renewing the enthusiasm

“Mommy, look!” came the joyful shouts of my boys, each in turn, over the years. When the little matchbox cars raced across the wooden floor or when they created the latest lego invention, their hearts overflowed with enthusiasm. They couldn’t hold back and had to share!

From the first dive off the side of the pool to the 100th splash, their enthusiasm never waned and their young years were peppered with those joyful shouts.

Having my spiritual eyes opened after years of atheism, I felt like an enthusiastic child with a new found treasure. I couldn’t hold back the excitement as I shared what Jesus had done with anyone trapped within 5 feet of me.

The years passed. The boys’ shouts quieted and so did mine.

The boys have come to the brink of manhood and surely would seem out of place to shout “Mommy, look!” Though I am grateful for their openness to still share their hearts and allow me to catch many of their words.

But why have I grown quiet? Too cool? Too old? After walking with a faithful God for two decades my enthusiasm shouldn’t be lessened but enhanced. Years of wandering, of joys, of seeing Him move, of grace lavished on me and knowing Him better through His Word and by His Spirit. Aren’t these the intimacies that ought to ignite our joy of salvation?

After years of walking with God, King David must’ve felt the same way. He had wandered into deep sin. He had chosen the flesh over faithfulness to his God. Instead of living in that shame and letting his enthusiasm wane away, he penned Psalm 51.

Here he gives us a masterful outline for a renewed enthusiasm.

He begins with repentance. Any reorientation of our hearts to God first requires the turning away from that which grieves Him, and turning or agreeing with Him that our need is Him. David recognizes his need for God. All have fallen short of the glory of God (Romans 3:23), so every one of us can begin here. Confess it, agree with Him that we come short of perfection, not so He can condemn us but so He can cover us in Jesus.

Any reorientation of our hearts to God first requires the turning away from that which grieves Him. #tendingourway #spiritualpractices

He then remembers God’s character. In verse 6 David acknowledges God is One who delights in truth in the inward being. He remembers the perfect and good and faithful character of his God. When we remind our hearts of who He is, we come boldly to the throne of grace because we know He is the Father who meets us there and the Mediator who stands between (Hebrews 4:16 & 1 Timothy 2:5).

Finally, he asks God for restoration. God is in the business of restoring, redeeming and resurrecting. You and I do not have to conjure up false joy. We are free to ask Him and He will, by His Spirit, fill us with the restored joy we lack. David remembered there is joy in His salvation and when he repented and remembered who God is, he was ready to ask God for that restored joy.

The beauty of it all is that once he was restored, he THEN taught transgressors God’s ways. He didn’t keep it all to himself, but rather he went from there with the Lord and like those little boys I raised, he shouted to others “Hey, look!! Come know my God who restores joy!!”


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