Dealing with Sin; August 27, 2022

Psalm 51:10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.

This Psalm is certainly one of the most famous, and for excellent reason. As the response to Nathan having confronted David over his taking Bathsheba and having Uriah killed, the background could hardly be more dramatic. This particular verse brings out a vital point: David realizes that he cannot clean his own heart, so he asks God to create one in him. “Spirit” here refers to his attitude, his psychological makeup, so he has some influence there, but he recognized that it is very shaky, so he asks for help in straightening up. That God answered this part of his prayer is evident from his response when the infant born of his adultery dies. (2 Samuel 12) Recognizing his own responsibility, he throws himself on the mercy of God. (2 Samuel 12:13-22) We need both of those things in our lives. We need God to do what we cannot do, and we need to take responsibility and do what only we can do. We are prone to be all over the place when it comes to this sort of thing. Self-help books abound, making us think that we can clean up our own act, and indeed Buddhism is based on that very idea. At the same time, modern psychology is very prone to encourage blaming everyone else for our issues, promoting toxic narcissism. I watched a video yesterday that said that 70% of counselors and psychiatrists fall into that camp. We need to ask God to give us the tools, but then accept responsibility and accountability for what we do with those tools. That is an essential element of genuine repentance, which is essential to a right relationship with our Creator.

Over the years I have had to come to terms with my being a deeply flawed individual. I have battled both careless sins and besetting sins, and God is the judge of the severity of any sin. That said, even the smallest sin is at its root rebellion against God, and is totally disqualifying until it is put under the blood of the Lamb. (1 John 1:7) I am in the position of guiding others, but I must seek and accept the Holy Spirit’s guidance in my own life. I am not to be neurotically picking at myself, but I must be totally open and responsive when the Holy Spirit points out something of which I need to repent. As one who has received mercy, I must be a channel of mercy and grace to others, allowing God to use me to counter the lies of the devil, not only to myself but to all with whom I interact, so that as many as possible may repent and believe for their salvation.

Father, thank You indeed for Your truly amazing grace. Help me never take it lightly or for granted, but walk in humble obedience before You, for Your pleasure and glory. Thank You. Praise God!

About jgarrott

Born and raised in Japan of missionary parents. Have been here as an adult missionary since 1981.
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