When is a train free to run? When it’s on the tracks or off the tracks?
On the tracks it can move at incredible speed, with perfect freedom, doing exactly what it was created to do. Off the tracks, it’s unable to run as designed.
We were designed, as C. S. Lewis said, to run on God. His path is the track that liberates us. That is why veering away from His will is so laborious and leads to incredible bondage.
But how do we live a life of obedience to His will? What is it that will keep us on the tracks?
The psalmist tells us in the prayer of Psalm 119:129-136. Look at these components.
1. We must come to VALUE what He values.
“Your testimonies are wonderful, therefore my soul observes them” (v. 129 NASB).
Look at your activities over the last week. You always do what is most valuable to you. If you believe that some sin is valuable, you will do it, regardless of the consequences.
The continual renewing of the mind through God’s Word is what changes us at the core. When we value His will, we pursue it. You will do what you value.
2. We must PURSUE His Word and way.
“The unfolding of Your words gives light; it gives understanding to the simple. I opened my mouth wide and panted, for I longed for Your commandments” (vv. 130-131).
If we do not pursue God through His Word, we continue to walk in darkness, blissfully ignorant of the truth.
But as we pursue Him more and more, His way unfolds before us like a spring flower, and light flows. We gain amazing, divine understanding. And the more we see Him and His way, the more we want.
3. We must PRAY, enlisting the aid of God Himself.
“Turn to me and be gracious to me, after Your manner with those who love Your name. Establish my footsteps in Your word, and do not let any iniquity have dominion over me” (vv. 132-133).
Much of Psalm 119, the longest chapter in the Bible, is simply a prayer. The psalmist saw prayer as the key to overcoming sin because prayer brings all the resources of God into the equation.
If you are not praying about your obedience—praying that sin will not “have dominion” over you—then you are trying to accomplish deliverance on your own. You have forgotten that there is only one Savior!
4. We must TURN from those who would lead us into sin.
“Redeem me from the oppression of man, that I may keep Your precepts” (v. 134).
The very first psalm reminds us how blessed is the man who doesn’t walk with evil, godless men, but delights in what God says (Psalm 1:1-3).
People and the world’s thinking can oppress us through persecution, etc. But they can also be oppressive in our life through their influence to “join the crowd.”
The world’s tracks are a broad road that leads to bondage. We can be oppressed through continual listening to their calling and advice, and even through media.
5. We must REPENT when we sin.
“My eyes shed streams of water, because they do not keep Your law” (v. 136).
Repentance is a change of mind that is so profound it leads to a change of direction. If we are a Christ follower and He lives in us, we will feel His conviction when we sin (because He loves us).
We can resist this and continue in our sin. If we do this continually, our soul will become calloused to His voice.
Or, we can listen to this conviction and respond with a godly sorrow that leads to “repentance without regret” (2 Corinthians 7:10).
If you are a true believer, you long to overcome sin and live more in His freedom. Today, the psalmist is telling us how.
A powerful engine is there; the tracks are ready. Will you follow Him?