I was listening to some music this evening and iTunes played “Take my life (and let it be)” performed by Chris Tomlin. This is a song that has moved me before as a beautiful hymn to the Lord, and while it was not written by Chris Tomlin (I learned that it was written by Frances Havergal and it is much older!) I do love the reverence and softness his recording brings. The beauty of these lyrics evoke a deep yearning to be one with God and used by God for great things in the name of His kingdom.
Take my life and let it be consecrated, Lord, to thee.
To be consecrated is to be made sacred. Consecrated items are used specifically for religious or divine purposes, as is illustrated in Leviticus as God describes not only the items of the tabernacle and holy place but the descendants of Aaron and the Levites who serve Him there. Oh God, that my life could be made sacred for your purposes!
Take my moments and my days; let them flow in ceaseless praise.
How much of my time each day is spent doing pointless, worthless, empty things? How often am I just mindlessly checking Facebook, playing some app, or just staring off into space? Each moment on this earth is a gift, as so many have learned the hard way by losing a loved one earlier than expected. Why is it that I am so capable of wasting so much time on things that don’t glorify God or build up His kingdom? How is it that a day can go by without me expressing my gratitude for His blessings, without me praising Him for His goodness? Forgive me, Lord, for squandering the time you have given me. Help me to honor you with every moment of every day.
Take my hands and let them move at the impulse of thy love.
So many things do I do during my day; the works of my hands are many. But what is the motivation behind them? Most of the time, it is for my own benefit – either something that I enjoy or something that helps me get my work done. Much of the rest of it is for the benefit of my family. How much of this is for the benefit of God? How much of this is for the benefit of His kingdom? And of those things, to what extent is it motivated by God’s love for me – inspired by the fact that God loves me as much as He does – and motivated by God’s love for ‘the least of these’? Help me see those around me with the eyes you see them with; give me your heart, so that I may love and serve as you have, Jesus.
Take my feet and let them be swift and beautiful for thee.
Feet symbolize the traveling we do, whether it is to the grocery store or another country. Every time we step out the door, we go somewhere and act as a steward of God’s love, a messenger of the gospel, and a representative of Christ to the world. Forgive me for not representing you as beautifully as I could, God – help me to be mindful and conscientious of the message I bear and those around me who might hear it.
Take my voice and let me sing always only for my King.
When God made Eve, Adam’s response is often described as a song. He sees her beauty, he sees how good a match she is for him, and he can’t help but let it out in lyrical form. While this is a beautiful and blessed outpouring of the soul, what things do I pour out my soul to? How often have I sung to my wife in this way? How often do I sing to my Lord? Or are the things that I ‘sing’ about – that is, the things that I praise with my attention and my energy – only material things, which are here today and gone tomorrow, or which thief steal and rust destroy? God, help me focus my attention, energy, and affection on those spiritual things that last.
Take my lips and let them be filled with messages from thee.
So much do I long to preach God’s message to others! I’m no preacher, by any means of skill or training, but to be able to preach God’s message is to hear God’s voice first. Moses spoke with God “as a man speaks with his friend”, and the prophets all heard God’s voice. Peter and Paul responded to the words of the Holy Spirit, spoken so plainly that there was no mistaking them. Holy Spirit, open my heart, mind, and ears to your words, that I might share them with others without reservation.
Take my silver and my gold; not a mite would I withhold.
All that I have is from God, therefore all that I have should go to Him. To serve His kingdom and provide for His people. How can I claim any of it as mine, or take credit for having earned any of it, when my skills and means of earning money all come from God?
Take my intellect and use every power as you choose.
Not only are my physical skills a gift from God, but my mental skills are too. I may develop them, hone them, through education but the capacity to learn is a gift from God. All of these things ought to be dedicated to His service. Lord, guide me in dedicating my mind to thinking your thoughts and understanding your ways.
Take my will and make it thine; it shall be no longer mine.
I have no desire to do that which I will to do – these things only lead to destruction. My will is fickle and ignorant. But God, your will is far-seeing and wise. Guide my will so that it is in accordance with your will!
Take my heart, it is thine own; it shall be thy royal throne.
Oh, that my body were in practice a suitable throne room and temple for God’s spirit! Instead, my body is defiled by things inside and out. My selfish acts, my worthless deeds, and my evil thoughts – these only serve to taint and mar the heart where the Spirit resides. In the Old Testament, the Israelites went to great lengths to make sure that God’s temple was kept holy, or that his tent was undefiled. Can I not even keep my own body under control in such a way as to be a place where the Holy Spirit might find hospitality? Help me Lord!
Take my love, my Lord I pour at your feet its treasure store.
I long for you, oh God! I do love you, even though I don’t show it all the time. My sinful acts are many – help me express my love for you in ways that crowd out my sinfulness. Help me know how to pour out my heart to you, God.
Take myself and I will be ever, only, all for thee.
All that I am is yours, God. I repent of my wickedness. What little I have, I give to you. What little I am, I place in your service out of gratitude for the way you have drawn me out of the mire. May I never serve any other gods but you, and may my heart and soul always reside in your arms.