“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. Then I will teach transgressors Your ways, And sinners shall be converted to You. Deliver me from the guilt of bloodshed, O God, The God of my salvation, And my tongue shall sing aloud of Your righteousness. O Lord, open my lips, And my mouth shall show forth Your praise. For You do not desire sacrifice, or else I would give it; You do not delight in burnt offering. The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, A broken and a contrite heart— These, O God, You will not despise.”
Psalms 51:10-17 NKJV
Mortality is a battle. We awaken each day, make every effort to get through all that we have to do, try our best to be good, but inevitably we fail. Something happens that casts the impurity of sin into the day. In the worst of times, it is all down hill from there. If my life were a house, the pipes would be leaky, and my floors would creak.
I remember life in the flesh, as I tried to keep a balance sheet in the back of my mind of all the good and bad things I did. My target was virtue, as I desired to have more good than bad. I never considered the root cause of my bad behavior, as I was focused only on the actions.
When I became a Christian, follower of Christ, I began to understand that the root cause of sin, what I used to call bad behavior, was actually my heart. Mine was particularly wicked, in that I actively deceived myself into thinking I was good.
““The heart is deceitful above all things, And desperately wicked; Who can know it? I, the Lord, search the heart, I test the mind, Even to give every man according to his ways, According to the fruit of his doings.”
Jeremiah 17:9-10 NKJV
As the Holy Spirit began working in me, there was a gutting of sorts, like one would do to an old house. God was taking a sledge to the cracked plaster of my insides, clearing everything to the studs. My life was messy then, as His work consumed my life. He was creating in me a new heart.
Around that time I began to dwell a lot in Psalm 51, as I had many strongholds, areas of hard packed sin, that God swung the hammer at hard. My fleshly spirit was in active rebellion at times, as it sought to rise against the hammer, trying to protect the sin that was dear.
God just swung harder.
“being confident of this very thing, that He who has begun a good work in you will complete it until the day of Jesus Christ;”
Philippians 1:6 NKJV
In the beginning of the gutting, I cried out to God, wanting desperately to stop the destruction. So many things that I had held dear were falling under the hammer of the Lord, and I felt like much of who I thought I was, fell away. In truth, that is exactly what was happening. He was chiseling away the things that were not pleasing to Him.
In the aftermath of each trial, I was left surely broken and contrite. At first I sought to do good things, to serve regardless of whether I wanted to or not. Anything to show God that I had changed. In a real sense I was dragging out that old balance sheet, this time performing for the Lord. He did not desire my sacrifices, and He knew that work still needed to be done.
I was trying to appear worthy, though I was worthless. The breakage was thorough, as the Lord hammered away. Even now when I hear how “great” I am in praying for people, it is as finger nails on the chalk board, because I remember who I was before Jesus.
I thought I was serving, bringing great and worthy sacrifices, but in reality I was dumping garbage at the feet of the Lord. My best work, done from obligation and not worship were worthless.
“But we are all like an unclean thing, And all our righteousnesses are like filthy rags; We all fade as a leaf, And our iniquities, like the wind, Have taken us away.”
Isaiah 64:6 NKJV
Still the Lord swung. After many trials, God has transformed me, having gutted my interior, and taking out the walls that allowed me to hide my sin. Of course, nothing is hidden from the Lord. There is a newness now, fresh drywall, spackled and painted, and there is so much light!
Brothers and sisters, let us invite the Lord in to flip our lives, to gut us to the studs, that we be made new. Remember, that when the Lord brings trial, He does so for His purposes. Many of the things I have endured will have their purposes revealed in eternity. In the meantime, I trust the Lord, and I am learning to see His work as I view life through the Holy Spirit and not my eyes of flesh.
“For I consider that the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”
Romans 8:18 NKJV
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