Am I a Soldier of the Cross
Am I a soldier of the cross,
a follower 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 to for me to face?
Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend of 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.
This hymn was written circa 1721-24 while Watts was preaching on I Corinthians 16:13, and was appended to Watts sermons published during this period , "Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong." is the admonition in this verse. In the time when the persecution of Christians is global and increasing, the timelessness of this hymn is a vital reminder to us all of the challenge and cost and glory of taking up our cross and fighting the good fight of faith.
Since Genesis 3 those who follow the Lord have been embroiled in a long war against the truth, and this war is also against those who love the truth, speak the truth, and live the truth. So, in a very real sense all who name the name of Christ enter into the battle in some way. May this hymn encourage and strengthen us all to be strong and be soldiers of the cross.