Grant Me a Willing Spirit
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” (Psalm 51:12 NIV)
[The following is a continuation of the three things David asks of the Lord in Psalm 51, his psalm of repentance when confronted by Nathan the prophet after David had committed adultery with Bathsheba.]
A third thing that David knows he cannot manufacture on his own is “a willing spirit” (Psalm 51:12). God must grant this spirit, he admits. Beyond being steadfast, he wants to be willing to do whatever God asks. When God puts his finger on something in our lives and says, “That’s not good for you,” or “I want you to do this, or go there,” we must be willing to accept his will. We can’t go fighting against God in our spirit.
In Philippians 2:12-13 Paul urges us to “work out your salvation with fear and trembling, for it is God who works in you to will and to act according to his good purpose.” God is in the “willing business”—praise his name!
David has recognized that his heart can betray him. His will can consent to the appeals of the world and the flesh, so he cries out for God to give him a willing spirit. This again flies in the face of much of today’s Christianity, which bites its lip and tries harder to do what only the Spirit of God can accomplish. In fact, God has to make us willing. Salvation is of the Lord—from beginning to end. The sooner we learn that we can stop our futile self-effort and throw ourselves on the strong arms of God, the better off we will be.
We must ask God daily to cleanse us, to hold us, to lift us up and give us a willing spirit so our hearts will “run in the path of your commands” (Psalm 119:32). Then we will actually long to do his will. We will get closer to the attitude of Jesus, who said, “My food… is to do the will of him who sent me… I seek not to please myself but him who sent me” (John 4:34; 5:30). It was a joy for Jesus to obey his Father, not a burden.
The Holy Spirit wants to impart this same spirit to us, so that Christianity is not drudgery or burdensome, but instead a life of loving the good and hating the evil.
How often have you and I prayed as David did that day? Isn’t it about time that we say with new faith, “God, you give me a pure heart. God, you renew a steadfast spirit within me. God, you grant me a willing spirit to sustain me. Don’t let me fluctuate, Lord. Keep me strong!”
-Pastor Cymbala (excerpted from Fresh Faith)
Read Psalm 51:12-19.