In Psalm 51:10, the Psalmist cries out to God, Create in me a clean heart, Oh God! This is a prayer that resonates with those who seek to walk with God and remove the stain of our weaknesses and failures from that journey. The reality of such a prayer grows even more as we realize the significance and centrality of the heart to shaping and forming who we are. If we truly want to change, if we truly want to transform, we do not start by simply altering our activities and efforts. We begin by partnering with God to create, shape, and mold a clean and pure heart.
The old heart is corrupt.
It is bent toward self-will and inherently resistant to God. The work of Christ opens the door for us to have a new heart.
God guides us toward this destination of desiring to take hold of a clean and new heart throughout scripture. It is part of His promise, His purpose, and our destiny. God requires, desires, and empowers us to take hold of a new and clean heart because He knew that would equip us with the potential we were born to live up to.
Then I will give them a heart to know Me, that I am the LORD; and they shall be My people, and I will be their God, for they shall return to Me with their whole heart. Jeremiah 24:7 (NKJV)
They shall be My people, and I will be their God; 39 then I will give them one heart and one way, that they may fear Me forever, for the good of them and their children after them. 40 And I will make an everlasting covenant with them, that I will not turn away from doing them good; but I will put My fear in their hearts so that they will not depart from Me. Jeremiah 32:38-40 (NKJV)
I will give you a new heart and put a new spirit within you; I will take the heart of stone out of your flesh and give you a heart of flesh. 27 I will put My Spirit within you and cause you to walk in My statutes, and you will keep My judgments and do them. Ezekiel 36:26-27 (NKJV)
With a new heart, we can seek Him and find Him.
With a new heart, we can become trustworthy. With a new heart, the shape of our entire life (which flows from the heart) synchronizes to faith and the fear of God.
Does that mean we will always make the right decisions and do the right thing when we possess a new heart? No. There will still be mistakes. We will still stumble or simply make foolish decisions. But whereas Adam hid from God when he sinned, we run to God. Our new heart trusts Him. Our new heart longs for Him. Our new heart recognizes we are lost and worthless without Him! He is the beginning and the end! He is our hope and our source!
The creation of a new heart is given to us when we trust in Christ, but that is not the end of the journey – it is only the beginning! We then must begin building the quality of that new heart before God. We must fill it with correct values and priorities. We must guard it against wrong values and priorities.
Retraining the Heart
We must also guard the new heart against residual patterns and thinking systems of our past. Ultimately our heart must be retrained. Our heart has been made new, but our minds may still cling to old thinking systems, old habits, and old sinful ways.
And do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God. Romans 12:2 (NKJV)
Inside-Out vs. Outside-In
This world teaches us to think and train the mind from the outside-in. Experiences, personal history, emotions, things offered to us from the world outside ourselves come in and teach us to think one way or the other. That is how we become conformed to this world. The world is not supposed to have a defining effect on our hearts. Part of being made new, being born again, is renouncing this fleshly reality and embracing a higher reality from the Spirit of God.
It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. John 6:63 (NKJV)
That is not the correct shape of life. God designed us to live from the inside-out. Life starts its way in our heart and then works through the mind and out toward the body and into the world all around us. In the heart, God speaks to us and guides us, and it is our responsibility to make those words of His our experienced reality.
When we ask God to create a new heart in us, we are aligning to the very will of heaven. That is the first step in the partnership. The next step, and the journey of the Christian faith, is to reorient our life to the posture where the Word of God drives our heart, and our heart guides our life. Want to build from the inside-out, not from the outside-in.