“Create in me a clean heart, O God,
and put a new and right spirit within me.
Cast me not away from thy presence,
and take not thy holy Spirit from me.
Restore to me the joy of thy salvation,
and uphold me with a willing spirit.”
Psalm 51: 10-12 (RSV)
Throughout scripture, there are many examples of the Spirit of God calling people to do something. He cleanses us, corrects us, and restores our joy. Then He calls us to do something and to work with Him, in some way. It’s a call deep in our heart, and if our spirit is willing, the desire to answer His call grows. Whatever He calls us to do, He will wait patiently until we respond.
There is nothing that God cannot do, since He is all powerful, and yet He chooses people to work with Him, to further His kingdom. In the last line of this scripture, we are invited to have what the inspired psalmist calls
“a willing spirit.”
God needs no one. He invites us to participate with His plans because He loves us. He doesn’t need us but He wants us, simply because we are loved by Him.
God asked Isaiah who He should send, as a messenger to His people, and Isaiah volunteered himself, saying, “Here I am, send me!”
He called Samuel, but waited for him to respond, by saying “Speak Lord, your servant is listening.”
If Mary hadn’t responded positively, the Holy Spirit would never have forced His entry into her womb. She is the prime example of someone with a willing spirit. She chose to cooperate with God’s plan of salvation, bringing Jesus to all of us.
Throughout scripture, the Spirit of God politely asks, invites, and gently beckons. He never forces His way upon us, He waits for us to respond positively, and with honesty to Him.
Just as we wouldn’t want someone to befriend us under compulsion, God is looking for a positive, but truthful response to Him.
When my mother once had a small stroke, she was admitted to the hospital where I worked. I knew the neurosurgeons in that hospital, so when the surgeon on call that day arrived to the ICU to see my mother, he was surprised to see me there.
He told me that her scan showed a very small bleed in her brain. He didn’t recommend surgery, saying that the bleeding would eventually be reabsorbed. I remember having only one question to ask him, and I said, “If this was your mother, what would you do?”
He looked directly at me and said,
“If it was my mother, I would not recommend surgery.” That was all I needed to hear. An honest response leading to the right treatment was enough. She did recover and was able to speak and walk again without a problem.
There is comfort in knowing we have received an honest response. A positive response is valuable, but more so, when we believe it to be truthful. The examples in scripture show us people who had both a willing and truthful spirit. A willing spirit is also referred to throughout the Old Testament regarding free will offerings to God and His temple.
Therefore, a willing spirit leads us to service as well as to giving. When we open our heart to give in every way to God, He will restore the joy of our salvation.
Lord, open our hearts and uphold in us a willing spirit. Lead us to respond in any way that you have been calling us or patiently waiting for our response to your invitation. Amen