“Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity.”
Psalm 51:8-9, NIV

When I was very young my home had ornate oriental paper doors between the living and dining rooms. While playing one afternoon, my sister poked a small hole in one of the panels. When my mother discovered the hole, all the children were called in for interrogation. None confessed. For some reason it was assumed that I was to blame and over my protestations I was sentenced to stare at the hole for an indeterminate time. After what seemed like hours to me, my sister finally confessed. The sight of her little brother tearfully staring at that little hole was more than she could take. The relief that came from that confession more than overcame the penalty that she would pay for her refusal to own up.

David’s formula in Psalm 51 for confession is the road to joy in the Christian life.
The formula begins with recognition. Recognizing the nature and guilt of sin, David says, “Against you, and you only, have I sinned.” (v.4) He sees clearly that sin is always a violation of our relationship with a holy God who holds us accountable. A wave of emotion then sets in and we feel deep remorse. David says, “My sin is always before me.” (v.3) When we face that temptation again, it is the emotion of remorse that reminds us of the pain of sin.

Next comes repentance and the all-important step of turning our back on sin. When we turn our backs on the sin, it is all the harder to turn back around and grieve the Father again.

Finally, the glory of restoration. “Restore to me the joy of your salvation,” (v.12) David cries. He knows the enjoyment of an uninhibited relationship with the Father. He desperately wants to be restored to that joy again. Following the formula finds us right back in the arms of our heavenly Father. There are no shortcuts. Each step is essential.

QUESTION: What is the sin that is separating you from God today? See it, grieve over it; turn from it, and enjoy the restoration.