Two nights ago my wife and I attended the Royal Nova Scotia International Tattoo. There was a lot of majestic music, fancy clothes, and moving presentations.
One of the presentations was the singing of the song “I Vow to Thee, My Country,” which I always find deeply moving. This song is a song of loyalty to one’s country, and includes lyrics like this: “I vow to thee, my country, all earthly things above, / Entire and whole and perfect, the service of my love. / … The love that never falters, the love that pays the price, / The love that makes undaunted the final sacrifice.”
Those words led me to think about our love and loyalty, as Christians, to the Lord Jesus. If a man can write lyrics of faithfulness to his country, should we not be able to say such things about our Saviour? Do we love Him enough to say, “Lord, I give to you ‘the service of my love,’ and I make for you ‘the final sacrifice,’ presenting my body to you as a living sacrifice”?
Does that sound extreme? It shouldn’t. Christ Himself said, in Luke 14:26-27, ” If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.”
This is not extreme; this is Christianity 101. What a challenge! Jesus demands your ultimate loyalty, deeper than any other loyalty. In fact, my loyalty should be to Jesus Christ only. Yes, I should be loyal to my family, to my church, and to my country, but only because I am loyal to Jesus Christ. And if there is a conflict between loyalties, I must be able to say, “I would forsake anyone and anything before I forsake Jesus.”
If you stripped away the layers of your love, would love for Christ be there at the centre? If not, you are not a true disciple of Jesus Christ. If we could see that answer to this question in the hearts of every professing Christian, we would know who is real and who is fake.
But we can’t do that. But you can ask yourself this question: “Whom do I live to please: myself or Jesus?” Your answer to that reveals whom you really love the most. Do you really love yourself more than anything else, and you only use Jesus to make you happy? May the Lord help us to be fiercely loyal to Jesus alone.