… Do not let me be disgraced, or let my enemies rejoice in my defeat.
Psalm 25:1-2 NLT
Like all idioms, the phrase “to give one’s life to” carries a meaning far deeper than the phrase initially suggests. We often use it when reflecting upon someone’s career: “She gave her life to cancer research.” It is perhaps easier to see the coherence of a life by gazing into the rear-view mirror, than looking straight ahead. When I first gave my life to Jesus, I was both excited and serious. Perhaps I wanted some emotional validation for my prayer of commitment, a sign of God’s presence experienced through my senses. Worship gatherings and powerful communicators encourage us all to respond to a variety of things, and I felt many powerful emotions.
Over time, I realised such emotions were short-lived. I could not rely upon them to carry me through difficulties. They were also poor guides to the will and way of God, since they generally insisted on satisfying my own internal angst, rather than laying a resilient foundation for a consistent life of obedience and service. Despite many doubts, I always kept that first promise of love and obedience.
Much of my wavering arose from fear of what others might say in light of my commitment. I was also very aware of my own personal weaknesses. In time, both became a source of strength. While a handful of people either mocked or rejected me once I owned my faith, the majority took it at face value. It took time to become non-judgemental of myself, however. I have given my life to God and maintained that commitment. I have no means of measuring how effective my life has been, or will prove to be. God seems less interested in measurable outcomes than we are. It’s more a question of maintaining and deepening our life and love relationship with the Lord of all creation.
Why not give your life to God afresh today? Don’t become distracted by external measures of your commitment. It is sufficient simply to say yes to God and then learn to love both God and neighbour.
What do you rely on to carry you through difficult times?
If trouble comes today, Lord, may I look to you to help me.