“Not a Step Without Jesus”

"That ye might walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing…" (Col. 1.10)

     INTRO.: A hymn which identifies Jesus as a guide who will help us to walk worthy of the Lord unto all pleasing is "Not A Step Without Jesus." The text was written and the tune was composed both by Ira D. Brister, who was born in Coryell County, TX, on July 26, 1887. With a talent for music, he was leading singing in church services at the age of seventeen. In 1907 he attended a normal singing school taught by F. L. Eiland who encouraged him to develop his music ability further. One of his early songs, "Not a Step Without Jesus," was published in 1908. Another of his songs, "I’ll Go, Gladly Go," beginning, "My Savior is calling, His voice I hear," has also been used in several of our books. During the 1920’s, Brister led the singing for nearly all the meetings that Horace Busby held in and around Ft. Worth, TX, about forty in all. In 1929, Brister started preaching as well as leading singing for small congregations in the Dallas-Ft. Worth area until ill health forced him to retire. In addition, he served as an elder at the old Sears and Summit (later Skillman Ave.) and the Sunset churches of Christ. His death occurred in Dallas, TX, on Oct. 19, 1964, at the age of 77.

     Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, "Not a Step Without Jesus" appeared in the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion edited by Will W. Slater; the 1959 Majestic Hymnal No. 2 and the 1978 Hymns of Praise both edited by Reuel Lemmons; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church and the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed. both edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; and the 1999 Into Our Hands edited by Leland R. Fleming (which contains another song by Brister, "He’s A Wonderful Friend to Me," copyright 1959 by Firm Foundation Publishing House); in addition to the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

     The song expresses the commitment to follow Jesus as our guide in all things.

I. Stanza 1 says that following Jesus as our Guide is a vow that the Christian makes
"Not a step will I take without Jesus, Is the vow that my heart has made;
Though I often am tempted to leave Him, Yet unto Him my heart is staid."
 A. We make the vow to follow Jesus as our Guide when we confess Him as Lord: Rom. 10.9-10
 B. We may often be tempted to leave Him, and we must always be careful because the one who thinks that he stands should take heed lest he fall: 1 Cor. 10.12
 C. But our heart unto Him can be staid if we truly love Him with all our heart, soul, mind, and strength: Mk. 12.30

II. Stanza 2 says that following Jesus as our Guide means obeying Him even though we are tempted
"Not a step will I take without Jesus, As I travel upon life’s way;
Though temptations may be all around me, I will follow my Lord each day."
 A. Jesus wants us in this life to travel the narrow pathway that leads to everlasting life: Matt. 7.13-14
 B. Temptations will be all around us, and we must remember that if we yield to our desires, we sin, and sin brings forth death: Jas. 1.13-15
 C. Therefore, we must resolve to deny ourselves, take up the cross, and follow Him: Matt. 16.24

III. Stanza 3 says that following Jesus as our Guide will lead us to glory in the land of eternal day
"Not a step will I take without Jesus; Where He leads I can never stray
From the path that will lead me to glory, To that land of eternal day."
 A. The statement, "I can never stray," does not mean that it is impossible but that as long as we step with Jesus as our guide, it is
possible for us not to fall: 2 Pet. 1.10
 B. He wants to follow the path that will lead to glory because that is where He has gone: 1 Tim. 3.16
 C. So by following His path, He will lead us to the land of eternal day: 1 Jn. 2.25

     CONCL.: The chorus reminds us of the need to go with Jesus wherever He leads us.
"Not a step will I take, Not a step without Him will I go;
He will lead me along To that beautiful home over there."
One thing that I have always noticed about this song is that the chorus does not rhyme. It really does not make that much difference, but in toying around with it in my mind, I have come up with two possible solutions. "Not a step without Him will I go…To that beautiful home, yes I know;" or "Not a step without Him will I dare…To that beautiful home over there." However, regardless of whether the chorus rhymes or not, if I want to please my Lord who gave His life to save me from sin as I live on this earth and have the hope of being with Him in heaven, I must determine that I will go "Not A Step Without Jesus."


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