“Hymns of Glory” will be a recurring series. Its purpose is to reflect on beautiful, sound, and spiritual hymns, both old and modern, that have made a tremendous impact in the lives of those who write for The Reformed Alliance, and have glorified God through it’s all-around composition. May you be blessed by the series, and consider these hymns for personal, family, and corporate worship.
As a Reformed Christian, I love worship. Whether I am alone or with a group of other believers, I love to sing, pray, testify, and read about the goodness of God. God is to always be worshipped, for He is indeed worthy of all praise. But with that knowledge, I started noticing how different the word worship has become. Think about the word worship and how much the definition of that word varies among Christians.
Many Christians, even good minded ones, associate worship solely with music. Even the most popular genre of “Christian” music named Contemporary Christian, is commonly referred to a “worship music” (even though I would argue that at least 95% of that music isn’t worshipping God at all). For many people it’s all about feelings and expression, and worship has become less about honoring God, and more about personal experience. That is why many churches will refuse to sing psalms and hymns, as instructed by Paul, and instead sing whatever will make people feel more comfortable or what make people “connect” with God better. When understood correctly, and administered through the Word of God, worship can be a powerful way to connect to God. The problem is, the meaning of worship is wrong for these people, thereby it loses the power of true worship of Spirit and truth.
Now, there are others who are able to take in a broader view of worship, recognizing that worship is more than Sunday morning’s music. Worship is not only about music to this group, but about a sincere desire to glorify God in everything they do. They view their profession as an act of worship, they view their manner of living as an act of worship, and they consider their morning and evening devotions to be an act of worship. Godly men and women tend to view worship as a way of living a life that glorifies and pleases God. God becomes the focus of the worship.
With all of those things in mind, there is a hymn that gets the definition of worship correctly. Most hymns (all of the good ones) reflect theological truths from the Scriptures, and takes the singer’s focus away from oneself and unto God. Be Thou My Vision is not only a Hymn of Glory, but it is a hymn that reminds the person singing it the purpose of worship, and who we are worshipping as Christians. Be Thou My Vision is easily one of my top ten (maybe even top five) favorite hymns. I have sang this hymn multiple times, for corporate and personal worship, and each time I am blessed by it.
Few songs today are written in such a way that Be Thou My Vision was. While most worship songs today have vain repetitions, and not to mention the lack of theology as well, this hymn would not refrain from recognizing man’s weakness. At one point the hymn bluntly says that man’s praise is vain and empty, and that the only that could be enough for us is the glory of God. We cry out to God, to declare that we want Him to be our vision, for He is the Lord of our hearts. When singing this hymn, we recognize that God is our best thought, our greatest treasure, and our highest ruler.
Why do I love Be Thou My Vision? Because of the fact that no matter what I am going through, no matter what kind of emotions I am feeling (be it happiness or anger), and no matter what my fleshly logic tells me… God is my everything. He alone can be my greatest delight, in this life or the next. We will reach for Heaven’s joys, we will run to the serenity of God’s presence, and we will cling to the arms the dear Savior.
The lyrics to the song are below (click here if you want to listen to it as well). I hope this hymn will be as inspiring for worship to you as it has been these past couple years for me.
Be Thou my Vision, O Lord of my heart
Naught be all else to me, save that Thou art
Thou my best Thought, by day or by night
Waking or sleeping, Thy presence my light
Be Thou my Wisdom, and Thou my true Word
I ever with Thee and Thou with me, Lord
Thou my great Father, I Thy true son
Thou in me dwelling, and I with Thee one
Riches I heed not, nor man’s empty praise
Thou mine Inheritance, now and always
Thou and Thou only, first in my heart
High King of Heaven, my Treasure Thou art
High King of Heaven, my victory won
May I reach Heaven’s joys, O bright Heav’n’s Sun
Heart of my own heart, whate’er befall
Still be my Vision, O Ruler of all
Soli Deo Gloria.