God Wants Your Heart
Before any great work of God in the history of the church, there has been genuine confession and repentance. Before the Lord works, he finds a heart that is broken and contrite before him. Repentance cultivates the soil of our hearts. Only repentance can produce the beauty that we so long to see in the fruit of our lives. Repentance throws pride in the garbage and ushers in a brokenness that is irresistible to the Holy Spirit. Repentance prepares the heart to be cleansed.
Repentance is not guilt and shame, it is the call to be freed from guilt and shame into the joy that the Lord has for us.
Repentance is not guilt and shame, it is the call to be freed from guilt and shame into the joy that the Lord has for us. To know God’s joy and His freedom, His love and power, the people of God must understand the power, the beauty and the blessing of the call to repentance. The heart that is cleansed is the heart that knows joy.
Psalm 51 and the Root of Joylessness
In Psalm 51, we see a picture of David repenting before the Lord. David has sinned against others but pinpoints his main problem: he has sinned against God. That’s the root of the problem. We want the fruit of repentance, but too often we have not repented the root of our sin—we need a clean heart. The path back to a fervent love for God always starts with the heart.
There's only one who can change the heart—only God. David knows his sins are against God, and so he confesses them wholly and honestly.
David understands this. He cries out in verse 10, "Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me." As David knows this, who alone can take a heart of stone and cause it to become a heart of flesh? Who can change the leper's spots and melt the heart of stone? Who can take a wretched heart of sin and cause it to become a heart of righteousness? There's only one who can change the heart—only God. David knows his sins are against God, and so he confesses them wholly and honestly.
David asks God to purge him with hyssop. The hyssop was used for the ceremonial cleansing of lepers. Just as the priest would sprinkle lepers with hyssop and declare them to be clean, David asks God, “Purge me; declare me clean.”
Have you been there? Do you hate your sin? Are you sick of your sin? Do you see sin robbing you of your ability to love, your ability to serve faithfully, or your ability to honor God in every corner of your life? You need to be cleaned.
The Promise of Repentance
These days, we are so full of rationalization and excuses. Jesus Christ did not shed his blood for our excuses. He shed his blood to cleanse us from our sin. What excuses need to stop in your life? What honest, full repentance and authenticity before God needs to start today? Learn from David: his authenticity, the genuineness of his plea, his sincerity and honesty. David doesn’t say, “I’m great, so save me.” He says, “I’m a sinner, so cleanse me.”
Don’t settle for a few drops of God’s work in your life when he wants a fire hose.
Our hearts can be like a dirty, clogged drain when we refuse to repent. The power just can’t get through. We quench the Spirit. We block God’s work in our lives. If we refuse to repent, God’s power in our lives is not going to flow as intended. How do we get rid of sin? Confession and repentance. Suddenly, that clogged drain opens up and the power of God is released through our lives. Don’t settle for a few drops of God’s work in your life when he wants a fire hose. The joy and gladness of God is available to us, and the power of God is possible in our lives. That is the beauty and promise of repentance. We are free to repent, because God promises us joy, restoration and His power.