Psalm 51:10-12;15: Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast Spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.
Psalm 51 is a prayer from David to God asking for forgiveness and for the cleansing of his sins. David pleads for mercy from God and acknowledges God’s unfailing love and compassion. David confesses his sinful nature and looks to God to “blot out” all of his iniquities. Then, in verse 10, David prays for purity, a pure heart and a “willing spirit, to sustain me.”
If we are honest with ourselves as we read Psalm 51, we can easily take David’s place as we examine our own lives. We also acknowledge that we are sinful from birth but we continue to have hope and assurance that God will continue to plant His truth in our inner most being. We struggle daily with sin but we long for a pure heart which leads to wisdom, instead of sin that leads to recklessness and destruction. We should all strive to have God create in us a pure heart and the gift of the presence of the Holy Spirit that dwells within our inner most being.
In Luke’s gospel, Jesus gives us the parable of the Pharisee and the Tax Collector. Jesus warns us that we are not to become so self- righteous that we look down on everyone else. The Pharisee and the tax collector go up to the temple to pray. The Pharisee stood up and prayed about himself. He thanked God that he was not like other men – robbers, evildoers, adulterers – or even like this tax collector. The Pharisee then boasted that he fasted twice a week and gave a tenth of all that he received. However, the tax collector stood at a distance and would not even look up to heaven. He beat his breast and said, “God, have mercy on me, a sinner.” Jesus then reminds us that the tax collector went home justified before God. Why? Because the Pharisee exalted himself but the tax collector humbled himself before God. (Luke 18:9-14).
I strive to be like the tax collector but many times I find myself to be more like the Pharisee. What about your own life? Do you find yourself more like the Pharisee or the tax collector? There is always the temptation to compare ourselves to others and to ignore the effects of our own sinful lives. The tax collector was honest with himself and most importantly, with God. He didn’t try to list his accomplishments or his record of giving or his community service. The sinful tax collector, like David, realized that we are all sinful and we constantly need God’s forgiveness in our lives.
David prayed to God and he asked God to make his heart pure and to grant him an unwavering spirit that would dwell within him. And that pure heart and steadfast spirit would sustain him, and renew him, to reach those who were lost in sin and did not know God.Turn your worries, and doubts, and sins over to God, and allow Him to create in you a pure heart and a committed spirit that will dwell within you. “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.” Psalm 51:15.