King David is one of my all-time favorite heroes—not because he killed a giant—but because he was a man after God’s own heart. God told Samuel, “I have found David the son of Jesse, a man after my own heart.” (Acts‬ ‭13:22‬) ‬‬How could God possibly characterize David as a man after His holy heart, given David’s monumental sin with Bathsheba and her husband, Uriah? (2 Samuel 11) One reason is revealed in David’s prayer of confession after he was confronted about his sin by Nathan the prophet.

He prayed, “Have mercy upon me, O God, according to thy loving-kindness: according unto the multitude of thy tender mercies blot out my transgressions. Wash me thoroughly from mine iniquity, and cleanse me from my sin. Create in me a clean heart, O God; and renew a right spirit within me. Cast me not away from thy presence; and take not thy holy spirit from me. Restore unto me the joy of thy salvation; and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psalms 51:1-2,10-12) 

David’s prayer reveals his heart’s desperate need to recover the relationship with God that had been disrupted by his sin.

Do WE feel this same sickening loss of God’s presence when we choose sin over God?

If not, it’s because we’ve never experienced the beautiful addiction of His love.

David’s relationship with God was more precious to him than anything else—even his “love” for Bathsheba. David knew his sin had destroyed lives and that he needed God’s mercy to restore himself to God’s presence. He longed for God’s presence more than his sin. This is true, raw, transparent repentance. The price of sin had cost him what was most important—the presence of God’s Spirit. He knew freedom was not found in following his own desires—but rather, by being in sync with God’s HOLY Spirit.

Once we experience the joy of salvation, and the freedom of God’s presence, sin is revealed for what it is—a terrorist to our joy. Sure, we may “enjoy” sin momentarily, but it will never give us what God does. Whatever we pursue without a clean heart, will lead us into slavery. The only way out of the slavery of sin, is through repentance. David’s sin was great—but his life is proof that God’s mercy is greater.

So is mine.

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