In Ignite, during our worship times, we sometimes sing a song inspired by traditional Irish music and written in the nineties by a singer from Northern Ireland, Robin Mark.
Its title is: Jesus, all for Jesus.
I like it very much for its catchy tune, but I like it even more for its lyrics.
Jesus, all for Jesus
All I am and have and ever hope to be
All of my ambitions hope and plans
I surrender these into your hands
I like how it describes a life of complete abandonment, a capitulation, an act of surrender and trust in Jesus.
This might clash quite a bit with the thinking of a modern western world which teaches us that by being strong, believing in ourselves only and never giving up, we could achieve everything.
As a Christ follower, with the knowledge of the loving power of God, I look at these words from a different angle to the world and I would like to invite you to think with me about one or two questions related to the wording of this song, “All I am and have…”.
- Question 1: Who am I, who are we?
- Answer: ‘We are God’s creation. He created us to belong to Christ Jesus.’ (Ephesians 2:10, NIRV)
- Question 2: What do I have? What do we have, where are our possessions, gifts and abilities coming from?
- Answer: ‘Every good and perfect gift is from above, coming down from the Father of the heavenly lights, who does not change like shifting shadows.’ (James 1:17, NIV)
Paul had the same question in his time as he wrote to the Church in Corinth:
‘For who makes you different from anyone else? What do you have that you did not receive? And if you did receive it, why do you boast as though you did not?’ (1 Corinthians 4:7,NIV)
To me, this song doesn’t mean that we should abandon everything, live with nothing and have a miserable life, but in my opinion, it pushes us to recognise God as the giver of all things.
It is a call to worship Him, by giving ourselves back to Him, ready to dedicate our life to His service.
In this 21th Century, all matters of power are mostly about wealth and money, but Jesus in the Gospel of Matthew warns us about one big danger:
“No one can serve two masters. Either you will hate the one and love the other, or you will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and money. (Matthew 6:24 NIV)
Money is not a problem on its own as Jesus himself taught us how to steward what we received in the parable of the talents (Matthew 25 14-30). A constant danger for us is to put our faith and hope of wellbeing in money and an economic system which could crash suddenly leaving full countries and millions of people in deep trouble.
Could this song be an encouragement to think about who and what we put our trust in?
Paul advises us with his godly inspired wisdom:
‘And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you].’ (Romans 12:2, Amplified Bible)
We live in this world for now, but a text in Hebrews resumes our actual position perfectly:
‘For this world is not our permanent home; we are looking forward to a home yet to come. Therefore, let us offer through Jesus a continual sacrifice of praise to God, proclaiming our allegiance to his name.’ (Hebrews 13:14-15, New Living Translation)
Going back to our song now. What is the next step for us then? How is it possible to survive after surrendering all to God?
That is the moment to remember once again that we are not from here, and that in Christ, we are no more dependant from the systems which are at work here. We are not under the yoke of a worldly economy, we are living under the cover of God’s economy.
Capitalism is a man-made concept which seems to work for some but surely not for all. By contrast, God’s economy is based on justice, kept promises, equality for all and on God’s generosity beyond measure.
We can access God’s provision for every area of our lives by cultivating our relationship with Him through faith, trust, and recognition of our position. God is the Creator, we are his creation.
Here is a few examples of these godly economic principles found in the Bible. They will help us to understand that giving everything to God doesn’t mean poverty, but a promise of provision which is equalled only by the size of God’s love for us.
‘The thief comes only in order to steal and kill and destroy. I came that they may have and enjoy life, and have it in abundance [to the full, till it overflows].’ (John 10:10, Amplified Bible)
‘Bring the whole tithe into the storehouse, that there may be food in my house. Test me in this,” says the Lord Almighty, “and see if I will not throw open the floodgates of heaven and pour out so much blessing that there will not be room enough to store it.’ (Malachi 3:10, NIV)
‘Delight yourself in the Lord,
And He will give you the desires and petitions of your heart.’ (Psalm 37:4, Amplified Bible)
‘And my God will liberally supply (fill until full) your every need according to His riches in glory in Christ Jesus.’ (Philippians 4:19, Amplified Bible)
‘And God is able to bless you abundantly, so that in all things at all times, having all that you need, you will abound in every good work’ (2 Corinthians 9:8, NIV)
‘The Lord will open the heavens, the storehouse of his bounty, to send rain on your land in season and to bless all the work of your hands. You will lend to many nations but will borrow from none.’ (Deuteronomy 28:12, NIV)
God is the utmost giver. He gives without counting, not even His own cost.
He went to the extreme by giving His own Son to die for us, for in Jesus-Christ, we would be free from the values of this world and benefit God’s infinite provision, for now and for eternity.
In Him we are free from the fear of lacking, from the fear of tomorrow. We are even free from the fear of dying as we know where we are going.
Trust God, surrender all what you are and all that you have to Him. Ask Him what he wants you to do for Him today knowing that he is giving you all what is needed for the task.
God is faithful, He is with us today and we will be with Him forever one day as He is preparing a place for us in heaven.
‘Do not let your hearts be troubled. You believe in God; believe also in me, My Father’s house has many rooms; if that were not so, would I have told you that I am going there to prepare a place for you? And if I go and prepare a place for you, I will come back and take you to be with me that you also may be where I am.’ (John 14 1-3 NIV)
It is time now to add the last lines of this song and to sing it like the start of a new life, a life with new godly standards, a life of worship and service to our Father, being completely safe in the hands of Jesus.
For it’s only in your will that I am free
For it’s only in your will that I am free
In Jesus you have everything, He is in control of your life.
Go for it, give Him all that you have…
Jesus all for Jesus…
Do not fear, trust God.
‘The Lord will keep you from all harm—
he will watch over your life;
The Lord will watch over your coming and going
both now and forevermore.’
(Psalm 121:7-8, NIV)