04 November, 2015
Ask God to Be Your Strength
King David said in Psalms 51:19-12:
“Make in me a pure heart, O God, and make again a steadfast spirit within me. ……and give to me a willing spirit…”
David was the King of Israel. Not only that, he was a godly man who wrote a good portion of the songs recorded in the book of Psalms. The Bible declared that David was a "man after God's own heart." But David was also human, full of failure and shortcomings. One of the things I love about the Bible is that it is not "sanitized." It's all there... the good, the bad and the ugly. The story leading up to Psalm 51 is one of the more ugly moments recorded in the Bible, but it shows how we can return to God and find mercy.
David had sinned. I mean... REALLY sinned. He'd lusted after another man's wife, slept with her and gotten her pregnant, tried to cover up what happened with lies and manipulation. When that did not work, the end result was David ordered that things happen on the battlefield so that the man was killed in war. In essence, David was guilty of murder.
God sent His prophet to basically tell David that He (God) had seen everything that had happened and He was not happy with David. Only then did David admit his sin and ask for God's forgiveness. Psalm 51 is written about David's prayer to God after this confrontation with the prophet.
David confesses his sin to God and asks for forgiveness. And then he asks God to make in him a pure heart and a steady faithful spirit. David asks that God give him a willing spirit.
God did forgive David, but He told David that some bad things would be coming his way in the future because of the sin he did. And THIS is what I wanted to write about just briefly... Yes... God will forgive us of our sin, but there will ALWAYS be consequences to our sin. In other words, there will be things that happen as a result of our actions and choices. Ironically, Newton's Third Law of Physics states that "For every action, there is an equal and opposite reaction." This is true in this regard as well. When we do something... there is a reaction. And when it comes to spiritual matters, even though God forgives, the fact is that the things that we do and choices that we make will still produce a reaction that WILL occur. When we sin, that sin causes (or sets in motion) other things to happen.
If a woman gets pregnant, she cannot get "un-pregnant." If you murder someone you cannot bring that person back. If you commit a crime, even if God forgives you, there is still punishment that comes due to laws in the land. At times our sin hurts people and they are angry and/or don't trust us. Just because God forgive you does not mean that person's mistrust for you or anger toward you ceases. God does not wipe all of that away just because He forgives you. I have often counseled with those who have had an affair, confessed that before God and their spouse and then been just blown away because the spouse did not forgive as easily as God did. I often have to tell people that there are certain consequences for what they have done, and just because God forgives does not mean that your spouse will. I mean, we hope they eventually can and that a marriage can be salvaged... but that is NOT always the case.
The purpose of my writing all this is simply to say this: All of us have our temptations, weaknesses and problems with sin and doing wrong. This is part of our human nature. And yes... we can pray like David, confess our sin and ask God to make in us a clean heart and that He would make our spirits to be steady and faithful. And God's Word tells us that if we confess our sin that He is faithful and just to forgive us our sin and to cleanse us of all unrighteousness. For that... I say "Thank you Jesus!"
But for many, that promise leads some people to think it is OK to go out and continue to sin because God, who is rich in forgiveness and mercy will forgive them. The problem is... these people fail to consider that there is always a consequence for sin. Always. And they are stunned when they find themselves in legal trouble, or they come home and find the wife packed up and gone. Or they are angry at others who no longer have any trust in them. They blame God when they cannot pay their bills when they drank their money away or spent it foolishly rather than buying food for their family. We would do well to think before we sin, that not only does our sin cause a separation between us and God, the cause and effect of sin can destroy our lives. We can be forgiven and lose everything.
So much of the time we go about our day we never pray and ask God for his strength to keep us that day from wrong and for strength to do right. We just think we can go through the day, make decisions, do our work and never think about God until the end of the day and then ask Him to forgive us for the sins we committed that day. That's NOT how God operates.
God is willing to come near to those who call and invite Him to come near to them. God wants to make us strong... strong enough to overcome sin. But He comes to those who want Him.
It is important for us to see our need and weakness so that we will call on God and will not try to live life in our own strength. Most of the time David obeyed God and tried to do what was right. Then one day he let temptation draw him deeper and deeper into sinful lust, thinking, planning and then putting into action the fruit of his sinful thinking. My point is, it can happen to any of us, if we do not guard our hearts, and we will find ourselves wondering, "How did I ever come to this place?"
Thankfully, David saw that he needed God’s forgiveness and He needed God’s strength to stay on the right path.
So many times, when we sin we want to punish ourselves. We feel such shame that we do not even want to come to God and admit what we have done. We feel we are too bad for God to forgive us. David shows us how God is like a loving Father who is just waiting for us to confess our sin. He is waiting and wanting to forgive us. But it is up to us to make that move.
God is wanting for us to not only confess our sin, but for us to invite Him to be our strength so we can live in a right way and not fall into sin again. We can learn from David’s example. When we sin, turn to God right away and ask for forgiveness and ask God to help us to stay strong and to stay away from doing sin again and again.