"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." Psalm 51:10
When we came to God and asked Him into our life, confessed our sins, and repented of our sins we were forgiven…right? So why do we ask God to create in us a clean heart?
New Living Translation Romans 10:9
If you openly declare that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved.
New Living Translation Acts 2:38
Peter replied, “Each of you must repent of your sins and turn to God, and be baptized in the name of Jesus Christ for the forgiveness of your sins. Then you will receive the gift of the Holy Spirit.
So if God has forgiven our sins when we repent…is it necessary to ask Him to then create in us a clean heart? YES!
Although the prayer in scripture was written long ago…it is written for us today as well. It tells us that there are consequences for sins that have not been repented of. People can say they are sorry but what do true repentance, true remorse, and true renewal look like? Lots of people say they are sorry (because they got caught)…but is that sorrowful for what they did? Not always! Just because you or I said we were sorry to someone doesn’t mean our heart is clean. We have all sinned (yes, you have so just admit it). God knows exactly what you and I both have done and for somewhat they have done in their life we might wonder how God could ever forgive…but He will if you ask and you are repentant of what you did. That means that you turn from your sin and go in the other direction.
This prayer, written in the form of a song, is found in Psalm 51:10, but the context of this request gives us greater insight as to why it was prayed. Israel’s King David—known for his relationship with God as conveyed through many of the Psalms he wrote—experienced a season of sin in which he committed adultery and then murder to cover up his sin. Adultery and murder and I’d like to enter manipulation as well. He manipulated his army to get Bathsheba’s husband on the front lines so that he would be killed. This was not good! King David then marries Bathsheba. Then after some time…some say that maybe a year or so…King David was confronted by the prophet for taking another man’s wife, killing the man, and covering up the sin. 2 Samuel 23:8, 2 Samuel 23:39, 2 Samuel 12:1-9
King David was confronted…then…read that again…then…somehow in his being realized the extent to which he had betrayed His God. He writes Psalm 51. He was convicted in his heart for what he did and when he was convicted of his sins…he cries out to God and God hears him. However, listen carefully, sin gets punished! But also listen to the fact that King David cried out with a heartfelt prayer, and begged God for mercy, cleaning, and restoration.
Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit. (ESV)
When King David prayed for God to create in him a clean heart what he did was use the same word that is used in Genesis 1:1…for the creation of the world…a cleansing that only the Lord could do in his life. He knew he did wrong, he was convicted for the wrong, and he truly confessed and repented of his wrongs. He needed God to redirect his path and intervene for him.
King David asked for God to have mercy on him and to blot out his transgressions. He asked to be washed from his iniquity and to be cleansed from his sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. That is powerful people. That is what our hearts should look like as well. We need to cry out to God, confess, repent, and ask God to cleanse our hearts. I want this…do you?
We all sin and fall short but God doesn’t want us lost. He wants us to live right with Him and others and He wants our hearts cleansed. So although David sinned against Bathsheba, her husband, and David’s other wives, he realized he ultimately sinned against God. Therefore his heartfelt prayer was “Against you, you only have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight…” (Psalm 51:4).
People, yes, we sin against people a lot in our life and we surely should be sorry for that and fix the things we can fix, but it is truly against God that we ultimately sin. It is God we need to be forgiven. It is God who made us, gives us breath, and places us on our death where we deserve to be placed. Without God’s forgiveness, none of us would like the outcome. Somehow people lie and say hell is not real, or that it is not too bad, or that God wouldn’t send anyone there. God is not the one sending you there…it is the things you do or don’t do, and if Jesus is your Lord or not that puts you in that place. Jesus must be the Lord of your life, and you must be in the right standing with God.
In verses 7-8, he begged God to “Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have broken rejoice.” David felt crushed under the conviction of his offenses against God. Then in verses 10-12 he not only asked for a clean heart but for a renewed spirit, too. He also asked that he not be cast away from God’s presence and that the Holy Spirit not be taken from him.
I know that we, as God’s children, don’t want to cast aside and miss heaven. We want to be made right with God and stay right with God at all times. If we sin, if we do or don’t do something…then run to Him and get right with God. When we are out of alignment with God our souls are not living as they should. David asked that God restore the joy of his salvation, as he was likely tired of going through the motions and not experiencing the fullness and joy that comes from living uprightly with a clear conscious. We need our conscious to be clear. We can’t carry the garbage around and think it won’t come back on us. It will! The only way to truly clear our conscience is to give everything to God…transparency…in everything. God knows it already but we must confess it. That is the way He set this up and He is not changing it to suit us. Confess, repent, and be cleaned. Next…King David asked God to give him a willing spirit to obey. In other words, David was praying “Give me a strong desire to obey so I don’t break Your heart again.”
Oh Lord Jesus…how many times have I/we broken your heart? How many? I am sorry for the things I have done in my life. All the things that hurt others, and especially all the things that hurt you. I sinned in so many ways yet you came after me to save me. Clean me up Lord, mold me as you will, use me as you will, and guide my steps from this moment on. Thank you, in Jesus’ name.
When we repent, it means we not only agree with God about the terrible nature of our sin, but we are determined to start over and live a new life – one that is obedient and pleasing to God. As often as we might sin or start living for ourselves rather than God, we need to turn back and head in the direction God desires. Repentance means changing one’s mind so that one’s views, values, goals, and ways are changed and one’s whole life is lived differently. We need to continually confess our hearts to God and seek His restoration and renewal and ask God to give us a clean heart. I’d like to add to that to ask for discernment, wisdom to understand, knowledge, peace, and strength to not only know what is going on…but that no matter how small we think something might be in our life that is not aligned with God…we run to the altar and confess and get right with God. Position your heart so that God can shape you into what He wants you to be. So that you can cross that finish line victoriously. Let God take the clay of your life and mold you into whatever “He” wants you to be. We were not put on this earth to be alike or be robots. We are called differently to do different things and we are not in competition. We each have a job to do. Doesn’t matter how big it might be…or how small you think it is. We are not seeing through our own eyes…God’s eyes know what the truth is. Let God be God and you be you. Do things His way and you will cross over that threshold right into the presence of God Almighty.
LORD, I SURRENDER! CLEAN ME UP, LORD. CLEAN MY HEART SO IT ALWAYS WANTS WHAT YOU WANT FOR ME. THANK YOU