“… who have said, With our tongue will we prevail; our lips are our own: who is lord over us?” (Ps. 12:4)
That is the beginning of the iniquity. When we mistake our proprietorship we cease to be religious, and we give up the possibility of being religious. What is the first lesson in true Christian religion? The first lesson is that we are not our own, have no right, title, or claim to ourselves; we are branded: we have the burnt-in mark upon us that we belong to Christ Jesus, that we are blood-bought, that we are not our own; we have not a moment of time, not a single energy, thought, wish, will, desire that is our own. That is the ideal Christianity, the very purpose and consummation of Christ’s priesthood, the true meaning—that is, the large and complete meaning—of self-denial, saying No when anything within us claims to have an existence or a right of its own. But this cannot be taught in lectures, nor can men receive it through the medium of preaching; this is the last lesson as well as the first doctrine which is to be learned in the school of Christ. We can only learn what it is to have no right in ourselves, not after we have been to church, but after we have been nailed to the Cross of Christ in the very presence and companionship of Christ. Who can attain this wisdom? Who will not say before attaining it, “My God, my God, why hast thou forsaken me?” Who does not know that before obtaining this there are Gethsemane days, sweltering of blood, sense of loneliness, and, at the last, crashing temples and opening tombs, and a whole apocalypse of wonder and transformation? So long as we think that our lips are our own we shall speak what we please; when we begin to learn that our lips are not our own, nor our hands, nor feet, nor head, nor heart, we shall have but one question: “Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? Tell me, and give me strength to do it.” That will be the day of jubilee, the morning of coronation.
Source: Joseph Parker. The People’s Bible: Psalms. “The Ideal Christianity.”