7.21.2013

jesus, i my cross have taken

Jesus, I my cross have taken,
All to leave and follow Thee.
Destitute, despised, forsaken,
Thou from hence my all shall be.
Perish every fond ambition,
All I’ve sought or hoped or known.
Yet how rich is my condition!
God and heaven are still my own.
 God and heaven are still my own. No matter what life may bring or take away, no matter how hard the goodbyes, no matter how devastating the circumstances, He will never leave us not forsake us. His promises are true. And He has promised Heaven to those who believe and follow.

Let the world despise and leave me,
They have left my Savior, too.
Human hearts and looks deceive me;
Thou art not, like them, untrue.
O while Thou dost smile upon me,
God of wisdom, love, and might,
Foes may hate and friends disown me,
Show Thy face and all is bright.
Can I truly say this for myself? Can I truthfully say that I would be content with just Jesus? The world offers so much, but nothing - nothing -  that can hold the value of my Savior.

Man may trouble and distress me,
’Twill but drive me to Thy breast.
Life with trials hard may press me;
Heaven will bring me sweeter rest.
Oh, ’tis not in grief to harm me
While Thy love is left to me;
Oh, ’twere not in joy to charm me,
Were that joy unmixed with Thee.
Those first four lines hold so much truth. Yes, life has many trials. Some are daily, love-your-neighbor trials, and some are the once in a lifetime, heartbreaking trials. Each of these are not punishments from God, but - as hard as it is to fathom - are just one part of His love for us. He wants to bring us to the point where all we have is Christ, because He knows that only then will we be satisfied. 

Go, then, earthly fame and treasure,
Come disaster, scorn and pain
In Thy service, pain is pleasure,
With Thy favor, loss is gain
I have called Thee Abba Father,
I have stayed my heart on Thee
Storms may howl, and clouds may gather;
All must work for good to me.

"All must work for good to me." That's not just a song line. Romans says: "All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord." Do you know what "all" means in the original language? The same thing it means in English. All things work together for the good of those who love the Lord. 

Soul, then know thy full salvation
Rise o’er sin and fear and care
Joy to find in every station,
Something still to do or bear.
Think what Spirit dwells within thee,
Think what Father’s smiles are thine,
Think that Jesus died to win thee,
Child of heaven, canst thou repine.
As the song has progressed through trials and storms, we finally come to the place where what is true, eternal, and perfect is all we can see. Salvation. Full salvation in the cross. It is this free, unconditional gift that causes us to "rise o'er sin and fear and care," not because we try with our best efforts, but because we remember what is truly important. We remember too that we do not serve a God who is waiting for our failures or trying to condemn us. Rather, when we accept the covering of the blood of Jesus, there is no condemnation. Instead, we can rest knowing our mistakes will come, but have been ransomed. Our Father smiles on us because of the grace of Christ. 

Haste thee on from grace to glory,
Armed by faith, and winged by prayer.
Heaven’s eternal days before thee,
God’s own hand shall guide us there.
Soon shall close thy earthly mission,
Soon shall pass thy pilgrim days,
Hope shall change to glad fruition,
Faith to sight, and prayer to praise.

And because of that full salvation, we are eager for the day we hasten from this earth to the next. The last four lines of this song are my favorite. Just read them a few more times, slowly considering their meaning.

What joy, hope, comfort, and truth is encapsulated in this song by Henry Lyte. The gospel is this: knowing we had broken the law and could clearly never become perfect, but discovering that God loved us enough to punish Himself in His Son rather than us so that we could receive freely His eternal life.

The gospel frees; let it free you.




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