Monday, September 10, 2018

"The First Song"

(Thanks to David Nevue for inspiration on this one)

"The First Song"

    For many people of my generation, "Jesus Loves Me" was one of the first songs we learned (I hope this is still true).  Could there possibly be a better introduction to music, or  more importantly, to reality and life?

Jesus loves me, this I know,
for the Bible tells me so.
Little ones to Him belong,
they are weak, but He is strong.

Yes, Jesus loves me, yes Jesus loves me,
yes, Jesus loves me, the Bible tells me so.

   First, we must know the Lord Jesus Christ loves us.  "We love Him because He first loved us" (I John 4:19).  Moreover, we must increasingly realize that our Savior loves us:  "the love of Christ passeth knowledge" (Ephesians 3:19).  Consider in this moment that regardless of how well we know that "Jesus loves me," an infinite measure of His devotion to our hearts lies ahead of us.  By definition, we will never achieve complete knowledge or experience of Christ's love.  There will always be more to discover, more to embrace, more to affirm, and more to fill our hearts with grateful and awed wonder.  This day offers such glory of grace and mercy, and the enraptured experience of how dear we are to Him.

   "The Bible tells me so."  We realize the love of Christ rightly only in the light of Scripture.  As our Lord said, "He that believeth on Me as the Scripture hath said, out of his belly shall flow rivers of living water" (John 7:38).  Only the Word of God can rightly declare and define the love of God.  All our conceptions of "Jesus loves me" must begin and forever continue in the illumination of the Bible.  "In Thy light shall we see light" (Psalm 36:9).  Indeed, as we open the Scriptures today, the message awaits that fills and fulfills our hearts, while also transforming us more and more into the spiritual image of the Lord Jesus.  "Beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord Jesus, we are changed into the same image" (II Corinthians 3:18).

   "Little ones to Him belong."  While this may reference children in the most basic sense, it also speaks to how we must view ourselves in relationship to our Savior.  As John the Baptist said, "He must increase, but I must decrease" (John 3:30).  Or, as Samuel tragically said to Saul when he informed the first king of Israel that his position had been revoked by God, "When thou was little in thine own sight, was thou not made the head of the tribes of Israel, and the Lord anointed thee king over Israel?" (I Samuel 15:17).  The bigger we become in our own self perception, the less we will know and experience the love of the Lord Jesus.  Not that His love for us wanes, but only as we humble ourselves do we realize how greatly we are loved.  God's love is a matter of freely given and undeserved mercy.  Thus, it can only be known in such context by "little ones" who acknowledge the greatness of His grace whereby we are "accepted in the Beloved" (Ephesians 1:6).

   Finally, "they are weak but He is strong."  We possess no inherent capacity for life as defined by God.  "To live is Christ" declared the Apostle Paul, who also wrote that we are "weak in Him" (Philippians 1:21; II Corinthians 13:4).  Our Lord is forever the Life of our lives.  We are forever the dependent vessel of His Person and working on our behalf.  He so loves us that He dwells within us to be all and more than we will ever need.  "The love of God is shed abroad in our hearts by the Holy Spirit which is given unto us" (Romans 5:5).  Not content to simply create us, redeem us, and live with us, our Lord inhabits the depths of our being to reveal His love within us for the glory of God.  Thereby His strength is "made perfect in weakness," or made perfect in His loved ones (II Corinthians 12:9).  Yes, we are weak but He is strong.  The acknowledgement of such truth prepares us to experience our Lord's working in us for the journey of this life and forever, the journey accompanied by  strains of the first song that fills and fulfills in this moment no less than when we first heard it.  "Jesus loves me, this I know…"

"But God, who is rich in mercy, for His great love wherewith He loved us, even when we were dead in sins, hath quickened us together with Christ, (by grace ye are saved;) and hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus, that in the ages to come He might show the exceeding riches of His grace in His kindness toward us through Christ Jesus" (Ephesians 2:4-7).

Weekly Memory Verse
   For through Him we both have access by one Spirit unto the Father.
(Ephesians 2:18)

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