BIBLE VERSE FOR TODAY…. “…may I never boast about anything except the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ. Because of that cross, my interest in this world has been crucified, and the world’s interest in me has also died.” Galatians 6:14 NLT
I arrived home on Wednesday of this last week and then early on Thursday morning Debbie and I flew to Dallas for the National Legacy Coalition Summit. This was the second annual conference on Christian grandparenting. During one of the sessions, I was grabbed, unexpectedly by the words of an old hymn. I believe Isaac Watts may have had the verse above in mind when he penned the words,
“Forbid it, Lord, that I should boast, Save in the death of Christ my God! All the vain things that charm me most, I sacrifice them to His blood.” (When I Survey the Wondrous Cross)
My heart was pierced and my mind fixed on those words, “all the vain things that charm me most…” It is interesting how those words written in 1707 would have such relevance over 300 years later. “Charm” is defined as “the power or quality of giving delight or arousing admiration.” It means to allure, captivate, fascinate, seduce, hold spellbound.
There are many things in our modern world that are out there to charm us and most of them are “vain.” They are empty and void of any real lasting value. It would be easy to brainstorm the list. Many of them perhaps not bad in and of themselves and others that are just traps and substitutes for lasting satisfactions and joy.
We need to understand that the vain things that “charm” us, pull us away from our full and total devotion to Christ. They compete for our attention, our thoughts and even our resources. They are a distraction and even worse a trap if we are not sensitive to them and what they are.
The vain things that charm us are to be “nailed to the cross.” The hymn writer uses vivid words, “I sacrifice them to to His blood.” This is not only a challenge, but shows that surrendering those “vain things” can be a challenge.
Paul recognized that there were some vain things that he could hang on to. When he considered all that brought him recognition and status he said, “I once thought these things were valuable, but now I consider them worthless because of what Christ has done. Yes, everything else is worthless when compared with the infinite value of knowing Christ Jesus my Lord…” (Philippians 3:7,8 NLT)
If we are “charmed” by anything, it is to be God’s love for us and Christ’s sacrifice for us on the cross. We find the cross, that in the natural can be so repulsive, is to be for us alluring and a point of fascination. Paul says, that it is because of the cross that his interests in the world have been crucified and that the world’s hold on him has been released.
The Lord’s desire is not to take, it is to give. It is not to restrict, it is to bring true freedom. It is not death, it is life full and everlasting.
Prayer for today….. Lord we live in a day when there is so much to distract and to allure. Give us greater sensitivity to those “vain things that charm us most.” All us to stay close to you and live in the fullness of the life you have died for us to know.