My Jesus, I Love Thee

Love-JesusMy Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine;
For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.
My gracious Redeemer, my Savior art Thou;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I love Thee because Thou has first loved me,
And purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.
I love Thee for wearing the thorns on Thy brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death,
And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow,
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

In mansions of glory and endless delight,
I’ll ever adore Thee in heaven so bright;
I’ll sing with the glittering crown on my brow;
If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.

Words by William R. Featherston, 1864
Music by Adoniram J. Gordon, 1876

 


for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture, the flock under his care. Today, if only you would hear his voice
Psalm 95:7

Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.
John 15:13

We love Him because He first loved us.
1 John 4:19

For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.
Romans 8:38 – 39


 

Deep down we are all the same. Yes, some of us prefer to be alone and some prefer to be around other people. Some of us prefer to be with people we know well and some prefer to continually meet new people. Some of us prefer to be with people like us and other prefer to spend time with people who are different. Yet despite all of these differences, deep down we are all want the same. We want somewhere to belong.

And so we search for a place. Some search in relationships with other people. Some search in drugs and alcohol. Some search in money. Some search in work. Some search in helping others. And while these, at least for a short time, seem to give us a sense of purpose, in the end, even the most well-meaning of them, leaves us feeling empty.

So we continue to seek somewhere to belong. Somewhere that we are accepted and wanted. Somewhere that we are loved. The love that we seek is found in Christ. It is in His presence that we can find the one place we are accepted and always belong. It is in response to this sense of belonging that William Featherston wrote his hymn, “My Jesus, I Love Thee.”

The hymn begins “My Jesus, I love Thee, I know Thou art mine.” We are looking for a place to belong, it is found in Jesus. And this belonging has a flip side found in Psalm 95:7 where we read, “for he is our God and we are the people of his pasture.” We are His and He is ours. This is the ultimate level of belonging, to know that we belong to someone and we can reciprocate.

So when we know we have this level of belonging, we are willing to give everything in response. When we know that we have found belonging in Christ, we are willing to sacrifice all our selfishness. This is the declaration of the hymn, when it says “For Thee all the follies of sin I resign.”

So we share our love with Him. A love that does not always come so easily to us, but is the only possible response to the love that He has shown us first as the hymn continues, “I love Thee because Thou has first loved me.” Our love does not exist in a vacuum, it is the response to the love that He has shown us. This echoes the words of I John 4:19 which tells us, “We love Him because He first loved us.”

He loved us first, and with a love that is not simply words, but demonstrated in the most incredible of actions. It echoes Jesus words in John 15:13 were we read, “Greater love has no one than this: to lay down one’s life for one’s friends.” As the hymn puts it,he “purchased my pardon on Calvary’s tree.”

It is in this love that we find our purpose and meaning. It is a love that has no end. It is what leads Featherston to write, “I’ll love Thee in life, I will love Thee in death, And praise Thee as long as Thou lendest me breath;
And say when the death dew lies cold on my brow.” He is our love not just of this lifetime, but forever, just as His love can not separated from us. “For I am convinced that neither death nor life, neither angels nor demons, neither the present nor the future, nor any powers, neither height nor depth, nor anything else in all creation, will be able to separate us from the love of God that is in Christ Jesus our Lord.” (Romans 8:38 – 39)

In Christ, we can find what our hearts desire. A place to belong which is engulfed in his love. So we respond by loving Him who has loved us first. When we begin to understand the love that God has extended to us we can join with others proclaiming, “If ever I loved Thee, my Jesus, ’tis now.”

 

 

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