“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10
If God were to drop in and take a long look into your heart today, what would He see? Would there be dark spaces full of dust and cobwebs where no light has shown for a long time? Would you feel embarrassed if He exposed them for what they are? Would you beg Him to avoid certain areas and encourage Him to look elsewhere instead? Would you throw something under the rug or into a closet so He won’t notice it? Perhaps your spiritual house is in such disorder you would politely ask Him to come back and visit another day. Maybe you have convinced yourself that tomorrow you can finally get to the cleaning you so desperately need to do. After all, if you prolong it any further, you’ll likely become ill.
When we first become Christians, we are cleansed by the blood of Jesus (1 John 1:7). Imagine how we must appear to God when He sees us soaked in sin! Fortunately, He has handed us all His special magic eraser! As Romans 10:9 says that confessing with our mouths that Jesus is Lord and believing in our hearts that God raised Him from the dead will cleanse us. He will wash away our filthy, stinky, dirty sin and makes us pure and clean. “Though your sins are as scarlet, they will be as white as snow; though they are red like crimson, they will be like wool” (Isaiah 1:18). The good news is that this cleansing is permanent! Our sins will be remembered no more. This is our first cleansing.
Our second cleansing is that of our minds. “Do not conform to the pattern of this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind. Then you will be able to test and approve what God’s will is—his good, pleasing and perfect will” (Romans 12:2). Most of us are familiar with the expression, “Garbage in, garbage out.” What is occupying your mind? Are you filling it with the things of God and protecting your mind from the enemy? He has a sneaky way of subtly corrupting our minds. For an example, read Genesis 3:1-24. Maybe it is time for you to get rid of the trash and start fresh. A new year is a great time declutter your mind!
What would God have us think about? The Bible makes says, “Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things” Philippians 4:8. In 2 Corinthians 10:4-5 we are instructed to take captive every thought to obey Christ. Titus 1:5 says our minds must stay pure. Colossians 3:16 tells us to let the Word of God dwell in us richly. In 1 Peter 1:13 we are urged to prepare our minds for action, be sober-minded and set our hope in Jesus Christ. Finally, Colossians 3:2 tells us to set our minds on God and not on the things on this world. The things we think most about will affect the condition of our hearts. Our minds need regular cleansing after being exposed daily to the things of this world.
Our third cleansing is that of our heart. First, ask God where your heart needs to be cleaned. “Search me, O God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting” Psalm 139:23-24. When God shows you the problem areas, you should ask Him how you can change. You must give God the key to your heart. He knows what needs to be done and the best way to do it. “Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and do not lean on your own understanding” Provers 3:5. We often think we know what is best for our lives, but God’s ways are higher than our ways. We should never harden our hearts (Proverbs 28:14). Our hearts should be humble (Matthew 11:29) and sincere (Hebrews 10:22). Our hearts are an important part of our well being. “Above all else, guard your heart, for it is the wellspring of life” Proverbs 4:23. Our hearts help keep our bodies in motion. Proverbs 14:3 says that a peaceful heart gives life to the body. Our hearts even reflect who we are (Proverbs 27:19). What does your heart say about you?
Finally, our bodies need cleansing. “Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies” 1 Corinthians 6:19-20. If the Holy Spirit is dwelling within us, He deserves to live in a place that looks at its best. “Therefore, I urge you, brothers and sisters, in view of God’s mercy, to offer your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and pleasing to God—this is your true and proper worship” (Romans 12:1). Our bodies belong to God and if we present them as a sacrifice, in the manner described above, it pleases God.
Every part of us is to be offered up to God. We need to give Him our mouths. “A good man brings good things out of the good stored up in his heart, and an evil man brings evil things out of the evil stored up in his heart. For the mouth speaks what the heart is full of” Luke 6:45. Our minds are connected to our hearts and our hearts are connected to our words and actions. “Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your strength and with all your mind” Luke 10:27. Our strength indicates that the things we do matter. Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, do your work heartily, as for the Lord rather than for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance. It is the Lord Christ whom you serve.” Are you doing things for the glory of God, or are you seeking praise and recognition from others? Be careful here, because pride can easily get the better of you. We are to do all things through Jesus Christ alone, never in our own strength!
Pray this Prayer: “Dear Lord, thank you cleansing me in the blood of Jesus Christ. Please help me to clean up my mind, my heart, and my body. Help me to honor you in all I say and do. Show me the areas that are dark and dirty. Shine your light upon them, expose them for what they are. Teach me how to make them clean and pure. Renew you steadfast spirit within me. Let your Holy Spirit find me to be an acceptable dwelling place where He can perform a mighty work in me, through me and around me in order to bring You praise, worship, glory, and great honor. You are worthy of our sacrifice. We commit our whole being completely to You, Lord. Amen.”