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Covenant

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The living God makes and keeps covenants!

God made covenant with Noah, promising never again to flood the earth. He made covenant with Abraham, promising to make him into a great nation and bless the world through him if Abraham would believe and follow Him. God made covenant with Israel through Moses, promising to be their God and protect them as they lived by His law. And God made covenant with all of us through His Son, Jesus Christ, promising forgiveness and eternal life to those who trust His atoning death on the Cross and follow Him as Lord of life.

God makes and keeps covenants!

One of the historical practices of the people called Methodists was to renew our covenant with God at a watchnight service on New Year’s Eve or New Year’s Day. The covenant prayer is a deep and meaningful one:

I am no longer my own, but yours.
Put me to what You will, rank me with whom You will. 
Put me to doing, put me to suffering. 
Let me be employed for You, or laid aside for You;
Exalted for You or brought low for You. 
Let me be full, let me be empty. 
Let me have all things, let me have nothing. 
I freely and heartily yield all things to Your pleasure and disposal.
And now, O glorious and blessed God, Father, Son, and Holy Spirit, You are mine, and I am Yours. 
So be it. 
And the covenant I have made on earth, let it be ratified in heaven.  Amen.

 

The covenant prayer is a prayer of utter surrender to the living God. It is intended to be prayed not from duty, but from deep love. I am no longer my, I am yours—because I love you so deeply in response to your love poured out for me in Jesus Christ.

Made in the image of God, I have the glorious possibility to make and keep covenants!

The Wesley covenant prayer is one such covenant, making myself completely available to serve as God deploys me for the glory of His Kingdom. Another such covenant is the simple giving of my word. Jesus said, “All you need to say is simply ‘Yes’ or ‘No’; anything beyond this comes from the evil one.” (Matthew 5:37)

The deepest and strongest covenant of my life after my covenant with God is my marriage covenant with Shirley. We have promised to love, comfort, honor and keep each other until we are parted by death. We are in this life thing together, come what may. Marriage is the deepest place of intimacy and vulnerability in life. Like Adam and Eve originally, every married couple has the glorious possibility to be “naked, and not ashamed.” (Genesis 2:25)

Covenants require faithfulness. God is utterly faithful in the covenant He makes with us, and He calls us to be utterly faithful in the covenants we make—with Him and with others. But reality is hard. I do not always keep covenant faithfully. All too frequently I stand in need of God’s forgiveness—and Shirley’s. It is a good and glorious thing that God is a God of grace, and in Christ we have forgiveness and a chance to start over.

The living God makes and keeps covenants!

And so can we. May our covenants be places of integrity and faithfulness in our lives!

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