Every time I sing the hymn Come Thou Fount of Every Blessing, my soul resonates with the words written by a 22-year-old pastor Robert Robinson in the 18th century. Modern versions do not include all five verses, and the words have been changed slightly to bring meaning. This is the verse that describes my truest blessing:
“O to grace how great a debtor
Daily I'm constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee:
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here's my heart, O take and seal it;
Seal it for Thy courts above.”
This hymn describes the irony of my soul. While I’m singing about my many blessings, I’m acknowledging how much I resist the grace I’m indebted to. This may come as a surprise to you. I write a weekly devotion about something God has taught me. I am a minister, counselor, author and speaker. I do all these acts of service for the glory of Christ. I don’t look like someone who is wandering away from God’s grace. In fact, almost daily I’m speaking or writing words with the purpose of drawing others to make a deeper connection to the living God. Why, after all these years, does my soul still wander?
I wish it weren’t so. I wish I didn’t have to refocus my soul every moment. All I can tell you is that living in God’s grace is a battle. I love God, but I’m prone to leave Him at the same time.
Last week I wrote about the living Word of God and how we cheat our souls when we read it without having a personal encounter with Jesus. Opening my heart, mind and spirit to the Word is one of the tools that counteracts my soul’s proneness to wander. I need a lot of help with this.
I love the line “Let Thy goodness like a fetter.” Do you know what a fetter is? It is a tool used in slavery to shackle ankles or feet. I don’t even know that a fetter would work to help me remember God’s goodness, but like the author I want to try it. I wish that God would shackle me so I stop wandering.
The song is about noticing blessings. One of the greatest blessings in my life is God’s incredible love for me in spite of my ignorant response to His love. Over and over He shows me how to believe in His goodness.
David knows what to pray for in Psalm 51:10. “Create in me a pure heart, O God, and renew a steadfast spirit within me.” I need God’s help even to have a pure heart or a steadfast spirit. Today I am focusing on my heart that is prone to wander and accepting the reality that it is truly the work of God when my focus stays on Him.