Renewing our Covenant

Text taken from an updated version of the “John Wesley Covenant Service” (full text available here):

“..Submit yourselves now to the Lord. As His servants, give up having control and power of your own lives and future to Christ. Paul reminds the Romans, and followers of Jesus still today as he urges, “Don’t offer parts of your body or life to sin, to be used as instruments for wrong. Instead, present yourselves wholly to God as people who have been brought back to life from the dead, and offer all the parts of yourself to God to be used as instruments to do right.” We are reminded by scripture that no matter what words we say, we are servants to whoever it is we obey. Submit yourselves to serving the Lord, so that you may belong to Him.

Those that submit to sin and the world, their hearts speak louder than words and say, “Sin, I am yours; World, I belong to you; Riches, I serve you; Pleasure, I depend on you. Anxiety, I listen to you.”

But we, instead, join the Psalmist in saying:

I am Yours, My God. I give my devotion to you. I dedicate myself to serving you. 

In giving yourselves to the Lord, you affirm that you will be enthusiastically contented with what He asks you to do as your service to Him. Look to Him to appoint you to your work. Christ and His Kingdom have many things that need to be done. Some are more easy and may gain the notice of others. Others might be difficult and go unnoticed.  Some go well with what we’re naturally inclined and interested to do. Others may seem to go against our grain, causing us to depend on Him all the more. 

Sometimes when we follow Christ, we find ourselves being filled along the way; when He requires simple things such as taking care of our needs of food and clothing. In the same way, there are some spiritual activities that are more pleasing than others – things that cause us to rejoice in the Lord. These are a blessing and praise to God, and sweet work to a Christian. But there are other moments and works that the only way to be faithful and pleasing to Christ is to deny ourselves. There are times when our burden seems heavy, calling others to righteous living and withdrawing from them if they refuse. There are times when we’re called to speak out against wickedness or injustice, declaring Christ and His Kingdom. This may cause humiliation or loss of status as we sail against the wind, swim against the tide, and surrender our rights and privileges because Jesus Christ is our Lord.

Take into account what Christ expects, and then submit yourselves to every bit of what He’s asking. Don’t try to position yourselves to come out on top, and focus on getting what you want out of what God is doing. That’s not serving God, but serving self. Let’s come before Christ again, in prayer:

Lord Jesus, if You will receive me into Your family, and if You will accept me as Your servant, I will not bring any of my own demands. Whatever the conditions that please you, communicate what you want from me; ask whatever you will; and let me serve you.

Make me what You will, Lord, and place me where You will. Whatever role you have for me in serving You and Your Kingdom work in Christ, I am content. Whether the world takes notice, or my life passes quietly in the background, as long as I am being used by you – it is what I desire. Whatever part you have for me in the body of Christ, even if it’s considered one of the lowest and least desirable, I am your servant.

Whatever you need me to do, alongside whomever you need me to join; whether it’s acts of service, joining in suffering, activity now or being set apart for later. Whether it brings attention and Glory for your Name, or I’m walked on because of following you, I want to be full for you. I want to be emptied for you. Let me have all that I have for you. Let me be content with nothing, for you.

With everything I am, I let go of it all for your pleasure and use.”

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