In your mind, imagine a swamp. There is absolutely nothing about seeing a swamp that makes you want to go for a swim! Just the way it looks is utterly disgusting! When we drive through Louisiana, I always look out over the swamp and expect to see something from Animal Planet at any moment… like an alligator jumping out and chomping a bird with one bite.
A few months ago, the Lord gave me a vision of people going for a drink of water. But when they came up from the drink, they had dirt and rocks stuck in their teeth with moss dripping from their chin.
“The Lord is my Shepherd I shall not want. He makes me lie down in green pastures and leads me by still waters.”
We hear this verse often. But what I want you to see here is that the waters God leads us by are clean, pure waters. Waters so clear that you can see straight to the bottom. David describes them here as being STILL waters.
God doesn’t lead His people to a raging sea, or to a swamp that is filled with filth. He leads His people to pure waters that are clean and still.
David’s prayer in Psalm 51:10 is “Create in me a clean heart.”
As leaders, our effectiveness is directly linked to the condition of our heart. We must fight to keep our hearts clean. If we don’t, then our churches, organizations, and homes will become swamps. Instead of people coming to us and getting refreshed, they will come and get infected with the same thing that infected us. When our hearts become infected, people drink of the water we have & they will come up with unforgiveness, bitterness, jealousy, insecurity and anger in their mouth.
Pastor Lawrence said something a few years ago that has stuck with me through the years: “When we as leaders become toxic, The Lord is obligated to limit our influence so we don’t infect other people.”
Psalm 23 says that GOD will lead HIS sheep to still waters. So when the condition of my heart remains pure, growth is an automatic result. God will lead His people to where HE knows they will be well taken care of. Hurt people hurt people. When the waters of your heart become polluted, then people leave sick. When the waters of your heart are pure, people who come drink are healed. They feel loved, affirmed, restored.
It is a lot easier to look outward than inward. Outward focus takes the responsibility off of me and places it on the shoulders of another. Inward focus is what David is doing in Psalm 51: “create in ME a clean heart.” So in effect he is saying: “God, there have been things in my life that have polluted the waters inside of me. I cannot fix it by myself, but I know you can.”
How is the condition of your heart?
How is the condition of your organization?
Let’s make our prayer today like David: Create in ME a clean heart.