Personal Renovation Day 1 – Create in Me a Clean Heart
“Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones that you have broken rejoice. Hide your face from my sins, and blot out all my iniquities. 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 51:7-12, ESV)
At the beginning of a new year, it’s hard not to think of all the ways we want to be better. I bet you just rattled off a list in your head of things you’d like to change. While every day is an opportunity to restart, this is the time of year it’s freshest on our mind. In fact, on New Year’s Eve I read the very verse we’re discussing today in preparation for the big day. There is no better place to start positive change than by cleansing your heart.
First, we have to know who to turn to when we are in need of renewal. I think the most beautiful aspect of living in this period of grace is the continual redemption God so freely offers. There is nowhere we can go and nothing we can stumble over that will keep us from being renewed and restored by His grace. So, when we are searching for the tools and resources we need to begin our personal renovations, there is no better place to start than with God. He is not just the only One willing to but the only One capable of changing our hearts. Just as the Psalmist does in Psalm 51, we must turn to God, repent of our sins, and ask Him for the help we need to be cleansed and renewed.
Second, we have to be open and willing to be changed. God knows when our desires are real; after all, He is the one who encourages us to desire good things through the Spirit. He knows when we genuinely want to be changed. So, when we turn to Him for help, we must be willing to be cleansed, which will likely be an uncomfortable process. When you first go about cleaning your entire house it can be overwhelming to begin. There are so many things to clean and so many tools you need to do it all. It’s also going to take a lot of time to clean and clean well. So it is when we seek to be cleansed and changed by God. It will take time and energy but the reward will be great in the end.
Third, there has to be a daily offering up of our hearts to Him. If we continue on with our clean house analogy, a house doesn’t stay clean forever. Just from daily activity dust collects, dishes are dirtied, and things get out of place. We have to regularly tidy and clean our homes to keep it all from getting out of control. When we seek to cleanse our hearts, it is much the same. We must regularly turn back to Him for cleansing. We are daily giving ourselves over to Him to be purified, refreshed, and restored.
There is a song I love by Relient K that says, “Fix the car, Fix the house, Fix the flaws in myself; It’s never done; Like local construction, It’s never done.” That’s what we are; we are the places in constant need of repair and new growth. We are in need of continual maintenance, and if we are not actively pursuing that cleaner self, we are only ensuring our downfall.
My challenge for you today is to open yourself up to God. Ask Him to come in to all the messy places in your heart and renew them. Ask Him to purify you daily and make your heart look more and more like His. Never give up on the pursuit of a better, more Christ-like self.