The Invictus Games start soon in Toronto; a para-sport competition for injured and sick armed service personnel started by Prince Harry. The name comes from the poem by William Ernest Henley, which ends, “It matters not how strait the gate, How charged with punishments the scroll, I am the master of my fate, I am the captain of my soul.”
I wouldn’t disagree with the poem’s sentiments of courage and fortitude ‘against the odds’; but, as someone who follows Jesus, I can’t help thinking, “Really? Am I really the captain of my soul?”
Being on the verge of leaving gives one a certain boldness! So, perhaps I could ask you a provocative question and ask you to give it some serious and honest thought. Who – really – is the captain of your soul? Who or what – really – directs and orders your life: the actions you take; the decisions you make?
Spouse, partner, children, grandchildren, boss, bank manager, personal trainer, friends, Rector (!), Jesus: if you were to place those people in order of who, honestly, most influences your day to day life, what would the pecking order look like? Where would Jesus really come?
Christ’s love compelled Paul to no longer live for himself, but for Him. Jesus’ love literally gripped him and he was utterly powerless to resist it. He would do anything, go anywhere, speak to anyone if Jesus asked him. Can I say the same for myself? Or am I just playing at being a Jesus-follower?
There’s a line of a worship song you might be familiar with: “From life’s first cry to final breath, Jesus commands my destiny.” It always makes me catch my breath when I sing it. What a ridiculously, terrifyingly, gloriously life-changing thing to say, if I truly mean it.