A Birthday Meditation
James Smith, 1856
"I am the Lord's!" Isaiah 45:5
I have just past another mile-stone on the road of life. When I come to one of these mementos, I always stop, pause, reflect, and take a review of the past — in order to improve in the future. On the morning of the day, as soon as I awoke, I felt my soul drawn out to God, and was enabled to put myself afresh into his hands, and consecrate myself anew to his service. For whatever changes may take place, I never feel inclined to change my Master.
During the morning I carefully reviewed, as far as I could, the past fifty-three years, and made a full stop at a very solemn transaction that took place between God and my soul, just twenty years before. While pondering that circumstance, and reading over Scripture, the words, "I am the Lord's!" came home to my mind with power, savor, and sweetness. They were precious, and the assurance realized was delightful. "I am the Lord's!" I wanted no more. It was all my desire. But when thought is once started, it will pursue, and I found myself sweetly engaged with the subject. "I am the Lord's!"
I am the Lord's CREATURE.His handy work. The production of his power. The proof of his wisdom. Not only a creature — but one of the higher order of his creatures. Possessed of intellect, and bearing the stamp of immortality.
More than this,I am the Lord's CHOSEN. Chosen in Christ before the foundation of the world. Chosen to be holy and useful in life. Chosen to salvation through sanctification of the Spirit and belief of the truth. Chosen to be happy with God, and as happy as God, forever and ever. Unspeakable privilege, to be the Lord's choice, one of his chosen! "Blessed is the man whom you chose, and causes to approach unto you; he shall be abundantly satisfied with the fatness of your house, and you shall make him drink of the river of your delights!"
I am the Lord's CHILD.Adopted into his family — by an act of sovereign grace! Created anew in Christ Jesus — by an act of divine power. I bear his name. I possess his nature. Because he adopted me to be his son, he sent forth the Spirit of his Son into my heart, crying, "Father, Father!" He drew me to his throne, shone on my soul, won my affections, and called me his child! He put me among his children, united me to his first-born, and thus constituted me an heir of God, and a joint heir with Jesus Christ.
I am the Lord's SERVANT.He saved me gratuitously — and then set me to work. He made me his child, gave me a sweet sense of relationship, and then said, "Son, go work today in my vineyard." I went, and thoroughly enjoyed his service. Since then, I have been tempted, tried, and troubled as much as most, more than many; but I have never deserted his service, and, through grace, I never will. I have several times changed my place — but I never changed my Master. No, no, in every place I felt I was the Lord's servant. I have been a very imperfect and unprofitable servant — but a servant still. I hope to live working, and to die in the field; for I am a field laborer. The sun often makes me feel faint, and the frost at times pinches me keenly; I suffer from cold winds and am tried by stormy and drizzly days: still I have no wish to change my situation. At times I am tempted to envy others their ease, their honors, and their independence; but I soon see my folly, and call myself a fool for indulging in the wish.
I am the Lord's BELOVED ONE. Yes, I do believe that God loves me, and this persuasion makes up for the lack of a thousand things; for I would rather have a saving interest in God's love, than be able to call a world my own! I can never trace out the beginning of God's love to me — for it is eternal! I can see no end to God's loving me — for it is everlasting! I can perceive no reason for God's loving me — except it be that he is God, and finds the cause for all his acts in himself. One thing I am sure of — that I love God; and another thing I feel equally sure of — that if God had not first loved me — that I would never have loved him.
Blessed be God that he ever created me, and gave me a being capable of knowing, loving, enjoying, and adoring his ever blessed self! Blessed be God for choosing me to eternal life in his beloved Son — for adopting me into his family, and new creating me by his Holy Spirit — for condescending to employ me in his service, and continuing me in that service so long — for loving me freely, with an infinite and unchangeable love! Blessed be God that ever I was born, that I ever lived to see the day on which I could say, "I am the Lord's; and that after thirty-six years experience of his special love I can still say, as I enter into the autumn of life, "I am the Lord's!"
"I am the Lord's," to be . . .
conformed to the image of his Son,
an object of his infinite delight,
a subject of his gracious government,
and a mirror to reflect his glory!
"I am the Lord's," to suffer all that he pleases in body and in mind, in public and in private, for the good of his cause and the honor of his great and glorious name.
"I am the Lord's," to receive all he has . . .
provided in his covenant,
promised in his word, and
procured by the service and sacrifice of his Son.
"I am the Lord's," to expect . . .
all that his love can give,
all that his grace can do,
all that his heaven contains!
Glorious, unspeakably glorious privilege, to be the Lord's!
I ever was his — in consequence of covenant transactions.
I am his — in consequence of the displays of his grace.
I ever shall be his — because he is in one mind, and none can turn him.
I never was more the Lord's, than I am at this moment; and no period will ever arrive, in which I shall be more the Lord's than I am now.
Chosen by the grace of the Father, I am his.
Redeemed by the blood of the Son, I am his.
Quickened, called, and sanctified by the Holy Spirit, I am his.
When I surrendered to God, he received me at his throne.
When I engaged with God, he took me to be his forever.
When I entered upon the Lord's work, and was employed by him and for him, it was clear to others, and I had the enjoyment of the fact in my own soul, that I was the Lord's.
If I turn within, I find a testimony there, that "I am the Lord's." Conscience testifies to the fact, and at times the Holy Spirit bears witness with my spirit, that "I am the Lord's." If I turn to God's most Holy Word, I find the testimony there. In some of the precious promises, in some of the descriptions of God's children — it is as if God had drawn my portrait. True, I can only see the likeness in one certain light, and for lack of looking at the Word in the proper light at some times, I cannot recognize my own features. But at other times I can — and then I bless his holy name.
Do the Lord's people hunger and thirst after righteousness? So do I.
Is Christ precious to every true believer? He is precious to me.
Is a spirit of prayer an evidence of grace? I cannot live without prayer.
Is hatred to sin and a love to holiness a proof of regeneration? I do hate sin, and I do long, pant, and pray to be holy.
Did John say, "We know that we have passed from death unto life, because we love the brethren?" I know this, if I love any, I love God's people, and the more they resemble Christ — he more I love them.
Do I doubt whether "I am the Lord's!" What, after so many
proofs, so many pledges, so many testimonies! Well, I cannot doubt today —
but if the Lord leaves me — I shall doubt tomorrow. I need constantly . . .
the renewing of the Holy Spirit,
the love-visits of Jesus, and
heart-felt fellowship with my heavenly Father;
and if these are withheld — then I doubt, fear, and sink into despondency and gloom.
But he turns again. He revives again. And we are confident of this very thing, that having begun a good work in us, he will complete it in the day of Jesus Christ. Once the Lord's — I am his forever. He never revokes his choice, or blots a name out of his family register. There he registers our birth — but there is no entry of any one's death; for Jesus has said: "He who believes on me shall never die." Never can I believe, that he would die for me — and then leave me. All his redeemed children will stand with him at last, when he says with glory beaming in his countenance, and unutterable joy in his heart, "Here I am, Father, and the children which you have given me! Not one of them is lost!"
He never neglects, or discharges an old servant; no, no; but as he said, so we shall find it, "Where I am — there shall my servant be also."
Precious, precious Lord Jesus, with joy I look forward to the day, when everyone that can now, as the result of a full surrender, a solemn engagement, and an entire dedication to you, say, "I am the Lord's," shall be admitted into your eternal joy, and appear with you in glory. My soul, your cause is in Christ's keeping; your safety stands in his immutability, and your name is engraved on his hands; sing then, sing with gladness —
My name from the palms of his hands,
Eternity will not erase;
Impressed on his heart it remains,
In marks of indelible grace!
Yes, I to the end shall endure,
As sure as the promise is given;
More happy — but not more secure,
The glorified spirits in heaven!
Reader, are you the Lord's? Are you sure of it? quite sure? You were not sensible of this once, you were not concerned about it. But if you have the true evidence of being the Lord's now — you were convinced that you were a stranger to God, yes, his enemy; and you were led to seek him, and change your mind respecting him. You sought his feet, sighed at his throne, searched in his Word, waited at his gates, and watched at the posts of his doors; your heart was set upon being the Lord's — as though it was the chief good. You came to his terms, submitted to his righteousness, surrendered to his will, gave yourself up into his hands — and then felt within that all opposition to God was destroyed, that you could acquiesce in his will and way, and felt a sweet inward persuasion that you were the Lord's. Some of us can recollect the sorrow, sadness, gloom, doubt, darkness, distress, sighing, crying, fearing, and hoping — which preceded this blessed discovery, and looking back can say —
Sweet was the hour I freedom felt,
To call my Jesus mine;
To view his lovely face, and melt
In transports all divine!
If you profess to be the Lord's — then carry out your profession. Be honest. Live, work, walk, and do all you do under the impression, "I am the Lord's!"
He chose me from others,
he bought me with his blood,
he called me by his grace,
he gave himself to me
— and in return, I gave myself to him. Now, therefore my time and talents, my person and property, all that I have and all I am, are the Lord's. To his glory, I consecrate them, for his honor, I will use them, and to extend his cause, I will employ them. If I live — I will live to the Lord; if I die — I will die to the Lord; that so, living or dying, I may evidently be the Lord's.
Lost sinner, you are not the Lord's in this sense. Whose are you then? Who claims you? Satan! Whom can you expect to receive you at last? Satan! Oh, how awful and how degrading! To be claimed by so vile a master, O be ruled by so cruel a tyrant. To serve such a depraved spirit. To be banished forever from God, to be the associate of that cursed being, and all who resemble him forever.
And all this of your own choice! Entirely so! God is willing to receive you — but you will not go to him. He is willing to pardon you — but you will not confess to him. He is willing to sanctify and save you — but you will not ask him. If you will, you may be the Lord's — but if you will not, you must be the Devil's eternal captive!