O to grace how great a debtorI realize that the hymn in its entirety, and even this verse, is an expression of the writer's hope in grace and mercy, but yet I see him hoping in an anemic grace. For one, I see him stating some mistruths, and secondly I see him asking God for what God has already given him! My intention is not to criticize the writer, but to point out more of the fullness and power and vitality and far-reaching-ness of grace that seems to be lacking.
Daily I’m constrained to be!
Let Thy goodness, like a fetter,
Bind my wandering heart to Thee.
Prone to wander, Lord, I feel it,
Prone to leave the God I love;
Here’s my heart, O take and seal it,
Seal it for Thy courts above.
One of the first thoughts I have is that the hymn speaks of a "wandering heart." It even says we are prone to wander, and prone to leave the One we love. The word "prone" implies that it is our default position. The word means "having a natural inclination or tendency to something." To have a heart that is "prone" to something means that the heart is always set toward it.
To say that a "wandering heart" is the condition of a person who is in Christ is to be ignorant of the fullness of the reality of what has happened to that person due to the grace of God and the life of Christ that richly indwells them! We have been given a new heart. God took away our old stony heart and replaced it with a brand new heart and a new spirit that is one spirit with Him and that partakes in His nature! He has made us a new creation. This new creation life is not prone to be a wandering heart. It's not prone to leave God. The complete opposite is true! Our new heart has already been established in Christ, and sealed and anointed and indwelled by the Holy Spirit.
Now He who establishes us with you in Christ and has anointed us is God, who also has sealed us and given us the Spirit in our hearts as a guarantee. (2 Cor 1:21-22).Again, we are joined together with God as one spirit (1 Cor 6:17) and have become partakers of His very nature (2 Peter 1:4). Peter encourages us in the far-reaching effectiveness and sufficiency of God's grace by saying that "His divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness, through the knowledge of Him who called us by glory and virtue, by which have been given to us exceedingly great and precious promises..." (2 Peter 1:3-4). This hardly suggests a heart that is "prone to wander!"
Do we get this? Or do we continue to give more credit to the flesh than to the Spirit? Yes, "the flesh lusts against the Spirit, and the Spirit against the flesh" (Gal 5:17), but is not our confidence in the overcoming strength and power and sufficiency of the Spirit?! The fact that the flesh lusts against the Spirit is no reason to believe that the lusts of the flesh are what we are prone to do or follow! Seemingly unbeknownst to many Christians, "the flesh" is not who we are. However you want to describe the entity or power known as "the flesh," it in no way whatsoever represents the reality of who we are, and it is in no way an equal match for the Spirit!
Just because we do things that don't line up with the reality of the New Creation that we are, doesn't mean we are "prone" to do those things. If we "feel" prone to wander or prone to leave the God we love, those feelings don't make it a reality. We are putting more trust in our feelings than in the sufficiency of God to keep us. He Himself has bound us to Himself, and Himself to us, and we cannot for a moment do a thing to break that binding! Do we not realize that it is not "us" who keeps us bound to Him, but Him who lovingly and faithfully and forever keeps us safely and securely bound to Him? If we have become partakers of the divine nature, then do we not realize that it is our natural inclination to walk according to the Spirit!
Having been wrongfully taught that they are victims of two warring natures (a sin nature vs. a righteous nature), rather than being taught that their old nature died with Christ and then a brand new nature was born and made alive with the resurrected Christ, many Christians are confused and perplexed about their behavior, and they think that because they sometimes sin (or even often sin), that they are helpless victims who will always have a propensity to sin until they leave their earthly bodies.
Now I'm not saying that I never do anything that goes against the reality of my new nature. That's not the case for me or for any Christian. But just because we do things that are contrary to our true new nature does not mean that we are prone to do those things or that it is our nature to do those things. It doesn't even mean we like to do those things! I know that I may get temporary pleasure in doing certain things that are contrary to my nature, but yet the reality is that I hate it when I do those things. And because my true nature is one that is infused with the divine nature, it's my very nature to be identified with the Holy Spirit and to do "divine nature" things.
Be assured that as a Christian, you are not a "sinner." You are not identified by your behavior. You are not prone to wander. You are not prone to leave God. You may "feel" like it sometimes, but those feelings are not the reality. The grace of God has provided something for you that is far greater than a helpless existence as a sinner who can't help but sin and who ebbs and flows and wavers in your relationship with God. He has sealed you in Himself and has established you as a saint who is seated with Him in heavenly places. Rest in who He is and who He has made you to be, and get yourself established in His unconditional love and grace, and you will never have to worry again about this fallacy of a heart that is prone to wander!