Bible Society of South Africa

New Beginnings: Renew your Mind; Renew your Heart – 19 January 2022

By Louise Gevers

Bible text(s)

10Create a pure heart in me, O God,

and put a new and loyal spirit in me.

11Do not banish me from your presence;

do not take your Holy Spirit away from me.

12Give me again the joy that comes from your salvation,

and make me willing to obey you.

Psalms 51:10-12GNBOpen in Bible reader

Making right choices is a battle that begins in the mind and affects body and spirit. Have you heard the expression, “You are what you eat”? It means that in order to keep fit and healthy you need to eat healthy food. When your diet is loaded with unhealthy fare your body is unable to process it to promote health, and sooner or later the ensuing deficiencies have consequences. It works similarly with our minds.

What we choose to feed our minds actively creates a healthy or an unhealthy environment which over time influences our actions. An unhealthy diet can weaken our perceptions and defences to make right choices in difficult situations, whereas a wholesome diet creates a healthier mind which can more easily recognise wrongdoing – even when the choice appears to be innocuous, or within our rights.

To be able to win the battles of the mind, however, whether great or small, we have to first surrender control of our understanding of a situation to God’s greater vision and purpose, and abide by His precepts that we see in His Word, which will instruct and enable us to recognise His leading. We need to be consistently walking in obedience to Him, otherwise we develop appetites that can cause us to be found wanting.

In this psalm of David, he acknowledges his sin, committed at a “time when kings go out to battle … But David remained at Jerusalem” (2 Samuel 11:1), and the sorrow that not having turned away from the tempting view of the bathing Bathsheba, the wife of one of his soldiers, and the subsequent consequences it caused him.

What comes through very clearly in Psalm 51 is David’s understanding that he has been disobedient to God and his sin is alienating him from Him: “Cast me not away … ” (v11); he knows he needs God mercy (v1); guilt torments him and he asks for God’s cleansing: “Wash me … cleanse me” (v2); he has lost his joy (v8); and he is afraid that God will withdraw His Spirit from him: “… take not your Holy Spirit from me” (v11).

David realises that he isn’t exempt because he is the king and penitently pleads for God to forgive him, renew his spirit and restore him. He comes to the valuable realisation that God’s grace prevails in true repentance: “The sacrifices of God are a broken spirit, a broken and contrite heart, O God, you will not despise.” (v17)

David isn’t alone in making wrong choices and falling into sin. We, too, often don’t know what we’ve cultivated in our own minds which may result in us questioning our reasoning when it’s too late.

Prayer: Father, renew my mind to check those appetites that encourage wrong thinking and help me to “take every thought captive to obey Christ” (2 Corinthians 10:5) and honour You. Amen

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