Isaac Watts (1674-1748)

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Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong. Do everything in love. – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14


Am I a soldier of the cross,
A follow’r 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 see the triumph from afar,
By faith’s discerning eye.

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


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Hymn Background: Am I a Soldier of the Cross? 

Most hymns weren't written after traumatic or life-altering experiences but were simply written from the heart of someone walking with the Lord. This month's hymn was written by someone not only walking with the Lord but by someone preaching the Word.

The prolific English hymn writer Isaac Watts penned the words to “Am I a Soldier of the Cross” to illustrate the biblical truth found in 1 Corinthians 16:13 — "Be alert, stand firm in the faith, be courageous, be strong.”

In Watts' time, England was the greatest power of Europe with a long history of warfare and they were in a constant state of revolution and political and social chaos.

Watts’ congregation would have readily identified with the militant and war-time imagery this hymn depicts, but today’s believers can identify with this imagery as well.

Many Christians across the world know first-hand the experiences of wartime and those of us less experienced in physical warfare can certainly identify with spiritual warfare.

Especially now.

Christianity and its biblical worldview are  no longer mainstream in America and the ever-growing cancel culture makes it even more challenging for many Christians to speak Jesus' name without blushing (stanza 1) or without fear of retaliation.

Satan is also at work, knowing his end is very near.

What foes are you facing today? When was the last time you shared your faith or spoke about your friend Jesus to an unbeliever?

As we face a new month, let’s determine to move through it with courage, speaking God's truth in love while supported by God’s Word (stanza 4).