HAVE JESUS RESTORE THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION

HAVE JESUS RESTORE THE JOY OF YOUR SALVATION

For those of us who grew up in church, we will no doubt be familiar with Psalm 51. That was the Psalm that David wrote when he was confronted by the prophet Nathan about his adultery with Bathsheba. And even if we are not familiar with the exact words, we should be familiar with the hymn that begins,

“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
And renew a steadfast spirit within me.” Psalm 51:10

Now, in that Psalm, there is much guilt and remorse. And rightly so. David had, after all, just sent the husband of the woman he was having an affair with, to death, just so that his sin will not be exposed. Yet, there is a verse that sticks out,

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:12

What an odd thing to say? ‘Remind me of the good ol’ days’ does not really match with ‘I’m sorry’, does it?

Yet, there is much wisdom in that verse, wisdom that will realign our perspective on our situations and give us hope when the light is dimming. Let’s see why.

Do you remember when you got your first… toy, car, job, paycheck, fancy watch, luxury handbag, whatever? Remember the joy you had? Then what happened? Bag got stained? Toy got worn? Paycheck ran out? Job got stressful? What happened to that joy that you once had? How much does that first toy, car, job, paycheck, fancy watch or luxury handbag mean to you now?

They say that familiarity breeds contempt. The more you have, the longer you hold on to it, the less it means to you. Unfortunately, even marriage has gone down this unfortunate line of decay. And when things don’t go as planned, when troubles arise, we get so distracted by our cares and worries that we forget the joy that we once had. Then soon, everything becomes expendable, even God.

Some religions have a way of dealing with this, and it is called detachment. They say that the less attached you are to your worldly possessions, the less pain you will feel when you finally come face to face with the true transient nature of its existence; or simply put, when you have to part with it.

But that’s not really the point, is it? You want to feel joy when you get your first paycheck. You want to feel joy when you buy your treat with the money you saved up. You want to feel joy when you get married. And not only do you want to feel joy, you want to experience it in its fullness. So distancing yourself from it? Not quite the solution. Then what is?

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:12

So I am a public service scholar. A lot of good that did me. I’m still stuck in a rut with horrible bosses. So I am an Ivy League graduate. A lot of good that did me. I still got retrenched. So I used to be a CEO. A lot of good that did me. I still got fired the day the stock market crashed. Ever felt like that? What went wrong?

I’m sure that when you became a public service scholar, when you graduated from Harvard or Princeton, when you became CEO, you were filled with much joy. But slowly, the devil, through trials and challenges, has managed to erode away that joy, chip away at it incessantly, constantly, relentlessly, till you start to feel that what you are is no longer worth very much.

Then one day, you find yourself saying, ‘So I am a Christian. So God is my Father, Jesus is my brother, and They love me. A lot of good that did me. I am still broke, sick, in pain, divorced, retrenched, have two parents in the hospital and a ton of bills to pay.’ Ouch. Been there before? What happened?

Beloved, there was a time. Perhaps you were but a child, or you were a young adult. Perhaps it was not too long ago, but long enough for it to feel distant. Whatever it is, there was a time when tears were streaming down your face because for the first time, you experienced the love of our Father. For the first time you understood what Jesus meant when He said,

“Come to Me, all you who labor and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Matthew 11:28

And at that time, you had much joy because you knew that your eternity had been saved. You had joy. It was in your grasp and in your heart.

But over time, work, stress, bills, illness, arguments, and the myriad of other troubles that assail you chipped away at that joy till one day it was gone. Now, make no mistake. You are no less saved. You are no less loved. You are no less cared for. But you just feel it a whole lot less. And that is not how things should be, clearly, and David recognizes this, and that is why he asks of our Father,

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:12

Restore the joy of knowing that we are saved. Restore the joy of knowing that our eternity is secure. Restore the joy of knowing that we are loved. Restore the joy of knowing that since the big things have been sorted out, surely Jesus and our Father will sort out the little things too. Restore to us that joy of our salvation.

And beloved, if you want to restore the joy of your salvation today, you can.

You see, in truth, our joy was never ‘chipped’ away. It was never ‘eroded’. What really happened is that our problems grew larger in our eyes and overshadowed the joy that we should have felt; and we lost sight of what is really important. Let me give you an example.

There once was a man who made a bad career decision and ended up jobless for the better part of the year. Now, as can be expected, the bills piled as high as the failed job applications, till all this man could see, was how much of a failure and embarrassment he was to his family. Yet, through it all, his wife stood by him, supported him in every way, and never once uttered a harsh word to him, despite their difficulties.

Now, is the man any less loved by God now than before he lost his job? Of course not, in fact, the extent of his wife’s love and support shows that he is even more loved by our Father. Is the man less blessed by God now than before he lost his job? Of course not, in fact what a blessing his wife is to him just becomes even more apparent with each passing day. So has the man been abandoned by God? Not at all. Then why does he spend all day asking God why He hasn’t rescued Him?

Beloved, don’t be like the man. Don’t lose the joy that came with your salvation. Keep your sights on what is important. Constantly remind yourself that because you have received Jesus into your life,

“…as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, to those who believe in His name: who were born, not of blood, nor of the will of the flesh, nor of the will of man, but of God.” John 1:12-13

You are no longer the average Joe. You are our Father’s beloved child. So

“If you then, being evil, know how to give good gifts to your children, how much more will your Father who is in heaven give good things to those who ask Him!” Matthew 7:11

Remember the joy you felt when you finally realized just what this meant to you and have the Holy Spirit drown out the negative voices. Let this be your prayer in the face of every challenge;

“Restore to me the joy of Your salvation,
And uphold me by Your generous Spirit.” Psalm 51:12

And let The Spirit uphold you and keep you in the joy which Jesus died to give you; and remind you always that

“He who did not spare His own son, but delivered Him up for us all, how shall He not with Him, also freely give us all things?” Romans 8:32

Then hold fast to the joy that you are saved, you are loved and you are valued; for as it was and is, that joy will always be yours.

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