Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.
How do we experience God’s forgiveness?
First, honestly evaluate your relationship with God. In Psalm 139:23-24 David prayed, “Search me, O God, and know my heart; try me and know my anxious thoughts; and see if there be any hurtful way in me, and lead me in the everlasting way.” David was saying, “God, I want You to take the searchlight of Your Holy Spirit and shine it into every corner of my heart to see if there is anything that is displeasing to You.” Are you willing to do that? Let me give you some suggestions of areas to examine in your own life.
- Your relationship with God. Is there an unconfessed sin or unfulfilled promise you have made to God?
- Your relationship with your parents or your siblings. Do you have any unresolved conflicts or ingratitude?
- Your relationship with your mate. Are there any harsh words or selfish attitudes you need to confess?
- Your relationship with your children. Is there a failure to spend time with them or to provide the spiritual leadership they need?
- Your relationships with other people. Are there any immoral relationships, people you have offended, or friendships that need to be more Christ-centered?
- Your habits. Do you have any immoral or slothful habits that are displeasing to God?
- Your possessions. Have possessions become your God? Have you failed to be a good steward of the money God has entrusted to you?
Those are just some of the things that ought to be on every Christian’s inventory to ask God to reveal to him or her. Honestly evaluate your relationship with God.
Second, acknowledge your failure to God. Psalm 51 is the confession David made when his sin was uncovered. He said, “Against You, You only, I have sinned and done what is evil in Your sight” (v. 4). Now that is an odd thing for David to say. “God, you are the only One I sinned against.” Think about it: David sinned against Bathsheba, he sinned against Uriah, he sinned against his army, and he sinned against the nation of Israel. There were a lot of people he offended. David wasn’t ignoring that truth, but he said, “At the top of the list of people I have offended is God.” All sin, ultimately, is sin against God. It’s not that we don’t need to go to other people and ask forgiveness, but we have to start with God. And when we acknowledge our sin to God, He is willing to forgive us.
Today’s devotion is excerpted from “Receiving God’s Gift of Forgiveness” by Dr. Robert Jeffress, 2015.
Scripture quotations are taken from the NEW AMERICAN STANDARD BIBLE®, Copyright © 1960, 1962, 1963, 1968, 1971, 1972, 1973, 1975, 1977, 1995 by The Lockman Foundation. Used by permission.