When I die, I would love to have people sing the revival hymn written by Charlotte Elliot, “Just as I am without one plea but that thy blood was shed for me and that thou bidst me come to thee, O lamb of God I come.”
When they sang that at the US capitol for Billy Graham’s funeral, I almost cried. I am told that it was written by a 45-year-old lady with severe, disabling arthritis that left her feeling she had nothing to offer God. Finally, the Lord convinced her that she, with all her limitations, was the gift he would accept, just as she was.
God talks to me through Paul: “I beg of you dear child, to do the only reasonable thing, (considering what I did for you) that you present yourself to me as a living sacrifice. This sacrifice, limited and messed up though it is, I will see as holy and will accept. I will then help you to not let this world culture press you into its mold but will instead metamorphose your mind into my mind. Remember, I let go of all pomp and ceremony and became a servant, a human. If you let go of all ego, then you will be able to prove how good and acceptable and perfect my will is.” Romans 12:1-2 (paraphrase)
I have heard that people wait to offer themselves to God when they are a little wiser, more capable, strong, and a little less messed up.
Whether it is coming for salvation from my sins or coming to offer myself and my body parts tools for him to use; I must come now, I must come just as I am. I must say (as a sin-filled businesswoman at an outreach dinner did) “Well, God, if you think that you can make something out of me, good luck, but you are welcome to try.”
I have the treasure of God in a very earthen vessel so that people won’t be impressed by the frame but will be impressed by the picture. So that people will see what I do and conclude that there must be a God and an awesome one at that; because human beings would never act like that on their own.
The military might be looking for a few good men, but not God. He is looking for an available man that he can be good through.
Once adopted—all filthy, blood smeared, uncared for and unwanted—he washes and salts and cuts off the cord and clothes and feeds and teaches and protects (Ezekiel 16:4-7). Why? That he might present me to himself as a bride having no wrinkles or blemishes. He washes away my stains with the water of his Word.
Yes, he wants me to grow and learn and reach my potential. What parent would not? But he takes me “Just as I am.”
That he might sanctify and cleanse it with the washing of water by the word, That he might present it to himself a glorious church, not having spot, or wrinkle, or any such thing; but that it should be holy and without blemish.Ephesians 5:26-27
I often feel that God loves everyone else but that I am invisible and expendable. I don’t whine like Asaph in Psalm 73, “Sure God is good to everyone else but poor me I am miserable.” My sin is a little different; I think, “Sure God is good to everyone else and rightly so but I am the exception and just don’t count.” I tell everyone else that God loves them now and just as they are, but have trouble accepting it for myself.
I know where it comes from, having been ignored as a child as my parents served God on the mission field for the welfare of the lost. I have come to realize that my reactions are themselves an accusation that God is not able to make something from nothing and that his love has made me someone.
The truth is, in me, he has made something from nothing and I am no longer invisible. He is teaching me that, as the hymn by Charles Weigle says,