David speaks in Psalm 19 about his “hidden faults” and “willful sins.”
Hidden faults are the sins that we tend to keep secret. If sin is “missing the mark,” these are the times we miss the mark so badly, we don’t want anyone else to know. That’s typically because we are so ashamed of how far off-target we were! We don’t want people seeing what crawls around in our dark hearts.
Willful sins are the times we miss the mark because we were intentionally shooting at a completely different target. We stopped caring (at least for a while) about God’s target, set up our own, and took aim at that. We knew the wrong we were doing, and we chose to do it anyway.
David tackles these two types of sin head on.
He starts with confession. He gets authentic and transparent before the Lord. He gets real with himself and God. He identifies the sin and then confesses it, seeking forgiveness.
He continues with a commitment to guard his heart. He asks for the Lord’s help to put safeguards up. He prays for strength to watch where he aims his eyes. He asks for vigilance to catch himself when his thoughts drift. He prayerfully seeks a spirit of self-discipline to avoid willful sins.
Finally, he focuses his eyes forward and thinks about how beautiful a clear conscience is. There’s peace in knowing that he has confessed and been forgiven of his sins. There’s joy in seeking God’s strength and help in living more obediently. The little voice of guilt and shame is silenced and stilled for a time.
“But who can discern their own errors? Forgive my hidden faults. Keep your servant also from willful sins; may they not rule over me. Then I will be blameless, innocent of great transgression” (Psalm 19:12-13, NIV).
Lord, grant me these three things: 1) Forgive me for my hidden faults and willful sins; 2) Help me guard my heart. In your strength and grace keep me vigilant to ward off sin; and 3) Help me to envision and enjoy what it is like to experience the beauty of a clear conscience, washed clean in the blood of Jesus.
Our Bible reading for Tuesday, February 10, is Exodus 6:13 – 8:32, Matthew 26:47-68 and Psalm 19:7-14.
Header image based on "Project 366: Stay on Target" by Pete, CC By 2.0