“Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not
cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing
spirit, to sustain me.” Psalm 51:10-12
One step, ‘the first step,’ of each morning for so many of us is the most important step each day, for without the first step, the steps following throughout our day may or may not take place. In walking the journey through anxiety, depression, or other life struggles, God is our ultimate source of strength, as He desires to be for everyone. However, in that, we are called to those “simple steps of obedience” spoken of here by the psalmist David. “Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit (firmly fixed in place; firm in belief) within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me.” We’re able to draw nearer to the comfort and the strength of God’s Spirit with a clean heart, which only comes through the recognition of, confession, and forgiveness of our sin. As we walk through times of difficulty and suffering, it’s easy to forget that we still fall short daily of God’s perfection, and need His grace, mercy, and forgiveness to cleanse our hearts again. The ability of the Holy Spirit to bring hope, comfort, and strength to us is vital to providing us with the will and ability to press on in Jesus’ name for another day.
There is such strength found in the hope and salvation we have in Christ Jesus for taking those crucial first steps each morning. In the words of Pastor Johnny Hunt, “There is so much that is dependent upon our ‘will’ to do something.” It is in our mind that God has given us a ‘will,’ the free, human desire and ability to take action or remain inactive, to ‘fight or flight,’ in the midst of the difficulties of life. David rightly calls upon the Lord to bring him both joy and sustaining strength through the Holy Spirit; “Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” He understood the importance of inviting God into his immediate circumstances, moment by moment, hour by hour, day by day. In a culture which seems to thrive on ‘self-sufficiency,’ the Lord is decisively drawn to those who call upon Him for help, and whose desire is to be drawn closer to Him yearning to have a “clean heart” through His forgiveness, grace, and mercy with each new day. “Through the Lord’s mercies we are not consumed, because His compassions fail not. They are new every morning; Great is Your faithfulness.” (Lamentations 3:22-23)
Today, I’m reminded of an old Chinese Proverb in which the author appropriately speaks to the importance of taking these daily simple steps of obedience: “To get through the hardest journey we need take only one step at a time, but we must keep on stepping.” As we continue to walk this journey, may we purposefully ‘keep on stepping’ in the strength of Christ, drawing from the hope we have in our salvation, and with a renewed spirit as we call on His name in our time of need. We must continually be reminded to walk in the truth that He is our strength, our sufficiency, our hope, and that He gives our lives ultimate value, purpose, and meaning for each new day.
Connecting Faith & Life:
Father, today I thank You for Your faithfulness and unending mercy that is renewed in my life every morning. I ask that You create in me a clean heart and a renewed spirit to sustain me regardless of the circumstances I may encounter throughout this day. Thank You for the will and strength through Your Spirit to keep stepping in obedience toward Christ on this journey. May I set my gaze on the joy of my salvation today and the ultimate sense of hope that comes from focusing on You moment by moment. In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.