“Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” – Psalm 51:12
Salvation. It’s the most amazing gift any of us can receive. Jesus wants to win over every soul for His kingdom, yet some will be lost. The Bible says so. A sad fact, but it’s the truth. As a believer in Jesus, I remember well, the circumstance I was in when He called me to himself. I prayed for Him to change my life and He started breaking down old lies that the enemy fed me my whole life, and barriers in my heart that had been constructed because of old hurt and pain.
When I finally realized the Truth of the Gospel and accepted the work of the cross, I had peace inside of me that I never had before in my life. I didn’t care what anyone thought of me. I knew I was forgiven, loved and accepted. That’s all that mattered to me. In my previous post, How To Return To Your First Love, I spoke of some of the things I did when I first got saved. I did all I did because I was in love with Jesus. I wanted to do all I could for the kingdom of God. Knowing that I now had a new life; eternity with Jesus, I was overjoyed to be alive and serving Him!
In Psalm 51, David was grieved over his sin. He knew he was sinful, but was crying out to the Lord to cleanse him from his transgressions. He knew he didn’t measure up to God’s holiness, so he cried out Him to be merciful:
“Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love; according to your great compassion blot out my transgressions. Wash away all my iniquity and cleanse me from my sin. For I know my transgressions,
and my sin is always before me. Against you, you only, have I sinned and done what is evil in your sight; so you are right in your verdict and justified when you judge. Surely I was sinful at birth, sinful from the time my mother conceived me. Yet you desired faithfulness even in the womb; you taught me wisdom in that secret place. Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me, and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice. Hide your face from my sins and blot out all my iniquity. Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me. Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me. Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me.” – Psalm 51: 1-12 (NIV version)
In verse 3, he said. “For I know my transgressions, and my sin is always before me.” Then in verses 7 -8, he said, “Cleanse me with hyssop, and I will be clean; wash me and I will be whiter than snow. Let me hear joy and gladness; let the bones you have crushed rejoice.”
It sounds like David felt like his sins were overtaking him, and he was in despair because of the weight of them. Have you ever felt like that? You do something that you know is sinful, like get angry and stew about it for a few days, or talk bad about someone to another person? You confess it and try to move on but you just can’t shake the guilt. You start to feel ashamed, then that shame turns into condemnation. You may just be believing the enemy’s lie that you are not forgiven more than the truth of Jesus’ love and forgiveness. And maybe it’s not a single sin you feel guilty about. Maybe a whole bunch of little things built up that you confessed, but you aren’t praying and reading your Bible like you used to. You know, really spending quality time in the Word of God every day.
When we don’t discipline ourselves to spend regular time in the Word of God every day and receive His truth, the voice of the enemy gets louder and becomes an onslaught of negativity and temptation. This can lead to falling away from the love of God. It gets easy to start to complain, get annoyed with, angry at and judge other people. In turn, shame and condemnation sets in because you know you aren’t walking in love and truth. Where did your joy go? Where are the praises that used to come so readily from your mouth to the Lord?
David prayed, ” Do not cast me from your presence or take your Holy Spirit from me,” because he knew he had sinned and the Lord does not dwell in the presence of sin. But in Psalm 51:1, he said, “Have mercy on me, O God, according to your unfailing love.” Though he felt like the Lord had forsaken him, David knew better; that the Lord’s love is greater than our sins.
Sometimes I feel so overwhelmed with the lies and negativity the enemy throws at me that I wish I had someone to go to and talk about it. I feel like that will help me to sort out the feelings I have and get rid of them. James 5:16 says, “Therefore confess your sins to each other and pray for each other so that you may be healed.” But what if you have no one to go to? It’s got to be a huge blessing to have someone you can really trust. A friend you can go to about anything. Someone who can really help you through a tough mental or emotional spot. Someone who you can go to with any situation with no judgment and help you get over hurt and pain. Some of us don’t have that. But God! There is a friend who sticks closer than a brother! (Proverbs 18:24) Having no one to talk to can sort of force you into the arms of Jesus.
Discipline yourself to spend 30 minutes to an hour in the bible every day! Get rid of negative thought patterns and emotions by writing down everything you’re grateful for. Put on some good worship music and praise God. Intentionally think about and meditate on good things! Keep a Bible study journal and write prayers in it, pouring your heart out to God. Creating good habits like these will help you fall back in love with Jesus and restore the joy of salvation you had when you were first saved. One thing I did when I got saved was read the last chapters of the Gospels (Matthew, Mark, Luke and John), then watch the Movie Passion of the Christ. It helped me to meditate on the work of the cross and connect with the Lord on a deeper level.
Whatever you do, don’t let the enemy win your heart and mind. Jesus already overcame him. What we have to do is stay connected to Him. In John 15, Jesus said, “I am the true vine,” (Verse 1) and “You are already clean because of the words I have spoken to you,” (Verse 3) Then in verse 5 he said, “If you remain in me, and I in you, you will bear much fruit; apart from me, you can do nothing.” Read the Word of God and believe it! Jesus’ sacrifice was too great to just give up. Take your joy back!