CLEAN HEART AND RENEWED SPIRIT
Date: June 18
Category: After Repentance
"Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering, and steadfast spirit within me."
This is a prayer of David, which he prayed after he sinned in an adulteress relationship with Bathsheba. Bathsheba was married to another man but David had sex with her. Not only that, but he also had her husband killed. So David's actions were very wicked. As a result, he suffered a lot, both externally and internally. Internally, the guilt was extremely heavy on his heart. Chapter 51 is a prayer that David prays asking God for mercy.
In verse 1 we read, "Have mercy upon me, O God, according to Your steadfast love; according to the multitude of your tender mercy and loving-kindness blot out my transgressions." David acknowledges that he has sinned and now he is coming back to the Lord in repentance and he asks God for forgiveness. But notice that there is a key thing that David asks in his prayer. We read in verse 10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right, persevering and steadfast spirit within me." So David asked for a clean heart.
When you live in sin, your heart is not clean. If you're heart is not clean than you can't come into the presence of God unless you confess your sins and ask God to cleanse you. Actually, the way you come to know God is through the forgiveness of sin. So when you have done something wrong, the most important thing you have to do is come back to God and agree with Him by saying, "Yes Lord, I have sinned. Please forgive me in Jesus name." When you do that, God will forgive you of your sins and cleanse you again.
So here in this passage, David admits that he has sinned and now he is asking God to create in him a clean heart. Only God can create a clean heart in us. We can shower and wash every other part of our body physically, but we cannot wash our hearts. That's something that only God can do. When we confess our sins to God, He washes those sins away with the blood of Jesus. He doesn't forgive us because of anything we have done. He forgives us because of what Jesus has done on the cross of Calvary.
But David didn't just pray for a clean heart. There was something else he asked God for as well. In the second part of verse 10 we read that David says, "and renew a right, persevering and steadfast spirit within me." So David acknowledges that he needed a spirit that was in right standing with God and with people, a spirit that was persevering and steadfast. And God is the only One who can do that as well.
But He can only do it if we allow His Word to take precedence over any other word in our lives. There are many different voices all around us; many different people will try to influence us and tell us what we should do. But there is one voice that we should listen to and that is the voice of God. That voice can be heard through the Word of God. And that voice should be the one that takes precedence over every other voice in our lives. When we allow that to happen, then our spirits will be renewed.
The Word of God is spirit and truth so the more of the Word you have in your heart, the more you will have His Spirit within you. The more renewed your spirit is, the more steadfast it will be. Once God creates in you a clean heart and once He renews your spirit, then you will be more like Him. But what kind of spirit is God's Spirit?
Well the Spirit of God is a generous spirit that wants to build others up and help others, not destroy them. When David was sinning, he was destroying others around him. That's not the Spirit of God. The Spirit of God is loving and generous and God gave us His Spirit so we can be a blessing to others. That's why we should be generous.
You cannot expect to receive generously if you don't give. You have to give first and you have to do it freely and with faith. Then you will be able to receive back. Faith is a very important element in this. Some people have a hard time with faith and with trust. A preacher named Frank Craine once said, "You may be deceived if you trust too much, but you may live in torment if you don't trust enough." So it's important to have faith tied in with your giving in order to reap a harvest back.
So this prayer that David prayed is something we should all pray when we enter the presence of God. We should all ask God to mold and shape our hearts, to make it clean again, and to renew our spirits in order for us to be more Christ-like. Prayer is not just a wish list that we read out to God. Yes, we can pray and ask God to bless us with material things, but the most important thing to ask God for is a clean heart and a renewed, persevering and steadfast spirit – a spirit that is attuned to God's Spirit.
So when we pray today, let's ask God to shape us in the image of Jesus Christ. Let's ask God to clean our hearts and renew our spirits so that when we go out into the world, whether we are going to school, work, or wherever, we can be witnesses for Jesus Christ. With a clean heart and a renewed spirit, we will leave our homes talking like Jesus, thinking like Jesus and acting like Jesus so that other people can see Jesus in us.