Here is the revelation that will shape my life today…
Lord God, unlock my heart, unlock my lips, and I will overcome with my joyous praise! For the source of your pleasure is not in my performance or the sacrifices I might offer to you. The fountain of your pleasure is found in the sacrifice of my shattered heart before you. You will not despise my tenderness as I humbly bow down at your feet.
King David writes this Psalm having just been exposed for adultery and murder. We all know what it is to have behaved badly, even really, really badly. We have all felt the sting of our conscience and the accusers condemning voice as it rings its “disqualify him” mantra. We know what it is to fear exposure and shame.
Our sin, our stuff ups, our ‘I’m not being who we want to be’ times, impact us. If you are alive you know you are not immune from walking in sin and then walking it out on others. You may even hate what you do but seem unable to side step it. You see its consequences and presence all over the footpath of your life, and you try the blame and blind cover up stories, knowing full well it does nothing to remove the stain and its influence. You hear the “stop it” pointing finger, often your own, and you may even exercise your energy of change – but yet I stride on unswervingly.
While the Christian life is often interpreted as a journey away from sin, it is better understood as a journey into sin. For it is only in the awareness and embracing of my sin, do I engage in the journey of healing, repentance, restoration and freedom. Life with God is a constant engagement with him and my sin leaning into Him for heaing.
Here we see David, a broken man, who knows the key to dealing with personal sin. He is disgusted by his sin but he knows he cannot try harder, nor pay the price. He knows that disqualification is not the answer, nor ‘Hail Mary’s’, nor overwhelming guilt, nor constant work. It’s not ‘stop it and never do it again’. Instead it is a desperate cry to The King of Kings, The King he has sinned against, that He would “unlock my heart, unlock my lips, and I will overcome with Joyous praise!”. The answer to our personal sin problem lies in transparency and praise. Praise in the fact that sin, no matter how disgusting, is overcome through the forgiveness of Jesus alone. Praise in righteousness that is found in Jesus alone and not in my goodness, my worth or my merit. It’s not forced praise, it’s ‘joyous praise’. It’s praise that celebrates, it’s praise that claims victory, it’s praise that restores me to my place in Christ, my place of complete rightness with God.
God takes the richest pleasure in this heartfelt praise that restores me intimately to him amidst my sin. Nothing brings a smile to my Father’s face like his rebellious kids, covered in their mud, climbing onto his lap, covered by the complete assuredness that they are welcome and loved. He hates it when we don’t come in our dirty clothes. He hates it when we try and wash ourselves before we come. Self washing is like putting clothes in the drier. The washing I need only comes through the unearned, unmerited, undeserved forgiveness of Jesus.
Those who know Him, know they fear no rejection for He will “not despise my tenderness as I humbly bow down at [His] feet”. And so, humble and dirty, those who commit adultery and murder, they come and find an embrace that heals and sets their feet on a new path motivated by love.
So, I will live not frantically afraid of my sin being exposed, desperate in my attempts to cover up, but with a readiness and humility to embrace it. I will run muddy to Him who cleans and restores, the one who smiles upon me, who loves me.
What else do I need when I stink than someone who accepts my stench and cleans me up?
Thank you David for revealing the magnificence of God and showing me the way to deal with my stuff! In a world that condemns and disqualifies, I am free to respond to my sin in joyous praise. Thank you that I can walk toward you shame free and with confident humility, assured that I will be met with your smile and an outpouring of your love.
Tell me, is there a better story for life? I am blessed, i can live accepted and loved in my sinfulness while all the while invited and enabled to walk clean.
Spend some time in meditation. Humbly and confidently embrace your sin stuff. Silence the voices of guilt, shame and condemnation with praises of his forgiveness and love. Then in His embrace allow healing and freedom to come.