Posted by: rcottrill | August 19, 2011

Living for Jesus

Words: Thomas Obediah Chisholm (b. July 29, 1866; d. Feb. 29, 1960)
Music: Carl Harold Lowden (b. Oct. 12, 1883; d. Feb. 27, 1963)

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal

Note: There is also a lovely gospel song by Charles Weigele, called Living for Jesus. Chisholm’s song seems to be better known. Thomas Chisholm died on February 29th–a rarity, since the day only comes once in four years! In Wordwise Hymns, the note about him is found at the bottom of that for February 28th, since the year in which the blog was posted was not a leap year.

For twenty-eight years, Carl Lowden was song leader at the Linden Avenue Baptist Church, in Camden, New Jersey. He also served for a number of years as a music teacher at the Bible Institute of Pennsylvania (now known as the Philadelphia College of the Bible). In the early twentieth century, Lowden produced this melody, publishing it with his own words, as a children’s song.

Later, he decided the tune needed some better lyrics, and wrote to Thomas Chisholm, asking him to provide some. Mr. Chisholm responded that he’d never produced a text “to order,” and didn’t think he could, but Carl Lowden persisted, and the result is this fine gospel song. It has since been translated into more than a dozen languages. It begins:

Living for Jesus, a life that is true,
Striving to please Him in all that I do;
Yielding allegiance, glad hearted and free,
This is the pathway of blessing for me.

O Jesus, Lord and Saviour, I give myself to Thee,
For Thou, in Thy atonement, didst give Thyself for me.
I own no other master, my heart shall be Thy throne.
My life I give, henceforth to live, O Christ, for Thee alone.

This is a call to sincerity and loyalty to Christ, a call to willing and joyful obedience to Him. With the Apostle Paul, believers should desire “that the life of Jesus also may be manifested in our body” (II Cor. 4:10), and, “the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me” (Gal. 2:20). The goal of each of us should be “that [we] may walk worthy of the Lord, fully pleasing Him, being fruitful in every good work and increasing in the knowledge of God” (Col. 1:10).

The refrain puts special emphasis on the fact that we determine to do this as our response to all that Christ has done for us. It’s a motivation brought out by the word “therefore,” in Romans 12:1. “ I beseech you therefore, brethren, by the mercies of God [because of all He has done for you], that you present your bodies a living sacrifice, holy, acceptable to God, which is your reasonable service.” We are, in fact, constrained and compelled by love (CH-2, cf. II Cor. 5:14)–our love responding to His love for us (Rom. 5:8; I Jn. 4:19).

We know that there will be trials, and burdens to bear, in our service for Christ (CH-3). In identifying ourselves with Him, and His ultimate sacrifice, we are taking up our cross (Lk. 9:23). But we continue “doing each duty in His holy name. “Whatever you do in word or deed, do all in the name of the Lord Jesus, giving thanks to God the Father through Him” (Col. 3:17).

CH-4 emphasizes the shortness of time, before Christ returns. We need to be doing what we can to win the lost to Christ, and to encourage the saints. The Lord Jesus came to seek and save lost sinners (Lk. 19:10; I Tim. 1:15), and we ought to share the good news of salvation in Him. Thomas Chisholm says his “dearest treasure” is “the light of His smile.” When we stand before Him, hearing the Lord’s “Well done, good and faithful servant” (Matt. 25:21), will be reward enough.

Living for Jesus through earth’s little while,
My dearest treasure, the light of His smile;
Seeking the lost ones He died to redeem,
Bringing the weary to find rest in Him.

1) What gifts and opportunities has the Lord given you that you can use in His service?

2) If our heart is the Lord’s throne (as Thomas Chisholm says in his refrain), what will that mean in practical terms?

Wordwise Hymns
The Cyber Hymnal


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