“Create in my a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me” (Psalm 51:10).
I have a heart problem.
It is true that I have heart disease. I have four bypasses and sixteen stents in my heart because of my heart disease. But, that’s not what I’m talking about.
The sickness of my heart is a spiritual condition. You see, my heart longs for sin. My heart desires sin. My heart is enamored with sin. It doesn’t matter that God hates sin. My heart still desires sin.
Thus, I pray daily, “create in me a pure heart, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
As I pray this prayer, I sometimes wonder, “Is it even working?” I seem to struggle with the same things over and over. I can’t help but wonder, is there any change happening in me? Why am I not changing?
You see, the change I think I am praying is, “God, my heart is sick and diseased. Please change my heart.” And, in praying this prayer, what I’m thinking is that instantaneously I go from longing for sin and only longing for God. The change I am expecting is a change that is instantaneous and complete.
Now, that’s what I call a change! That would be awesome. That’s what I want.
But, change doesn’t happen like that. Sanctification doesn’t happen like that. Becoming more like Christ doesn’t happen like that. Change and sanctification happens incrementally. And because of the “slowness” of change, we can become discouraged and even distraught at the seeming lack of change.
But that doesn’t mean change isn’t happening. It doesn’t mean God is not at work.
Consider the tree in the spring. If you were to stand by the tree to look for change, you would stand by the tree for days, weeks, months and never see change. But that doesn’t mean change isn’t happening. You just need to give it some time.
In time, by late fall, that tree would have gone through a beautiful transformation. Compare the tree that is in front of the Little Church in the summer versus the tree in fall above.
It’s like that with us. God is at work. God is always at work in us. Trust in the process. Trust in God.