Morning Meditation, August 10th, 2015

Psalm 119:32 I run in the path of your commands, for you have set my heart free.

I am writing to you, the one who feels crushed under the requirements of God’s commands. You, who craves to be filled, who longs to lose yourself in the pleasures within your reach, no matter if they are good for you or the people around you. You know the path of obedience but it has grown tired to you. Stale as beige. The right way feels like the path of suffocation and the wrong way—which you’ve debated may not actually be so bad after all—appears positively pumping with life.

You are on my heart: the one who knows what to do but doesn’t want to do it anymore. The one who knows where to go but is on the brink of slipping away to somewhere else.

I recently returned from a small town in Maine. One of the local shops was selling t-shirts that said, What happens in Winter Harbor stays in Winter Harbor…but hardly anything ever happens here. This was my former view of what the Christian life with its all its commands and rules had to offer. A life that boasted all the freedom you wanted except nothing was really going on there. The party was always someplace else. But believing that unbridled indulgence leads to freedom is a mindset immutably cracked and costly. There is a way that leads to heartsickness but God’s ways cannot lead to anything other than life.

I am writing to you because at moments I wasn’t sure if I really believed this. I have deliberated at the fork of passionless obedience versus exhilarating sin, and I have never been more grateful for being on this side of obedience. Because in all our frustration and confusion and desire to fly off the trail a psalmist is moving past us like a gazelle, full of breath and endurance, light as a dandelion puff on the air.

And he is running.

If we’re honest he is on a most peculiar path. We’re surprised to see him so unharnessed, so unencumbered loping down the trail that winds and leads at the contours of God’s commands. To our modern ears this feels a bit embellished. We have heard from the corners of culture that obedience to God is narrow and close-minded. That if we follow the bible’s truth we will, best case scenario, miss out on all life has to offer. Why, if you could soar down any road of your choice, would you choose the one whose defining attraction is God’s commands?

The runner gives an answer.

God has set his heart free and God’s commands are the fulcrum of that freedom.

The Hebrew verb ‘to set free’ here is rachab and it means to widen, enlarge, broaden, make room. When we run according to God’s commands wide-open spaces become our surroundings. We run without guilt or regret crashing against our conscience. We no longer stumble through relational entanglements nor are we haunted by past choices, which is the landscape of every other road. Peace and contentment is our strength.

I am writing to you because the psalmist reminds us that God’s commands are not His way of capriciously holding out on you. The One who frees you loves you. The One who loves you wants you to run uninhibited on the path that boasts holy parameters yet paradoxically has no end. The psalmist knew that to cleave to God’s Word and ways was the only way to be free. And once he’d tasted that freedom he couldn’t help but run.