Friday, July 20, 2018

Complete In Thee


I have had this hymn on my mind for a few weeks now, since Samuel and I sang it together at the Chattanooga Rescue Mission. 

It's been a favorite of mine for a few years. 


Complete in Thee! no work of mine
May take, dear Lord, the place of Thine;
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And I am now complete in Thee. 

Complete in Thee—no more shall sin,
Thy grace hath conquered, reign within;
Thy voice shall bid the tempter flee,
And I shall stand complete in Thee.

Complete in Thee—each want supplied,
And no good thing to me denied;
Since Thou my portion, Lord, wilt be,
I ask no more, complete in Thee.

Dear Savior! when before Thy bar
All tribes and tongues assembled are,
Among Thy chosen will I be,
At Thy right hand—complete in Thee.

Yea, justified! O blessed thought!
And sanctified! Salvation wrought!
Thy blood hath pardon bought for me,
And glorified, I too, shall be!


Lately, it seems that I am constantly being reminded how often I am bombarded with messages that I am complete in everything but Christ. 

The world is all too ready to fill us with the notion that alcohol, drugs, partying, free sex, and materialism will complete us. 

But what about the Church?

There, too, we are bombarded with ideas that things other than Christ and His grace complete us. Whether consciously or unconsciously, ideas can fill our heads--ideas that can hinder our freedom in Christ.

In our heads, we know that we are complete in Christ. But how hard it is to get that into our hearts. It's far more difficult to live out in real life.

Why?

Because so many Christian messages imply that we are complete in other things than Christ. That we are complete in what we do, how we look.

Are we single? We'll be complete with a husband. Are we married? We'll be complete with children. Do we have a child? We have to have a certain number. For me as an author: a certain number of books written and published. The list goes on and on. Perfect homemaker. Excellent cook. Successful business. Flawless figure. Healthy, natural, juicer, crunchy. In a word, the perfect Proverbs 31 woman.

(Without the servants, of course.)

But when the years roll on and no husband comes, what then? When we conceive a child and she dies in the womb, when then? When infertility strikes...when poor health limits our homemaking skills...when businesses fail...when the weight just won't come off, when the budget does not allow for that oh-so-popular crunchy diet? When sickness, travel, pregnancy, and 3 moves do not allow for that book to hit the shelves?



We can take it a step further.

What about our spiritual successes and failures? So often, in our desire to be like Christ, the focus can unconsciously be turned onto ourselves rather than the One who made us holy in the first place. We find completeness in a Christian check-the-box list, one that puts our good deeds (the ones that people can see) on a giant scale that measures our godliness. 

And, then when we fail and our successes (successes God calls filthy rags) come crumbling off our mental scale, we find ourselves drowning in hopelessness. All because our completeness was not in Christ, but in our own works.

In my own life, I discovered that a great deal of my completeness came from the amount of serving and ministry I was doing, not in Christ Himself. I was a church pianist for 8 years. I was a Sunday school teacher. I never missed Sunday School, Sunday morning, Sunday night, and Wednesday night. I passed out tracts. But when all that changed by moves and life circumstances, I discovered how much of my completeness came from serving and not from Christ as He is--my Savior, King, Creator, and Friend.

I now often struggle in endeavoring to find my completeness in a perfect home, being a perfect wife, appreciating every moment of my pregnancy, reading my Bible enough (however much that is...does anyone know?)

Finding completeness in Christ is hard.

It's hard when we lose ourselves to our own desires, godly or otherwise. It's hard when dreams come crashing down around us--the good dreams. You know, the husband (where is the guy, anyway?! Riding a turtle?!), the babies (children are a blessing, aren't they?!), the perfect family life, flawless relationships...

The Honest Company

But life isn't like that.

Life is messy. We are not perfect and we are not supposed to be. Relationships do not often look like the perfect dating/courtship manuals say they should. Families very often come broken and full of problems. Spouses and children are not guaranteed to us. Illness strikes, homes get messy, finances struggle, work issues happen, marriages fall apart.

And it is when we are forced to let go of perfection that we realize what we are completing ourselves in. 

Perfection?

Or Christ?

When we find our completeness in Christ, we can find new joy, new freedom when things don't go according to plan. When, despite best efforts, life happens, we can relax in the knowledge that Christ loves us and knows that we are weak. This is not to say that we do not strive to do our very best for Christ, but that when our idea of perfection does not happen, we know that we are still beloved, redeemed, adored, chosen. 

Beloved. Redeemed. Adored. Chosen.

Complete.

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1 comment:

  1. Hi Alicia,

    Thank you for this awesome reminder. I too LOVE that song, and your post was such an encouragement to me today. Especially as our family is going through some hard times with my mom's health. God is so faithful, and we are complete in Him. That is such a marvelous truth. :)

    Love in Christ,
    Ashley

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