Psalm 51:12 is one of those verses we hear in sermon and song all the time. You may not know the reference, but you know the words. At least the first part.
“Restore to me the joy of your salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
But have you ever thought about what that really means? Restore me to the joy of Your salvation? Have you ever thought about the implications behind it? Or has it always been one of those Christianese words you just kind of said like grace or glory of substitutionary atonement?
Christians, remember the day you got saved? Remember getting down on your knees and crying out in absolute awe and wonder to the Lord? Remember having others pray blessings into your life? Remember how happy you were after the night was over? Remember the bit of time you spent absolutely hyped over Jesus after your salvation and you were absolutely on fire before the world got up in your face and you slowly stopped being so excited?
Don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying “shame on you for losing the fire.” That’s a struggle every Christian lives out. EVERY Christian. And I don’t believe that EVERY single loss of excitement comes from sin in our lives. We just get burnt out. Even David got burnt out. That’s why he had to pray that prayer in the first place.
Restoring the joy of our salvation means we can have the exact same fire in our hearts that we had when we originally were saved. It means “LORD, I’m no longer excited about You, I no longer feel the joy I felt when I first came to You, and I want to feel it again.” That’s it. It’s so simple.
Yet it’s a beautiful picture of what we as Christians struggle with so often! We talk often of how we lose the joy of our salvation. We talk about how our “fire” has “gone out.” And we come up with all these ways to keep it. People make it sound like the old Tamagotchi toys sometimes. “Every day try to read your Bible and pray and live your life for Christ. EVERY DAY take care of your Jesus time and you’ll keep that fire.”
Two things are wrong with that sentiment.
1. We’re gonna lose days. We’re gonna forget. We’re gonna get caught up in other things. Not saying we shouldn’t try to get into the Word every day, but something like this implies that we CAN’T keep our fire without sticking around every day.
2. Even if we are perfect at keeping up with the Word and prayer, things like these are going to happen. No matter what.
We try to return to the joy of our salvation on our own so often. Have we ever thought about just asking? Maybe praying for the return of this joy? Well, not so much for the joy to return, because it doesn’t leave, but for our rediscovery of it? Have we so much pride that we think we have to earn it back ourselves? We can’t do that for salvation. What makes us think we can do that for joy? Just something to think about.