“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:10-12
By nature, all of our hearts are full of “evil thoughts, murders, adulteries, fornications, thefts, false witness, blasphemies” (Matt. 15:19). Instead of loving the LORD and desiring to do His holy will, our thoughts, by nature, are “only evil continually” (Gen. 6:5). As Christians, who trust in Jesus Christ, the Son of God, for salvation, the Holy Spirit dwells in our hearts and gives us love for God and holy thoughts and desires. As the Bible says, we are “washed … sanctified … justified in the name of the Lord Jesus and by the Spirit of our God” (1 Cor. 6:11). And our “body is the temple of the Holy Spirit” (1 Cor. 6:19).
Yet in this world, we are still sinners. Like David, we need to acknowledge our sins, turn to the LORD for His mercy and forgiveness, and pray that God would create “a clean heart” and “renew a steadfast spirit” within us. When we consider how we continue to come short and fail to follow the leading of the Holy Spirit through the Word, we deserve to be cast away from the presence of the LORD and have the Holy Spirit taken from us. How we grieve God’s Spirit when we go our own way and sin rather than give heed to the admonition and warning of God’s Word (cf. Eph. 4:30)! With David, we can all pray, “Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.”
When we turn aside from following the Holy Spirit – when we turn into sin and evil – the joy which comes from being an heir of salvation and walking with the Lord is overshadowed by guilt and despair. We feel God’s wrath heavy upon us. We know that we have failed again and are deserving of His everlasting punishment (Ps. 51:3-5; 32:3-4).
But acknowledging our sins and failures to the LORD, and turning to Him in faith for mercy and forgiveness for the sake of the Son, Jesus Christ, and His innocent sufferings and death in our stead, as David did in this psalm, we receive God’s mercy and forgiveness (cf. 1 John 1:7 – 2:10).
And God’s Spirit restores in us that joy of knowing that in Jesus we have forgiveness and eternal salvation! And the Holy Spirit upholds us and keep us in the true and saving faith!
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me away from Your presence, and do not take Your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Amen.
Scripture taken from the New King James Version®. Copyright © 1982 by Thomas Nelson.
Used by permission. All rights reserved.