Wednesday, September 23, 2009

O, Love That Will Not Let Me Go

Yes, I´m still planning to finish the series on self-control. Life has been a wee bit insane of late, so I´d just like to share the hymn that´s been on my mind this week with a bit of background I found. If your hymn knowledge is a bit scarce, look it up on Youtube. I found a nice Glad-style acapella arrangement on the first hit.

George Matheson published the words to this in Jan. 1882 in the Church of Scotland´s magazine Life and Work. He said of this poem, "My hymn was com­posed in the manse of In­ne­lan [Ar­gyle­shire, Scot­land] on the ev­en­ing of the 6th of June, 1882, when I was 40 years of age. I was alone in the manse at that time. It was the night of my sister’s mar­ri­age, and the rest of the fam­i­ly were stay­ing over­night in Glas­gow. Some­thing hap­pened to me, which was known only to my­self, and which caused me the most se­vere men­tal suf­fer­ing. The hymn was the fruit of that suf­fer­ing. It was the quick­est bit of work I ever did in my life. I had the im­press­ion of hav­ing it dic­tat­ed to me by some in­ward voice ra­ther than of work­ing it out my­self. I am quite sure that the whole work was com­plet­ed in five min­utes, and equal­ly sure that it ne­ver re­ceived at my hands any re­touch­ing or cor­rect­ion. I have no na­tur­al gift of rhy­thm. All the other vers­es I have ever writ­ten are man­u­fact­ured ar­ti­cles; this came like a day­spring from on high." (info courtesy on

O Love that wilt not let me go,
I rest my weary soul in thee;
I give thee back the life I owe,
That in thine ocean depths its flow
May richer, fuller be.

O light that followest all my way,
I yield my flickering torch to thee;
My heart restores its borrowed ray,
That in thy sunshine’s blaze its day
May brighter, fairer be.

O Joy that seekest me through pain,
I cannot close my heart to thee;
I trace the rainbow through the rain,
And feel the promise is not vain,
That morn shall tearless be.

O Cross that liftest up my head,
I dare not ask to fly from thee;
I lay in dust life’s glory dead,
And from the ground there blossoms red
Life that shall endless be.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Self-Control, Part III

So. Is it something I work out in myself or is it something I sit back and watch as God produces in me? Nathan says the Christian life is like being a branch grafted onto a vine (Jesus Christ). At the juncture of the two, there is a "valve." As we obey the Spirit and His Word, the valve stays open, allowing Christ´s life and power to flow through us producing the fruit of the Spirit. Disobedience begins closing the valve, and continued disobedience can actually kill us spiritually, as we starve ourselves of His life and power. Philip used the word "synergy" when I talked with him about this. It is us actively taking steps to be self-controlled, while we depend on the Holy Spirit´s power in us to accomplish what we could not otherwise. That dependence is KEY! Philippians 4:13. I can do all things THROUGH HIM who gives me strength.

My personal opinion is that we can ´fertilize´ ground we´re growing in, or fill it with toxins. In other words, we can take steps to make obedience easier or massively difficult. If I have a problem with my tongue, I can make my life more difficult by staying on the phone all day. If I have a problem with food, I can make myself miserable by having stuff in the house I KNOW I shouldn´t eat (which will call my name LOUDLY all day long). Perhaps, there is ignorance involved. Mindless, head-long rushing into self-indulgence or sin. In that case, the Bible encourages that we seek wisdom and understanding. Learn about nutrition, exercise, time management. There are websites such as the FlyLady that can give all sorts of good tips on housecleaning. Doing common sense things to slow us down and cause us to think before we act can create a healthier environment in which our Spirit-filled ´branch´ can thrive.

Proverbs 25:28 says that a man (woman) without self-control is like a city with broken down walls. Poor Nehemiah, upon inspecting the broken-down walls of the city, encountered so much rubble his horse couldn´t even walk through. I´m trying to think of this issue in this light: My lack of self-control leaves me vulnerable to attacks from the Enemy. Satan will take full advantage of my lack of defense. Next post, I want to look at the GOALS of self-control. What are they? Any thoughts?