Below is an excerpt taken from Assurance: Resting in God’s Salvation by William P. Smith.


“I Can’t Stop Thinking about What I’ve Done”

For I know my transgressions, and my sin is ever before me. (Ps. 51:3)

The enemies of your soul are not only relentless but also dishonest. They play both sides of sin against you.

First, they flood your mind and inflame your heart with nonstop temptation, promising that if you’ll just give in, then your life will be better than you could imagine. Then, when you do give in and enjoy the fleeting pleasure of sin (see Heb. 11:25), they flood you with a different barrage.

This time, the thoughts that you can’t get away from run along such lines as “How could you? Look at what you’ve done. You know better. You call yourself a Christian? God couldn’t possibly love you.” Your heart is heavy. There’s no joy in the world, and everything looks bleak.

That’s what God’s enemies do. They provoke you in order to goad you toward a destructive cliff. Then, when you take the bait and plunge over the edge, they stand there accusing you of your failure just as loudly as they once urged you toward it.

King David has been there. The man after God’s own heart (see 1 Sam. 13:14) became infatuated with another man’s wife. He couldn’t get her out of his mind, invited her over, slept with her, made a baby with her, and then murdered her husband so he could marry her in order to cover it all up.

For a time, it looked like he’d gotten away with it. But when God confronted him about it through the prophet Nathan, David couldn’t get out of his mind what he’d done. “My sin is ever before me”—can you hear how keenly aware he is of it? There’s no escape from it. He sees it everywhere he goes, and he hates it. What once was not a big deal now haunts him.

But while the problem consumes his mind and his heart, he doesn’t stay locked up inside himself. That would be foolish. Since his mind and heart got him into trouble, they won’t be much help in getting him out. And so he doesn’t keep trying to deal with the mess or to figure out how to make things right on his own. Instead, he runs to God.

He doesn’t go to God in order to hear the same thoughts that come from within him—the thoughts that accuse and condemn him. Instead he goes to God for mercy (see Ps. 51:1), for compassion (see v. 1), for cleansing (see v. 2), for a clean heart (see vv. 7, 10), for God’s renewed presence in his life (see vv. 11–12) and for freedom from guilt (see v. 14) so that he can praise God once again (see v. 15).

He goes to God not on the strength of what he could do to make things right with God (see v. 16) but on the strength of what God does to make things right between David and himself (see vv. 7–12) according to God’s unfailing love (see v. 1).

The presence of sin in David’s life doesn’t drive him to doubt God’s love; it drives him to seek the God who loves him.

In the 31-Day Devotionals for Life series, biblical counselors and Bible teachers guide you through specific situations or struggles, applying God’s Word to your life in practical ways day after day. Deepak Reju is the series editor.

  • Addictive Habits: Changing for Good, by David R. Dunham
  • After an Affair: Pursuing Restoration, by Michael Scott Gembola
  • Anger: Calming Your Heart, by Robert D. Jones
  • Anxiety: Knowing God’s Peace, by Paul Tautges (COMING OCTOBER 2019)
  • Assurance: Resting in God’s Salvation, by William P. Smith
  • Contentment: Seeing God’s Goodness, by Megan Hill
  • Doubt: Trusting God’s Promises, by Elyse Fitzpatrick
  • Fearing Others: Putting God First, by Zach Schlegel
  • Grief: Walking with Jesus, by Bob Kellemen
  • Money: Seeking God’s Wisdom, by Jim Newheiser (COMING OCTOBER 2019)
  • Pornography: Fighting for Purity, by Deepak Reju