Psalm 51:10–19A Clean Heart and Effective Witness
Key Verse: Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. (Psalm 51:10)
Continuing the theme of conviction, confession, and cleansing, we should realize as the psalmist that God’s primary interest is not in our religious ritual and fulfilling the formalities of religious devotion. He is pleased when we are broken over our sin and our remorse leads us to come to Him for mercy. This indicates our reliance on Him, our confidence in His grace and faithfulness, and evidence that we are not basing our acceptance on pride and what we are able to do for ourselves.
There are several consequences of being forgiven, cleansed, and restored to fellowship with God. We are able to influence others in the way of righteousness and lead sinners to faith. We will overflow with an attitude of praise as our “tongue will joyfully sing of Thy righteousness” (v. 14). God will receive our offering of service and what we give to Him with a pure heart. But notice what needs to happen for this result to occur as reflected by the prayer of petition beyond the initial confession and plea for cleansing.
Without joy in our life it is impossible for us to influence and witness to others effectively.
1. “Restore to me the joy of Thy salvation” (v. 12). When we sin, we do not lose our salvation, for salvation is of God, but we do lose the joy of our salvation. Without joy in our life that reflects the genuineness of our faith, it is impossible for us to influence and witness to others effectively.
2. “Do not cast me away from Thy presence, and do not take Thy Holy Spirit from me” (v. 11). People lose the joy of their salvation because they feel separated from God. When we feel we have lost fellowship with Him, He seems far away, and there is no evidence of the Holy Spirit in our lives; the joy is gone because we feel we are left on our own and are helpless.
3. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (v. 10). Why do we feel God has abandoned us and do not sense His abiding presence? It is because of sin that has come into our hearts. It may not be a blatant, obvious sin such as David’s sin of adultery, but when we allow attitudes of resentment, bitterness, jealousy, or unfor- giveness into our heart, or entertain unwholesome thoughts that are not pleasing to God, the relationship that sustains us is no longer there. So once our sins are acknowledged and confessed, we need to seek a clean heart, for that is where it all started.
Prayer: Lord, I want to be used to witness and influence others by the example of a victorious life as well as authentic words of testimony. I want to live with a spontaneous attitude of praise. Cleanse my heart of sin and give me a disciplined spirit that will persevere in times of temptation. Let me always be aware of Your abiding presence, for that is what gives me the joy of knowing Your salvation and enables me to offer You the sacrifice and service that are pleasing to You.
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