Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.
(Psalm 51:10 NKJV)
"Almighty God, unto whom all hearts are open, all desires known, and from whom no secrets are hidden, cleanse the thoughts of our hearts by the inspiration of your Holy Spirit, that we may perfectly love you and worthily magnify your holy name, through Jesus Christ our Lord. Amen."
–the “Collect for Purity” found in the Book of Common Prayer
On my current to-do list, I have the following things pending: review Latin, blog and clean closets. One out of three--I am blogging. But the review will probably happen when I get back to classes and cleaning closets may not happen now until the “Spring Cleaning” bug hits me some warm day in February.
Even though I haven’t tackled any closets over winter break, I have been considering the condition of my heart. Taking inventory, if you will, asking God to get rid of anything that keeps me from pure and simple devotion to Christ.
Today during a time of prayer with friends, we read the above prayer for purity to prompt our silent time of asking God to cleanse our hearts before we entered a time of thanksgiving and then intercession. The phrase “unto whom all hearts are open” gave way to the imagined scenario of cleaning out one of my closets.
I began to ask God to “clean the closet of my heart”. I realized that when I go through my clothes’ closet that I often discover outdated, old outfits that I never wear anymore. So I asked God to help me check for any outdated thinking I had about Him and His ways, to remove the old ways of relating to Him and others. To show me old habits, which keep me from totally embracing His tender mercies.
The prayer in my heart at the time wasn’t so eloquent, but the germ of the idea in prayer sprang into a full meditation of what it would be like to have God clean out the collection of old stuff that keeps me from offering full access for the Holy Spirit to work his wonders in my heart.
I want the Lord to look in my heart and see neat stacks of Spirit inspired love, wisdom, joy, peace and hope, instead of bitterness, doubt, criticism, worry and self-sufficiency. I want to be clothed with compassion, kindness and self-control. I desire to come to my heart’s closet to easily find, and then put on the characteristics of Christ for my own well-being. And with enough left over to share with others.