Hi everyone. Rob here.
Psalm 119 is an extensive meditation on holiness. Many think that it’s about law keeping but it’s main narrative is about the heart. The psalmists plea is that his heart be pure and turned towards God and his ways. Yes, he wants to obey the law, but more than that, he wants to be wholehearted. The following verses show this beautifully:
34 Give me understanding, so that I may keep your law
and obey it with all my heart.
35 Direct me in the path of your commands,
for there I find delight.
36 Turn my heart toward your statutes
and not toward selfish gain.
The psalmist finds beauty, freedom and fullness of live in the ways of God. He realises that the law comes from God’s heart and has been given to help humanity to thrive. Beyond the letter of the law lies God’s heart and that’s what the psalmist is really after. Verse 32 in the TNIV shows this:
I run in the path of your commands,
for you have set my heart free.
Jesus puts it another way in Matthew 5:6 when, as part of The Beatitudes, he says this:
6 Blessed are those who hunger and thirst for righteousness,
for they will be filled.
We have been given new hearts in Christ so that we can live holy lives; lives that radiate the goodness and beauty of God in this world. We have been set free to run home to the Father, to walk and work with Jesus and receive his Spirit into our lives. We have been made whole and holy by God’s love so that we can truly love our neighbour as ourselves.
I say all this because we need to align ourselves with this purpose every day. We are at war against evil forces who seek to steal, kill and destroy. Satan is after our holiness because he’s after our identity as children of God and intimate allies of the King. When we lose sight of who we are in Christ we lose our desire for holiness. We stop being hungry and thirsty for righteousness because we are living for ourselves. We start living in a self-centred story that doesn’t require us to be all that God wants us to be. That’s a story that I’ve experienced and don’t want to go back to! Only God’s story has the adventure, the beauty, the battle and the fullness of life that our hearts desperately need.
So, for today I lay down my old self before the crucified and risen Christ. I renounce the old, sinful self and die with Christ. I come alive to my new heart. I come alive to my identity as a son and an intimate ally. I clothe myself in Christ’s love, his righteousness and his life. I worship him and give myself over to him in every way. I acknowledge my need for his Spirit and invite the Spirit to come and fill me afresh with the love of God. I choose to be holy in Christ’s name. That is, I receive his holiness, his pure heart, his joy, his peace, his love and his life. Holiness is receiving the full embrace of Christ.
Grace and peace everyone and may you know the embrace of Jesus upon you.