Not I but Christ be Honored, Loved, and Exalted
I recall the summer of 1967, I was first year in National Taichung First Senior high school. Back then we lived in Chunghua city, every morning father would take me to climb the nearby Eight Trigram mountains, to a place with two rocks, and a secluded place to sit down and have morning revival, pray to the Lord. Almost every time he sang hymns, father always sang til tears flow down his face. At first I don’t quite understand, just sang and prayed along. Even now I can clearly remember the few hymns we sang then. For me, they were also important spiritual lessons. The hymn that father uses to introduce me to Christ and make me value Christ is none other than, “No longer I, but Christ.”
Having Sweet Intimate Fellowship with the Lord
In these morning revivals, father uses hymns to show me the three phases of touching the Lord. In the first phase, father showed me how to experience the Lord and have sweet, intimate fellowship with Him. Just like in hymn “Dear Lord Jesus, Precious Jesus” stanzas two to four: “Dear Lord Jesus, precious Jesus, Gladly will I hear Thy call; Since Thy voice my heart hath entered, I from all things could but sever; Void are all my other seekings, Every pride hath disappeared. Dear Lord Jesus, precious Jesus, How can I still stubborn be? At Thy feet cast all my hard’nings, And return with songs and singings; ‘Tis my love to be Thy bondslave, ‘Tis my joy to Thee obey. Dear Lord Jesus, precious Jesus, Thy way only will I choose; Though in tears while I’m obeying, Yet I would not change my standing; All I long for is Thy pleasure, And the peace Thy love would bring.” In fellowshipping with the Lord, I experienced transformation of the inward life. I was no longer stubborn, no longer stubborn towards the Lord, but glad to submit, to make the Lord happy. That other hymn that really touched me is hymn number 362: “He died for me that I might die To Satan, self, and sin; … He lives for me that I may live As spotless e’en as He;” in the enjoyment of these hymns I got to know the Christ that my father knows of, this One who can have father experience “death”, experience “no longer I”. This hymn also describe father’s life; “no longer I, but Christ.”
Having More Understanding and Admiration for Christ
In the second phase, father brought me to have more understanding and appreciation for Christ, and held Him with respect and supremacy. I was very touched by three hymns, first is the first two stanzas of hymn 367: “ Be Thou supreme, O Jesus Christ, Nor creed, nor form, nor word, Nor holy Church, nor human love, Compare with Thee, my Lord! Be Thou supreme, O Jesus Christ, Thy love has conquered me; Beneath Thy Cross I die to self, And live alone to Thee.” The second is hymn 591, stanza 1, chorus, stanza 4 and 5: “Not I, but Christ be honored, loved, exalted, Not I, but Christ be seen, be known and heard; Not I, but Christ in every look and action, Not I, but Christ in every thought and word. Oh, to be saved from myself, dear Lord, Oh, to be lost in Thee, Oh, that it may be no more I, But Christ that lives in me. Not I, but Christ my every need supplying, Not I, but Christ my strength and health to be; Christ, only Christ, for spirit, soul, and body, Christ, only Christ, live then Thy life in me. Christ, only Christ, ere long will fill my vision, Glory excelling soon, full soon I’ll see; Christ, only Christ, my every wish fulfilling, Christ, only Christ, my all in all to be.” In these stanzas, I must emphasize “not I” and “only Christ”, just as written on the back of Watchmen Nee’s “Normal Christian Living”: “No longer I, but Christ.” Father’s entire life gave me the impression that is “not him’, just cleanliness and purity. The third is the chorus of hymn 513: “All in all forever, Only Christ I’ll sing; Everything is in Christ, And Christ is everything.”
A Spirit that Yearns the Lord’s Second Coming
In the third phase, father brought me into a spirit that yearns for the Lord’s second coming. Out of the two most common phrases father uses, the first is the above “no I but Christ”, the second is “Lord, I wish for Your return.” Like in the second stanza of hymn 960: “I’m longing for His presence blest And dare not slothful be While waiting for my Lord’s return, His own dear self to see. My only hope-that He may come And change my faithto sight; There is no other joy on earth Which gives my heart delight.” The “return”, refers to the Lord’s secret coming (Parousia) in Revelations, an invisible return. What can be inferred from this hymn is that father doesn’t just wish for the Lord’s second coming, his living is the enjoyment of the Lord’s second coming. In the sixth stanza: “A thousand hands won’t hinder me, Nor will ten thousand eyes; The thorns upon the road but help Me onward to the Prize. Arise, my spirit and my heart, And let the world go by; The Lord of life will take me soon To be with Him on high.” Oh, how resolute is this proclamation, and how blessed is this hope. Next hymn “Can I forget the coming Lord?” stanzas 2 and 3: “Can I forget my watch to keep? No! My heart for Him must awake; To miss the rapture is my fear, And of this blinding world partake. Can I unite with this dark age? No! He is calling from above. May I forsake all wordly things, Desire my Savior with my love.” In singing hymns, by asking “Can I”, and answer, “No! To miss the rapture is my fear, And of this blinding world partake”, allow me to see clearly, father had always lived in intimate fellowship with the Lord, preparing himself, awaiting the Lord’s second coming.
Thank the Lord, this is the spiritual education father has for me. That I can love the Lord, serve the Lord for life. Not I but Christ honored, loved, exalted; Not I, but Christ be seen, be known and heard!
Eldest Son Samuel Liu
May 11, 2016