Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Every now and again I am reminded I’m human. Despite my longing for permanance, I’m not. I’m finite. I’m limited beyond my normal awareness. For example (and it’s silly), I cannot think my heart to stop beating, nor my lungs to stop breathing. I could hold my breath so long my body gives me a knock-out punch, but as the lights go out for a brief moment, my body will return to its’ previous state.
Every night when I sleep I am reminded I’m human and frail, and exhausted. When I wake up I find the world still runs as it did the day before. Maybe, after all, I’m not the center of the universe.
Those same thoughts are true about my faith. Too much of Christendom sounds like self-help methods of making yourself better, or pulling yourself up by your moral bootstraps. I struggle with this because, like Paul, “I do not understand what I do. For what I want to do I do not do, but what I hate I do.” (Rom. 7:15) I’m flabbergasted often by my own wickedness. I’m humiliated. But, that’s where the good news of the gospel comes and revives my downtrodden soul.
When David prays Psalm 51, he calls on the Lord to create in him a clean heart. In the picture above, you see hands working the clay with the end goal in mind being positive. Like the clay, we are being worked. The clay did not put itself on the spinning wheel, but was put there by the artist. Likewise, I cannot make my own heart clean. My heart, above all things, is deceitfully wicked. Only the Lord in his grace and mercy will change my heart, give me new eyes, and a new mind.
In short, cheer up. The pressure is off. It was the Lord who made all things, and it is only the Lord and his power that can renew all things. Rest in the fact that you and I are limited creatures, dearly loved by our Father. He wants what is best for us. He alone can give us what’s best. We need only ask.
*Image from public domain.