You have changed my sorrow into dancing. You have taken away my sackcloth and clothed me with joy. You wanted me to praise you and not be silent. Lord my God, I will praise you forever! (Psalm 30:11-12 ERV)
Some days I just don't feel like dancing, how about you? There are just times when the weight of all that I am feeling 'plants my feet' in one spot and I just muddle through. The more I muddle in the muddle, the more weight I feel. If you have ever walked through a particularly muddy section of land, you would likely have noted how quickly the mud attaches itself to your shoes. Before long, those lightweight shoes begin to feel like lead boots! Sin is kind of like that - we muddle through it and wallow around in it long enough and we will find we get 'weighed down' by the 'attached dirt'. The more we try to move, the harder it becomes to actually take big steps in the right direction.
God's greatest joy is when one of his children actually look down at those mud-bogged feet and then turn their eyes to him, asking for his help to be freed from the 'bog' of sin. Too many times we think we must 'muddle through' on our own, but if we want to be free, we might need to leave those 'sin-bogged shoes' right there in the bog! God is more than capable of lifting us out of the bog, but he doesn't want us to take those sin-bogged shoes with us! They only serve to hold us back from the freedom he wants so badly for each of us to enjoy. Maybe that is why repentance includes being 'redressed' through God's grace.
Redressed by grace means we shed the sackcloth - the torn, dirty garments of our old nature - allowing his Word to wash us clean, then taking the 'fresh clothes' he offers. Joy, peace, hope, love - garments he gives us through grace. Remember the story of the wineskins? Jesus said we don't 'patch' the old wineskins with new patches - we replace the wineskins or risk the new wine being lost when the patches don't hold! Too many times we ask God to do a 'patch job' in our lives, not really wanting to shed the old and take on the new. Truth be told, we are trying to control how God gives us his grace. We want it on our terms, holding onto the old baggage, while attempting to take on the new nature.
I cannot tell you how much God's silence in those moments of me holding onto what he tells me to leave behind have affected me through the years. That silence 'speaks volumes', doesn't it? It is as though God is just waiting for us to realize walking around in those 'sin-bogged shoes' won't cut it anymore. He waits and he watches, allowing us to get a bit more mud on those already bogged soles. Not because he wants to, but because he wants us to want to be rid of whatever weighs us down, free to take on the beauty and joy he provides when we finally do. Just sayin!