Come, thou long-expected Jesus,
Born to set thy people free;
From our fears and sins release us,
Let us find our rest in thee.
Israel’s strength and consolation,
Hope of all the earth thou art;
Dear desire of every nation,
Joy of every longing heart.
Born thy people to deliver,
born a child and yet a king,
born to reign in us forever,
now thy gracious kingdom bring.
By thine own eternal Spirit,
rule in all our hearts alone;
by thine own sufficient merit,
raise us to thy glorious throne.
This favorite Advent carol has six bold requests. Charles Wesley revealed his deep longing for God when he penned the words. I challenge you to make these same requests your own:
Come thou long expected Jesus. Do you really want Jesus to invade your space? To call your heart His home? To become your boss? To be Lord of all of your life? Ask Him. I dare you.
From our fears and sins release us. What is your worst fear? Your greatest temptation? Do you believe He can set you free from it? Do you believe he can break the chains of sin that bind you?
Let us find our rest in thee. Are you weary? Tired of the rat race? Frustrated with the hectic season called Christmas? Tired of trying to keep up with your neighbors, outdo your coworker, impress you relatives? Rest in him. Jesus himself said, “Come to me all who are weary and heavy burdened and I will give you rest.”
Now thy gracious kingdom bring. Jesus taught us to pray, “Thy kingdom come, thy will be done…on earth as it is in heaven.” What kingdom thwarting habit are you practicing? Who has been reached through your obedience?
Rule in all our hearts alone. This is a bold request. “Jesus, rule…alone!” No one else. Nothing else. No selfish ambition. Just Jesus.
Raise us to thy glorious throne. Jesus, change us from the inside out. Replace hopelessness with hope. Fill our emptiness with your fullness. David talked about this in Psalm 40:
I waited patiently for the LORD; he inclined to me and heard my cry. He drew me up from the pit of destruction, out of the miry bog, and set my feet upon a rock, making my steps secure. He put a new song in my mouth, a song of praise to our God. Many will see and fear, and put their trust in the LORD. (Psalm 40:1-3 ESV)
Notice when David was raised to God’s glorious throne–after he patiently waited. If you are in a pit, put your hand in his and let him draw you out and raise you to his glorious throne. He’ll change your tune! (my paraphrase of “he put a new song in my mouth.”) Then many will see and fear and say, “What happened to her! What’s up with him!”
Today, pray those six requests of Wesley’s old hymn. The next time you sing it, be careful what you ask for!