Yours, Mine, Ours

In my Monday Bible study, we were looking at Romans 12.  The study is actually in Ephesians, but we are determining to focus upon and grasp this idea of biblical unity (which is much, much more than just “getting along”).

We enthusiastically embrace unity with the Savior:

Loved with everlasting love, led by grace that love to know;
Gracious Spirit from above, Thou hast taught me it is so!
O this full and perfect peace! O this transport all divine!
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.
In a love which cannot cease, I am His, and He is mine.

~George Robinson, 1876

Click here for the rest of the lyrics.

We need to go further, though.  Here is what we read, that really opened my eyes:

“For by the grace given to me I say to everyone among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought to think, but to think with sober judgment, each according to the measure of faith that God has assigned.  For as in one body we have many members, and the members do not all have the same function, so we, though many, are one body in Christ, and individually members one of another” ~Romans 12:3-5

In another version, verse 5 is stated, “so in Christ we who are many form one body, and each member belongs to all the others.”

I couldn’t get away from this.  During the study a week ago, I felt compelled to go around the table, make eye contact with each lady, and say, “I am yours.”  Then, in the same manner, I went back around and said, “You are mine.”  So simple, but so compelling.

If we would get this idea, that we are to strive for unity like this, it would transform every church, every family, every marriage, where Christ is present.

I’m doing my best to renew my mind, as the context says:

“I appeal to you therefore, brothers, by the mercies of God, to present your bodies as a living sacrifice, holy and acceptable to God, which is your spiritual worship. Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect.” vv 1,2

It is Vain to Serve God.

“Your words have been hard against me, says the LORD. But you say, ‘How have we spoken against you?’ You have said, ‘It is vain to serve God. What is the profit of our keeping his charge or of walking as in mourning before the LORD of hosts?” (Malachi 3:13-14 ESV)

Be honest.  In your heart of hearts, in the weakness of faithlessness, have you ever uttered something to this effect?

  • “It’s just not worth it.”
  • “What have I gotten out of this?”
  • “This is too hard.”
  • “I keep sacrificing, and for what?  This??”

We all have seasons like this, because we are made of dust.  The blessing is that He remembers this.  He knows what was used to craft us.  He knows the frailty that consumes us.

Let’s turn the tables.  What motivated the Savior to sacrifice Himself for us?  It was love.  Love, and the joy that was set before Him (that we would all one day be reunited and be one together with Him–John 17).  He could very easily have said any one of those things I listed above.  We fail.  We fall.  We faint.  But it is love that was the impetus that drove Him to the cross.  It is love that must spur us on as well.  If it is payback, reward, ease…then we will shrink in disappointment, because this world is tainted with the sin of the fall, and we are corrupted along with it.  This life is a series of imperfections.

Cultivate your love for Him, if you sense your spirit sagging, your resolve flagging.  Love can motivate the human heart to otherwise unattainable heights.  Read the word.  Speak with Him.  Get to a quiet place so you can hear His replies.  Remind yourself of His greatness, His goodness, His pity, mercy, and grace.

He remembers.  We need to as well.

My Gloom…His Hand

Alack, thou knowest not

How little worthy of any love thou art!

Whom wilt thou find to love ignoble thee

Save Me, save only Me?

All which I took from thee I did but take,

Not for thy harms.

But just that thou might’st seek it in my arms.

All which thy child’s mistake

Fancies as lost, I have stored for thee at home;

Rise, clasp My hand, and come!”

Halts by me that footfall;

Is my gloom, after all,

Shade of His hand, outstretched caressingly?

“Ah, fondest, blindest, weakest,

I am He Whom thou seekest!

Thou dravest love from thee, who dravest Me.”

Francis Thompson (1859-1907)


I am grateful for the word of God, which serves as a mirror to my soul.  The scripture says,

23 For if any be a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like unto a man beholding his natural face in a glass: 24 For he beholdeth himself, and goeth his way, and straightway forgetteth what manner of man he was. 25 But whoso looketh into the perfect law of liberty, and continueth therein, he being not a forgetful hearer, but a doer of the work, this man shall be blessed in his deed.” ~James 1:23-35

See, I often don’t like what I see.  It is not a matter of forgetting.  It is a matter of shame, and sometimes denial.  But I have found encouragement lately.

As I stand before that mirror, my Savior stands beside me.  I lift my eyes to the reflection of myself.

As I give my image a sideways glance, I whisper to Him, “That’s….me.”  I know He sees beyond my outward appearance.  My gaze falls in shame to the floor.

Then, He moves close, and puts His left arm around my shoulder.

“You have taken me as your Savior.  Diane, you are mine.”  With His nail-pierced right hand, He lifts my chin.  I look into the glass again.

He then points His finger to His own reflection beside mine and says with warmth, “From Heaven, you look like this.”

“…THE LORD OUR RIGHTEOUSNESS…Herein is love, not that we loved God, but that he loved us, and sent his Son to be the propitiation for our sins. …Christ in you, the hope of glory…” ~Jeremiah 23:6; 1 John 4:10; Colossians 1:27

Redemption…Is It Easy?

This keeps playing in my head.  There are so many things in scripture that seem to be conflicting, but aren’t.  This is the great mystery of God…if you think you’ve got Him all figured out, tied up in a nice, neat little package, with all your questions answered, then you don’t know the God I know.

So, is redemption easy?

From God’s standpoint, yes and no.  Yes, it is easy because He loves you with an everlasting love and is not willing that any should perish.  Like the father of the prodigal, He waits with eager heart and loving arms for all who will come to Him.  From the time the world was formed…even before…He knew your name, and loved you so much that the plan was already in the works for your salvation.

That is why the answer is also “no.”  The cost was high.  The price was excruciatingly painful.  Have other men endured pain equal to that of the physical pain on the cross?  Probably so.  But no other man suffered as the Lord Jesus.  Perfectly just God, He suffered the injustices of wicked men.  Everything that led up to His crucifixion would cause Him to humble Himself, refusing to exercise the indignation of perfect righteousness.  His wounds were ugly, vicious, and undeserved.  He bore them in silence.  This is not a human reaction, but the decisive resignation of the Savior to bear all of this for you and me.  Do you know what it is like to be one with God?  To be part of a trinity that is three and yet also one in unity?  When Christ bore our sin, that unity was severed…so much so that Christ Himself said that He felt “forsaken.”  Do you know what it is like to experience this?  I think this was the most torturous aspect of the entire plan.  No, in this way your redemption was not at all easy.

How about you?  If you have trusted Christ, was your redemption easy?  Again, as the prodigal personified, you came to the realization that you had sinned against your Father.  You approach him, and instead of having to beg at the door, you find him running down the path to greet you with a loving, tearful embrace.  Is that hard to receive?  No.  With overwhelming joy and relief, you collapse in His arms.  So what is the hard part?  Well, if you are truly regenerate, you understand that there is a very difficult truth to address.  You must come to grips with the fact that you are wrong.  You are not “all that”…you are ignorant, simple, imperfect, helpless, hopeless.  Did you find that initially easy to swallow?  Probably not, without the aid of grace.  I rejected the gospel for years because I was too full of myself to let anyone else in.  There simply was no room.  But then I realized He loves me…”just as I am”…as the song says.  He loved me, though I was filthy from the world, my hands were empty.  My stubborn heart that had been so hard, was overwhelmed by this.  Such love is irresistible, once we are awakened to it.  And so, we come full circle.  Trust Him who cannot lie, and in whom everything is “Yea” and “Amen”?  Accept His gift, which cost me nothing but setting aside feeble pride?  Oh yes, that was easy.

“Come, everyone who thirsts,
come to the waters;
and he who has no money,
come, buy and eat!
Come, buy wine and milk
without money and without price.
2 Why do you spend your money for that which is not bread,
and your labor for that which does not satisfy?
Listen diligently to me, and eat what is good,
and delight yourselves in rich food.
3 Incline your ear, and come to me;
hear, that your soul may live… Isaiah 55:1-3