Create in me a clean heart, O God. So sang the choir yesterday.
A clean heart. Wouldn’t I love to have one. I think part of growing in Christ is becoming aware of how unclean your heart really is.
I’d like to think I teach with a clean heart. But the truth is, I have many ulterior motives. I don’t teach only with a desire to help my students. I teach because I like to be in control of a group of people. I teach because I like attention focused on me at the front of the room. I teach because I like being the one in the room with all the right answers. Yes, I care about my kids a lot, but I have no illusions that I do my job with a clean heart.
When I help friends in need, my heart is not all clean. Yes, I am desperate for the well-being of those I love. But I also enjoy the feeling of being needed and trusted . . . and again, of having all the right answers to fix other people’s problems. I know that’s the case, because I find myself hurt and offended when they call on someone else, when I’m not “in the loop” knowing what’s going on. I feel a tinge of jealousy when someone else’s assistance is more effective than mine, or more desired. As if it’s all about me. Such uncleanliness in my heart.
Even my parenting is not done with a clean heart. Here is probably where I come as close as I will ever get to acting completely in another’s best interests, but Self still ultimately reigns. I want my kids to be healthy, happy, and fulfilled . . . and the truth is that is partly because of the benefits I derive from that. An easier life. A good reputation. Again, that feeling of having been right about things. (Notice a theme here?)
I think part of growing in Christ is becoming aware of how unclean your heart really is, and always was, and always will be, at least in this life. And an even bigger part of growing in Christ is understanding the incomprehensible fact that He chose me as His beloved while I still wallowed in my uncleanliness.
And I think the bulk of growing in Christ is being so awed by the fact that that He chose me anyway that I’m filled with love for the God who loves me so infinitely and so completely.
Because only when I love Him . . . really love Him . . . can He create a clean heart in me.