Tuesday Hymns: “Am I a Soldier of the Cross?”

Warfare was a frequent analogy of the Christian life, both in Scripture and in the history of hymnody. However, many in the present generation apparently have delicate constitutions and shy away from such language. In some hymn books, for example, Onward, Christian Soldiers has become Onward, Christian Pilgrims, and in others the hymn has been purged altogether. However, our Tuesday Hymn for this week, Am I a Soldier of the Cross?, takes seriously the battle that the Christian fights everyday with his three enemies: the world, the flesh, and the Devil.

Isaac Watts, prolific hymn writer of the eighteenth century, understood the battle that has existed since man’s fall between the “seed of the woman” and the “seed of the serpent,” and writes of the need to be vigilant in fighting the fight of faith. However, he also understands it is the Lord who gives the victory as he reminds us that we are “supported by Thy [His] Word” and that God must “increase our courage.” Although it has been sung to several tunes since it was written, the compilers of the red Trinity Hymnal have chosen ARLINGTON , which is easy to sing, and allows the worshipper to focus on the message of the hymn.

Am I a soldier of the cross,
A foll’wer of the Lamb,
And shall I fear to own his cause,
Or blush to speak his Name?

Must I be carried to the skies
On flow’ry beds of ease,
While others fought to win the prize,
And sailed through bloody seas?

Are there no foes for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace,
To help me on to God?

Sure I must fight if I would reign:
Increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain,
Supported by thy Word.

Thy saints, in all this glorious war,
Shall conquer, though they die;
They view the triumph from afar,
And seize it with their eye.

When that illustrious day shall rise,
And all thine armies shine
In robes of vict’ry through the skies,
The glory shall be thine.

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2 Comments

  1. Sandra A. said,

    March 25, 2010 at 7:40 AM

    Thank you, Clifton, for all you do to encourage us in the faith. It is so fascinating to read about the hymns each week.

    • cliftonr said,

      March 26, 2010 at 9:48 AM

      You’re welcome, Sandra. We appreciate you and Jack more than you will ever know.


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