“I hasten and do not delay to keep your commandments.”
Have you ever wondered “how far is too far?” Growing up, that was always the question. How far can I go without being in trouble? How much can I push the boundary without falling off? Where exactly is the line, and how close can I get to it without actually crossing it?
This is the way we think about our sin sometimes. As long as I stop before I get this far, it doesn’t count. Under this and this and this particular circumstance maybe it’s ok. We want to know how far we can go without getting caught, how far we can push it without it being a sin. The trouble is, with that mindset we’ve completely missed the mark.
David in this psalm says he hastens to keep God’s commandments. So often, we think of God’s commandments as restrictions on our lives, rules against the fun things that all our friends are doing or that we see on tv or that we hear about in stories. Jesus said, however, that the two most important commandments were to love God with all your heart and to love your neighbor as yourself. Neither of those things are restrictions. Those are missions. Those are a command to act, not a command to refrain. In fact, most of what God wants us to do is not restrain ourselves from doing bad, but to pursue doing good.
If we are always “hastening” to do the good that God has commanded us to do, we would also necessarily be keeping ourselves away from sin. By constantly pursuing the full life that Jesus calls us to, we will be seeking things of God, not of the flesh. The question of how far is too far becomes completely obsolete. Our goal is no longer to get away with getting as close to bad as possible, but instead running toward good. The question shouldn’t be how much of this makes it become sinful, but instead how can I do good. If we’re focused on loving God and loving our neighbors, we’re not trying to get away with anything, we’re just trying to serve and love the way we are called.
There is no grey area there, no line in the sand you might accidentally cross. As long as you are hastening to keep the commandments of God, to love him with your entire being and to love his people as you love yourself, you’ll never run into trouble or cross a boundary or go too far.
Help me never to look at your commands as a restraint on my life but rather as a guide to living life to the fullest. Help me to look for chances to do your will, not look for chances to get away with something. Forgive me for my shortcomings and empower me to do your will.
In Jesus’ Name,