Inside Out Cleansing
Psa. 51:6 You desire truth in the inward being;
therefore teach me wisdom in my secret heart.
7 Purge me with hyssop, and I shall be clean;
wash me, and I shall be whiter than snow.
8 Let me hear joy and gladness;
let the bones that you have crushed rejoice.
9 Hide your face from my sins,
and blot out all my iniquities.
Psa. 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
11 Do not cast me away from your presence,
and do not take your holy spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and sustain in me a willing spirit.
David had sinned and was devastated by his own behavior. Something within him had driven him to such self-centered behaviors that he was willing to manipulate circumstances to his own benefit. Now, a man was dead and this other man’s wife was pregnant with King David’s child. Overcome with guilt and conviction David realized he desperately needed help from God.
This was not an outward stain that was easily washed away, but it had come from his heart and now he knew that he needed to be cleansed from the inside out. Internal cleansing is not something that one can do themselves, but requires God’s work to be done on the heart. The spiritual surgeon works to remove the adultery, theft, lying, sexual misconduct and evil thoughts which may be found in the heart. The result is a clean heart, which has been cleansed by the work and presence of the Holy Spirit. This is the sanctified heart, the one which has been cleansed from the inside out.
We are in desperate need of awareness of our sins. David was participating in behaviors which were devastating to his life and the lives of others. The sad part was that he had wandered down a path which led him further and further from God. It didn’t happen all at once, but little by little until he didn’t realize how far he had gone. That is, until the prophet appeared and confronted him with his sin. In that moment he realized that this was bigger than anything he had ever imagined. There was nothing in his own power that could remove the stain of this sin. No amount of good works would fix this!
No amount of good works can fix what we have done in our lives. We can try to look good on the outside but we are in desperate need of God’s cleansing from the inside. It is our heart which drives us and when the motivations of our heart are not directed toward God, the result will be self-centered behavior. Just like David, we need God’s work to cleanse us from the inside out. This is the sanctifying work of God’s Holy Spirit. As much as we would like to believe that we can cover up the things that we have done, or determine in our own minds that we will now do right, it just won’t work that way. We need to have spiritual heart surgery done to create in us a clean heart. It’s when the heart has been cleansed that our behaviors change — because our motivations have changed!
When the heart is cleansed then the Holy Spirit is within us and the result is that we then have a right spirit. This is God’s spirit that leads and directs our lives — and continually moves us from sin into participation in God’s kingdom business. We are to be participants with God, retaining a willing spirit, in all that we do.
There is no soap strong enough to clean up what comes from a heart that is not focused on God. We cannot fix this ourselves but we must humble ourselves before God and allow the Holy Spirit to work. To have a clean heart is to submit ourselves to the sanctifying work of God’s Holy Spirit. This is the cleansing that we all need, from the inside out.
Lord, please help me to walk in the heart filled presence of your Spirit today. Amen.