It’s the reaction of the old man which sees obedience as restrictive. Paul says that it’s the flesh’s natural reflex to balk at the commands of God. It’s the dynamic of the old heart which when it hears, “Do not covet”, naturally responds with covetousness (Rom. 7:7-8). It’s why when God said to earth’s first inhabitants, “Don’t eat. It will be for your own good,” that they ate. Not eating sounded like an absence of freedom when, in fact, it was the way to unimagined liberation.
I’m thinking about the freedom gained through obedience as I read in Psalm 119 this morning.
I will keep Your law continually, forever and ever,
and I shall walk in a wide place, for I have sought Your precepts.
(Psalm 119:44-45 ESV)
I shall walk in a wide place.
This morning I’m typing this as I look out upon a vast ocean without seaming end. If I were to describe what a “wide place” is, my view from our balcony would be it. Nothing restrictive about it. In fact, everything about it speaks of freedom. Nothing, even when it’s stormy, that causes me to resist its allure. Everything about it that seems so inviting. If I could walk on water, this is what I’d imagine walking in a “wide place” to be. And the living Word of God says, follow Me and you shall walk in such a place.
So why do I entertain the old nature’s reflex? Why entertain thoughts that following God’s “rules” will somehow detract from life rather than fuel the abundant life He intended for us? As with all matters that involve embracing the new life in Christ we have been graced with, I’m thinking it comes down to faith, or lack thereof. Of not really believing what I say I really believe.
Not really believing that it is “for freedom Christ has set us free” (Gal. 5:1), and so being wishy-washy about standing firm in the ways of the cross in order to lay hold of my freedom in Christ. Wavering between fully committing to the wisdom of the Word and entertaining the wisdom of the world, not fully convinced that Jesus is really the way, the TRUTH, and the life and that the TRUTH will really set me free (John 14:6, 8:32). Buying into the serpent’s insidious doubt-seeding question, “Isn’t obedience just old fashioned legalistic religion?”
Instead, by faith I need to be seeking His precepts and keeping His law with holy determination and Holy Spirit enabling. Trusting that it is the only way to walk in the wide place intended for me.
The way of holiness is not a track for slaves, but the King’s highway for freemen, who are joyfully journeying from the Egypt of bondage to the Canaan of rest. ~ Spurgeon
The wide place. Broad, large, roomy in every direction. The way which leads to true freedom. The path, stretching from eternity to eternity, which makes known the liberty for which He redeemed us at great cost. That is the way of obedience.
I believe, help my unbelief! (Mark 9:24 ESV)
By Your grace. For Your glory!