A Clean Heart

| Taylor Tomaselli

There was a time in my life when I cried almost every day. Yes, really.

At least five times a week. Sometimes tears of sadness, sometimes tears of anger. But either way, tears came.

Why the frustration, you ask? Well, I had some deep soul wounds from the past that I hadn’t dealt with. It got so bad that I began to dread everyday interactions for fear that I might be triggered and lash out.

For the record, I think it’s healthy to express our emotions. But, it’s even better to get to the root of them. It’s best to treat the disease rather than just symptoms, so to speak.

Fast forward six years, and I am mostly level-headed. Not that I am perfect by any means. But I am almost unrecognizable compared to the person I used to be. How did I get this way? To be honest, I couldn’t tell you. Christ healed my heart, and that’s really all I have to say. The closer I got to him, the more my insecurities began to disappear. The more I prayed and asked him to heal me, the more I found the strength to change.

As flawed human beings, the question should never be, ‘Am I perfect?’ Instead, it should be; ‘Am I growing?’ ‘Am I getting better?’ We don’t expect babies to do more than crawl, and we don’t expect children to behave like adults.

Why?

Because we understand the phase of life that they are in. Sure, we may have expectations. But they will differ depending on the individual circumstances of the person we are dealing with.

Similarly, I believe that Christ relates to us in the same way. He holds us to a high standard, and yet, he is also compassionate to our individual needs and struggles.

A Man After God’s Own Heart

One of the most compelling aspects of the Bible, is the way that God manages to use imperfect people to carry out His perfect plan. The Psalmist David is one of the most popular characters in the Bible, and understandably so. He was a good-looking king who managed to take down a giant with a sling among other triumphs. So yeah, I guess you could say he’s got some appeal, doesn’t he?

But upon further examination of his character, we find that David was far from perfect. He was a liar, adulterer, and a murderer. He made a record amount of terrible decisions over a relatively short span of time. Not surprisingly, he suffered the consequences of these choices.

And yet, David is described as a man after God’s own heart.

Well then…

Are we even talking about the same person? I mean, how could God favor somebody who made so many appalling choices?

It’s hard to fathom. But the favor on David was never about his worthiness. It was about his faith. It was about his total reliance on God to cleanse his heart, and redeem his failures.  

What justified David, was not his upstanding track record, but his humility. His willingness to get on his knees and cry out to God in the face of his suffering. There was something raw and beautiful about the way he poured his heart out in a vulnerable. Here are a few of the words that he expressed in one of his many psalms.

Psalm 51:10-12-Create in me a clean 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.

The Faith of a Sinner

What strikes me as noteworthy, is that David lived over 1,000 years before Christ came to earth. He never met our savior while he lived, and yet he still had faith in the promise of his future coming. (Interestingly, Jesus was actually a descendant from his lineage) He never witnessed the miracles of Jesus, and yet he believed that God’s mercy and forgiveness had the power to change him.

He truly knew and understood the nature of God. He was intimate enough with him to trust that His intentions toward him were good.

And while what he experienced was only a shadow of what was to come through Christ’s sacrifice, he had hope nonetheless.

I don’t know about you, but I think that is powerful. There is something about the faith of a sinner that is even more inspiring than the faith of a saint, in my opinion. While David does not live up to the hero we want him to be, his story reveals a great deal about God’s commitment to redeem those He loves.

If David could have hope to change, then so can you and I.

Renewing Your Spirit

How do we have faith like David, you might wonder?

I believe the secret is found in the words of the Psalms. David expresses a desire for God to create in him a “clean heart” and, “renew a steadfast spirit” within him. He asks his creator to do a work inside him that he cannot accomplish himself. He admits to the depth of his human need, and reaches out to the only one who can meet that need.

What we learn from David, is that there is strength found in the decision to rely on God. We learn that even our weaknesses can be used for the greater good if they cause us to let go of our pride. If they prompt us to seek the healing that our heart so desperately needs.

At the end of the day, our hope comes from the transforming power of Christ. It comes from his ability to take the failures in our lives, and make them into turning points ; To right our wrongs and exchange beauty for ashes.

God can turn our stories of loss into testimonies of victory, if we will let him. If we only give him access to those fragile parts of our hearts; the parts we would rather hide. The parts we are afraid to surrender.

If you are struggling today, don’t throw in the towel.

Cry out to God. Let him see the real you, weaknesses and all. It really isn’t that hard. All you have to do is give him permission to do a work inside you; to do what only He can do. Trust him to redeem your shortcomings, and give you the comeback you have been waiting for.

Let him make you into a living testimony.

Let him create in you a clean heart.

 

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