I am laid low in the dust;preserve my life according to Your word.
I recounted my ways and you answered me;teach me Your decrees.
Let me understand the teaching of Your precepts;then I will meditate on Your wonders.
My soul is weary with sorrow;strengthen me according to Your word.
Keep me from deceitful ways;be gracious to me through Your law.
I have chosen the way of truth;I have set my heart on Your laws.
I hold fast to Your statutes, O LORD,do not let me be put to shame.
I run in the path of Your commands,for You have set my heart free.
- Psalm 119: 25-32
I've been thinking about this on and off for weeks now.
"Command" can sound like such a negative word to us - restrictive, a "you have to do this or else" sort of a thing. We don't associate it with freedom easily.
But I heard Alistair Begg say once that as we grow in our relationship with Jesus over time, and become more and more like Him, the "thou shalt nots" of the law become "thou shall nots." The transformative power of the Holy Spirit at work within us leads us to a place where we wouldn't even think of doing the things we are told not to do; we just shall not do them anymore, because it isn't who we are, and we simply wouldn't.
I like that. I am grateful for it. And I think, in truth, it really does set us free...
In those seasons when we feel, like the psalmist, that we are "laid low in the dust" (read: we've fallen flat on our faces for one reason or another and it feels like we can hardly breathe) or when we're "weary with sorrow" - there is still hope. Because we love and serve a God who will not let us be put to shame, a God who is aware of and at work in every circumstance of our lives, a God who is in the process of transforming us into the image of His Son. And whether it's our own sin or someone else's, or just the fallen nature of this world (or some combination thereof) that's landed us face down in the dirt or made us sad - because of Christ's death and resurrection, there really will be a day when we shall not do anything we should not.
Thank You, Jesus, for amazing grace and mercy.