Day 20 – “Renewed with a Determined Spirit”July 5, 2012
Renewed with a Determined Spirit
“Create in me a pure heart, O
God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.”
I never was very good at track! I especially struggled with long distant running; not so much because it was hard, extensive, strenuous,
backbreaking, challenging, tiring, burning, and breath-taking (did I mention it was hard?), but mostly because I get bored relatively quickly. The idea of running and running like some cartoon caricature of Forrest Gump because “I Just felt like running” was not a thought that would have ever crossed my mind. After the first mile, I would look back over my shoulder, not to see if I was ahead of anyone, but to wonder, “If no one is chasing me than why am I running?” I would guess that anyone who loves long distant endeavors such as running, swimming, triathlons… are very determined people. In fact, endurance minded people must be very determined in depths of who they are as a person. I imagine they
would need to be very focused and certainly fit in body. As for me, I’m a sprinter. I’m more wired to dash! I want to get it (whatever ‘it” is) done and over with in an expedient manner. I’m more drawn to quick things, not because I’m necessarily good or bad at them, but because they don’t last too long. The challenge is, the life to which Jesus calls us is more like an endurance event than a sprint.
Like a long distance run, life as a Christian can feel like a trail covered in rocks. We run up hills, sometimes great mountains and then we plummet downward towards the valleys with shin-splinting leaps and stumbles sometimes feeling as though we are tumbling into an un-retrievable gully. Praise be to God that He won’t let that happen to us! God has determined to make us a determined people. In our verse for today, this is exactly what steadfast means, to be determined. This verse is inculcated with repentance and redemption. After a fall into one of those deep bone-breaking moral and spiritual rocky pits, King David understands the way back to a determined heart. He goes to the one who is determined to redeem us; “God, create in me a pure heart.” Can God do this; create a new heart in someone? Absolutely! It is the determined heart of God who came in Jesus Christ to run the long distance race from sinless to the cross to the finish line of an empty tomb so that our hearts may be new and pure. It is God who walked the stone filled trails of this life. He went to the top of the mountain of the cross and journeyed into the bottomless pit of hell with such determination to make us pure.
It is in the determination of God that King David, and we too, finds a renewal of steadfastness/determination! The very next request for the psalmist is paraphrased as, “God you have shown the way of repentance by your creative act of a new heart, now Lord renew my determination.” In Christ, we can run the long distance; we can persevere all the way to the finish line because God continues to renew us and continues to cover us in His redemption as we continue in Him.
Maybe like me, you sometimes feel as though you’re not going to make it, or maybe you think you’ve fallen too far into the gullies of life
to ever get out. God has created your heart pure and His breath continues to breathe in you renewing your determination all the way home. Some of us may not be good at endurance sports, but all of us in Christ will persevere the long journey home because God has determined to make you the determined steadfast runner that you are.
Father, I know sometimes I’m a weak long distance runner. I know I’m
often distracted which causes me to trip and stumble, but I know you are able
to create all things anew! Father, there are times I think my heart will beat
out of my chest because I’m so exhausted from running in my own strength. I’m
breathless from running full speed into the race of the world rather than striding
in the steps of Jesus. Father I ask you
to forgive me and create in me a pure heart! Renew my determination to walk in
the steps of Jesus. Please keep me strong and when I falter, remind me that you
are determined for me! I love you Jesus, thank you for your
determination to finish well!
Reflection: Today, try to intentionally slow down your own pace; the way you walk, how fast you talk, eat, etc. In everything ask God to show you His pace. Pray and meditate on how Jesus was determined (steadfast) in the Fathers will for your sake and has finished the race for you. Focus on your determination to rest in the work and grace of Jesus.