I Am Yours!
George Everard, 1866
Not henceforth my own, not the world's — but Yours — Yours alone, Yours forever!
I am Yours by right of creation. "Your hands have made me and fashioned me." Your word has called me into being; Your goodness has given me life, and all that pertains to it; You have made me in Your own image, capable by Your grace of knowing You, of enjoying You forever.
I am Your, for Your care has preserved me. "By You I have been held up ever since I was born." All the days of my infancy You were near to guard me from danger. But for Your upholding arm, again and again had life been forfeited.
I am Your by purchase. When Joseph, to save the lives of the Egyptians, had given them grain in exchange for their possessions, he said, "Behold I have bought you this day and your land for Pharaoh." Jesus, to save our souls from death, has given His life, His most precious blood. Now He says, "Behold I have bought you this day for God. You are no longer your own property — you are bought with a price."
I would ever recollect therefore this claim of purchase, by which I am afresh bound by every tie of holy gratitude to live for God. The prisoner of war, redeemed by a costly ransom sent by his prince, would feel more than ever constrained faithfully and bravely to fight beneath his standard. Shall not I, redeemed by blood from the curse of the law, and the captivity of sin — spend my life to honor Him who has set me free?
I am Yours, for Your Spirit has taken up His abode with me. When a man has made a house his dwelling place, he says, "This is my dwelling — this is my house." Even so is it with me, if I am truly and indeed a Christian. My heart is no longer common property, it is no longer left for any guest who wishes to enter, it is the temple of the Holy Spirit. On this account, therefore, I belong to You, and not to myself. I own the truth You have set before me by Your Apostle: "What! Don't you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit who is in you, who you have of God, and you are not your own?"
I am Yours by my own deliberate choice. Have I not upon my knees, under a sense of my deep necessity, and Your abounding grace — yielded myself into Your hands? I believe Your promises made to me in Christ, that I lean only upon the hope of Your heavenly grace, that in the strength of this I give myself forever to be Yours.
Thus I cannot hesitate to avow that I belong to You. I could not, if I would. I would not, if I could — for all my hope, all my happiness is bound up in my relation to You.
What shall this relationship to You teach me? What guiding shall it give me as to my daily life?
I am Yours — then I must give You no divided heart, no divided service. "No man can serve two masters." "One is your Master, even Christ." I must remember this. There must be no wavering, no halting between two opinions. It must not be today for God — and tomorrow for the world. Rather must it be with me as with the Psalmist, "My heart is fixed, O God, my heart is fixed, I will sing and give praise."
I am Yours — then all that I have is Yours also. I am only in the position of a steward. Whatever I possess is only lent to me. I may not regard it as my own property, but as a talent, a gift to be employed for God. Life, health, home, gold and silver, land and houses, influence over others, mental powers — any or all of these, or whatever I have, I must lay out at interest, that when the Master comes He may receive His own with interest.
I am Yours — then I must bear upon me the marks of Him I serve. One of old could say, speaking of the stripes laid upon him, "I bear in my body the marks of the Lord Jesus." The Hindu bears upon his forehead the three vertical or horizontal marks which testify of the god he worships. Even so must it be with me. I must bear Your mark upon me. I must endeavor to let others see in me such truthfulness, such consistency, such godly sincerity, such holy boldness for Your name — that they cannot doubt whose I am, and whom I serve.
I am Yours — then I must not expect to have my own way, or choose my own path. Of course it is natural for me to avoid that which is painful or unpleasant, and to choose the easier course. "I wish to do this." "I do not care to go here or there." "I prefer such a way of spending my time or money." Such I may have thought in time past reason enough for acting as I desired. But grace must alter all this. It must subdue the flesh and make me willing to choose the harder path — if it is more in accordance with the will of God. I must bear in mind that the very essence of all sin is putting my will in opposition to God's will.
The old principle of evil suggests, "Walk in the ways of your heart, and in the sight of your eyes." The Spirit within suggests far otherwise, "I must crucify the flesh; I must please God and not myself; I must consider not so much what I wish, as what God wishes for me. I must make it my aim not to gratify self, but to glorify God, to walk near to Him, to do His will on earth even as the angels do it in Heaven."
I am Yours — then I must often renew my dedication to You. Seasons occur from time to time when this is peculiarly requisite. When a birthday or a new year comes round, and reminds me of many years' long-suffering and patience that I have experienced at Your hands, and reminds me also how impossible it is to foresee what another year of life will bring, what fresh trials may come, what new temptations may assault me — how right and wise is it that I should "roll my way upon You," and commit myself wholly to Your care.
When some evil thing has ensnared me, when I have turned aside in heart after some earthly idol, when I have forgotten for a while the Bock of my Salvation — then I must turn again, and, in spite of all, determine by Your grace to be Yours still.
Or, when I kneel at Your table, remembering all Your love, and all the benefits I have received through Your salvation, then I must consecrate my life to You afresh, and with purpose of heart offer to You all I have.
I am Yours — then have I a claim upon Your care, Your grace, Your protection. I might well doubt whether one so unworthy, so unprofitable a servant as I am, could have any claim upon You, in whose sight the very heavens are not clean.
But the fact that You have made me one of Yours, establishes a claim which You can not refuse. Ownership has its duties as well as its privileges. A sovereign is bound to protect his subjects. A shepherd, whose own the sheep are, like David of old, will protect the weakest of his flock. You, the King of saints, the Good Shepherd, will not fail to guard safely those who belong to You. I find infinite consolation in Your own words as to this: "I pray for them. I do not pray for the world but for those whom You have given Me, for they are Yours." John 17:9
Your ownership of me, and that of Your Father, assures me of everlasting preservation. I will therefore take this as my plea, even as did the sweet Psalmist of Israel, "I am Yours — save me!" I will throw myself upon Your faithfulness, I will confide in Your ownership of me. You will not cast away Your jewels. You will not leave Your sheep, Your subjects, Your children unprotected — therefore my hope can never be disappointed. "Whether we live, we live unto the Lord; and whether we die, we die unto the Lord: whether we live therefore or die, we are the Lord's."
But can I say in very deed and truth "I am Yours"? Am I Christ's — or am I not? Let me search diligently, that I be not mistaken here. What do I know of the quickening, converting power of the Holy Spirit? What do I know of conviction of sin, and of the faith that works by love? Have I turned from sin and set my face heavenward? Do I realize that I am no longer my own master, but the servant of Christ? Have I cast off the spirit of proud independence which once I cherished? Do I wish ever to be as a little child, looking upwards to my Heavenly Father as my Guide, Protector, and Provider? Do I seek wholly to follow the Lord, and to lose my will in His?
If this is so — then have I the witness in myself that He has called me out of this present evil world, and set me apart to be His forever. But if it is otherwise, if I have been hitherto living only for myself, shall I not now hearken to the voice that bids me give myself to God? Shall I not yield to that tender expostulation, "Will You not from this time cry unto Me, my Father, You are the Guide of my youth."
A lad in India, belonging to the thief caste, was tending buffalo in the jungle. At a Christian school he had previously learned to read the Scriptures, and often when alone he would delight to read the New Testament which had been given to him. Especially did he find a pleasure in reading of God's love as set forth in John's Gospel. One day the thought crossed his mind, "What would I feel if this God of love, while beholding with joy His own people, were to turn to me with a frown, and bid me depart from His presence? How could I endure to be cast away from the presence of so gracious a Being?" Thus the goodness of God led him to repentance. He decided at once. He then knelt down and gave himself forever to the Lord.
My young reader, why should it not be thus with you? Oh may the good Spirit draw you thus, and bind you fast in the chains of everlasting love.
Prayer. Defend, O Lord, me Your child, with Your heavenly grace, that I may continue Your forever — until I come into Your everlasting kingdom. Amen.
Yours forever! God of love,
Hear us from Your throne above;
Yours forever may we be,
Here, and in eternity.
Yours forever! Lord of life
Shield us through our earthly strife:
You, the Life, the Truth, the Way,
Guide us to the realms of day.
Yours forever! O how blessed
They who find in You their rest!
Savior, Guardian, heavenly Friend,
O defend us to the end.
Yours forever! Savior, keep
These Your frail and trembling sheep;
Safe alone beneath Your care,
Let us all Your goodness share.
Yours forever! You our Guide,
All our wants by You supplied;
All our sins by You forgiven,
Lead us, Lord, from earth to Heaven.