Scripture Reading: “…and uphold me with thy free spirit.” (Psalm 51:12)
David is actually praying here for God to give him a spirit that will henceforth be willing to obey. A spirit no longer desiring to satisfy sinful lusts, but ever-desiring to submit to the laws of God. David perceptively understood that he needed more than a change in his behavior; he needed a change of heart. Additionally, he knew that his needed transformation of character demanded a divine miracle of the highest order. Thus, he called out to a wonder-working God to wondrously change his obstinate spirit into an obedient one.
In Psalm 37:4, David writes, “Delight thyself also in the Lord: and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart.” Many have misinterpreted this verse to mean that the Lord promises to give to those who delight themselves in Him their every desire. However, what this verse really promises is that God will give you “the desires” themselves. In other words, if you delight yourself in the Lord, then, the Lord will give you the desire to do what He wants you to. What the penitent David is praying for in Psalm 51:12, he is promising to those who delight themselves in the Lord in Psalm 37:4.
In the New Testament, the Apostle Paul teaches us that God is working in us through the indwelling of the Holy Spirit to make us willing to do His good pleasure (Philippians 2:13). By following the desires of our Spirit indwelt hearts, we work out our salvation so that others can see the external evidence in our lives of the internal transformation Christ is working in our hearts (Philippians 2:12). Truly, what David prayed for every child of God now possesses, thanks to the indwelling Christ who is miraculously working to make Himself right at home in our transformed hearts (Ephesians 3:17).
“I fall down on my knees and pray to the Father of all the great family of God…that out of his glorious, unlimited resources he will give you the mighty inner strengthening of his Holy Spirit. And I pray that Christ will be more and more at home in your hearts, living within you as you trust in him.” (Ephesians 3:14-17 TLB)