Psalm 51:12 (CSB) Restore the joy of your salvation to me, and sustain me by giving me a willing spirit.
One of the fiercest enemies of Christian joy is an unwilling spirit that resists the will of God. This kind of unwilling spirit must be dragged down the way of Christ, kicking and screaming, and it can never find sustained joy because it is unwilling to yield to Christ.
My baby son reminded me of the joylessness of this kind of unwilling spirit today when he climbed up on our daughters exercise trampoline; it’s about 6 inches off the ground and has a padded handrail, so he knows how to dismount this trampoline, but he didn’t want to do it by himself. Instead, he wanted me to get him off the trampoline. But I know that he must learn how to assess situations before he gets himself stuck and how to get himself unstuck when he gets stuck. I knew the situation was entirely safe, and I knew this was something he could handle. So, I coaxed him to come down and left him to handle the situation on his own. But he was unwilling to take the risk his father told him to take, so he began balling and screaming at the top of his lungs. I returned only to shut the door (leaving it cracked because he knows how to open a cracked door). Soon, he easily dismounted the trampoline and came crawling out into the family room, sniffling and sobbing as he crawled up into his daddy’s arms.
An unwilling spirit is a powerful force that strikes our joyfulness in Christ with precision tactical strikes that target the difficult lessons our father intends for our benefit.
“Sustain me by giving me a willing spirit”: the psalmist prays for God’s aid in sustaining him with a “willing spirit” because he knew that “the flesh is weak”. Without a willing spirit that hungers and thirsts for righteousness, our joy in Christ’s salvation is left exposed and vulnerable to the attacks of the devil.
The pursuit of a willing spirit is one that every Christian should join together in seeking from God.