Do you desire a deeper, more intimate relationship with Jesus? Do you sometimes feel like you are just walking on the surface of what God has for you, and not really experiencing the eternal life that He has promised you? Personally, I desire a deeper more intimate walk with Jesus. I too feel like I am just skimming the surface sometimes, and not really getting to the deep end. But my heart desires to be there, my heart desires to be sold out for Jesus, no matter what that means. Not all of us can say that we want this. Well, we may say it, but what we must go through to get it may not be as appealing to us and therefore we may back away from a deeper, more intimate relationship with God. But for those of us who do desire more of Jesus, what David prays is for us today.
“Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
David wrote Psalm 51 after Nathan the Prophet came to him and told him that he had sinned before God with Bathsheba and that God knew what David had done. God disciplined David and David cried out with a repentant heart. David begins the Psalm with a heart of repentance, because he cries, “Have mercy on me, O God,” (vs. 1). David was convicted; he knew that he had sinned and that his sin was before God. He was not hiding anything from God, even though after he had sinned he went about his days as if nothing had happened. But there was guilt within David, as there is in all of us who sin against God. (Whether we choose to accept that guilt and repent or ignore it and try to bury it is between us and God)
As David prays, his repentant heart turns to seeking a deeper more intimate fellowship with God. It is the goodness and lovingkindness of God towards His children that leads us to repentance. (Romans 2:4) David knew of the goodness of God in his life and this caused him to cry out for forgiveness. David goes on to lay before the Lord his sin, and ask the Lord to cleanse him and to wash away the guilt and the stain that sin has left on his life. But then, David turns his heart from repentance to a deeper, more intimate cry out to God. This is where I find my heart as well this morning.
David cries out, “Create in me a clean heart, O God”. The word create is the same word used in Genesis 1 when God created the world. It means to make something out of nothing. David knows that he is nothing, that what is in his heart is not worthy to be used by God, so he cries out for the Lord to make new a heart that seeks Him and Him alone. He cries to God to break him, to cut him apart, rip out the heart of sin that is in him and make one that belongs to God alone. How deep and passionate was David’s desire for God in his life. Oh that I might have this same passion and desire for God to rip my heart out, to break me into shards so that He can create in me the heart He desires me to have.
But, to have a heart like this, we too must first begin with repentance. 1 John 1:8-10 tells us that if we “say that we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness. If we say that we have not sinned, we make Him a liar, and His word is not in us.” Sin is the condition of all mankind, and there is no denying it. The deeper we want our relationship to go with God, the deeper God will go into our hearts and pull out for us the sins that are buried there. We cannot deceive ourselves and think that we have not sinned, for all have sinned and come short of the glory of God. (Romans 3:23) Do not deceive yourself and think that you have not sinned, for somewhere buried in the depths of our hearts, sin lies, and all God asks is that we repent of it and let His forgiveness cleanse us from its stains.
David says that he desires God to create in him a clean heart. The phrase “clean heart” means to make pure, it is symbolic of the process of refining gold. The final stages of refining gold involve the removing of impurities that remain after the smelting process. The gold is melted down back to a liquid state in a furnace. Then, borax and soda ash are added to the melted gold. These two elements separate the pure gold from any impurities. After this process is completed, a sample is drawn to determine if more refining is needed, or if it can be placed into molds, polished and readied for use.
God does the same with us. The clean heart that we seek must go through the same refining process that gold does. God hears our cries for a clean heart and places us in the furnace. The fire consists of trials, troubles, and tribulations. If we desire a deeper walk with God, then trials and tribulations are to be expected. You can’t have a deeper walk with God and expect Him to let you live with sin and impurity in your heart. He doesn’t work that way. Instead, He uses His Word to penetrate the depths of our hearts and to pull out any impurity that remains. He brings these impurities to our attention and lays them out for us. This is where the heart for repentance comes from. We see the sins of our hearts before us, and like David, we seek His mercy and His forgiveness.
When God has finished with refining our hearts of gold He then places us into the prepared mold He has designed especially for each one of us. There is no denying that God has a plan and a purpose for our lives, and when we seek to have a “clean heart” before God, we will experience pain and suffering. But the glory of the polished heart of gold will surpass anything we may have to endure. Paul tells us that the “sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared to the glory which shall be revealed in us.” (Romans 8:18) We will come out of this refining process with hearts of gold, hearts that shine for His glory. How precious is this thought.
David goes on to pray and ask God to “renew a steadfast spirit within him.” After the Lord God refines our hearts, He wants to establish us, He wants to mold us and make us into the image of His Son, Jesus Christ. To do this, He not only has to melt out the impurities of our hearts, but He also has to penetrate the very depths of our minds, our will, our emotions and our thoughts. A truly repentant heart does not turn again to the sin but turns away from it. We can pray for a clean heart, but unless we truly seek and desire a heart made of gold, refined in the fires of God, then our repentance is just another “I’m Sorry” and means little to God.
David doesn’t want to stop there though, he wants more. He not only wants God to refine him, he desires God to renew him. To restore to him the goodness of God’s mercy and grace upon his life, to forget and forgive his sins and to restore the peace that he once had with his God. Sin tears us away from God, but God desires repentance in the inward parts of our beings. David wants not only to be renewed but to be established, he desires for God to restore the relationship that he has broken through his sins, and asks the Lord God to make him steadfast, firm and established in his thoughts, his will and his emotions.
David cries out to the Lord God for mercy and forgiveness. He sees his need for God in every area of his life, and he prays for God to possess all of him, even his thoughts. Oh that we could see the passion and deep desire of God for His children to cry this same prayer. He wants to penetrate into the very fiber of our beings; He wants to draw us closer to Him, so close that we are encompassed by His love, that we are possessed by Him and Him alone. He does not desire to be a part of your life just so you can live happier, He desires to be all of your life because it is and always was His design for you. Oh that we could see the depths and the riches of His great love for us and cry out with David,
“Create in me a clean heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”