Repentance Starts in Your Heart (Part 2)
By Dale Porter
In my previous blog article, I stressed Psalm 51 takes a look at the real enemy that lives within
every believer in Christ. That enemy is you as a sinner. Circumstances, people or God are not the real
problem in life. It is you!!! And you need to be rescued from yourself.
Psalm 51:17 tells you: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O
God, you will not despise.” David humbles himself over his sin. He repents over his sinful desires which
control him inside his heart. What you and I see in Psalm 51’s words is a reflection of true Biblical
change that takes place in the inner man.
My last article gave some ways David and you can reflect true Biblical repentance and change in
your lives. Genuine repentance and change comes to you and David when: you deal with the unholy
trinity of sin, you confess your hidden sin and you embrace God as just and holy.
Now, Psalm 51 has a lot to say about how repentance and change are voiced in David’s words.
There are six more ways you can know true repentance has taken root in your life.
True repentance over sin also comes to grips with God’s wisdom. In other words, you see God
as wise in how you live before Him. Verse six says: “you teach me wisdom in the secret heart.” This
statement is significant, because David is calling and realizing his sin to be foolishness. Think about it.
Your God who created the world knows how your world can best operate. As a good, kind, wise and
loving God, he will not withhold any truly good thing from you. Do you foolishly see and want the
creature (things or people) to give you more pleasure than the Creator (Romans 1:21-25). Should you
not thank God for knowing and declaring in His Word what is best for you to think and do in this world?
Another way genuine repentance is seen and heard in your life when you accept joyfully sin’s
consequences. David declares in verse 8b: “Let the bones that you have broken rejoice.” Does that
sound strange? Like me, you may not get overly joyful when facing the consequences of your sin.
However, if you do not take the easy way out, try to get quick relief or run from your situation, but see
what God is up to. You like David can see peaceful fruit of righteousness coming from God’s discipline
(Hebrews 12:11). You learn to keep God’s Word and obey Him (Psalm 119:67). You are reminded not to
go back to the sin’s vomit (Proverbs 26:11). You see how God uses uncomfortable grace to have you
return to Him where ultimate joy lies for your life (Amos 4:6-13). You will begin to see what you “lack”
in your spiritual growth (James 1:4). Then you will find how God is transforming you amid hard
David proclaims in Psalm 51:11: “Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy
Spirit from me.” From this verse, genuine repentance takes root in your life when you desperately want
the Spirit’s presence and power. David was one of the few in the Old Testament to have the ongoing
presence and power of the Holy Spirit in his life. Remember this is before the Holy Spirit indwelling
every believer in Christ. Unlike the Old Testament saint, all of us as believers in Christ have the Holy
Spirit indwelling us. David appeals to God for the Holy Spirit’s presence and power not to depart from
his life. Following David’s confession of sin, we see God forgiving him and restoring His power and
presence to David’s life. What can you learn from this? Well, if you as a believer in Christ sin against
God with sinful anger, pride or unresolved conflicts; you will not lose the Holy Spirit’s indwelling in your
life. But what will be taken away from you is God’s power for your life, because Satan will have gotten a
foothold into your life. (Ephesians 4:26-27, James 4:1-10).
True repentance is also heard Psalm 52:12, “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and
uphold me with a willing spirit.” How do you receive back from God the joy of your salvation? David
links it to a “willing spirit.” In other words, your will is lined up with God’s will. David in his two-fold sin of sexual adultery and murder operated independently in his spirit against God. Selfishly in his heart he operated to advance his kingdom agenda instead of God’s agenda. Have you come to terms in your heart like David that when you sin, your will is against God’s kingdom? Do you really want to please yourself or God? Do your desires in your life please God or self? Take some time and evaluate your
desires in the areas of sex, money or personal power with God’s Word to see whose kingdom you want
to come—God’s or yours.
David continues to pile up evidence for genuine repentance in Psalm 51:16, “You will not delight
in sacrifices…you will not be pleased with a burnt offering.” Genuine repentance is seen by your God
being pleased with your worship. David understood if he had harbored unconfessed sin, then God
would not be pleased with his worship. God will see it as going to the motions and totally ritualistic. If
you have not confessed known sin to God as a believer and are trying to act religious, your worship will
not be accepted before God. Godly repentance names your sin for opposing Him and not true type of
worship He desires. Once true repentance like David has in this psalm takes place in your life, then true
change is once again established in your life (Psalm 51:17).
Psalm 51:18 has some perplexing words. “Do good to Zion in your good pleasure; build up the
walls of Jerusalem.” Maybe you think: “Is this prayer by David sincere?” It sounds like he hasn’t
changed a bit and really wants personal prosperity. Stop and take a closer look at what David is really
driving at. David prays for God to do good to Jerusalem not himself. This reflects a heart change. When
David pursed his sexual sin with Bathsheba and the murder of Uriah, he was building his own kingdom.
He was not concerned with God and His people’s ultimate good. What about you, Christian husband?
Do you live with your wife in an understanding way (I Peter 3:7)? Do you ask for forgiveness for sinful
anger (Ephesians 4:26)? Do you truly love her by putting her interests ahead of yours (Philippians 2:3-
4)? Do you seek to selfishly control her with your money or position (Mark 10:35-44)? Or are you
displaying loving and servant hearted leadership in your home? So, genuine repentance is known when
you build God’s kingdom in your life.
In drawing this writing to a close, I hope God has done a CAT scan on your heart. Let me end
with some more questions. Does Psalm 51 help you see your sinful heart in a better way? Does this
psalm draw you closer to worship God and see His kingdom come in your life? Do you want to forsake
whatever sin that may be? Are your desires opposed to His will?
Psalm 51 tells you once you have truly repent of sin, good things will come into your life. God
will not “despise” you. He will “delight in truth” in your inner being. And most importantly, you will also
make much of Him. You will teach other sinners your ways and how to return to Him (Psalm 51:13).
Your tongue will sing aloud of God’s righteousness (Psalm 51:14). I hope your testimony over sin is like
David’s: “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”