Monday, February 19
"God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
I love stories of Biblical heroes who fail, because it humanizes them and shows that even the greats have their bad days. Noah, Abraham, Moses, Samson, Peter – these heroes don’t always get it right.
And then we have David: Giant killer, godly king, man after God’s own heart David. He has, quite possibly, the most historically bad “day” of any hero of the faith. After committing adultery with Bathsheba and having her husband killed, he goes on his merry way until God calls him out through a man named Nathan. In his guilt over his sin, David writes one of the most popular Psalms in scripture, expressing his grief and sorrow, showing us what it looks like to get right with God in our worst moments. Our moments of “getting right with God” usually look a lot like David’s. We begin with honest confession of what we have done, ask for forgiveness, and then we make promises of future obedience in response to His forgiveness.
But we miss a crucial middle step. Between confession and commitment, David shows the need for a clean heart that is faithful to God. Without clean hearts and a faithful spirit, we will stay locked into the cycle of “God, I’m sorry again” and “I’ll never do this again,” while the root problem never actually changes. Ever notice that the thing we promise to never do again is the same thing we usually end up confessing and asking forgiveness for not too long after? When we skip over the renewal stage, very little actually changes since we are trying to do the right thing in our own power with a heart that is eager to betray us.
David gets this. He confesses his sin. He is willing to be obedient, but he acknowledges that he is totally incapable of creating a clean heart for himself. He is totally reliant on God for this and realizes that he has no ability to affect this on his own. In our sin and failures, we must get to a point of honestly confessing our sin and committing to obedience, but we must also acknowledge that our heart is deceitful, unfaithful, and unholy, and that we are in desperate need of God to change our hearts. We cannot move forward in holiness with an unclean heart working against us. We are wholly dependent upon God to make us new.
God, I confess that I have failed you over and over again, but I want to live a life that brings You honor. Please forgive me and create a clean, faithful heart in me, so I can truly live the life of freedom and obedience to which You call me.
- Pastor Jeff