Prone to Wander, Lord I Feel It

Come, Thou Fount of every blessing,
Tune my heart to sing Thy grace;SONY DSC
Streams of mercy, never ceasing,
Call for songs of loudest praise.
Teach me some melodious sonnet,
Sung by flaming tongues above.
Praise the mount! I’m fixed upon it,
Mount of Thy redeeming love.

Here I raise my Ebenezer;
Here by Thy great help I’ve come;
And I hope, by Thy good pleasure,
Safely to arrive at home.
Jesus sought me when a stranger,
Wandering from the fold of God;
He, to rescue me from danger,
Interposed His precious blood;

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.

Written by Robert Robinson, 1758
Music by John Wyeth, 1813

 

Of the many hymns I have known and sung over the years, this is one that routinely comes to mind. I will often find myself singing these words, sometimes without even knowing it.

But as I sing these words, it is the third stanza that makes me stop and think.

“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.”

I have been a christian for as long a I can remember. I was raised in a Christian home. I attended church regularly. I accepted Christ as my personal savior when I was very young. I studied youth ministry in college and earned a Masters of Divinity degree. But that is in the past and means little to nothing when it comes to living my life now on a daily basis.

You see, when I rest in these events of the past, when I trust in my own strength I find myself doing exactly this. I find myself “prone to leave the God I love.” As Paul writes in Romans 7:19 “I do not do the good I want to do, but the evil I do not want to do—this I keep on doing.” I am a Christian, how can this be the case?

I remember a few years ago when I was thinking about the phrase “there, but for the grace of God, go I” that it suddenly hit me what that meant. I, like all of us, am a sinful being and my nature is to seek after that. To seek those things that simply serve me, to seek after my own pleasure, and to not care about anyone else. Yes, left to my own devices, I fear to think where I would be.

But thanks be to God that I do not have to face this alone. For I can find strength in the words of Philippians 4:13 “I can do all things through Him who gives me strength.” It is in Christ that I can find the strength to stand firm. It is because of this that I find the deepest meaning in the first part of this stanza:

“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.”

My debt is to Christ and the grace of God. And , O how great a debt. A debt, I can not repay, but a debt I freely owe. It is not a debt that God lords over me. Rather, it is a debt he gives in love and so, it is this love that binds me to Him. It is because of this that I joyfully declare the last phrase of this stanza, “Here’s my heart, O take and seal it, Seal it for Thy courts above.”

So, “here I raise my ebenezer” (helper stone). A reference to a monument that stands as a reminder to God’s help. (I Samuel 7:12). And I stand fixed on the “mount of God’s redeeming love.”

You can read the full text of Robert Robinson’s poem by clicking “Come Thou Fount.”

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