(photograph of Texas H. Stevens)
THE BOND OF PERFECTNESS
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness” (Col. 3:14)
INTRO.: A hymn which emphasizes the need to put on charity or love in our lives is “The Bond of Perfectness.” The text was written and the tune was composed both by Texas Hulan Stevens, who was born on Nov. 28, 1922, at Yoakum, in DeWitt County, TX, the son of Madison Roy Stevens (1899–1968) and Hallie Mae (Benton) Stevens (1904–1997). In his family, there were three brothers and a sister, Eldred Nicklas, Roy Joseph Stevens, Benton Lanier, and Nancy Ruth. A baby brother died in childbirth. Attending Abilene Christian College (now University), he was student body president in 1945 and 1946 and graduated Magna Cum Laude with a B. A. degree in 1946. Participating in choral groups, ensembles, quartets, and musicals during college, he came on L. O. Sanderson’s staff in 1947.
On Sept. 12, 1947, Stevens was married to Pansy Mae Dawson; they had three children, Roy Hulan, Douglas Eldred, and Kathy. From 1946 to 1947, he worked with the Sears and Summit (now Skillman Ave.) church in Dallas, TX. In addition, he attended Southern Methodist University with thirty hours toward the M. A. in Old Testament, and the University of Houston with sixty hours toward the Doctor of Psychology. His preaching labors have been at Ferris, TX (1947-1949); Elmwood in Dallas, TX (1949-1954); Bloomington, TX (1955-1956); Highland Hills in San Antonio, TX (1956-1962); Lindale in Houston, TX (1962-1974); McGregor Park in Houston, TX (1974-1977); and Bammel Rd. in Houston, TX (1977-1989). Also, he did mission work in New Zealand, Jamaica, and Canada.
Beginning in October of 1974, Stevens was a writer and Executive Vice President with Gospel Services Inc. of Houston, TX. In addition, he was on the Lubbock Christian College Summer Music Camp staff for some ten years, was a choral director for television programs in San Antonio and Houston, and was conductor of the Houston A Cappella Chorus. Also, he was a song writer. Among his published songs are “Blessed Are the Little Children” with text by Mrs. James Beardon, “Our Hearts Aflame with Love,” and “The Bond of Perfectness,” all copyrighted in 1966 by the Gospel Advocate Company and published that year in Christian Hymns No. 3 edited by L. O. Sanderson. Stevens died on Oct. 10, 1989, at the age of 66 in Madisonville, Madison County, TX.
The song focuses on love as the bond of perfection.
I. Stanza 1 asks a question
Would you embrace the King of kings?
Would you be heir of many things?
Yea, more than this shall he possess
Who dons the bond of perfectness.
- Jesus Christ is the King of kings: Rev. 19:11-16
- Through Him, we can become heirs of many things: Rom. 8:16-17
- But the one who dons the bond of perfectness shall possess more than this because God is able to do exceedingly abundantly above what we ask or think: Eph. 3:20
II. Stanza 2 provides the answer
What is this bond so sweet, so dear?
What is this bond we all may wear?
It is to love and grow in grace,
Walking the way of righteousness.
- What is this bond? It is love: Eph. 5:1-2
- This is certainly one area in which we need to grow in grace: 2 Pet. 3:18 (cf. 1:5-7)
- Only by love can we truly walk the way of righteousness: 1 Jn. 3:7-11
III. Stanza 3 explains its importance
Through shadows dark and waters deep,
In trial’s hour, and e’en in sleep,
This bond the heart and life will bless;
Love is the bond of perfectness.
- Love will sustain us as we go through waters dark and deep: Isa. 43:1-2
- Also it will sustain us in trial’s hour: Jas. 1:2-4
- It will even sustain us in our sleep: Prov. 3:21-26
CONCL.: Love is one of the grand themes of the Bible. It begins with God’s great love for mankind shown by sending His Son to provide salvation from sin. Then there is our response to love the Lord with all our hearts, souls, and minds in return. Also we have the responsibility to love our neighbor as ourselves. When we understand all this, we shall see that this love is “The Bond of Perfectness.”