Necessary Changes

Psalm 51 occurs after David’s sin with Bathsheba becomes public knowledge. He prays to God to be purified in this Psalm. He calls to be cleaned whiter than snow. In verses 16-17, he expresses a broken heart and a humbled sacrifice in sacrifice to God. David recognizes the change he needs in his life, and David vows to help others turn to God as he himself has made necessary changes. We should all want to share God’s word with others, but David recognizes his need to change himself before attempting to influence others.

Points of Transformation

In Acts 3:19, in a sermon very similar to the one preached at Pentecost, Peter encourages his audience to repent and turn from their sins, being forgiven by the Lord. Romans 12:1-2 calls us living sacrifices, transformed from conformity to this world. Paul calls our minds renewed by God’s word. How do we make these necessary changes, renewing our minds, and transforming ourselves in God’s image?

  • Reverence to Worship. Are we coming into God’s presence with reverence and awe? Mark 7 records Jesus chastising the Pharisees for lip-service in the context of their traditions. He says their hearts are far from Him in their worship, and Luke 18:9 begins a parable of a tax collector and Pharisee – the latter trusting self and lacking reverence for God and His mercy. We all need to set self aside so we may be filled with God.
  • Attitude Toward Service. Do we consider service to others a burden? In Galatians 6:7 begins a passage that encourages to never grow weary in working good. In Ephesians 2:10, Paul calls us God’s workmanship, created for the purpose of doing good works. Our attitude toward helping others should be a source of joy, walking in the good works God has prepared for us.
  • Ignorance to Knowledge. How comfortable am I studying with someone about spiritually difficult topics? In I Timothy 1:7, in the context of vain speaking, Paul speaks of those who wish to be teachers but have no understanding. Hebrews 5 begins by chastising the author’s audience who have not matured spiritually – due to a lack of study and knowledge. We should be striving daily to build our spiritual knowledge.
  • Infancy to Adulthood. In the context of building our knowledge, Hebrews 5 also encourages us to spiritually mature. In Hebrews 6:1, the author calls on us to push on to full growth. This problem is present in I Corinthians 3, where Paul calls those Christians spiritually immature. We have to put our faith into practice so we may grow.
  • Laziness to Zeal. Romans 13:11 calls on us to wake up in our spiritual work. I Corinthians 15:32 records Paul speaking to the futility of our spirituality if the resurrection is a lie, and, in verse 34, he again calls us to wake ourselves up. In Ephesians 5:14, after writing about our spiritual walk, Paul calls the sleepers to awaken. If we are asleep in our service to God, we need to wake up and get to work. We should be giving as much to God as we can.


We have to give God our most and our best. Back in Psalm 51, David recognizes how much change would have to happen in his life to draw closer to God. If we are to be in God’s presence, we have to change our minds, our attitudes, and our actions. In every aspect of our lives, we can transform ourselves to draw closer to God as He draws closer to us.

lesson by Tim Smelser