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running on beach image

Psalm 119:32 in Young’s Literal Translation says, “The way of Thy commands I run, For Thou dost enlarge my heart!”

So many times when I imagine my Christian life, I picture a slow plodding, a testing of each step to make sure there are no land mines and honestly, a rather slow experience overall. The psalmist in this passage though describes a Christian life that is filled with running. He is so sure of God’s commands that he is able to run forward because he is sure of the steps that God has before him.

Are we able to run as well?

We are. When we know God’s commands we are able to not just meander along, but run. We can move faster than we imagined because we can be sure of our steps. We don’t have to second guess everything because our path is clear before us.

So, what are some of our Lord’s commands?

Jesus Himself said that the greatest command is to love the Lord our God with all of our heart, soul, mind and strength (Matthew 22). So, we can run in that experience with Him. There is no need to be shy in His presence, or to avoid Him. He has called us to love Him and He has made a way in our hearts for that to happen, so we can run into His arms with complete abandon knowing that loving Him with unrestraint is His command.

Another sure command of the Lord is to love our neighbors as ourselves. In fact, Jesus calls this the second greatest commandment (Matthew 22). So, we know that this is another path in which we can run.

We can run towards telling our neighbors about Jesus, because we know that we would want to be told about Jesus. We can run towards forgiveness because we know we want to be forgiven. We can run to help someone who needs encouragement because we know we want encouragement. We can run to our knees for a request for a friend because we know we cherish the prayers of others. You see? Running is easy when we are running in His commands.

I love the second part of Psalm 119:32. It tells me that when I run in His commands, my heart enlarges. My love can’t help but grow. So, maybe I don’t feel like encouraging anyone today, but I know I need encouragement. Instead of waiting and sulking for someone to encourage me, I run in His commands by loving someone as I want to be loved (in this case, a simple word of encouragement) and He enlarges my heart. I end up feeling encouraged myself because He is always faithful to enlarge my heart when I am running in His commands.

I can’t help but think of The Grinch and how “his heart grew three sizes that day.” Maybe that’s why we all love that part of the movie so much (the 1966 version!). Our spirit knows that’s what God does for us when we run in His commands. He enlarges our hearts. He puts a goofy grin on our face and we are able to serve others in genuine love.The truth is when we are faithful to run in our Lord’s commands He fulfills His part of the bargain. He empowers us to do things we wouldn’t normally do. He lifts our spirits in ways we can’t imagine. He enlarges out hearts to love as we could never love before, even more than Mr. Grinch.

So, let’s lay down the idea of a quiet, slow Christian life and start running in His commands. Let’s stop looking for land mines and take Him at His Word that He will enlarge our hearts to love our neighbors as ourselves. Let’s stop limping around injured and afraid and run into arms wide open for discovery. Let’s pick up the pace and run!

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