“Restore to me the joy of your salvation, and uphold me with a willing spirit.” Psalm 51:12

As soon as the pastor began preaching, I knew he was speaking from a place of deep honesty and vulnerability. He shared a story about how he was looking at some of his old journals and discovered something that was alarming. He noticed that the way that he wrote about his love for God during the early stages of his faith was intimate and urgent. Looking at the heart behind those old words, he knew that, in some ways, his relationship with God had become stale and complacent. This realization led the speaker to ask the question, “Is it possible that I could have enjoyed Jesus back then more than I do now!?”

Then, he challenged us listening to recall the joy that was present at the beginning of our connection with Jesus. He talked about how criticism and hard days of life ministry had stolen the smiles and laughter from so many following the Lord. You could just feel the tangible connection of the men and women in the room to the words that the speaker was sharing. He remarked that, so often, we talk about how thankful we are that we’re not the same people that we used to be before Christ redeemed our lives. But in how we live, it doesn’t appear that anything is different as a result of our rescue from death.

I can’t help but think many can relate to this. Maybe there was a time when we were more willing to speak the truth candidly without shying away in fear of judgment or criticism. Maybe we used to dedicate more time to studying the word and prayer than focusing on completing tasks and just being busy. Maybe our faith has become an idea to argue about, rather than a love story with God to share with passion.

Life is filled with twists and turns. There are things that we experience that shape who we are in hard, and purposeful ways. As a result, our view of God and our relationship with Him may have been affected in some difficult ways. Although seasons change, God doesn’t. Perhaps you now recognize that you need to pray that the Lord would “restore the joy of your salvation.” There is joy in His presence. There is peace and rest there. The gospel satisfies, and our work doesn’t earn His favor. He is our Salvation.

As you think of Psalm 51:12, can you identify areas where you’d like for the Lord to restore the joy of your relationship with Him?

Excerpt from Finding Soul Rest: 40 Days of Connecting with Christ: A Devotional

Author of Soul Rest: Reclaim Your Life. Return to Sabbath., Curtis advocates intentional self-care through Sabbath practice.

Curtis Zackery (CZ), a sought-after speaker and author, pastors at Church of the City, Franklin, TN, a rapidly growing multi-campus church. His contagious gospel passion defies barriers of age, ethnicity, and religion. CZ offers a raw, relevant gospel perspective through teaching, speaking, and writing. With 15 years of diverse ministry, including church planting, pastoring, and addressing themes like rest and the gospel’s beauty, he brings unique insights. CZ holds degrees from Liberty University and Golden Gate Baptist Theological Seminary. Prior to pastoral duties at Church of the City, he directed programs at Kids Across America.