Glen Scrivener’s latest spoken word video, I Gave My Life to Jesus, is a refreshing gospel presentation for all those who have been burned out trying to give their lives to Jesus. It’s a precise summary of the wearisome spiritual roller coaster that the vast majority of kids experienced who grew up being told to “surrender all,” “rededicate” their lives, and do more for Jesus at altar calls, youth camps, retreats, conferences, and “revival” meetings.
Glen is the director of the evangelistic ministry Speak Life. He is an evangelist/apologist who preaches Christ through writing, speaking, and online media. Like many of us, he gave his life to Jesus about a thousand times “at teenage shrines of rare experience,” yet grew weary of being told of all things he had to do for Jesus without being reminded first and foremost of what Jesus did for him.
This poem brilliantly captures how often we put the cart before the horse, telling people to do x, y, and z in order to surrender all and give their lives to Jesus—all the while forgetting to magnify Christ and proclaim the sheer, gracious gift of salvation he freely provides for all the thirst, weary, guilty, and broken. Scrivener says:
And all the while the preachers told me
“Give control, not part, but wholly,
Give your heart, your life, your all.”
But rarely do I recall
Being told what He gave, my Lord to save.
Listen as Glen tells the truth of Christianity and the lies associated with running to God, giving your heart, or burning out for Christ. This poem recalls the doubts he had, and the truth he found.
You can read the words to the poem here, but here’s an excerpt that says it all:
Can you give your life to Jesus? Talk about cart before horse.
Can we resource the Source who flows like a river
He is the Giver and we just receive, that’s what it means to believe.
So I’ll leave an appeal. To the preachers who feel
that they must stir up zeal, then let it be His we reveal.
You say “Give your heart”
This [the Bible] says “Christ is the donor”
You say “Yield your life”
This says “He was always the owner”
You say “Get on fire.”
This says “You are the Light.”
You say “Keep running to God.”
This says “Walk in Christ.”
You say “Dare to be a missional, intentional, incarnational, contextualised, no-compromise, counter-cultural, radical, red-letter, fully-devoted, disciple.”
This says “Follow.”
You say “Get hungry for God.”
This says “Take, eat, swallow.”
You say “Press into God”
This says “You’re hidden in Christ”
You say “Be a world changer”
This says “Lead a quiet life.”
You say “Surrender all.”
This says “You’re not your own.”
You say “Step up to the plate”,
This says “You’re raised to the throne.”
You say “Burn out”
This says “Shine”
You say “Work on your relationship with Jesus.”
This says “I am my beloved’s and He is mine.”
Folks, look at the book and unhook from this wearisome, will-driven view
Stop giving your life to Jesus, He’s the Giver delivered for you.
Mitch Bedzyk serves as a teacher and worship leader at Elmira Christian Center. He received his Master of Theological Studies from Midwestern Baptist Theological Seminary and works in IT for the NY Office of Mental Health. He and his wife, Sarah, have two sons, Oliver and Micah, and are foster parents. In his spare time he enjoys reading, coffee, guitar, following the Bundesliga and MLS, and playing fantasy soccer. You can follow him @mitchbedzyk