“But how can I know what sins are lurking in my heart? Cleanse me from these hidden faults.” (Psalm 19:12 LB)
Seasoned spelunkers understand something that you and I only know vaguely: there is an entire culture of creatures that live in the vast world of underground caves. Centipedes, bats and snakes are but a few of the inhabitants of these lower regions.
Humans also have an outward, observable life as well as an unseen realm known mostly only by themselves. Elsewhere David said that “the inward thought and the heart of a man are deep.” (Psalm 64:6) The depraved nature and diseased soul make this inner realm the perfect habitat for the foulest of creatures: selfishness, pride, greed, envy, hatred, perversion and so on.
Once the light of God’s Word illuminates this dark region, the new believer is now confronted with the reality of his fallen nature. No wonder Paul exclaimed: “I love to do God’s will so far as my new nature is concerned; but there is something else deep within me, in my lower nature, that is at war with my mind and wins the fight and makes me a slave to the sin that is still within me…” (Romans 7:22-23 LB)
Notwithstanding this dual nature, we must remember that God created humans with a conscience—the moral compass of the soul. It oversees every street and alley of a person’s inside world. The problem is that it is part of the flawed system it seeks to monitor. It is like a corrupt cop who has been bribed by local gangsters to look the other way when they do their dirty work.
The Lord’s answer to this dilemma is the Word of God: the honest “cop” who has the ability to ferret out and expose every false and decrepit intruder lurking in the human soul. “For the Word that God speaks is alive and full of power [making it active, operative, energizing, and effective]; it is sharper than any two-edged sword, penetrating to the dividing line of the breath of life (soul) and [the immortal] spirit, and of joints and marrow [of the deepest parts of our nature], exposing and sifting and analyzing and judging the very thoughts and purposes of the heart.” (Hebrews 4:12 Amp)
Yes, there is a vast system lying within us which harbors a mass of black sin. But the Holy Spirit will use God’s Word to cleanse the inner life of any sincere believer who invites His sanctifying work. Let us join with David in the prayer, “O God, let the secrets of my heart be uncovered…” (Psalm 139:23 BBE) “Cleanse me from these hidden faults.”
And how about you? Do you actively seek God’s sanctifying work inside you or do you do your best to avoid and ignore the Holy Spirit’s inner promptings? If you pray David’s prayer, the Lord will faithfully answer.