A new year to reflect and change
A new year is upon us and that presents a time to reflect on changes you would like to make in the coming year. Reflection and change are important if you want to grow as a human and grow in faith.
When King David had sinned, he eventually recognized and repented of his sin. When he confessed his sin there was forgiveness, but he didn’t stop there, he asked God to help him in the future. Psalm 51:10-12 says; “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.”
I like David’s prayer because it reminds me of the areas I would like to grow in my own life. First, David prays for a clean heart. A clean heart means to have pure thoughts and right motivations in every part of life, toward other people and before God. Next, he asks for a right spirit. What might that be? It means to have right intentions in all that we do, right in our worship of God and right in service to others.
The next request in our Psalm is directly connected to David’s sin; “Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” As a believer, whenever we sin we put a barrier between God and us, not that God abandons us, but, in sin, we have moved away from God. The Apostle John understood that even believers need to ask for forgiveness and repent when they sin. 1 John 1:8-9 says; “If we say we have no sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
John, writing to people of faith says; “We still sin and if you say you don’t you’re just fooling yourself.” It’s not an excuse for sin but a reality of serving God in a body of flesh. But John gives us some really good news saying; “If you honestly confess your sin, God forgives you.”
Psalm 51 concludes with a prayer to live right before God and other people. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” The result of living right is joy and a desire to have a willing spirit in all things. But did you notice what David prays for is all from God? It has nothing to do with having a tenacious spirit or being disciplined. It’s the joy of God’s salvation and it’s God who upholds him with a spirit willing to obey.
For the New Year, I would encourage every Jesus follower to avoid the standard New Year’s Resolutions to lose weight or spend more time with family, but to consider a new spirit to serve God because in that you find right relationships with others. For those without faith, I challenge you to investigate the life of Jesus where you can find God’s joy of salvation.
Pastor Rich Lammay of High Sierra Fellowship is a member of the Carson Valley Ministers’ Association.