I am no longer my own, but thine.
Put me to what thou wilt,
rank me with whom thou wilt.
Like many of you, I live in a shared space. My roommates and I have our own bedrooms and bathrooms, but share the living room and kitchen. Those areas do not belong to me, but to the apartment communally. That knowledge changes my behavior. If it was just me, I might leave my dishes in the sink for an unrespectable amount of time, allow my laundry to find permanent residence on the couch, or neglect to clean the lint from the dryer filter. However, this space is not my own; it belongs to others whom I respect, so I act accordingly. I try to put in extra effort to keep things tidy, deliberately fighting my instinct to “do it in the morning.”
The world tries to convince us that we belong to ourselves, and that seems to make sense. We have spiritual free will and robust personal liberty. However, as Christians, we were bought and are held forevermore by the redeeming blood of Jesus Christ. “I am no longer my own, but thine.” The manner in which we conduct our lives is elevated from a private affair to a reflection of our reverence for God. We are God’s possession, and if we love God, we must show it. Paul writes in 1 Corinthians 3:16, “Do you not know that you are God’s temple and that God’s Spirit dwells in you?” What would it mean to fully embrace that concept?
Would we temper our language with love and kindness (Ephesians 4:29)? Would we limit our exposure to unhealthy influences (Phillipians 4:8)? Would we take time for self-care in order to steward God’s treasure? Where would we go, what would we do, and who would we spend our time with if we belonged to God?
I have to be straight with you; even though I recognize the communal ownership of my apartment, I sometimes find myself with a Ron Swanson “I can do what I want” permit attitude. And if I’m really honest, I struggle with the same feelings when it comes to my personal being. I cannot recall how many times I have been stuck between what I know is God’s will and my own human desires. Like a toddler petitioning for candy in the grocery store checkout line, I am embarrassed to admit I sometimes stomp my foot and shake my fist at my lack of autonomy. There’s a still, small voice saying, “Child, this is not for you,” and there I am in a full-blown tantrum pleading, “BUT I WANT IT!”
We all know cerebrally that we belong to God, but it is another thing entirely to have that knowledge penetrate our hearts and lodge itself into our decision-making process. Our Heavenly Father, in His infinite patience, guides us into spiritual maturity, to a place where we joyfully behold the opportunity to “offer our bodies as living sacrifices”. Glory be to God.