A couple of years ago my siblings and I helped our parents spring-clean their house. They’re both in their eighties and it never ceased to amaze me how much stuff they managed to collect over a long life. The house became very “full”, especially when you’re not inclined to throw things out, as was the case with my parents.
They moved into a much smaller place: a two-bedroom apartment within a retirement home complex. Very different to a four bedroom home with big garden and double garage.
It wasn’t a spring-clean, rather a major overhaul with lots and lots of stuff discarded, given to charities and grateful others. There were a number of trips made to the waste disposal centre (or tip as we call it down under) as well as two large council pickups.
Spring-cleaning and major clean-ups require us to get our hands dirty. We have to get into the mess that has accumulated over the years. I’ve spent time in this season of Lent reflecting on repentance. Lent involves a spiritual clean-up or a re-tuning, and so I’ve found I’ve had to go into my mess. The one that’s in my heart.
I’m surprisingly okay with sifting through the mess. Certainly I wouldn’t suggest I’m enjoying it. It’s a process, not a one-time activity. Well, not in my case anyway. Long ingrained thought patterns can take a while to change.
Best of all, I’m in the muck with someone. And there’s no one else I want to be there with.
“We are not left alone in our repentance. Jesus Christ lives to make intercession for us.” (Matthew B Redmond – He Reads Truth)
I think one of the reasons we all identify with David is he reveals the state of his heart to us. The Psalms are like an autobiography of David’s heart journey. We see his highs, his very low lows and everything in between. As I mentioned in a previous post I’ve been working through Timothy and Kathy Keller’s devotional on the Psalms. They often spread a psalm over two to three days and it highlights how so many of David’s psalms start with him being in a bad way and then moving to outright praise and adoration. That’s a good lesson for us in itself: keep our eyes fixed on Jesus irrespective of our circumstances.
“When I kept silent about my sin, my body wasted away through my groaning all day long.
For day and night Your hand was heavy upon me; My vitality was drained away as with the fever heat of summer. Selah.
I acknowledged my sin to You, And my iniquity I did not hide; I said, “I will confess my transgressions to the Lord”; And You forgave the guilt of my sin. Selah.
Therefore, let everyone who is godly pray to You in a time when You may be found; Surely in a flood of great waters they will not reach him.
You are my hiding place; You preserve me from trouble; You surround me with songs of deliverance. Selah” (Ps 32: 3-7 NASB)
David suffered immensely as a result of keeping his sin from God. Once he’d asked for forgiveness, he was surrounded with “songs of deliverance”. He was able to experience peace.
Psalm 51, though, is his classic prayer of contrition, the scales having fallen from his eyes as a result of Nathan’s intervention. I expect many of us are very familiar with this psalm having heard it and perhaps spoken it many times in our lives.
“Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
Do not cast me away from Your presence And do not take Your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of Your salvation And sustain me with a willing spirit.” (Ps 51: 10-12 NASB)
I typically meditate on verse 10 above, however, this week verse 12 took on new meaning:
“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation”
Yes, I want more joy. Yes, I want my joy to be restored.
“God’s goal in repentance isn’t to beat you to death but to bring you to life.” (Steven Furtick)
Killing off sin opens the door to JOY! Removes the blinkers from our eyes so we can see Jesus in all His glory.
It surprised us how many wonderful items we discovered with mum as we cleared through the stuff dad and her had accumulated.
It’s like panning for gold. We have to sift through the sand to discover the nuggets of gold.
Dear Jesus, thank you for loving each and everyone of us, we SUMites and our spouses. We love you, we worship you. Holy Spirit reveal to us what is getting in the way of enjoying God in all His glory. That which our Lord Jesus is interceding for us this very hour. Thank you. We praise you, we adore you. In the name of the Lord Jesus Christ. Amen.
Note: photo courtesy of Bill Longshaw/FreeDigitalPhotos.net