Articles and thoughts by Steve Green.
I must confess that often, while listening to a sermon, or reading a book, or singing in worship, one phrase or line seems to grab my heart and open up a whole new stream of thought. Perhaps by the end of the meeting I can’t tell you all that was said, but I have pages of notes and scribbled thoughts spurred by just one new insight. Surely I’m not the only one. Maybe you too have been hit by one such line and been unable to think of much else.Do you remember the hymn, “Come Ye Sinners, Poor and Needy”? You know the first verse and chorus,
Come, ye sinners, poor and needy,Weak and wounded, sick and sore,Jesus ready stands to save you,Full of pity, love and pow’rOh, the Fountain’s standing open,And the cleansing waters rollWhile salvation is so near you,Come and bathe your weary soul.
However, there is a line tucked at the end of the third verse that grabbed my attention and sent me on a journey of grace.
Let not conscience make you linger,Nor of fitness fondly dream;All the fitness He requirethIs to feel your need of Him.
If you are like me, you work hard to be prepared, presentable and appropriate for every occasion. I want to know the expected dress requirements for important meetings and I want to be familiar with the books and music of others, so as to converse freely in their areas of interest. I labor in preparation, for many right and good reasons, but also to be approved. That is why the third stanza stops me in my tracks.
All the fitness He requirethIs to feel your need of Him.
On his way home, the prodigal son worked on his speech. What he didn’t know was that he did not need one. Coming home was his speech; the evidence of his repentance. Like me, do you feel deeply your need of Jesus today? That sense of need is planted in our hearts by His grace. The thirst, the hunger, the ache, the longing are God’s doing, meant to lead us to the only One who can satisfy and who alone is fully sufficient.
One of the prayers in “The Valley of Vision” says it this way:
“The world is before me this day, and I am weak and fearful, but I look to thee for strength; Be thou my arm to support, my strength to stand, my light to see, my feet to run, my shield to protect, my sword to repel, my sun to warm.
All thy loving kindness is in thy Son. Accept his worthiness for my unworthiness, his sinlessness for my transgressions, his purity for my uncleanness, his sincerity for my guile, his truth for my deceits, his meekness for my pride, his constancy for my backslidings, his love for my enmity, his fullness for my emptiness, his faithfulness for my treachery, his obedience for my lawlessness, his glory for my shame, his devotedness for my waywardness, his holy life for my unchaste ways, his righteousness for my dead works, his death for my life.” Amen.
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