Psalm 51:10 Create in me a clean heart, O God. Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Isaiah 1:15-18 When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims.
Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. Give up your evil ways. Learn to do good. Seek justice. Help the oppressed. Defend the cause of orphans. Fight for the rights of widows. “Come now, let’s settle this,” says the Lord. “Though your sins are like scarlet, I will make them as white as snow. Though they are red like crimson, I will make them as white as wool.
We are on the brink of Valentine’s Day, the day of love and red hearts filled with candy. It is one day that we set aside each year to celebrate love. The store shelves are filled with decorative heart-shaped boxes filled with many different types of confections. Personally, I do not like Valentine’s Day candy hearts. I don’t like biting into a chocolate treat only to find a gooey center. Those heart-shaped boxes are full of deceptive treats in my opinion! I want pure chocolate sweetness. Give me a big old Hershey’s candy bar. Yes, solid milk chocolate. I don’t need all of that other stuff. Just give me the chocolate.
God probably looks down on us in a similar way. God wants a pure, sweet relationship with each and every one of us. He wants our whole heart. He desires a one on one relationship, and He wants to be the Lord of our hearts. He doesn’t want all that other stuff in our hearts that is muddying up the water. No, my friends, our Father wants our whole, pure heart. He wants the real you and the real me without any added flavorings.
Yes, our God wants a real relationship with us, and He doesn’t candy coat it. Scripture provides us with examples of prayer, and we learn through the scripture that prayer begins with a very personal relationship with God. When we enter into a relationship with God, we slowly begin to understand how to live, our lives are slowly transformed, and He becomes our Father. He creates within us a clean heart, a pure heart, and a heart that beats for Him. What in the world does this mean? A clean, pure heart doesn’t come naturally. We are all born sinners. Our hearts are not pure. God has to create a clean, pure heart within us, and even more important, He continues to re-create a clean heart within us over and over because we can not maintain it under our own power. But we can ask Him to give us a clean heart, and He will!
We began a study on stewardship this week, and early in the study, we were reminded that to be good stewards, we must have a heart for Christ. We must attempt to live like Christ, and in doing so, we will exhibit the fruits of the Spirit. One issue we run into is the lack of a clean heart. Isaiah shares with us the importance of cleaning up our hearts. When you lift up your hands in prayer, I will not look. Though you offer many prayers, I will not listen, for your hands are covered with the blood of innocent victims. Wash yourselves and be clean! Get your sins out of my sight. God knows our hearts, and He knows our actions. We can pray to Him all day long, offering the same prayer over and over, but if our hearts are not clean, if there is sin in our lives, He is not listening. Sin separates us from a relationship with God, but it doesn’t have to. God is ready, willing, and able to forgive us for any and every sin in our lives, and better yet, He will also help us to stay away from sin if we only ask.
Let’s do a heart check this week. Does your heart look great on the outside like those beautiful red heart-shaped boxes filled with sweet treats? Does it look deceptively good like the Valentine’s chocolate that is pure chocolate on the outside, but the inside contains many surprises? Or does your heart look clean and pure before the Father? Is your heart pumping for the glory of God, or is your heart pumping for your own sinful self and pleasures? Check your heart today, and if it perhaps looks a little dirty, all you have to do is go to God and ask Him to clean it up. He will give you a clean heart. He will renew His Spirit in you. Won’t you call on Him today?