My burden was anything but light. My yoke was not at all easy. I stumbled under the weight of sin, distant from God. I had chosen to go my own way, against the advice of Scripture, defying all I knew to be true and noble and lovely.
I yielded to temptation and reached for the apple.
With the succulent juice of sin glistening on my lips, and my tongue savoring the deliciousness, I knew that the pleasure would not last. Sin swallowed makes a stomach sick.
I argued with my conscience. What a burden to know the truth. Why couldn’t I sin like everyone else, blissfully unaware of the deadly consequences?
It wasn’t fair! I longed to indulge my flesh, to snatch the forbidden fruit and feast gluttonously until my belly bulged, satisfied by hedonism.
Other people seemed happy in their trespasses. They enjoyed all manner of elicit indulgences, reveling until dawn, embraced by countless lovers. I longed to be so carefree and self-gratifying; however, when I chose sin, the garden of my heart became overrun by thorns and thistles, destroying the tranquility I once enjoyed.
Crushed by the burden of walking in darkness, I wiped my mouth, spit out the apple, and cried for help, “Jesus, please, I’m sorry.”
“Surely the arm of the Lord is not too short to save, nor his ear too dull to hear. But your iniquities have separated you from your God; your sins have hidden his face from you, so that he will not hear.” Isaiah 59:1-2 (NIV)
Repentance drew me to my Father’s embrace, gazing into His eyes, hearing His voice. Jesus’ blood cleansed me from guilt and shame and strengthened me to repent to those I harmed by my sinful actions. I felt the weight of my iniquities lift from my shoulders as I received forgiveness and clung to His love.
I returned to the Word of God, the love story that shows me how to walk in the light. My stumbling feet found steady ground. Holy Spirit cleared the brambles from the path as torment gave way to calm.
“Great peace have those who love your law, and nothing can make them stumble.” Psalm 119:165 (NIV)
When peace displaces anxiety or hardness of heart, the contrast is breathtaking. Sweet fellowship with my Abba Father made me believe that I would hold fast to God’s law forever. How could sin ever entice me again? It’s dreadful.
I have found that humility makes me alert and sober, attuned to God’s voice, able to discern the enemy’s plans. Humility keeps me dependent on Christ. And obedient.
The psalmist affirms his love for the law and his desire to obey God’s precepts. He chief desire is to heed God’s instructions, to follow His directions, to abide by His counsel.
Why do I sense an undercurrent of discomfort? My proud rebellious heart bristles. I reflexively resist when others require me to comply. I want to decide for myself, to choose the way that is right in my own eyes. Oh, to tame this wayward heart!
“Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it, Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”
(Robert Robinson, Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, 1757)
With the message of Psalm 119 shining a light on our steps, we recognize that the Word of God holds us close in the protective glow of His love. Jesus knows we are fickle, distracted by fleshly desires, prone to idolize worldly treasures. Because we cannot save ourselves, He came to earth and sacrificed Himself to free us from the stronghold of iniquity.
All He asks is that we stay near to Him, nourished by His Word, rejecting the sin that so easily entangles. (Hebrews 12:1) He does not ask us to do this in our own strength. We are not able. But He is.
“Are you tired? Worn out? Burned out on religion? Come to me. Get away with me and you’ll recover your life. I’ll show you how to take a real rest. Walk with me and work with me—watch how I do it. Learn the unforced rhythms of grace. I won’t lay anything heavy or ill-fitting on you. Keep company with me and you’ll learn to live freely and lightly.” Matthew 11:28-30 (The Message)
When we keep in step with Jesus and obey His instruction, we reap supernatural joy and unexpected peace. All we need to do is love Him first and love Him more. Even more than that forbidden fruit. Don’t be fooled. Once you have walked in the light, nothing else will satisfy. Live freely and lightly. Yes, that is our desire.