Tuesday, October 9, 2007

Real truth from an old song...

I live in southern California, where singing the old Christian hymns went out of fashion about the same time as 8-track stereos. But I grew up on the old songs, and I still love to sing them. Fortunately, I church with a group that still sings the "golden oldies" sometimes.

I was thinking of a line from one of my favorite hymns this morning, and the truth of it struck me in a new way. It was "Come, Thou Fount of Every Blessing." This is the verse that got me thinking:
O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
The lines, "Let Thy goodness, like a fetter, bind my wandering heart to Thee," really resonated because I see now that God's goodness is really the only thing that binds us to Him. And all the things we use to try to bring us closer to Him are pointless at best, harmful at worst.

How many things have I used to try to build my relationship with God? Well, let's see, there's Bible reading, prayer, fasting, church work, Sunday School teaching, pastoring.and on, and on, and on.

There's nothing wrong with any of those activities, but so much of it was just me trying to gain favor with God with my own effort. Really it is God's goodness, ALONE, that draws me to Him. All those things can take the place of the Holy Spirit's work of growing us to be like Jesus.

In fact, I wonder how many programs int he church have grown and developed over the years for 2 bad reasons: we don't trust the Holy Spirit enough to do His work His way, and we have a lot of people attending services who don't demonstrate the Spirit's transforming power because He's not in them? Both of those possibilities frighten me.

More on this later...

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