“Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
Have you ever struggled with the same sin over and over? Far too many of us find ourselves in this place of being stuck in the sin cycle. Why is that? When we sin, we instinctively know the first thing we need is forgiveness from God. That, however, is only the cure for the infection of guilt. Forgiveness deals with the cause of the infection, which is sin. King David realized forgiveness was not the only need that he had when it came to his sin struggle. He sinned with his hands, but the problem was his heart. The same is true of all of us.
We don’t just sin; we are all sinners. We do what we do because we are what we are. This requires that we deal not only with the symptoms of our problems, but also the cause of them. In Psalm 51:10 King David realizes that he doesn’t just need pardon from his sin, he needs purity. In other words, we don’t just need to be cleared of our sin; we need to be cleansed from our sin. That is why David wrote, “Create in me a pure heart, O God…”
When dealing with guilt it is not just a fungus on the surface that can be scraped off. It is not something that can be cured with a home remedy. Sin takes radical, invasive heart surgery. In fact, it takes a spiritual heart transplant. The Hebrew word used in Psalm 51:10 for “create” is the same word used in Genesis to describe the creation of the world. It means, “to create something out of nothing.” It is a miracle that only God can perform. The problem at the root of our sin is our heart. We need a new heart…not a minor repair job, but a complete spiritual overhaul.
It’s not enough to merely deal with what we do. We must deal with what we are. When we ask God to, “create in us a new heart and renew a steadfast spirit,” what we are really asking is that He change us from the inside out, not from the outside in. It is hard to let go of “pet” sins like drugs, alcohol, anger, or gossip. The truth is that all of the New Year’s resolutions in the world are worthless and powerless to overcome habitual sin. What we all need is to be renewed by God’s grace.
Application: Are you trying to use your will power to overcome your sin? If so, quit trying to change yourself from the outside in and ask God to change you from the inside out.