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
15 But now you must be holy in everything you do, just as God who chose you is holy. 16 For the Scriptures say, “You must be holy because I am holy.”–1 Peter 1:15,16 (NLT)
22 You were taught to put away your former way of life, your old self, corrupt and deluded by its lusts, 23 and to be renewed in the spirit of your minds, 24 and to clothe yourselves with the new self, created according to the likeness of God in true righteousness and holiness.–Eph. 4:22-24 (NLT)
When we accept Jesus as our Lord and Savior, His Holy Spirit sets up a residence in our hearts. God has sent His Spirit to “lead us into all truth”. There are some things (and those things are different for all of us) from which we are immediately delivered. We could make a long list of those things: smoking, drinking, overeating, gossiping, lying, bitterness, hatred and we could go on and on. And those instant deliveries should encourage us to continue on in the faith. But none of us are instantly delivered from all our erroneous ways and habits. It is a daily process of being led by God’s Spirit and learning more of the truth. As we study God’s Word, we find more things that we need to allow God to change so that we can be transformed into His image. We all still sin, but we have to stay on guard and not let satan bring us down with guilt. We must repent. That means more than turning away from the sin, it means we turn to something else. Each time we empty a spot in our heart, we must allow God’s Spirit to fill it with something new. Pay close attention to Paul’s instructions in verse 24, “clothe yourself with the new self”. When we put off the old, we should be careful to put on the “new”. The “new” will guard us against the fiery darts of our enemy.
6 But now we have been released from the Law, having died to that by which we were bound, so that we serve in newness of the Spirit and not in oldness of the letter.—Romans 7:6 NASB