Tuesday, 6 May 2008

Giving up claim to your life

Churches frequently ask that people offer up their whole selves for Jesus. Jesus should get all of us and we should not hold back any part of our lives; Jesus is Lord over all.

I agree with this. My view of Christianity is one of an exchange of lives: my life for Jesus' life. He died for my sins, I live his life at his direction; it is no longer mine to own, including all my decisions. I do have mixed feelings about this approach however. In reality this is a very difficult thing to do. And to make a promise to God you think you are likely to fail on does not seem wise. So while this is what God wants of us, I am probably more likely to ask that God changes me that this may be my desire, or that as I grow I may give more and more to him. It is not that I necessarily want to hold back aspects (though at times perhaps), rather that I do.

I also am aware that others who have offered their whole selves to God, and meant it, and acted on it, have seen God work powerfully in their lives. I believe Charles Finney went through a process of giving all to God before his ministry. And I suspect Rhys Howells was in a similar position though I have not read his biography. Others have given God something important that represents all, or at least a lot, of themselves. Keith Green offered God his music knowing he may not get it back. So a quick comment about giving Jesus all in a music break does not do justice to the magnitude of this decision.

While I would not have married my wife without God giving me the go ahead and his approval, I do think I put her on the altar prior to that point: yet God still asks more of me than I give.

Perhaps it is an event for some people, perhaps it is process where we hand over more and more, perhaps it is both.

My pastor once said that he did not think the Christian walk got easier in terms of our faith in God, that we always can grow and God will give us ever more opportunities to trust him in ways that we have not done so before.

Which introduces the lyrics to a song that focuses on this aspect of faith:

Take my life and let it be

Fran­ces R. Ha­ver­gal (1836–1879)

Take my life, and let it be consecrated, Lord, to Thee.
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
Take my hands, and let them move at the impulse of Thy love.
Take my feet, and let them be swift and beautiful for Thee.

Take my voice, and let me sing always, only, for my King.
Take my lips, and let them be filled with messages from Thee.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
Take my intellect, and use every power as Thou shalt choose.

Take my will, and make it Thine; it shall be no longer mine.
Take my heart, it is Thine own; it shall be Thy royal throne.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour at Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself, and I will be ever, only, all for Thee.

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