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Words: Floyd W. Hawkins (b. Nov. 20, 1904; d. July 17, 2002)
Music: Floyd W. Hawkins
Note: Floyd Hawkins was a music editor with Lillinas Publishing Company. He also wrote about five hundred gospel songs of his own. He said, “While the grand old songs of past ages retain their beauty and meaning, we find that the Christian life affords endless inspiration for new songs.” One of these, written in 1937, he called I’ve Discovered the Way of Gladness.
Some years ago, my friend Dave–who’d been best man at my wedding–came to visit. We took part in a Sunday evening concert, and sang Mr. Hawkins’ song as a duet.
Glad. It’s a word I encountered this morning on a box of plastic food bags. The Clorox company markets a line of storage bags, plastic food wrap, and garbage bags, promoted in commercials by the white-haired Man from Glad. “Why take chances, get Glad!” says one slogan, and “Don’t get mad! Get Glad!”
It’s an interest word. The Old English word (glaed) meant bright and shining. This came to be applied to a person’s feelings. Gladness describes cheerfulness, joyfulness, pleasure and delight. Some form of the word is used one hundred and forty-eight times in our English Bibles.
Gladness of heart is to be our response to the blessings of God, and the privilege of having a personal relationship with Him. David says:
“I will be glad and rejoice in You; I will sing praise to Your name, O Most High” (Ps. 9:2). And, “Let all those who seek You rejoice and be glad in You; Let such as love Your salvation say continually, ‘The Lord be magnified!’” (Ps. 40:16).
To realize even a small measure of what the Lord has done for us and not be glad is, at its root, the sin of ingratitude. At one point, the Lord warned the Israelites of judgment to come, “because you did not serve the Lord your God with joy and gladness of heart, for the abundance of everything” (Deut. 28:47).
Even in the face of persecution Christians can find reason to be glad. The Lord Jesus put it this way:
“Blessed are you when they revile and persecute you, and say all kinds of evil against you falsely for My sake. Rejoice and be exceedingly glad, for great is your reward in heaven, for so they persecuted the prophets who were before you” (Matt. 5:11-12).
This alerts us to the fact that the shining path of gladness the believer follows is not a path without thorns and pitfalls. The call to be a follower of Christ is not–or certainly should not be–an unrealistic, “Come to Jesus and all your troubles will be over.” We live in a world where there is often hostility toward dedicated Christians and their chosen life. In other words, in one sense, we’re asking for more trouble by declaring our allegiance to the Lord.
Where, then, is the advantage?
¤ In Christ is found a new purpose. “Whatever you do, do it heartily, as to the Lord and not to men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the reward of the inheritance; for you serve the Lord Christ” (Col. 3:23-24).
¤ Through Christ we gain a new perspective on life (Phil. 1:21; 3:7).
¤ We have new resources to live for Him (Phil. 4:13, 19).
¤ Walking with Christ we find a new companionship–“I am with you always,” Jesus said (Matt. 28:20)
¤ And we are assured of a new destiny in the home He is preparing for us (Jn. 14:2-3).
The song speaks of “the living way” (cf. Jn. 14:6; Heb. 10:19-20), and of Christ as “the living Word.” (cf. Jn. 1:1, 14). Preachers often contrast Christ, the living Word, with the written Word of God, except that it is said to be “living” too (Heb. 4:12). Speaking of the shining path of the Christian life, Floyd Hawkins song says:
1) Mankind is searching every day
In quest of something new;
But I have found “the living way,”
The path of pleasures true.
I’ve discovered the way of gladness,
I’ve discovered the way of joy,
I’ve discovered relief from sadness,
‘Tis a happiness without alloy;
I’ve discovered the fount of blessing,
I’ve discovered the Living Word.
‘Twas the greatest of all discoveries
When I found Jesus, my Lord.
1) What is there about the Christian life that you are especially glad about today?
2) How can we have gladness, even in the face of suffering and persecution?