Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
— Psalm 51:10

If we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves, and the truth is not in us. If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just and will forgive us our sins and purify us from all unrighteousness. If we claim we have not sinned, we make him out to be a liar, and his word is not in us.
— 1John 1:8–10

I’m obsessed with one phrase that David uses in Psalm 51. He says in verse 10, “Create in me a pure heart.” Most people will read this passage and be impressed with its beauty and humility and never stop to ask the vital question, “Why does God have to create in me a pure heart?”

The answer is a harsh yet straightforward truth: God has to create it because it does not exist.

The beginning of salvation is the realization that I am totally depraved. Without God’s direct intervention, even the best of me is not enough to earn the salvation I long for.

Lack of understanding of this truth has created many problems for us Christians. For example, I could ask a person, “What is the penalty for sin?” And they would say, “death.” And in all sincerity, they will believe that to be the truth. But if we continued the conversation, I would ask, “What specifically have you done that is worth the death penalty?” That’s the point where you begin to lose people.

You see, many people understand this truth, but do not believe it. If you push them on it, you come to the heart of the matter. Yes, I sin, but honestly, my sins are not that bad.

John tells us that if we claim to be without sin, we deceive ourselves. So today, let’s stop fooling ourselves. Today let’s realize the desperate nature of the situation we were in before God intervened and rejoice in the salvation he offers. Doing so will create genuine joy in your heart, and the holy spirit will begin to create in you that pure heart.