The Highest Attainment in this Life
The highest attainment we can reach in this life is a broken and contrite spirit, arising from a deep conviction of how very disproportionate our best returns are to our obligations, and how far our obedience and holiness fall short of the standard: the revealed law and will of God.
Job was commended by the Lord himself before his great trials came upon him, and in a calm moment he expressed a persuasion that when he was fully tried he should come forth as gold. But when he was at last brought forth, he did not say, “Behold I am perfect,” but, “Behold I am vile.” And the great lesson he learned by his sufferings and his deliverance was to abhor himself and to repent in dust and ashes.
I apprehend they are the most favored and most eminent Christians who come nearest to the spirit with which he spoke these words.
— John Newton
Newton goes on to say that this mindfulness of our deep, native poverty of spirit instructs the sanctified soul to depend continually and completely upon the mercy, grace, and strength of the Lord , wherein lies all hope of victory in the Christian life, and all our joy.