Have mercy on me, O God,
because of your unfailing love.
Because of your great compassion,
blot out the stain of my sins.
PSALM 51:1 (NLT)
Who am I? I have problems like everyone else and I don’t always deal with them well. I am a guy who struggles every day. I struggle with being down, with being a husband, father and now grandfather, with communicating and with how to lead a ministry. Every time I turn the corner I find another problem in front of me that I don’t know how to deal with. I look at my life and I say to myself “Is this the way it is going to be day after day after day?” And the answer is probably.
Yet I am learning that I can endure this journey and the ongoing struggles best when I accept that I am a man who has faults and sins – who needs the Grace of God – a man who is still in the process of learning and maturing – still growing up! Life is easier for me when I realize it calls for one comeback after another – a comeback to God.
The Bible tells a story about a guy who was a jock, a national hero and also a sinner. In a strange sort of way – that comforts me. He was a guy who had to depend on the Grace of God – just like me. This man, King David, fought bears and lions – and won. He won the greatest slingshot competition of all time where the prize was more than just the pennant. The fate of his entire country depended on how well he would pitch a little stone toward the massive forehead of a giant named Goliath. When he beaned that Giant (who was fortunately from Philistia, not San Francisco), he became an instant hero. The whole country was cheering him, honoring him, loving him.
But David was far from a perfect guy. I am so thankful that the Bible brings balance to King David’s victories by also sharing his failures. (It is just nice to know that David was human too and I am not alone in my own victories and failures) He had it all – he became King – he was famous – he was affluent – he was a skilled and successful warrior. He even had a great relationship with God – leading the entire nation in worship through his songs. But …
One day he caught a glimpse of his neighbor’s wife as she was stepping in and out of the tub. He liked what he saw and had an affair with her. When he found out she was pregnant he had her husband killed to try to keep his image intact. David kept up the pretense until he was confronted with what he had done. When he finally realized his sin – he admitted his failures, came clean and repented. He came back to God.
Wash me clean from my guilt.
Purify me from my sin.
For I recognize my rebellion;
it haunts me day and night.
Against you, and you alone, have I sinned;
I have done what is evil in your sight.
PSALM 51:2-4 (NLT)
Whoever I am – I don’t want to live in deceit. I want to be real even if it tarnishes my image. I want to be real even though it means I have to admit some ugly things about myself. Whoever I am I will always be a guy who needs the Grace of God. When I realize God’s grace in my life and who I am in relationship to Him that gives me the desire to live for Him every day but also honest before Him about my faults and sins.
In each devotional I have shared with you some things that may have surprised you – they don’t match my public image. I hope you don’t hold it against me. I do not do it for shock value but in hopes that you will be encouraged to see the Grace of God at work in the life of a man just like you. I hope it encourages you to come clean with God – repent of your sins and receive His Grace that erases all our faults and failures. And most of all I hope it motivates you to keep on coming back even when you fail because life really is just one comeback after another.
Because of God’s Grace, together with King David, we can all cry out …
Create in me a clean heart, O God.
Renew a loyal spirit within me.
Do not banish me from your presence,
and don’t take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and make me willing to obey you.
PSALM 51:10-12 (NLT)
On the journey with you,