Tuesday, June 21, 2016

Change Me

Daily Gratitude Year 4-Day 173: Today, I am grateful for the simple, powerful prayer: "Change me." 

This gratitude thought took me straight to David's prayer in Psalm 51:

Create in me a clean heart, O God,
    and renew a right[b] spirit within me. Psalm 51:10

The (b) footnote offers "steadfast" as an alternative to the word "right". A word that means both would be a great word. Sometimes, our English language fails to articulate the exact meaning. If we combine "right" and "steadfast", what a marvelous image this creates.  "Right"...as it was intended to be. Steadfast... solid and unshakable. 

The next word "spirit" as in "breath, mind and spirit". The Hebrew and Greek reference the wind as "the blast of God"...and to my soul's delight..."breath".

So, in this verse, David is praying for a heart washing...and in darkest moment he cries out for God to restore his sin damaged soul breath. 

It is believed this is a psalm David wrote after he sinned with Bathsheba... not only coveting another man's wife, but taking her intimately as his own and then sending her husband, his faithful soldier into battle with the full intention of of getting him killed.  

King David...known for his heart for God...had marched right out of step with the Master and dove deep sin, and landed himself in the deepest of depressions. He was a mess! But, the story does not end there.  Not with our Father's redeeming love. 

God sends the prophet Nathan to confront and convict David. I wonder if David thought, "Really, Lord? Couldn't we have kept that between us?"  But, David's soul needed the release of confession. His time "off path" was short, but he did some major soul damage in that season. He needed a big fix of the Lord's grace. Not so he could go on sinning...but that he could renewed, restored and begin again. 

Einstein defined insanity as "doing the same thing over and over, expecting different results".

God recognizes a repentant heart as the one that confesses a sin and makes a sincere change. it is so easy to enter into the "Sin. Cleanse. Repeat." cycle. We all have sins we repeat without intention in our human weakness.  This is where we can find joy that "although man may judge the outer appearances, the Lord judges the heart.". 

"For the Lord sees not as man sees: man looks on the outward appearance, but the Lord looks on the heart.” - Samuel 16:17b

If we continue to repeat it over and over...confessing it in-between...are we truly repentant?  Some hope and plan to slide into heaven's home plate with a last minute nutshell "Sorry for everything I've ever done wrong. Forgive me. Amen."...and they hope that is good enough. 

I am not that brave. My list of transgressions is too long. I do not know the circumstances of my last breath, but the Bible is clear that knowledge requires action. True belief requires change. A very human trait is resistance to change. We are called to transform into creatures of courage bathed in His grace. 

Paul urges us to "present our bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable" and noting that "it makes perfect sense" to make that offering. It is reasonable. It is the right thing to do. It is worship. 

I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. - Romans 12:1

David and Saul/Paul knew about change and the life changing, soul restoring power God's forgiveness. They knew the importance of walking in step with the Master. 

They found peace. Real peace. They found love. True love. They found joy... the joy of a relationship... a soul breath restored. They found power that had nothing to do with wealth, position or fame. They discovered the power and the rest found in calling on the name of the Lord. 

Change me, Lord. Restore my soul breath. -Amen

Today, I am grateful for the simple, powerful prayer: "Change me." 

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