Create in Me a Clean Heart
“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.”
- Psalm 51:10-11
Yesterday, we considered David’s royal failure before God and his people. Today, we will consider the blessings of God’s mercy and grace. David asked God to create a clean heart within him, a heart free from the lust and all the lies that resulted from that lust. He didn’t stop there. David would go on to ask the Lord to renew a right spirit within him. David wanted to love the Lord and to love the Lord’s people. David wanted to live in obedience to God; he wanted to love the things that God loved and to do the things that would honor and glorify God. Yet, David also understood that he could not produce those things within himself. He needed the presence and work of the Lord. Only the Lord could renew a right spirit within a man.
Renewal of the spirit is another invitation of Lent. We can acknowledge that we don’t always love God as we could; we don’t love God’s people; we don’t follow him whole-heartedly; and we repeatedly miss the mark of holiness. God understands our inability to meet the mark and he sees our grief. In his mercy and grace, the Lord is so quick to come and to light the fire within us once again. It is the fire of his Holy Spirit. Remember when John the Baptist foretold of the baptism of Jesus: “I baptize you with water for repentance, but he who is coming after me is mightier than I, whose sandals I am not worthy to carry. He will baptize you with the Holy Spirit and fire”
(Matthew 3:11). The Lord longs to stoke that fire within us. That fire of the Holy Spirit is sanctifying, cleansing, healing, and renewing. With God’s fire burning, we find the old ways of the flesh fading away and the new life of the Spirit flourishing within us.
When God’s Holy Spirit is present and burning in our lives, we know the presence of God as we also experience the joy of our life in him. Salvation is about life, eternal life with the Father and abundant life through the Holy Spirit in this world. Even when we sin or douse the flames of that Spirit, he is there to sustain us and uphold us. The Father will not let us go though he will allow us to miss the great work of the Holy Spirit.
To keep the flame burning within us, we must be people of the light. We must be willing to see our sin, confess it to the Lord, and then to allow his mercy and grace to wash us and restore us. Our spirits are renewed as God’s presence is manifested in us and through us, and we know the joy of our salvation. Reflection:
How is your fire? How would the Lord like to cleanse your heart and renew your spirit today?