By Kate Barclay Wilkinson
May the mind of Christ, my Savior,
Live in me from day to day,
By His love and power controlling
All I do and say.
May the Word of God dwell richly
In my heart from hour to hour,
So that all may see I triumph
Only through His power.
May the peace of God my Father
Rule my life in everything,
That I may be calm to comfort
Sick and sorrowing.
May the love of Jesus fill me
As the waters fill the sea;
Him exalting, self abasing,
This is victory.
May I run the race before me,
Strong and brave to face the foe,
Looking only unto Jesus
As I onward go.
May His beauty rest upon me,
As I seek the lost to win,
And may they forget the channel,
Seeing only Him.
As we start a new year, the words of the song “May the Mind of Christ My Saviour” which was often sung at the close of the message at the church in which I grew up comes to mind. It’s words provide a great response to the ministry of the Word during corporate worship but as we enter a new year, these words are appropriate to meditate upon.
“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus,” Philippians 2:5 challenges us. Kate B. Wilkinson thought on what it means to have the mind of Christ Jesus. To have the mind of Christ is to have Christ with His love “controlling all I do and say”. That people seeing me, realize “I triumph only through His power”. Mrs. Wilkinson also includes Hebrews 12:1-2 in her hymn: “May I run the race before me…looking unto Jesus”. We sing this hymn as a prayer, echoing Mrs. Wilkinson, as we also desire to be more like Him.
We do not know much about the story behind the hymn, but it was written by Kate Barclay Wilkinson who was born on Aug. 27, 1859, at Woodlands Bank, Timperley in Cheshire, England. The daughter of a mechanical engineer, William Beckett Johnson, she married Frederick Barclay Wilkinson, a cashier, at St. John the Evangelist Anglican Church, Altrincham, Cheshire, in 1891. Working with young women in west London, she was apparently actively involved in the Keswick Deeper Life Convention movement. Keswick is a market town and urban district in Cumberland, England.
It’s words, composed some time prior to 1912, are based on Philippians (“Let this mind be in you which was also in Christ Jesus”) and appear to have come out of the author’s involvement with the Keswick Conferences. Text and tune were first published together in the 1925 Golden Bells Hymnal. Kate Wilkinson died just three years later, on Dec. 28, 1928, at Kensington in London, England. However, her hymn remains as an encouragement to prepare for both our worship on the Lord ’s Day and our daily living by seeking the mind of Christ in our hearts.
Couple of thoughts about the lyrics:
The song asks God to help us add to our lives various aspects of the will of Christ. The six stanzas of the hymn were originally intended for each day of the week leading up to Sunday. However, every day and every year we ought to ask ourselves the question, “What is the Christ-like way for handling this or that situation?” Therefore at all times I should be examining myself and asking the Lord, “May the Mind of Christ, my Saviour” be in me.
Stanza 1 teaches us that we need the mind of Christ. We need the mind of Christ so that our minds can be renewed to do His will: Rom. 12.1-2; Also, we need to seek the mind of Christ from day to day because we must take up our cross daily and follow Him: Lk. 9.23 and the result will be that by His love and power He will be controlling all we do and say so that others will see Christ living in us: Gal. 2.20
Stanza 2 teaches that we need the word of Christ dwelling in us. The mind of Christ lives in us to the extent that His word dwells in us richly: Col. 3.16;Thus, we need to have the word of Christ in us from hour to hour so that it is our meditation all the day: Ps. 119.97; Only by allowing the word of Christ to dwell in us can we have the triumph that is in Christ by His power: 2 Cor. 2.14
Stanza 3 teaches that we need the peace of God ruling our hearts. As the result of the word of Christ dwelling in us, we can have the peace of God in our hearts: Phil. 4.7; However, it is not enough just to have the peace of God; we need to let it rule our lives in everything: Col. 3:15; The result will be that as we allow God’s peace to comfort us, we can in turn comfort others: 2 Cor. 1.3-4
Stanza 4 teaches that we need the love of Jesus filling us. When we live so that we are at peace with God, then His love is perfected in us: 1 Jn. 2.5; When we understand this love, we will exalt Him and deny ourselves: Matt. 16.24; Because of His love, we can have the victory that genuine faith brings: 1 Jn. 5.4
Stanza 5 teaches that we need strength from the Lord to face the foe. When the love of Jesus fills us, we will recognize that there is a race that we must run: 1 Cor. 9.24;However, just as running a physical race requires one to be physically strong, so running the spiritual race requires one to be spiritually strong to face whatever foes or obstacles that we might face: Eph. 6.10; This strength comes from looking unto Jesus: Heb. 12.1
Stanza 6 teaches that we need the beauty of Christ resting upon us. If we are strong in the Lord and in the power of His might, then our lives will be having the right kind of influence on others whom we meet: Matt. 5.16;It should be our desire the lost to win, just as the one whom we follow came to seek and save the lost: Lk. 19.10; In so doing, however, we must never preach ourselves but only Christ Jesus the Lord so that others see Christ in us, the hope of glory: 2 Cor. 4.5, Col. 1.27