Restore to me the joy of your salvation and grant me a willing spirit, to sustain me. Psalm 51:12
David requested a willing spirit to sustain him. A willing spirit that would motivate him not a driven spirit that would push him. How do we cultivate a ‘willing spirit’?
When we read the account of Isaiah’s call to prophetic ministry, we see a three-part progression. First, there is the revelation of God’s holiness. Next is Isaiah’s realisation of his own sinfulness. Then, after being cleansed, Isaiah’s willing response is, “Here am I. Send me!” (Isaiah 6:1-8).
Isaiah had a unique encounter with God and while we may not have this same experience, we can still understand the depth of God’s holiness. God isn’t just a bit better or a bit nicer than us, he is in a totally different category. In the Bible the most common response, when someone becomes aware of God’s holiness, was to fall facedown, usually terrified (Matthew 17:6, Revelation 1:17).
A true realisation of God’s holiness makes us aware of our un-holiness. In our own sight, we often excuse ourselves since we avoid the more obvious behavioural sins. Yet God “judges the thoughts and attitudes of the heart” (Hebrews 4:12).
Receiving God’s cleansing is such a relief when we’ve seen the depth of our sin from the perspective of a holy God. Then it’s out of immense gratitude that we want to serve God.
Serving God out of our own resources causes driven-ness. Alternatively responding out of appreciation for all God has done causes us to be motivated by gratitude. Often we can tell our motivation by our reaction to the outcome. A driven spirit wants to see results, a willing spirit leaves the outcome to God.