“I will always obey your law, for ever and ever. I will walk about in freedom, for I have sought out your precepts.” Psalms 119:44-45 (NIV)
We tend to associate freedom with doing what we want, when we want, how we want. In other words, we think living in freedom means not being under anyone else’s control. The psalmist, however, says just the opposite. We experience true freedom by putting our thoughts, attitudes, and actions under God’s control through obedience to His Word. But in order to actually live this way we need a firm foundation built on trust and hope.
God’s unfailing love is the foundation for trust (vv41-42). Everything the Bible tells us to do or not do is based on His unfailing love. God not only wants what’s best for us, He knows exactly what that is and how to accomplish it. We experience true freedom by placing our trust in His Word—knowing He has our best interest at heart.
Our hope is in God’s Word because it is truth (v43). When we talk about hopes and dreams we usually mean the things we want to happen in this life. But for Christians, hope reaches beyond earthly circumstances into eternity (1 Corinthians 15:19). Believing His Word to be true about eternal matters leads to steadfast hope in this life as well. Like the psalmist, we can face each new circumstance by saying, “I have put my hope in your laws” (vv74, 81, 114, 147 NIV).
Once our trust and hope are rightly placed in God and His Word, we naturally want to obey. We don’t question His instructions because we no longer doubt they are given in love. It’s predetermined obedience. As a result, many of life’s decisions are already made. Instead of wringing our hands or weighing the pros and cons, we simply obey and trust the outcome to God. That’s living in freedom!
You see, many of the things we want the freedom to do actually bring bondage (2 Peter 2:19). James reminds us, “But whoever looks intently into the perfect law that gives freedom, and continues in it—not forgetting what they have heard, but doing it—they will be blessed in what they do” (James 1:25 NIV).
Freedom through predetermined obedience is counter-intuitive to the American mindset. But that’s the point. Our concept of living in freedom needs to be shaped by Scripture rather than by culture. Read back through today’s stanza of Psalm 119. Is your life built on trust and hope in God’s Word? “Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free” (John 8:32 NIV).