Among the 2047 published works of Isaac Watts, this song of Holy fortitude, stands tall and gallant as one of the most thought-provoking and inspiring songs. Going by the question “Am I a soldier of the Cross?” Appended to his Sermons, published in 1721-24, in 3 volumes, and intended to accompany a sermon on 1 Corinthians 14:13
Wherefore let him that speaketh in an unknown tongue pray that he may interpret.
Finally organised together in 1724, it came out a melody that will keep cheering for Christ till He Comes. It questions you to the core to rethink your claim to be a Christian. It makes Christianity not to be merely a profession of faith, but a higher calling into the forefront of defending in words and deeds, the Cross of Calvary. Or what comes into your mind when you sing, “Am I a soldier of the cross, a follower of the Lamb?
And shall I fear to own His cause? Or blush to speak his name?”
But it doesn’t stop here. The song reminds us of the pains of duty and remaining committed. It is not going to be easy, but it will demand a lot from us. The path is marked by the blood of martyrdom, and we must remain faithful even if we are called to travel it in pains and tears. Or what comes into your mind when you sing,
“Must I be carried to the skies on flowery beds of ease,
Whilst others fought to win the prize, and sailed through bloody seas?”
Being in an army is sweet when all is sunshine and bright. The solemn regalia of duty makes the soldiers look invincible and inviting. But if we will make it in this battle, our only arsenal must be the word of God and fervent prayer. Or what comes into your mind when you sing,
“Sure I must fight, if I would reign; increase my courage, Lord;
I’ll bear the toil, endure the pain, supported by thy word.”
As you fight this battle you must beware of the snares of Satan. The leaven of the world with all its dazzling sights and tempting sounds are not to be confused as benevolence to the battle of faith. We must not lean on the arm of flesh or the support of the world to remain in the army. Or what comes into your mind when you sing,
“Are there no foes for me to face? Must I not stem the flood?
Is this vile world a friend to grace, to help me on to God?”
Choosing a side to support can be very difficult especially in a battle where outcomes have eternal consequences. But unlike all battles, this particular one we take with results leaked. It is not going to be easy, but we know the end of the story.
Or what comes into your mind when you sing,
“Thy saints in all this glorious war shall conquer, though they die;
They see the triumph from afar, with faith’s discerning eye.”
And when the conflict of Ages is ended and the armour is laid down at the feet of Jesus, it will be worth the effort. It may be bleak and involving, it may task us to the core, but all our calls to endurance will fall into nothingness, and we will make a grand declaration, “Indeed heaven was cheap enough!” Or what comes into your mind when you sing,
“When that illustrious day shall rise, and all thy armies shine
In robes of victory through the skies, the glory shall be Thine”
So when you hear the Soldiers of the Cross sing this Anthem, just know the battle is on, and it is Semper Fidélis—always faithful.