What shall I render to the LORD for all his benefits to me?

23 Jan

I have started to re-read We Would See Jesus by Roy Hession and while the whole book is utterly fantastic, this part put into words what I have been muttering in my soul for… a long time.

“To concentrate on service and activity for God may often actively thwart our attaining of the true goal, God Himself. At first sight it seems heroic to fling our lives away in the service of God and of our fellows. We feel it is bound to mean more to Him than our experience of Him. Service seems so unselfish, whereas concentrating on our walk with God seems selfish and self-centered. But it is the very reverse. The things that God is most concerned about are our coldness of heart towards Himself and our proud, unbroken natures. Christian service of itself can, and so often does, leave our self-centred nature untouched. That is why there is scarcely a church, a mission station, or a committee undertaking a special piece of service, that is without an unresolved problem of personal relationships eating out its heart and thwarting its progress. This is because Christian service often gives us opportunities of leadership and position that we could not attain in the secular world, and we quickly fall into pride, self-seeking and ambition. With those things hidden in our hearts, we have only to work alongside others, and we find resentment, hardness, criticism, jealousy, and frustration issuing from our hearts. We think we are working for God, but the test of how little of our service is for Him is revealed by our resentment or self-pity, when the actions of others, or circumstances, or ill-health take it from us!

“In this condition we are trying to give to others an answer which we have not truly and deeply found for ourselves. The tragedy is that much of the vast network of Christian activity and service is bent on propagating an answer for people’s needs and problems which few of those propagating it are finding adequate in their own lives. We need to leave our lusting for ever-larger spheres of Christian service and concentrate on seeing God for ourselves and finding the deep answer for life in Him. Then, even if we are located in the most obscure corner of the globe, the world will make a road to our door to get that answer. Our service of help to our fellows then becomes incidental to our vision of God, and the direct consequence of it.” (emphasis mine)

Wow. This is exactly what I needed to hear. This is exactly what I have been feeling, though I couldn’t voice it – that concentrating on my relationship with God was selfish and that I needed to be about other people. My fear is that if I let go of my felt need to serve and instead concentrate on God, then I won’t ever serve. That is the devil trying to keep me from growing closer to God!

I recommend this book to everyone but especially those who don’t feel close to God, or don’t completely understand the purpose of life.

Just another little snippet that is also wonderful:

“Grace permits us to come (nay, demands that we come) as empty sinners to be blessed, empty of right feelings, good character, and satisfactory record, with nothing to commend ourselves but our deep need, fully and frankly acknowledged. Then grace, being what it is, is drawn by that need to satisfy it, just as water is drawn to depth that it might fill it. This means that when at last we are content to find no merit nor procuring cause in ourselves, and are willing to admit the full extent of our sinfulness, then there is no limit to what God will do for the poor who look to Him in their nothingness.”

It is mind-boggling to me that God accepts, and actually requires, that I acknowledge my complete lack and His complete abundance. I don’t have to bring anything to the table. I don’t have to have any redeeming qualities in myself. I can come as a empty, weak, wretched sinner and God’s grace reaches out generously to bless me.

“Nothing in my hands I bring; simply to Thy cross I cling.”

“What shall I render unto the LORD for all his benefits toward me? I will take the cup of salvation, and call upon the name of the LORD.” (Psalm 116:12-13).

Instead of praying to be a vessel that God uses as He wills, I have been taking it upon myself to be of service to God. I have felt the responsibility and guilt of making my life worthwhile and meaningful. That is God’s job! I am the clay; He is the potter. He knows I want to be used. He wants to use me. He may not use me in the way I want to be or think I should be used but He will use me in His own way. It is insofaras I am walking closely with God that I will see the path and purpose for my life.

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