PASTOR’S CORNER, Jeremy Harris, First Southern Baptist Church, Liberal
Last week I wrote about the inexorable passage of time. Time is going to keep on going whether we like it or not. I ended that article with a question… “What kind of story are you writing?” Today I would like to consider how we can answer this question.
Have you ever heard the name Fanny Crosby? She lived from 1820-1915. She was a fairly well known hymn writer. One of Fanny’s best known hymns (she is thought to have written over 1,200 in her lifetime) is “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is Mine.” I think this hymn gives us 3 beautiful pictures of how we ought to write our own stories as followers of Jesus.
Verse 1 says this… “Blessed Assurance, Jesus is mine! Oh what a foretaste of glory divine! Heir of salvation, purchase of God, born of His Spirit, washed in his blood.” The first point I would make today regarding what I hope people know about me and about you is this… “I belong to Jesus and you cannot convince me otherwise!” Assurance, of my position in this world as well as in eternity, is something that our world desperately needs to hear. We live in an age where people don’t know why they are here or what comes after death. Because of this, people chase after all sorts of things that only lead to sin and death. How beautiful then if our lives tell the story that we are saved by Jesus and we know what happens after we die!
Verse 2… “Perfect Communion, perfect delight, visions of rapture now burst on my sight: angels descending, bring from above, echoes of mercy, whispers of love.” How can we have assurance of our salvation? God continues to remind us of his love and mercy in our lives. We have a communion/connection with our God through the Holy Spirit that continues to speak to us of His love for us and mercy towards us. What if we lived like we are loved with an everlasting love? What if people’s opinions carried little weight in our lives so long as we are following Jesus? This is a story worth writing with our lives!
Verse 3… “Perfect submission, all is at rest, I in my Savior am happy and blest: watching and waiting, looking above, filled with His goodness, lost in His love.” While the second verse helps us to recognize that we are loved, verse 3 helps us remember that we serve a God whose plan is better than our own. Submission is not a word that our world loves. In fact here in America we are much more likely to celebrate the person who has pulled themselves up by their bootstraps and made something of themselves. But what if our story wasn’t filled with plot points of how amazing I am? What if instead my story was full of how many times God worked in amazing ways to accomplish things that I could never hope or dream for? It is counter cultural to let anyone else tell you what to think, believe, or do. But, we’ve been given God’s Word which does exactly that. It helps us know how to think, what is true, and how to live. It was written by the one who created us, so he knows us best. What if we lived in submission to His plan and purpose? What an amazing story we would be writing with the lives His has given us!
I’ll end today with the refrain of “Blessed Assurance.”
“This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long;
This is my story, this is my song, praising my Savior all the day long!”