So, I have a “thing” with word association. As I read Psalm 51:10 I saw “steadfast spirit” as if for the first time. Then I thought about Aretha Franklin’s song “Rock Steady”…then my little thought I want to share about consistency. First though, let’s look at this verse’s second part in other versions.
…and renew a right spirit within me (KJV, ESV, ASV)
…and renew a steadfast spirit within me (NKVJ, NASB, NIV)
…renew a loyal spirit within me (New Living Translation)
…renew a resolute spirit within me (New English Translation)
…put a new and right spirit within me (Revised Standard Version)
Ah, the beauty of context gives fuller meaning. From the KJV right means firm, stable and established.
David prays for a spirit that is firm in, stable in, established in, and loyal to God.
So do I, and I’m sure that’s your prayer as well. What I love about this phrase is that it ruins those of us who think about right and wrong only. A right spirit is not simply a law-abiding spirit (it’s definitely not a law-breaking one either!). God made us right with Him through Christ, but we grow into understanding of our righteousness as we become firm, stable and established in the faith.
When I read “steadfast spirit” and snapped back from my word association moment, my little thought was that instability and lack of discipline are not excuses for spaces of grace to grow…when we can pray and ask for a right spirit. His Spirit in us inspires (breathes in) firm faith and loyalty to Christ. And that’s what I want — loyalty to HIM.
The neat thing about loyalty to God is that the obedience is general but the expression is personal.
We do no good (and it doesn’t work!) to excuse our sin or ungodly behavior (in the heart or through the body) and credit bad belief about God to Holy Spirit’s teaching. Um, no. We also do no good to prove our personal expression of the Christian faith by “grace-ing” over clear instructions for us all. It just doesn’t work that way. Those who love Him obey Him…and in our alignment with Him our relationship with Him blossoms.
The way to avoid all the back and forth, and even debate in some cases about what God explicitly states versus the green lights we give our flesh and soul….IS TO PRAY FOR A STEADFAST SPIRIT. Just pray God give us a spirit that is loyal to Him, based on HIS TRUTH that WE KNOW about HIM. It is this truth that makes us free.
Let’s consider a “weight drop” of the foolishness that causes our minds to reel when the Father has spoken our way already. Let’s add this request to our regular supplication prayers, that God make us firm in spirit, to be resolute and established in Him, to be stable disciples of Jesus Christ. This prayer suggests that alone, in our flesh, we are unstable (and therefore unfruitful), able to be moved, and stand on faulty ground (not established) about our beliefs.
One prayer can change it all: Lord, renew in us steadfast spirits. Amen.
Selah, and love to all.