Meditation on Psalm 119:73-74
Your hands have made and fashioned me; give me understanding that I may learn your commandments. Those who fear you shall see me and rejoice, because I have hoped in your word.
I’ve said it a hundred times, one of the most frustrating things in the Christian life is the slowness of our sanctification. I remember, as a kid, constantly finding myself in trouble. For me, 3rd grade was an especially rough year. I was angry and disrespectful. I had to sit down with teachers, principals, parents, and leaders often. Fast forward to the 10th grade when the captain’s band was taken from my arm in JV Soccer, because of my anger. Fast forward to broken relationships in college, because of anger. Fast forward to hurting my testimony, because of anger directed towards refs, while coaching soccer in my early twenties. Fast forward to needing to seek serious counsel from godly mentors, while my wife and I were dating, because of my anger. Even today, though I have grown, and God has done mighty things in my life, I must fight the fleshly seed of anger that so desperately wants to rage. I must fight this rage that wants to point out other’s issues. This rage that wants to defend my words and actions is what I must guard against. Why?! God! Take this sin away from me.
What is it for you? Maybe it’s several things. Greed, laziness, pride, lust, jealousy, fear, anxiety, loneliness, deceit, the list could go on for each of us. Chances are that if you are reading this, you have had the same frustrations and have a similar story. The good news is that the Christian life is not one of despair or loss, but one of victory and hope. We must remember that the God who called us to Himself, before the foundation of the earth, has not only promised our justification and glorification, but has promised that He Himself will sanctify us completely (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24). We can say, with confidence, that He who began a good work in us will complete it (Philippians 1:6). We know that Jesus saves to the uttermost (Hebrews 7:25). We know that God is both faithful and just to not only forgive us our sins, but to cleanse us from all unrighteousness (1 John 1:9). We can know that while we are working out our sanctification with fear and trembling, God is the one working in us both to will and to work for His good pleasure (Philippians 2:12-13).
Too many Christians live defeated lives. They live enslaved to their sin, as if sanctification is a lost cause (at least in a specific area of their life). Even worse, they fear falling away from the faith completely. But is this the message of the gospel? Paul called those in Galatia who struggled with this fools! Not because they struggled with sin, but because they thought it was up to them to defeat it! Paul asks, “Who has bewitched you?” then he says, “Did you receive the Spirit by works of the law or by hearing with faith? Are you so foolish? Having begun by the Spirit, are you now being perfected by the flesh?” (Galatians 3:1-4). In other words, we must realize that not only were we saved completely by God’s grace, but we are sanctified completely by God’s grace. God has put His own name on the line as the guarantee. He will surely do it!
When I read these two verses in Psalm 119, I see a man like myself. I see a man who needs understanding, who needs to obey God’s commandments, who is probably discouraged sometimes with the slowness of his sanctification, a man who desperately wants to let his light shine before others so that they may see his good works and give glory to God in heaven (Matthew 5:16). I see a man who has no hope outside of God’s Word. This man is not seeking to be pious so that he can impress people. No, he wants to keep in step with the Spirit, abiding in God’s Word, delighting in God’s Word, and obeying God’s Word. He wants all of this so that people may see what God has done in his life and rejoice! This man has nothing to boast about. The only thing he brought to his salvation was the sin that made it necessary, and this is the same for me and you.
Take heart dear brother and sister in Christ! God has not left you to yourself. His hands have fashioned you. He made you. He has given you physical life, and He has caused you to be reborn into right relationship with Him. He now sees you through the righteousness of His Son, our Savior, Jesus Christ! Not only has He made and fashioned you, but He has made and fashioned your good works, “For we are his workmanship, created in Christ Jesus for good works, which God prepared beforehand, that we should walk in them” (Ephesians 2:10).
Will you call on your Creator today to fashion your good works? Will you call on your Creator to give you understanding, so that you may abide, delight, and obey? Pray that God would remind you of the victory you have in Jesus. Pray that God would remind you of the power of the Holy Spirit in you. Then, let your light shine so that people may see you and rejoice in God. Oh, brother and sister, hope in God’s Word! Cling to its promises!