Have you ever heard that strange phrase used in sport that goes, “putting your body on the line”? As far as I understand, it means to play as if there is no tomorrow! It is an attitude of a sports person who plays with all the energy and skill he/she has, no matter how much it hurts (and it does often hurt!). It is about giving “110%”, if that is even possible!
When my son Paul was young (he’s older and wiser now!), I hadn’t actually heard that phrase used, but watching him play Aussie Rules Football, I understood the concept. He was often praised by his team mates for his all-out attitude, and we often saw the consequences afterwards. He once said that when he played Football on Saturday it often took him until Wednesday to recover! He also made a few visits to the doctor’s office and even the Emergency Department. But was it worth it? Well, it seems that he would have thought so at the time.
It is actually quite an admirable quality. Who doesn’t admire someone who is 100% committed to whatever endeavour they are involved in? Even though deep down we may also consider them slightly crazy at the time.
Well, I think this amazing Psalm 63 is written by someone who, in a very different way, “put his body (and soul) on the line” as regards a relationship with God!
Listen again to the passion and commitment of David as he pours out his heart to the “lover of his soul”:
O God of my life, I’m lovesick for you in this weary wilderness.
I thirst with the deepest longings to love you more,
with cravings in my heart that can’t be described.
Such yearning grips my soul for you, my God!
2 I’m energized every time I enter
your heavenly sanctuary to seek more of your power
and drink in more of your glory.
3 For your tender mercies mean more to me than life itself.
How I love and praise you, God!
4 Daily I will worship you passionately and with all my heart.
My arms will wave to you like banners of praise.
5 I overflow with praise when I come before you,
for the anointing of your presence satisfies me like nothing else.
You are such a rich banquet of pleasure to my soul.
6–7 I lie awake each night thinking of you
and reflecting on how you help me like a father.
I sing through the night under your splendor-shadow,
offering up to you my songs of delight and joy!
8 With passion I pursue and cling to you.
Because I feel your grip on my life,
I keep my soul close to your heart.
9 Those who plot to destroy me shall descend into the darkness of hell.
10 They will be consumed by their own evil
and become nothing more than dust under our feet. 11 These liars will be silenced forever!
But with the anointing of a king I will dance and rejoice
along with all his lovers who trust in him. (The Passion Translation).
No half-hearted worship here! If it is possible to worship as if there is no tomorrow, with all the energy and skill one has available, at 110%, then here is the perfect example! This is Holy Spirit inspired love, adoration and worship at its best coming from a man who knew what he was doing and understood the consequences. Basically, he laid his body (and soul) on the line in his love and devotion to his God, your God, and my God.
How do we compare? If you are anything like me, then you have a long way to go. But GO we must! Never give up! Seek the Lord with all our heart! “Press on”, no matter what, says Paul:
13 Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, 14 I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:13-14)
And that “prize”? Forever in the presence of God. Will it be worth it? There is no doubt about it. It will be worth whatever it costs!
And, of course, the One we follow and serve, the Lord Jesus Christ, is our prime example of one who “put his body on the line” (and much more) when God demonstrate[d] his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us. (Romans 5:8)
Yes, Father, do this work of grace in our hearts that You and You alone will be our vision, our goal, our prize, our all in all. In Jesus name. Amen
[photo from https://www.themonthly.com.au/issue/2018/september/1535724000/wendy-carlisle/afl-s-concussion-problem ]