The desire for autonomy is part of human nature. I need only to observe my small children to see evidence of this. I ask my two-year-old to go get her shoes, and she literally runs in the opposite direction. I tell my five-year-old it’s time to put the LEGOs away and he instantly has three excuses why he can’t. But it’s not just children—I am guilty of the same behavior. My mother suggests a certain brand of skin care, and I make a mental note to never use that brand.
As humans, we just don’t like to be told what to do. That’s why today’s Psalm refrain almost makes me laugh.
“Lord, I love Your commands.” (Psalm 119:27)
This type of praise is not my default. Lord, I love Your mercy, and Your compassion, and the way You died to save me. But Your commands? They are what make this Christian thing so difficult!
This Psalm refrain and the verses that accompany it come from Psalm 119, which happens to be the longest of all the Psalms. In fact, it is the longest chapter out of any book of the Bible, and it’s all about loving God’s law. Coincidence? I don’t think so.
God gave us the gift of free will. He knows our desire for autonomy, and that obedience will at times be difficult for us. He wants us to know that His law is not meant to stifle us; rather, it is meant to set us free. As Jesus says in today’s Gospel, “He has anointed me . . . to let the oppressed go free.” (Luke 4:18). What oppresses us more than sin? And what can free us from sin besides obedience to Jesus—the fulfillment of God’s law?
When we choose obedience to God’s law we are choosing freedom in Christ. It is a sweet and pleasing gift to God when we freely submit our wills to Him and say, “Lord, I love Your commands.”
Make a good Confession this week. Get set free!
Anna Coyne is a Saint Paul native, wife, mother, and convert to the Catholic faith. When not chasing after her two young children you can probably find her playing the piano, knitting, tripping over wooden train sets, or writing. Find out more about her here.