As I hand-lettered the words “Victory in Jesus” on a hymn board, the words of the hymn spoke to my heart in so many ways. I came away from it with five takeaways about “Victory in Jesus” and trying to live a victorious life in this crazy, sinful world. These 5 things moved me so much I feel like I should share them with everyone in hopes they move someone else closer to Jesus.
I am loving a new set of books that a sweet friend sent to me. The books tell the story behind many of the hymns that I grew up singing. Now, I am a “back row Baptist”. I fully believe in sitting on the back row but I believe the Lord said to make a joyful noise and that is what I try to do. I mean I am not a good singer by any means. When the congregation starts singing, I am the one who makes all the other singers turn around to see where that horrible noise is coming from. But I do love to sing the old hymns.
These books tell about the song's author and what led the author to write the song. Some of the stories are amazing, and I want to share them with you over the next few months. As I read about each hymn, I'm learning more about them. It makes it so much more meaningful as I hand letter them onto these hymn boards.
Recently, I packaged up a “Victory in Jesus” hymn board. It made me want to open the books to see the history behind the song. The lyrics truly speak to the salvation story!
It was penned by Eugene M. Bartlett in 1939. He had been well known in southern gospel circles as a teacher or music and founder of Hartford Music Company.
When Mr. Bartlett was 54, he suffered a life-altering stroke that left him paralyzed and confined to his bedroom. Can you imagine not being able to move and never being able to leave the house? He was no longer able to teach music and go to church like he was accustomed to doing. It must have been very depressing for him. He couldn’t travel to churches for singing engagements or teach his students in the classroom. His arms were paralyzed making It difficult for him to write letters. He could barely put notes down on a score to continue writing songs for his music company.
Despite Mr. Bartlett’s limitations, he could still study his bible. God must have surely spoken to him in his situation since the last song he completed was filled with such hope for generations to come. His song, “Victory in Jesus” contains solid theology that he had gathered from his time studying his bible. I cannot imagine the time it must have taken for him to write out all these words to this song.
I am so moved by this song and want to share the five things that spoke to me through reading the lyrics.
I was a Wretch
How He gave His life on Calvary to save a wretch like me
Some may say “wretch” is a harsh word for Bartlett to use in the first verse. I have to say that I am thankful for the bluntness of his choice of words. I truly was a wretch when Christ saved me. The beautiful thing is that Romans 5:8 reminds us, “God demonstrates his own love for us in this: While we were still sinners, Christ died for us.”
He Sought Me and Bought Me
He sought me and bought me with His redeeming blood
I love how the song references that Jesus sought us and bought us! In John 15:16 Jesus says, “You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you.”
All My Love
He loved me 'ere I knew Him and all my love is due Him
I always try to sing this part a little louder! Yes, I know that is painful for those sitting in front of me but how can you not want to love this Him? He is so worthy of all my love and devotion!
Our Heavenly Home
The last verse that speaks of our heavenly home always fills me with so much hope! I love singing about a mansion, streets of gold, a crystal sea, and the angels singing, but it will be nothing in comparison to seeing Jesus face to face and singing the song of victory beside Him.
Victory in Jesus
Some of my absolute favorite scriptures are found 1 Corinthians 15:50-58. Verse 57 in particular could be the theme verse of “Victory in Jesus” as it says, “Thanks be to God, who gives us the victory through our Lord Jesus Christ.”! I encourage you to read these verses and meditate on how God has given you the victory over sin and death through Christ. I have had so much victory in my life through Jesus Christ. I cannot tell you how much this victory means to me but I would love to talk with you about it.
Lastly, if you don’t know this “victory” I’m writing about today, I pray that you would read these lyrics and know how much Christ loves you, that He died for you, and can “heal your broken spirit”! If you ever need someone to talk to or have questions about how to know Christ as your Savior, please email me firstname.lastname@example.org. I would love to pray with you and encourage you!