Israel’s King David, had sinned greatly and it took a long time, but he finally turned back to God. In Psalm 51, he asked God for forgiveness and restoration. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” (Psalm 51:10-12)
God’s word says everyone has sinned and wandered from God, but Psalm 51 shows us how to come back to God. David’s prayer is simple, his heart is no longer set on evil, now he longs for the relationship he once had with God. Let’s consider a few key words from his prayer:
A clean heart.
The bible says; In Christ we have a new heart. 2 Corinthians 5:17 says; “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation. The old has passed away; behold, the new has come.” A broken and contrite heart is a repentant heart, and that’s the road to forgiveness and restoration.
A Right Spirit.
Means to be steady, consistent, enduring, and walking by faith. That’s a good daily prayer.
A Close Relationship.
“Cast me not away and take not your Holy Spirit”, is the cry to remain close to God. The bible has a great promise; “Come near to God and he will come near to you.” (James 4:8)
A right relationship with God results in joy. Not a temporal feeling but an inner peace, as biblical joy is not dependent on circumstances. But notice it’s the joy of “God’s salvation.” Jesus gave his command to love; to love God and to love others. That’s when Jesus said; “These things I have spoken to you, that my joy may be in you, and that your joy may be full.” (John 15:11) The joy of Christ is available as we walk in the ways of love. Even if we don’t feel joyful, you can have inner peace and that takes us to David’s final cry.
A willing spirit.
In other words; Lord, I set my will aside, that I might follow your will. Matthew 6:10 says to pray this way; “Your kingdom come; your will be done on earth as it is in heaven.” That’s laying aside our plans and submitting to the Lord’s plan. When we confess our sin and do it seeking the will of God that’s where we find joy.
The Apostle John wrote about walking in the light of Christ, and said; “If we say we’re without sin we deceive ourselves and make Him out to be a liar”. Then he gave believers an important principle; “If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9)
With a new year comes new beginnings and new opportunities to serve God. If you’re a follower of Jesus, living in the way of repentance is an important part of your faith. If you’re far from God, turn to him in honest prayer and like David, restoration, salvation and joy should result.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.