Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me.
One of the classic stories of our time is the strange case of Dr.Jekyll and Mr. Hyde. First published in 1886 by Robert Lewis Stevenson it captured the imagination of the people.
It tells the story of how an evil Mr. Hyde and a good Dr. Jekyll could coexist in the same person. This story is said to be the inspiration for stories that followed like the Incredible Hulk and Two-Faced Batman.
When Stevenson was asked where the inspiration for the story came from, he said;
"I found it in my nature"
Is it in our nature?
I do not know if Stevenson was a Christian or not. But all of us, believers and non-believers, struggle with good and evil. It is a choice we must make. The will of our Father or the will of our fallen nature.
This goes back to Genesis:
And I will put enmity
between you and the woman,
and between your offspring and hers;
he will crush your head,
and you will strike his heel.”
Enmity (which derives from an Anglo-French word meaning "enemy") suggests true hatred, either overt or concealed. The woman is Eve, her seed Adam, and the serpent is Satan.
God kept his promise so now by nature we are friends of this world and enemies of God.
Consequently it is obvious that a real miracle has to occur within us to turn the situation completely around. The miracle has to create a situation in our lives in which we become enemies of this world (Satan) and friends of God. Once it gets to that point in our lives then the battle, the spiritual conflict, the wrestling of the soul, becomes automatic. Not at full strength at first and not equal strength for everyone. And once this battle begins, it does not stop until we enter our eternal rest. This is a battle that is fought in our inner most parts. In the hidden recesses of our hearts.
"On the distant horizons of our innermost emotional lives, where we discover our inner evil and corruption"
Where our secret sins are, God shines his light. The battle ranges between the Holy Spirit and Satan over us. It is also a battle between our faith encouraged by the Holy Spirit and our wicked heart behind which Satan hunkers down.
This is a conflict not at your place of work. Not in the circles of people where you live and interact. Not even in your emotions. No, this conflict occurs in the most deeply hidden parts of you.
"Renew a steadfast spirit in my innermost parts"
Our focus must be on the Holy Spirit. He points us to all of God's riches, he tells us of the glory of Christ, and reminds us that we are heirs of Jesus. He whispers words of comfort, conviction, and courage. If we listen, he will help us think straight and point us beyond this world to healing, hope, and joy.
So I will rise and lift my head
For by His mercy my life was spared
The highest Name has set me free
Because of Jesus
My heart is clean