I Am Not My Own: How Heidelberg Healed Me | Desiring God

Heidelberger_Katechismus_1563Toward the end of this week, this article appeared in my daily Desiring God email. I noted the reference to Lord’s Day 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, printed the article off for possible vertical file use in our seminary library, but did not read it yet. This morning I did when it surfaced again, and it is a wonderful summary explanation and confession of what LD 1 states.

I encourage you to read the entire article but quote a few portions here that I found to be at the heart of its message. May its reading remind us Reformed Christians once again of what a gem we have in the Catechism.

A dear friend in Christ once recounted to me her years-long struggle with chronic illness. As she described the seemingly endless treatments, their failures, and the pain and exhaustion that prevented her from partaking in the activities that brought her joy, a part of my heart broke. Having witnessed the toll such suffering can take on the spirit, I asked her how she managed to cling to God’s goodness in the hard moments.

She didn’t hesitate. With a firm nod, and with her eyes shining with gratitude, she replied, “I know that I’m not my own, but belong — body and soul, in life and in death — to my faithful Savior, Jesus Christ.”

The poignancy of her reply struck me. She had recited the answer to question 1 of the Heidelberg Catechism, a centuries-old doctrinal statement that beautifully captures the central elements of the Christian faith. Over time after this conversation, when the wages of sin encroached upon my own life, I too found myself repeating these words, and thanking the Lord that when our own fallenness overwhelms us, we can rejoice that we belong to the One who laid down his life for us (John 10:111 John 3:16).

…The idea that we are not our own is radical in our era, when Western society idolizes self-actualization. Even a casual perusal of social media reveals the predominant view that our feelings define our identity. According to the world, we’re to craft and mold our own image, declare our own destiny, and “live our best life.” According to the world, we belong to no one except ourselves.

While upon a cursory glance such principles may seem alluring, they buckle and crack beneath the strain of a sinful world. No matter how fervently we pursue our personal truth and seek to glorify ourselves, calamities strike that we can neither circumvent nor control. Illnesses overwhelm us. Natural disasters decimate our homes. Personal sins creep into and destroy the relationships we hold dear. Our hearts break, and we find ourselves unable to sort the pieces of our shattered lives. Far from guiding us toward truth, the stirrings of our own hearts inevitably lead us to destruction: “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately sick; who can understand it?” (Jeremiah 17:9).

In contrast with this desolation, Christ offers us a spring welling to eternal life (John 4:14). What relief to know that our greatest comfort — our peace, the deep meaning for which we all yearn — neither begins nor ends with our own weary, broken, weather-beaten hands. What solace to know that when we falter, Jesus carries us (Luke 15:4–6). When our efforts to save ourselves fail — and they always will — God lavishes us with grace. “See what kind of love the Father has given to us,” the apostle John writes, “that we should be called children of God; and so we are” (1 John 3:1).

We are not our own, but through Christ, we are God’s children. We belong to Jesus, the good shepherd (Psalm 100:3John 10:11). And by God’s grace, nothing can snatch us from his hand (John 10:27–28Romans 8:38–39).

Source: I Am Not My Own: How Heidelberg Healed Me | Desiring God

Published in: on January 15, 2023 at 6:52 AM  Leave a Comment