10 Create in me a clean heart, O God,And renew a steadfast spirit within me. — Psalm 51:10 NKJV
What is a clean heart, how do we get it and why is it important to be sure that we have clean hearts? An unclean heart is a heart that contains bitterness, hatred, deceit, lust, envy, covetousness and the list goes on and on to including anything that would cause us to sin. The opposite of that would be a heart that contains only love. It is impossible for us to clean our hearts. We need the Holy Spirit, who is love, to do that for us. We can make all the resolutions and follow all the self-help programs we can find, but in the end, without the Holy Spirit, we will still have unclean hearts. Those programs may remove the filth from the heart but they will leave it empty. An empty heart is what the evil spirits are searching for.
24 “When an evil spirit leaves a person, it goes into the desert, searching for rest. But when it finds none, it says, ‘I will return to the person I came from.’ 25 So it returns and finds that its former home is all swept and in order. 26 Then the spirit finds seven other spirits more evil than itself, and they all enter the person and live there. And so that person is worse off than before.”– Luke 11:24-26 NLT
Our hearts must be filled with love and that only comes from the Holy Spirit. Once we accept Jesus and His Spirit abides within us, He will keep our hearts clean, if we allow Him to do so. Clean hearts are necessary because it is “out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks”. It is also where our thoughts come from, so we must be sure that the source is clean or our thoughts, words and actions will be displeasing to God.
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” – Anonymous
33 I have told you all this so that you may have peace in me. Here on earth you will have many trials and sorrows. But take heart, because I have overcome the world.” – John 16:33
As Jesus spoke plainly to His disciples, they found it easier to understand the things He was telling them. Now they understood and believed that Jesus was the
Son of God. Now Jesus tells them that each one of them will abandon Him in His time of suffering. But He assures them that He will not be alone, even when they all leave Him. Jesus explains to them that they will have trials and sorrows in this world, but they can still have peace because He has overcome the world. We will have our times of trials as well. But we have someone now that the disciples didn’t have until later. When Jesus left, the Holy Spirit came to take His place. The Holy Spirit is not another god, He is the same God in a different form to perform a different function. We should not fear the trials and temptations that will come our way, because we have someone inside us who is more powerful than anything in the world.
4 But you belong to God, my dear children. You have already won a victory over those people, because the Spirit who lives in you is greater than the spirit who lives in the world.—1 John 4:4 (NLT)
How can we be called “over-comers” and “more than conquerors”, if we never have any problems to overcome or battles to win?
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
8 don’t harden your hearts as Israel did when they rebelled,
when they tested me in the wilderness. — Hebrews 3:8 NLT
We should always be obedient and have a teachable spirit. If we become stubborn and rebellious, God will not be able to use us in His plan and He will remove us from the position He has allowed us to hold, just as He removed Saul from being king of Israel.
For rebellion is as the sin of witchcraft, and stubbornness is as iniquity and idolatry. Because thou hast rejected the word of the Lord, He hath also rejected thee from being king.”–1 Samuel 15:23 (KJ21)
God sees an unteachable spirit as stubborn and rebellious and compares it to sin and idolatry. We must allow God to replace our stubborn, straying hearts of stone with hearts of teachable flesh and He will write His name upon those hearts of flesh. Then He will be our God and we will be His people. Then we will learn His ways and walk with Him into that land of rest.
Ezekiel 36:25-27 NLT
“The Gospel has come to you because it’s on its way to someone else.” -Anonymous
9 “The human heart is the most deceitful of all things, and desperately wicked.
Who really knows how bad it is? — Jeremiah 17:9 NLT
We are all very familiar with this verse from Jeremiah. Since this verse is true and God says that He will give us the desires of our hearts, how do we reconcile the two verses? As is usual, there are very few verses in the Bible that stand alone and these verses are examples of this. The verse from Jeremiah is describing the heart that we are born with. Those hearts belong to the master of sin and only desire those things that please the flesh. So, to reconcile these verses, we need to have a change of heart. We find a clue to God’s solution to the enigma in a passage in Ezekiel. This is an Old Testament verse that points to a future event.
26 And I will give you a new heart, and I will put a new spirit in you. I will take out your stony, stubborn heart and give you a tender, responsive heart. 27 And I will put my Spirit in you so that you will follow my decrees and be careful to obey my regulations. — Ezekiel 36:26, 27 NLT
Before Jesus died, He made a promise to us to send a Comforter and a guide to lead us into all truth. After He arose and ascended, He sent us His Spirit as promised in Ezekiel and by Jesus Himself. Once we receive Jesus as our Savior and Lord, we receive the Holy Spirit into our hearts. It is at that point, that the reformation of the heart begins. We now bow to a new master, Jesus Christ. Our heart is changed so that the desires of our hearts are now pleasing to God. First, He gives us a new heart with new desires and then He can give us what our hearts desire. The heart is new, but the reformation does not come overnight. It takes a lifetime of mortifying the flesh and when we come to the end of our life as a human, we will still be fighting that battle.
18 The Lord is near to all who call on him, to all who call on him in truth.
19 He fulfills the desires of those who fear him; he hears their cry and saves them. — Psalm 145:18, 19 NIV
Psalm 145 NIV
Have you ever felt frustrated and exasperated because you had prayed and prayed about something and it seemed as if God didn’t hear or worse yet, that He didn’t care? Have you ever just wanted to scream at God and tell Him to answer you right now?
David felt that very same thing when he wrote Psalm 143.
God is big enough to handle our frustrations with Him and He loves us enough to allow us to be frustrated. We aren’t the first of His kids to throw a temper tantrum. I am not saying that He likes it, but He can deal with it and still love us. He is always there to carry us through it. Again, not because of our faithfulness but because of His faithfulness. That is why David could write Psalm 143 and Psalm 145.
9 However, as it is written: “What no eye has seen, what no ear has heard, and what no human mind has conceived”— the things God has prepared for those who love him— 10 these are the things God has revealed to us by his Spirit. The Spirit searches all things, even the deep things of God. 11 For who knows a person’s thoughts except their own spirit within them? In the same way no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.–1 Cor. 2:9-11 NIV
God is waiting to show you the Way.
God has prepared a place for us that no human can conceive or even imagine. He has revealed a part of that to us through His word, Our God is very organized, he has a plan and a time for everything in the plan to happen. God’s Holy Spirit is indwelling each of us. He (Holy Spirit) has the ability to search and know God’s thoughts. That is why we must always involve the Holy Spirit in our prayer life.
26 In the same way, the Spirit helps us in our weakness. We do not know what we ought to pray for, but the Spirit himself intercedes for us through wordless groans. 27 And he who searches our hearts knows the mind of the Spirit, because the Spirit intercedes for God’s people in accordance with the will of God.—Romans 8:26-27 NIV
No matter how we may stumble and stutter through our prayers, the Holy Spirit cleans them up and presents them to God. Even better, while all this is going on, Jesus is standing at the right hand of God interceding for us. With the whole Trinity involved, how could our prayers not be answered? A great prayer is the one Peter prayed while he was walking on the water. “Save me”. You don’t need great words or lots of words to pray, you just need to be humble and sincere.
We are all quite familiar with Romans 8:28 which says:
28 And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.
We tend to focus on the first part of the verse, but the important part is the last four words of the verse; according to his purpose
Our prayers do not change God’s plan for us, they are designed to get us in line with His plan.