Most merciful God,
we confess that we have sinned against you
in thought, word, and deed,
by what we have done,
and by what we have left undone.
This is the confession of sin that I recited every Sunday of my childhood. My sister used to say that she didn’t understand why she was confessing, when she hadn’t done anything wrong. Most of us understand the “word, and deed” part, and it’s easy to say….I’ve been clean since last Sunday; I didn’t say or do anything wrong. It may be the “thought” part that leaves many of us sinning, and never really coming to God with a pure heart.
You know when I sit down and when I rise up; you discern my thoughts from afar. Psalm 139:2
We don’t have to say it, or do it, for God to know it. This may be the hardest part in our quest to live sinless lives. Worry, hatred, judgement, pride, ungratefulness, evil suspicions about others, lust… even when not acted upon, these thoughts are competing with God for the focus of our hearts.
I will put my laws in their hearts, and I will write them on their minds. Hebrews 10:16
When we accept Christ as our savior, we are made righteous through the Holy Spirit. But our work continues as we spend time with the Lord, calling upon the Holy Spirit to inhabit our hearts and cleanse us inwardly, so that we are seeking only Him.
Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and renew a right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from your presence,
and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit. Psalm 51:10-19