“Be Strong in the Faith”

"BE STRONG IN THE FAITH"
"…Stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong" (1 Cor. 16.13)

     INTRO.: A song which pictures the Christian’s life as standing in the faith is "Be Strong In The Faith" (#211 in Sacred Selections for the Church). The text was written and the tune was composed both by D. L. Bledsoe. I have been able to locate no further information on this individual. The song was copyrighted in 1900 by Anthony Johnson Showalter (1858-1924). He is best known as the composer of "Leaning On the Everlasting Arms."  The copyright for "Be Strong in the Faith" was later owned by the Gospel Advocate Co. Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the Gospel Advocate’s 1923 Choice Gospel Hymns edited by T. B. Mosley and others. It was also used in the 1940 Praise and Revival Songs and the 1952 Hymns of Praise and Devotion both edited by Will W. Slater; the 1940 Complete Christian Hymnal and the 1959 Hymnal both edited by Marion Davis; and the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch.  Today, to my knowledge it may be found only in Sacred Selections.

     The song tells us how we can be sure that we are standing fast in the faith.

I. Stanza 1 emphasizes being strong in the faith of God
"Be strong in the faith, my brother, Be strong in the faith of God.
He will keep you day by day In the straight and narrow way; Be strong in the faith of God."
 A. One can be weak in faith, but God wants us to be strong in faith, like Abraham: Rom. 4.19-20
 B. God will keep those who are strong in faith because it is through faith that we are kept by the power of God unto the salvation ready to be revealed at the last time: 1 Pet. 1.5
 C. The way in which He wants to keep us is the strait and narrow or difficult way: Matt. 7.13-14. I hate to be too picky, but here is an example of where a songwriter has shown some confusion on Biblical words. The way that Jesus describes is not necessarily "straight," meaning "not crooked, bent, wavy," but "strait" meaning "tight, strict, rigid."

II. Stanza 2 emphasizes being strong in the power of God
"Be strong in the faith, my brother, Be strong in the power of God.
Though the way be dark and steep, He your soul will safely keep; Be strong in the power of God."
 A. Being strong in faith will enable us to be strong in the power of God’s might: Eph. 6.10
 B. We need to be strong in God’s power because the way that we have to go is dark and steep, being in the midst of a crooked and perverse generation: Phil. 2.15
 C. Yet, in spite of the difficulties, when we are strong in God’s power and keep ourselves in His love, He will keep us from falling: Jude vs. 20-24

III. Stanza 3 emphasizes being strong in the love of God
Be strong in the faith, my brother, Be strong in the love of God.
On the cross the Savior died, And the law is satisfied; Be strong in the love of God."
 A. We must be strong in the love of God because the greatest commandments are to love God and to love our fellow man: Matt. 22.37- 40
 B. Christ has shown His love for us and given us an example of how to show love to others by dying on the cross: Eph. 5.1-2
 C. As a result, "the law is satisfied" in that the price for sin demanded by the law has been paid by Christ’s blood and we can now have redemption: Col. 1.13-14

     CONCL.: The chorus repeats the thought of each stanza to remind us of the importance of these three things, as for stanza 1:
"Be strong in the faith, Be strong in the faith of God.
He will keep you day by day In the straight and narrow way; Be strong in the faith of God."
Genuine faith is obviously a very important component in God’s plan for us. It is by faith that we are justified before God, and it is by faith that Christians walk. Therefore, in order to please God here and have the hope of being with Him in eternity, we must determine to "Be Strong in the Faith."

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2 thoughts on ““Be Strong in the Faith”

  1. The hymn, “Be Strong in the Faith”, was composed by my grandfather, David L. Bledsoe, of Iron City , Georgia. He composed a number of hymns which were sung in conjunction with singing schools he established in the years following the Civil War. He was active in the Prinitive Baptist Church, in North East and South West Georgia–from the late 1880’s until his death in 1932. The published hymns I have seen are in “shaped note” notation.

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