Today, on my lunch break, I read chapter 2 of Paul Tripp’s book, “Whiter than Snow: Meditations on Sin and Mercy”. While the entire book is on the 51st chapter of the book of Psalms, this particular chapter was over verse 12:
Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.
Psalms 51:12 ESV
Tripp discusses what it means to be upheld with a willing spirit. He demonstrates how we’re created to be independent yet…
So, all fallen human beings tend to buy into two attractive but dangerous lies. These are the lies that were on the tongue of the serpent on that fateful day of manipulation and disobedience in the garden. The first lie is the lie of autonomy, which tells me that I am an independent human being with the right to invest my life however I choose. The second lie is the lie of self-sufficiency, which declares that I have everything I need within myself to be what I am supposed to be and do what I am supposed to do. Because we do not want to live for God, but for ourselves, we are easily seduced, at the mundane, everyday level, by these lies.
We cannot give ourselves that willing spirit… If we could have, we would have. However, this is not how we are made. As I read to the end, my heart was convicted and I was grieved. How many times do I act as though I can make it on my own, shown through my lack of study and prayer? Too many nights, exhausted, I rush through prayer as duty and not delight. I so hate this about myself. Although I’d NEVER say that I have the right to invest my life as I choose, or I have everything within myself to be and do what I am supposed to be and do, my actions state otherwise.
It’s only a willing spirit that seeks God and His mercy and grace. One that is unwilling is in a state of self-sufficiency, a thing that NO human being can EVER claim! Tripp ends the chapter with this:
It is a willing heart that causes us to seek the grace that has been promised. When we turn from our own way and recognize our inability to live his way, we begin to seek the full range of resources that he has promised us in his Son. Grace is for the willing and we only become willing when we confess not only the gravity of our sin, but our inability to deliver ourselves from it. Then our willingness opens to us all the sustenance of heart that can only be found in the Son.
David’s story gives me hope. I pray I will speak to my soul that there is comfort to be found in this passage in light of what I know about David from 2 Samuel 11 and Acts 13:22. It would probably do well for me to do a character study on David. Often, I feel great sadness over my sin, which is a work of the Holy Spirit, but I have to fight against the accuser telling me that it defines the authenticity of my salvation. As Shai said in a sermon a couple of weeks ago, surely my God is the God of failures… not that He fails, but He tenderly loves those of us that constantly do…