One of the most beautiful sinner’s prayers is found in Psalm 51. David, the man after God’s own heart, is praying in response to having committed adultery with Bathsheba and consequently murdering her husband when she got pregnant. His sin reminds us that none of us are above sinning, no matter how close we are to God. His prayer shows us that we can be made right with God, no matter how far away we feel we are.
In verse 3, he started out, “I recognize my faults; I am always conscious of my sins” (GNT). Each one of us knows ourselves better than anyone. If we are honest with ourselves, we can point out our own faults and know where we are broken inside. Too many of us spend a lifetime trying to cover those up and pretending like we’re fine. When we forget or hide those things, we open ourselves up to walking into sin and failure.
Verse 7 says, “Remove my sin, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow.” None of us are capable of removing our own sin or healing our brokenness. David trusted God’s forgiveness to be absolute, and we should too. When God forgives us, our sin is gone. We too should let it go and quit living in the shame of our past failures. The stain of our sin is gone. If God has forgiven you, you should forgive yourself too. Your freedom is found in forgiveness from God and self.
My favorite part of this prayer comes from verse 10. David prayed, “Create a pure heart in me, O God, and put a new and loyal spirit in me.” David didn’t like his brokenness. Instead of trying to live with it and defeat it over and over again, he prayed God would heal it. God is more than able to heal our brokenness and create something new in us. Remember, when Jesus forgives us, our old life passes away and all things become new, including our heart. Trust the work that God has done in your life and live in the freedom He gave you.
Photo by Ben White on Unsplash
Ever since we moved into our house, my wife wanted to renovate the living room. She hated it because it was dark and out dated. I fought her on the renovations because I liked the room and also because I knew what renovations would entail. I knew that once we started, it wouldn’t end with a simple paint job and floor change. Once we began, it would set off a chain of change for the foreseeable future and I wasn’t ready to do that. With the help of friends, she finally convinced me to let go of my fear and embrace the renovation. I saw in the process how God wants to renovate our lives.
God desires for each of us to undergo the process of renovation in our lives. He wants to take out old ways of thinking and replace them with the mind of Christ. He wants to remove the hard parts of our hearts and put in a heart of flesh. He wants to give us fresh insight into His Word, but we have to be willing to submit to the renovations. We have to quit fighting God on the changes He wants to make and allow Him to do His work. Psalm 51 is all about renovating David’s life. In verse 10, he surrendered and prayed, “Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a right spirit within me.” The first step of renovating your life is submission to God’s will and design.
The next part is counting the cost. In my living room, I allowed the cost to keep us from renovating. It was more than I was willing to pay because the outcome was unsure. Once I let go of the purse strings, the work began. The same is true in our personal renovation. We have to understand that there is a price to pay in renovating and we have to let go of the fear that keeps us from releasing God to do in our lives what He wants to do. It may cost us time, relationships, location or money, but in the end, we will receive more than we lost. Renovations in our lives increase our ability and usability.
The last thing I learned is that you have to be patient in the process. It wasn’t long into ours that my wife said, “We’ve made a mistake. We shouldn’t do any more. What if we keep going and lose a lot more money?” She was right. In the middle of the process, we lost sight of the vision. We questioned the renovation and almost gave up. We decided to see it through and love the outcome. In the Message, Philippians 1:6 says, “there is no doubt in my mind that God who started this great work in you would keep at it and bring it to a flourishing finish.” It might get messy and you might lose sight of what God is doing in your life, but be patient. God will complete the work in you and it will be more amazing than you can imagine and worth the cost.
I was reading in Psalm 51 where he wrote about being confronted by the prophet Nathan. David had an adulterous affair, got the woman pregnant, had her husband killed and married her to cover it up. The prophet came and let him know that God saw everything. David broke down and repented. He wrote this Psalm to describe his need for forgiveness from God and what he needed to start over. God forgave him and David continued to be a man after God’s own heart.
I’ve always been attracted to verse 10 in that particular Psalm. It reads, “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.” That has been a prayer of mine for as long as I can remember. I want to always have a clean heart before God. I want to have a heart that is sensitive to His Spirit and isn’t too prideful to ask for forgiveness when I fail. David’s prayer here is proof that no matter how badly I mess up, God can forgive me and create a new heart in me.
As I read this chapter again, I started reading it in other versions to see how that verse translated. The Message caught my eye. It says it like this, “God, make a fresh start in me, shape a Genesis week from the chaos in my life.” I have read that over and over because it’s just that good. We all need a fresh start every now and then. We need God to pull us from the mundane and to give us a new look at life. After we’ve sinned, we sometimes have to start over. Even in dealing with the consequences of our sins, God can still give us a fresh start.
The next part of that verse also speaks to me. “Shape a Genesis week from the chaos in my life.” I went back to Genesis 1 and read about that week. The first thing God created was light. When we have sinned or are living in sin, there is no light in our life. We have a dark cloud hanging over us. God will come in and bring light back into our lives and then cause things to grow again. God can take the chaos that dominates your life today and create order, life and peace. All He has to do is speak into it.
If you’re living in that chaos today, invite God to speak into your life and to shape a Genesis week for you. If you have sin in your life you haven’t repented of because you think God won’t forgive you, ask Him to create a new heart in you and to give you a fresh start. God loves new beginnings and He loves to create things. He delights in you and wants to bring light back into your life today. The only thing holding Him back is you. Pray today that God would allow you to start fresh with Him. He will do it. I promise.