“Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me. Do not banish me from your presence, and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and make me willing to obey you.” Psalm 51:10–12 (NLT). Italics mine
I wish I could say it’s easy for me to go to God whenever I mess up. It’s not. Instead I want to do something—anything so I can feel good about myself before approaching God. This should satisfy God. That should make it all better. He’s not mad at me anymore.
Throughout the Psalms, we see the intimate relationship David had with the Lord. David approached God and he completely trusted Him in all circumstances. He believed God would forgive, erase, wash and cleanse every sin that kept him from having an intimate relationship with God. Look how David begins his prayer in Psalm 51 with the words, “Be gracious to me, O God, according to your lovingkindness. According to the greatness of your compassion, blot out my transgressions.”
For this reason, I run to this Psalm whenever I mess up or I do something wrong. It reminds me I don’t have to “make it all better” before I approach God. I just need to submit to Him and trust in His character and go to Him the way David did—repentant, broken and completely humbled.
David, so grieved over his sin against God, never makes an excuse or tries to justify his actions. He just cries out to God in confession, expects complete restoration and anticipates to be a useful servant of the Lord in the future.
This Psalm also encourages me to remember the joy of my salvation, to consider everything Christ went through for me. It reminds of the time when I first believed, the moment I became hidden in Christ.
Additionally, it also shows me God loves a broken and contrite heart. He likes me messy and when I confess everything to Him, I go from feeling like a mess to knowing I have complete restoration in Christ. This is the way of God when His people submit to him.
And so when I read over this Psalm, I remember God’s love revolves around mercy and grace. God is mercy and grace. His actions include mercy and grace. He gives mercy and grace. He doesn’t just forgive (mercy), He also blesses and bestows unmerited favor (grace), enough so a life completely broken can encourage others and it can glorify God. It’s God’s response to all repentant, broken and completely humbled hearts.
Perhaps today you feel broken over sin or failure and things may feel out of your control. Perhaps you keep reflecting on the past and you want to hide, run away from it all or move past it once-and-for-all. Remember God has not left you. He stands waiting for you to submit to Him.
Do you believe when God says He forgives you? Do you trust He can love you enough to fully restore you?