Restore to me the JOY
I’m going to admit something. I was not really looking forward to the sermon today at church. Our senior pastor is retiring soon and is slowly stepping back, and he hasn’t been preaching these last few weeks. Today was part 2 of a sermon series led by one of our elders.
But today’s message was what I needed to hear, especially after my last entry: Do you ever find yourself stretched too thin?
Last week he preached on the first half of Psalm 51, and today he continued from verse 10. This is a group of verses I’ve known my whole life. I grew up in the Lutheran Church Missouri Synod, and this is a part of one of the orders of worship.
“10 Create in me a clean heart, O God, and renew a right spirit within me.
11 Cast me not away from your presence, and take not your Holy Spirit from me.
12 Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
This is one of the psalms that David wrote after his affair with Bathsheeba and the death of their firstborn. While I’m not going to go into all the differences in application from the Old vs. New Testaments, there are a few things that really stood out to me for personal application.
I want God to create in me a clean heart. I can’t do it myself, and there’s no point in fixing the one I’ve got. He’s got to create it in me.
I want him to renew a right spirit in me. He’ll do that through me reading His Word and spending time in prayer. I really need to desire this and spend daily time!
I’ve spent enough time away from God’s presence by not creating the time to read His Word, I want to feel His presence.
And the biggest application, I want the JOY of my salvation restored to me. I know what I believe, I can back it up, I can hold a doctrinal conversation, I can find all the books of the Bible and even recite a good number of verses. But I’m missing the JOY.
I think that’s one of the downsides of always having faith since childhood. I don’t remember life before. Of course there’s been bad stages in my life, decisions I regret, restoration, etc, but I’ve never really felt that joy from salvation.
So that’s my prayer for this week. That God restores that joy in my salvation. That I receive a new heart.
Then will I be able to do the next part of the passage: Psalm 51:13 – “Then I will teach transgressors your ways, and sinners will return to you.” It’s not that I couldn’t before, but without joy in your own salvation there’s no drive to tell others! It’s not that I’ll have it perfect or have the right words to say. But I need a desire, a drive to tell others!
Here’s another prayer: Psalm 51:15 – “O Lord, open my lips, and my mouth will declare your praise.”