Help us not compare ourself to other people to thank God that we are not like them. Lord, have mercy on us sinners in need of your redemption. Jesus, meek and humble of heart, make our hearts like unto Thine.” 

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