One of the reasons why we are talking about matters of the heart this month is so that we may develop a consciousness, a conviction that will lead us to see the impurity of our hearts and nature. We have said over the past couple of days that the affections, the feelings and thoughts of the carnal mind are corrupted. They alienate us from God. And to rid ourselves of this veil, we would need to have our affections and thoughts made right. We would need to have the crudeness of our hearts replaced by something better. Something that is firm in the purposes of righteousness. Something that is steadfast in the service of God that it will not yield to the temptations we have yielded to before. We need something new. A new heart. The kind of heart that David hungered for when he said in Psalms 51:10, create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right and steadfast spirit within me.
You see, David looked back at his life and realized that he had been wrong all along. He had a wrong spirit. He had a wrong attitude. And he needed a new one. A new heart and spirit that would be more faithful to God than the inclinations that drew him away from the Lord. He needed a clean implantation of grace. A clean installation of faith. And this is why, after realizing how far away he had wandered from God, he sought a radical change of heart and spirit. He desired to have a heart that however hard it was assaulted by temptation, it would remain fixed and resolute in its allegiance to God. He prayed for a renovation of his inner essence. Of both his mental and moral nature.
He did not just ask that he be forgiven of his sins. He did not just ask that he be changed so that he does not follow his old path anymore. He desired something more. Something deeper than a mere change of heart. He did not just desire to be separated from sin, he wanted to be separated for God. To have a relationship with Him. To have the spirit of God dwell in him so that his would be a conscious devotion to God. You know, so often we seek after outwardly change. We stop doing the wrong things that we were doing. We so often seek after the constructs of human conduct and goodness or what we call morals or virtue without necessarily committing to God. But we see that David’s plea was to be led back to the path of righteousness. That he does not just have a change of conduct. His prayer was that the Lord may lay a new foundation in his heart. A clean heart and a steadfast spirit!
David was yielding himself to be God’s instrument. He understood that he could do what was right by men and simulate virtue the way irreligious moralists do. But the blossom of this would still be vain because the only true perfection of morals and virtue is that which is founded in the spirit of God. And this is what we pray for when we pray for a clean heart. This is what we plead for when we pray to be filled with the holy spirit of God. To be changed not just to appear right before the eyes of men, but that we may stand right and justified in the sight of God. To be possessed through and through by the spirit of God. To bear fruits that are evident of the gracious influences of the Holy Spirit.
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Pastor Lucy Paynter Daily Insights