I am no longer my own but Thine. John Wesley’s prayer begins in such a way that we are forced to answer a couple of difficult questions. Are we going to trust God or not? Will we seek to discern and do God’s will or will we continue to insist that we know what’s best for ourselves? These questions are easy to ask, just as Wesley’s words are easy to repeat. But neither are easy to live day-in and day-out.
I am no longer my own but Thine. These words that begin Wesley’s prayer are all about surrender. Surrender is a very unpopular word. For many of us, when we think of surrendering we think of a white flag, of giving up and not getting what we want. But if you look up the word surrender in the dictionary, Webster defines it as: to give the control or use of something to someone else, or to allow something to influence or control you.
I am no longer my own but Thine. The ability to live these words day-in and day-out begins and ends with trust. It is about trusting God with our lives; it is knowing that God wants the very best for us even when we don’t know how things will work out. It is the trust Abraham had when he followed God without knowing where God would lead him. It’s the trust Joseph had even though he had no clue why things happen like they did. It is this trust that a person has who is fully surrendered to God.
Surrendering our life to God doesn’t mean we give up; it doesn’t give us permission to stop working or to stop thinking. But it does allow us to give up negative feelings, anger, jealousy or a spirit of unforgiveness. The best way I have heard it put is that when we surrender to God we get rid of the “yucky” feelings that often distract us from what God wants us to do.
Most of us have heard (and maybe even prayed) the opening words of the Serenity Prayer:
God grant me the serenity to accept the things I cannot change; courage to change the things I can; and wisdom to know the difference.
But most us don’t know the next 8 lines:
Living one day at a time; enjoying one moment at a time; accepting hardships as the pathway to peace; taking, as He did, this sinful world as it is, not as I would have it; trusting that He will make all things right if I surrender to His Will; that I may be reasonably happy in this life and supremely happy with Him forever in the next. Amen.
To live this prayer is to live Wesley’s words, I am no longer my own but Thine. Every day, you have to decide who’s going to be in control of your life. Will it be you or God? Choose this day…