Psalm 51:12 – Restore to me the joy of Your salvation, and sustain me with a willing spirit.
As we consider the life of David and his revelation concerning his depravity and his desperate need for God’s Holy Spirit, we also observe that he confesses he had lost his joy and a willing spirit. Very few people live in joy. There is a difference between being happy and being joyful. Happiness depends on things going well in life. Joy is an inward feeling that is there whether all is well or not. Our salvation in Christ is the fountain of our joy. I had a fellow employee ask me this question one day as I entered the shop, “What gives you the right to be happy all the time?” He did not know the difference between “joy” and “happiness.” It gave me opportunity to tell him of the source of my joy that he saw as happiness.
I love how David ties together his request for restoration of the “joy of God’s salvation” and “a willing spirit.” David recognized that true salvation comes from the willingness of his inner man. A willing spirit is the foundation of true submission to the will of God. Many times people say they are willing to serve God, no matter what, in the emotion of the moment. To serve God takes “a willing spirit”! It is the health of the spirit of a person that will sustain. A willing spirit comes from God Himself.
Over many years of ministry, I have found that the root of people’s struggles can be located in “a broken spirit,” The hurts of life and the hurts caused by others can break an individual’s spirit to cause them to give up trying. God’s Holy Spirit wants to heal the broken spirit, but it begins in taking personal responsibility. First, acknowledging one’s own sin against God. Second, one must release others who have hurt them. The Holy Spirit will then begin the process of healing the “broken spirit” and creating a “willing spirit,” which will become the key to sustaining the individual. The Holy Spirit will restore the joy of God’s salvation and sinners will be converted as a result (Psalm 51:13).
Thank You, Lord, for what You did for David. For the joy of Your salvation, which is my portion as well. Heal my brokenness and sustain me with a willing spirit. Let me see sinners converted as a result of Your mighty work in me.