10 God, create a clean heart for me and renew a steadfast spirit within me. 11 Do not banish me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. 12 Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit. 13 Then I will teach the rebellious your ways, and sinners will return to you. — Psalm 51:10-13
Strength in Humility
by Andy Engberg
It’s easy to imagine David leaping from mountain top to mountain top as a victorious conquering king. He was the mighty giant slayer, a hero to his people. What makes David so compelling are not the stories of his military might or his kingship, but rather how he continued to seek the Lord even in his brokenness.
Most importantly, however, he was a man after God’s own heart. This does not mean he was a man without flaw. In fact, when he wrote this Psalm he was in a very dark place. He had committed adultery with Bathsheba and as a result she became pregnant. As if that was not bad enough, he then orchestrated the death of her husband Uriah. Although he had many mountain top moments which are well documented, David was not without those valley moments.
In verse 10 he pleads with God, “Create in me a pure heart; renew a steadfast spirit within me.” It is important to remember that creation is not just limited to the first chapters of Genesis. The creation narrative runs throughout the Bible. Several times the New Testament mentions a new creation. Second Corinthians 5:17 says, “Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, he is a new creation.” In Christ, we are birthed into God’s kingdom. No matter what mistakes we have made, there is hope in the person of Jesus.
Being a man after God’s own heart is not about following a set of rules. Paul warns us in Galatians 2:21, “I do not set aside the grace of God, for if righteousness comes through the law, then Christ died for nothing.” There is nothing that can compare to the joy of knowing where our salvation lies. David says in verse 12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation.” He knew he had messed up, and he desperately wanted to get back to that right relationship with God. Then he asked for “a willing spirit to sustain me.” David understood that joy comes from being near to God, and it is a joy nothing else can match.
David took a posture of humility and repentance before the Lord. In our culture, we tend to paint humility and repentance as signs of weakness. Actually, it takes strength to admit your sins. Asking for forgiveness is not easy for anyone. Unrepentant sin will not only rob you of your joy, but it will also limit your ability to serve His kingdom. If you have unrepentant sin in your life, repent. God is full of grace and mercy and will forgive you. No matter what sins you have committed, God can and will bring renewal and victory. It is up to us to humble ourselves and acknowledge our sins before him.
- Your past sins do not define who you are—God does. We should acknowledge Him as the almighty creator of the universe.
- What are you asking God for today? Are you praying that God would better serve you—or that God would better equip you to serve Him? David asked for a pure heart and a steadfast spirit in a moment of humility. I believe God responded accordingly.
- Asking the world who you are is asking to be lied to. As Christians, we should be finding our identity in Christ. If that is something you are struggling with, take your concern to God. He will reveal Himself to those who seek Him (Luke 11:9-10).
Unless otherwise noted, all Scripture quotations are taken from the Christian Standard Bible®, Copyright © 2017 by Holman Bible Publishers. Used by permission. Christian Standard Bible® and CSB® are federally registered trademarks of Holman Bible Publishers.