When we are young and subject to parental authority we can’t wait to grow up and be free. We imagine a world where we can do whatever we want. Where we will be free. We can stay up as late as we want, eat as much of whatever we want, go where we want. Then we grow up and when we realise what that involves we want to go back to our childhood. Where we were free. A time when we had no responsibilities, naptime becomes the holy grail, school – the opportunity to learn and colour and play becomes a nirvana. Basically, we want to be free. There’s something in us that recognises we are not free and yearns for it. Freedom can be defined as being at liberty, exempt from external control, interference or regulation. I am going to highlight one word there – external. We feel free when nothing around us controls us so children wish to be free from control by parents, teachers etc. and adults want to be free from control by responsibilities.
I love Psalm 119: it’s the longest psalm having 176 verses and broken into 22 stanzas, one for each letter of the Hebrew alphabet (done alphabetically) and each line within a stanza begins with the same letter. It’s a masterpiece of order and if you have ever tried to write a poem like that – an acrostic) you will know how difficult it is. I found this verse yesterday.
And I will live a life of freedom
because I pursue Your precepts.
Say what? I thought freedom was about being exempt from external influences and here is the psalmist telling me he is free because he pursues rules? I’m still working my way through The Practice of the Presence of God and it’s a hard but wonderful book. Today Brother Lawrence said that he has found that when he gives everything to God and seeks to serve Him in all he does – then he finds freedom. This is crazy talk – on the surface. But remember that word I highlighted above? External.
The precepts I am pursuing aren’t external to me they are written on my heart. The one Brother Lawrence is submitting to lives within him. We are searching from freedom, yearning for it but it’s not freedom from God it’s freedom from our sin and the results of it. I was created to love God and serve Him. I was created to sing His praise and worship Him. That’s freedom: the ability to fulfill my purpose.
No longer a slave but a son and I will pursue those precepts written on my heart because I have been set free and that freedom is glorious.