"Oh, how I love your law! I meditate on it all day long."
"Accept, O Lord, the willing praise of my mouth, and teach me your laws."
"My heart is set on keeping your decrees to the very end."
"You are my refuge and my shield; I have put my hope in your word."
These are verses from my time with the Lord this morning. They all come from Psalm 119. If ever you are struggling with falling in love with God and His word, I think this is a great place to look. It makes me want to please God with all that I am just because of all the love He put into His Word.
I've been thinking about FREEDOM a lot lately. And how the American ideal of freedom is so messed up. For some reason our culture has boxed freedom up in an odd shaped package, and then filled it with toxic gas. Freedom is not doing whatever we want, whenever we want it, saying whatever is on our minds and however it benefits us, and making sure the world revolves around ourselves.
For me, God's words tie in with freedom. See, true freedom is desiring what is right. Let's think about this. If I began my life early on desiring what was right, I would have began desiring fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and water., Instead, I began my life desiring what was wrong. Pizza, cookies, soda, and chips, all in too large quantities. I thought I had freedom because I could eat what I wanted when I wanted it. It was "my body" and I could do whatever I wanted with it. But, now, I know that living in obesity as a consequence to my decisions...that is no where near freedom.
The same comes to debt. We think because we have "earned the right" to have these little plastic cards that we can purchase whatever we want, whenever we want it. We go on trips, buy movies, buy extra little things for around the house, buy a new wardrobe, and basically spend what we want, whenever we want, all in the name of FREEDOM.
I bet, if you ask anyone who has "maxed out" those cards, and now has a house full of stuff they do not need, and the word that comes to mind is not freedom. Perhaps bondage. Or oppression.
TRUE FREEDOM IS DESIRING TO DO WHAT IS RIGHT. Think about it. When we choose to do what is right, we are not only pleasing God, but we are avoiding the consequences of sin. The temporary hard decision to do what is right is often hard to do, but well worth it in the end.
The phrase "delayed gratification" comes to mind. I remember in psychology class were we watched a video about a study where they left kids in a room with a bowl full of candy. They told the kids that if they could stay in the room and not eat any of the candy, they would get twice as much candy than what was originally in the bowl. Sadly, most of the kids could not hold out. They gobbled the candy up quickly, and missed out on a future reward. But, there were a select few who held out. They were successful because not only did they not eat the candy, but they actually ignored it, knowing it wasn't the proper time. Those kids who demonstrated delayed gratification were shown in a later study to have higher IQ's and higher success rates as adults.
This is kind of where I am at in about a half of dozen areas of my life. I'm seeking delayed gratification. And for me, the only way that can occur is by relying on the strength of God, through His word. I'm working on weight loss, rebuilding my marriage, memorizing Scripture, parenting during a rough season with my children, trusting God with our finances, and trying to figure out just exactly what God has down the road for us in a few months with my employment situation. I want freedom. I'm tired of being held in bondage by my sin. I desire holiness, a sweeter disposition, and trust in the Lord that is unending. That for me is freedom.
How about you? Where are you seeking freedom? Are you trusting God? Or is your hope placed in the material things of this world? I pray that you will open up His Word and find the true freedom there. Oh, how encouraged I was as I spent time reading from Psalm 119 today. How amazed I was as I spent time in prayer listing everything I had to be grateful for. How hopeful I am as I trust God to meet all our current and future needs. How free I feel as I begin to let things go...