Order my steps in your word - do not let any iniquity have dominion over me.
Uncannily comfortable, eerily familiar, strangely secure. We slide into sin so easily - we make life choices that are unhealthy for us so very easily. Hardly without thought, often by nothing but impulse, we listen like a trained rat to the voices that lure us into patterns that diminish the world and ourselves. It doesn't take long before we are dominated by those poor choices, those negative impulses, those alluring voices. Though we are caged, we learn to feel comfortable, familiar, and secure in the cage. As the line from the movie The Gangs of New York points out: "It's a funny feeling being taken under the wings of a dragon - it's warmer than you think."
When we see others dominated by poor choices, we can't understand their lack of resolve to make other choices. It doesn't make sense to us that they would just continue to be diminished over and over again. "Why don't they change the situation?" we ask. But, if we look at our own lives with unabashed honesty, we'll begin to ask ourselves the same question. Why are we so willing to continue perpetuating habits that are as toxic to us as speedboat fuel is to a pristine lake? Why don't we make changes to re-align ourselves? It's simply because the dragon is warmer than we thought. When we climbed in under its wings, we did not see that we would be caged - we only expected a momentary thrill or an escape from something else that was carving chunks out of our heart and soul, leaving us cold and lifeless. The embrace of those wings gave us what we thought we needed. For a while, at least. But, in the same way that the hot, dry summer heat of the desert sucks away moisture--leaving what was full and green, brown and monochromatic--so the heat found simmering under the dragon's wings sucks life's color from the soul.
We can think it fearful and controlling to have our life 'ordered' in God's ways. We think we would rather make our own choices. But, it's dangerously easy to find ourselves losing the very freedom we sought when we are grasped by the wings of the dragon. There, in our captivity, we realize that God's ways are actually our liberation. We can cry out, "Order my steps in your word and don't let any iniquity have dominion over me." At once, we're pulled from the dragon's heat and life begins to pulse in us anew.
O God, my own freedom can lead me to the place where I no longer breathe the fresh air of heaven. Pursue me when I am gasping for breath and pull me to yourself.
These meditations by Renee Miller first appeared at explorefaith.org
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