“He that hath my commandments, and keepeth them, he it is that loveth me: and he that loveth me shall be loved of my Father, and I will love him, and will manifest myself to him.” (John 14:21)
The apostle John was known as “the disciple whom Jesus loved” (e.g., John 20:2). As a matter of fact, the word “love” (i.e., agape love, self-sacrificing love) occurs more often in John’s writings than in the rest of Scripture. Interestingly, it is not defined as a deep friendship, but principally as “obedience” to God’s commands. “For this is the love of God, that we keep his commandments” (1 John 5:3).
The final verse of the beautiful hymn “Take My Life and Let It Be” expresses a desire to unreservedly love God, enthroning Him as King.
Take my love, my Lord, I pour
At Thy feet its treasure store.
Take myself and I will be
Ever, only, all for Thee.
“If ye keep my commandments, ye shall abide in my love” (John 15:10). He promises to send His Holy Spirit as His guarantee of our acceptance into His love. “He that keepeth his commandments dwelleth in him, and he in him. And hereby we know that he abideth in us, by the Spirit which he hath given us” (1 John 3:24).
The hymn’s prayer reveals a desire to fully give oneself in obedient submission to the Lord. That is perhaps the sum total of the hymn’s message, that we must consecrate every aspect of our lives and being to Him—our life, our time, our praise, our hands and feet, our voice and song, our worldly goods, our mind and abilities, our will, our heart, our love, and indeed our whole being. Then we will truly be “all for Thee.” JDM