God, create a pure heart in me, and renew a right attitude within me. Do not cast me from your presence; do not take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and let a willing attitude control me. Psalm 51:10-12 (ISV)
The goal of the Christian life is not to be better than anyone else, but to be better people today than we were yesterday. When people interact with us, all they see of our lives is a snapshot. So if they have repeated interactions with us, they expect to see actions that are consistent with what we profess to believe.
Of course, being human, we have our bad days, just like anybody else. So what’s the trick to maintaining consistency? What can we do to help our spiritual progression stay on track?
Luke 6:45 reminds us:
Good people do good things because of the good in their hearts. Bad people do bad things because of the evil in their hearts. Your words show what is in your heart. (CEV)
By our words and our actions, we show the world what is really in our hearts. Therefore, it follows that if our words and actions are causing problems in our relationships, then we need to focus on the internal.
The excerpt at the top of this post is from Psalm 51. King David wrote this after having been busted for committing adultery with Bathsheba. If you know the rest of that story, there was a lot more than illicit sex going on there. David actually had her husband KILLED so he could get with her.
Chances are good that no one reading this is guilty of a crime that heinous (at least I HOPE not!). The point, however, is that God allows us to approach Him for forgiveness no matter how dark our sins are.
Even more importantly, notice that David is asking God to create a pure heart in him. This is not something we can do ourselves. The word “pure” is frequently translated “clean” in this passage. This is a reference to ceremonial cleanliness according to Jewish law. They had numerous rituals for making their bodies ceremonially clean, but there is nothing they, or we, could do to clean up a filthy heart.
How great is the news, then, that God actually WANTS to clean us up from the inside out, rather than just throw us out with the trash. He knows that we need pure hearts to make our words and actions pure so that we can be useful to the world in which He has placed us.
Those of you that are Truthseekers, do you remember what it felt like when you first reported for duty in God’s work? Did it feel like you were totally on fire to live out your mission? Do you still feel that way today? Maybe, but probably not.
Life has a way of dragging us down. We get distracted and weighed down by the cares of this world, and we lose our single-mindedness of purpose. If we aren’t careful, we can spiral downward into depression because of our ineffectiveness in bringing change to the world.
But we know that there is work that God has planned for us specifically to do. We also know that we need to finish what we start. What we forget is that God never intended for us to do all these things on our own.
IF we remember to ask Him, God will straighten us out, give us the right attitude and give us the strength we need each day for the work ahead of us. As we train ourselves to rely on God to guide us internally, the world will notice the difference in our words and actions.