I Am No Longer My Own...
The God of the Bible is a covenant-making God!
The Living God enters into covenants. God made covenant with Noah never again to destroy the earth by flood. He made covenant with Abraham to give him a son and make his descendants into a great nation, calling Abraham to walk with Him in faith. He made covenant with Moses, giving His law and calling for obedience from His people. He made covenant with David, promising one of his descendants would reign forever on his throne. He made covenant through Jesus, offering all humanity forgiveness and eternal life through the price Jesus paid on the Cross, and calling for faith in Him.
God offers Himself in holy relationship with us. In return, like a spiritual marriage, we make vows of covenant to be His people, giving our lives to Jesus in utter consecration.
The Apostle Paul says, "Do you not know that your bodies are temples of the Holy Spirit, who is in you, whom you have received from God? You are not your own; you were bought at a price. Therefore honor God with your bodies." (1 Corinthians 6:19-20 NIV)
I have given my life to Jesus Christ. I am His. He is mine. My covenant with Jesus and my marriage to Shirley are the two most important commitments of my life. I no longer belong to myself. I am His. I am hers. My own will and desires must become His will and desires for me and for her. It is the nature of covenant. This is the way.
It is really a radical and nearly unbelievable truth. The God who created all that exists enters into covenant with the ones He created. God binds Himself to us in faithfulness (His) through faith (ours).
We United Methodists follow in the way of Christ alongside John and Charles Wesley. The Wesley's called the Methodists to renew our covenant with God at the beginning of each new year in a Watchnight service, usually on New Year's Eve. Here is the Covenant Prayer John Wesley urged the Methodists to pray:
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.
I was bought at a price. I am no longer my own. I am yours, O Lord. May my will align with your perfect will for me. So be it.