"Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me."
God's way of purifying one's heart isn't just putting a band aid over past pain, hurt, and sin. He purposely brings those things to light so he can forgive, restore, & take away every hint of shame & condemnation those memories carry. As I pray this prayer, God is peeling layers upon layers of unconfessed sin. He is digging up painful wounds buried deep in my past in order to bring complete healing. The devil wants us to believe that we can keep these things hidden without repercussion. The truth is, they manifest themselves daily in our behavior and habits and affect how we treat our our spouse, kids, and friends. More dangerously, they distort our view of God & prevent intimacy in our relationship with him.
Jesus said "Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God". How great is our God who longs to purfiy us so we can "see" and know him intimately. The process is hard for me because I am realizing how dirty my heart is before a holy God. But through it, my spirit is being renewed.