Keep Sin from Harboring in our Hearts.
God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Psalm 51:10
Most of us are familiar with this verse. It has been put to song and many Christians sing it as part of their worship . Many of us pray this, asking God to create a clean heart in us and to renew a right or steadfast spirit within us. Our desire is to have a pure heart that is pleasing to God. This allows for close fellowship with Him and we can be more useful for ministry. This passage was a Psalm of king David as a prayer of repentance and restoration after the prophet Nathan pointed out his sin towards Bathsheba.
I remember as a young boy watching a work crew demolish a building. They used a tall crane that swung a large wrecking ball made of steel to crash into the side of a building. They would repeatedly swing it back and forth to slam it into the exterior of the building.The strategy was to attack the building from the outside repeatedly until the concrete and steel structure would crumble and fall. Today, demolition crews use a different strategy. They use explosive charges in a series of timed detonations in order to implode if from the inside. This strategy attacks the frame and structure of the building in order to compromise the integrity and main supports in order to bring it crashing to the ground. This takes more time to set up, but the actual damage is done in a short amount of time. In the same way, allowing sin to linger in our hearts will cause us to compromise the integrity of a clean and pure heart and we can find our spiritual lives imploding on us. It may take a long time to let it set up, but the result can be very devastating in a short amount of time.
What are some ways we allow implosions to occur in our lives?
1. Allowing ourselves to be isolated. David sent his troops away to battle and remained alone in Jerusalem. He was idle without anything to do, strolling around on his rooftop when he noticed Bathsheba. Sin demands that we are alone without any fellowship or accountability. Who do you meet with on a regular basis in order to keep each other accountable? Sequoia trees are among the oldest and largest trees in the world and yet they don’t have a large tap root. They can grow to about 300 feet tall but only have a root system that is about 4 feet deep. Sequoias rarely grow alone and their roots are tied to one another. They rely on each other to stand firm. In the same way, we need to depend on each other to stand firm in our faith.
2. Not staying active, allowing idleness to creep into our lives. We need to stay active and keep our minds engaged in spiritual things. Our brain is an amazing tool that doesn’t need to completely shut down. It may appear that our brain switches off when we fall asleep, but the brain is far from being inactive. While we sleep, our brain cycles through 2 main types of patterns: rapid eye movement (REM) sleep and slow wave sleep. We typically begin with slow wave sleep at the beginning of the night and as the night progresses, we transition into REM sleep. During this REM sleep we often have vivid dreams, and our brain shows similar patterns of activity when we are awake. It also sifts through our thoughts from the day in order to clear out the unimportant things and repeats in order to store the important things. This is why we need to be sensitive to idleness and boredom. Philippians 4 instructs us to keep our minds engaged in spiritual things that are profitable and have eternal value. We read in verses 8-9, “Finally, brothers and sisters, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable—if there is any moral excellence and if there is anything praiseworthy—dwell on these things. Do what you have learned and received and heard from me, and seen in me, and the God of peace will be with you."
We need to recognize sin as sin, no matter how small it seems and not let it go unchecked. Confess it and not let it fester or get a foothold on our hearts.