“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
Psalm 51:10 (NASB)
Series Focus: “Rising From the Valley”
There’s no denying it. I messed up. I selfishly pursued my own desires which led me down a spiraling path of sinfulness. Finding myself in this valley of shame, I had no one to blame but myself. I cowered under the blanket of regret for years, secretly mourning my mistakes. My attempts to avoid facing the hard truths of my transgressions had failed. The gig was up. No more running. No more hiding. No more excuses.
Coming clean with ourselves and others can be tough! Acknowledging our sin and taking full responsibility for it with our Maker can be downright terrifying. Why is that? It’s not as if we’ve successfully hidden our mistakes from God. He sees all; hears all; knows all!
King David provides a transparent and moving example of this as he cries out to God after a season of sinful, self-fulfilling pursuits. In his brokenness, David humbly acknowledges His iniquities and asks God to cleanse Him, renew Him, and strengthen Him. In Psalm 51:1-3 (NASB), he says:
Be gracious to me, O God, according to Your lovingkindness; according to the greatness of Your compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me.
True repentance provides the cessation of blame-shifting and self-justification while producing accountability and obedience. Wallowing in guilt, David recognized the filth of his sin and knew God was the only One who could cleanse Him. In verses 6-7 (NASB), David states:
Behold, You desire truth in the innermost being, and in the hidden part You will make me know wisdom. Purify me with hyssop, and I shall be clean; Wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
David was a man after God’s heart. He spent time with God—worshiping Him, praying to Him, trusting Him. He realized the magnitude of his sin, yet understood God’s compassion, mercy, and grace. Being confident in God’s character, rather than his own flawed abilities, David yielded himself to God and invited God to change him from the inside out.
The wisdom of God causes the hidden things to be seen; the secret things to become known. When we yield ourselves to God and actively participate in His searching of our hearts, the root of our sin is revealed. Unable to cleanse ourselves, we need a sacrifice. The hyssop referred to in Psalm 51:7 sprinkled blood for sacrifice and water for purification. As New Testament believers, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus and by the washing of the water of the Word. What was defiled by sin becomes pure and holy.
Finally, in 51:16-17 (NASB), David cries:
For You do not delight in sacrifice, otherwise I would give it; You are not pleased with burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit; a broken and a contrite heart, O God, You will not despise.
Above all, God desires a restored relationship with Him through our obedience. When there is no sin, no sacrifice is required. However, God knows the beginning from the end and the end from the beginning. He knew we would fall short of His glory and every single person would be in need of a sacrifice—an offering for sin. So God provided that sacrifice through the gift of His Son, Jesus. The work is finished. The price is paid.
Therefore, the sacrifice we now offer is a broken spirit and a contrite, or repentant, heart. When we honestly and transparently come clean with God—acknowledge our sin before Him—He receives, forgives, renews, and restores us. Nothing can separate us from the love God has for us.
Even as we carry the baggage of our failures and the weight of the guilt and shame along with it, God persistently invites us to “Come unto Him!” His tender mercies are new every morning! His compassion for us is everlasting. His love, unfailing. He encourages us through the author of Hebrews to boldly come to the throne of grace, that we may receive His mercy and find grace to help us in every time of need (4:16).
So, how about it? Are you ready to come clean? God is patiently waiting to meet with you (and me)!
Holding Fast to Hope,
Reflection: Spend some quiet time reflecting on any guilt and shame you may continue to carry. Meet with God in the secret place. If you haven’t repented yet, repent. Ask God to search you, show you, cleanse you, and restore you. If you have repented, ask God to help you release that guilt and shame to Him for good. Consciously see yourself handing over that baggage to your Savior, and Him helping you rise out of that valley. Journal the date and what you have released to God. Commit to not picking it back up again. Then, rejoice, praise, and sing to the Lord with thanksgiving.
Scripture References: Psalm 51; 1 John 1:7, 3:19-20; 2 Samuel 11-12; Ephesians 1:7-10, 5:25-27; Romans 3:23, 8:31-39; Hebrews 4:16