Thursday, March 6, 2014

Renew a Right Spirit Within Me

“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and grant me a willing spirit to sustain me” (Psalm 51:12).

We are entering the season of Lent in preparation for Easter, when many people choose to give something up as a sign of repentance and in memory of Jesus’ sacrifices for us. One message I heard suggested giving up or adding a behavior or attitude that would draw us closer to God, and I thought of this verse.

I am constantly battling negative attitudes related to my pain.  I’m tired of the cold, the headaches, the eye issues.  God understands my struggles, but I can express my feelings and still maintain a right spirit.

One commentary describes a willing spirit as constant, steady, determined, and yielding itself to God.   Many times my spirit is not constantly yielded to God, and I am certainly not focusing on the joy of my salvation.  So what do I do?

When my emotions cause me to doubt God’s goodness, power and plan for my life, I need to repent and ask for forgiveness.  I need to pray that the Holy Spirit will change my attitude to one of faith and trust.  This may mean keeping my focus only on the current moment, not worrying about how I will endure tomorrow or even later today.
I need to choose joy – “a contented resting in God”.  Joy and pain really can coexist if the focus of my joy is on the right things:  seeing God’s mercies and blessings even in my suffering, praising Him for His constant faithfulness, and placing my hope on an endless eternity of active and pain-free communion with and service for Him. 

I may not succeed at maintaining a right spirit every day, but by God’s grace I will keep aiming for it.  And my hope is that these changes won’t just be for Lent, but for life.

Prayer:  Lord Jesus, as I think about Your sacrifices for me, I want my spirit to respond in gratitude, praise and trust, rather than in negativity and complaints.  Help me choose to be joyful for all that You’ve given me now and all that is yet to come.  Amen.

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