Trying to walk in the steps of the Saviour


Author: Eliza E. Hewitt

Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Trying to follow our Savior and King;
Shaping our lives by His bless?d example,
Happy, how happy, the songs that we bring.

Refrain

How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Stepping in the light, stepping in the light,
How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Led in paths of light.

Pressing more closely to Him Who is leading,
When we are tempted to turn from the way;
Trusting the arm that is strong to defend us,
Happy, how happy, our praises each day.

Walking in footsteps of gentle forbearance,
Footsteps of faithfulness, mercy, and love,
Looking to Him for the grace freely promised,
Happy, how happy, our journey above.

Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior,
Upward, still upward, we follow our Guide;
When we shall see Him, “the King in His beauty,”
Happy, how happy, our place at His side.

 

This song exhorts us to walk in the light as God is in the light.  The text to “Stepping in the Light” was written by Eliza Edmunds Hewitt (1861-1920). A school teacher who was severely injured by an unruly student and was laid up for a long while in the hospital, she began a second career as a hymn writer when she came out of the hospital for the first time on a bright spring day and with joy in her heart she wrote the words of the song  “There’s Sunshine In My Soul.”

After grad­u­a­tion from school, Eli­za be­gan teach­ing. How­ev­er, her ca­reer was cut short by a ser­i­ous spin­al prob­lem. She par­tial­ly re­cov­ered, but was an in­val­id most of her life. She then turned to hymn writ­ing, which ran in the fam­i­ly—her cou­sin was hymn­ist Ed­gar Stites.

Eliza lived all her life in in Phil­a­del­phia, where she was Sun­day School sup­er­in­tend­ent at the North­ern Home for Friend­less Child­ren, and lat­er at the Cal­vin Pres­by­ter­i­an Church. She was al­so a reg­u­lar con­trib­u­tor to Sun­day-school Helps.

Other hymns by her which have appeared in our books include “For Christ and the Church,” “Give Me Thy Heart,” “More About Jesus,” “A Blessing In Prayer,” “When We All Get To Heaven,” “Who Will Follow Jesus?”, “Will There Be Any Stars in My Crown?”, and “My Faith Has Found a Resting Place.”

The song Stepping in the light  first appeared in the 1890 Living Hymns for Use in the Sabbath School, Young People’s Meetings, the Church, and Home edited by John Wanamaker and John R. Sweeny. The tune (Gilmour or Ichnos) was composed by William James Kirkpatrick (1888-1921).

The song is sometimes dated 1889, but some older books give the copyright date as 1890. Other books give the renewal date as 1917, which would make the original copyright date 1889. Perhaps it was initially copyrighted in 1889 and first published in 1890 which may account for the confusion. The copyright was later assigned to the Hope Publishing Co.  Among hymnbooks published by members of the Lord’s church during the twentieth century for use in churches of Christ, it appeared in the 1948 Christian Hymns No. 2 and the 1966 Christian Hymns No. 3 both edited by L. O. Sanderson; the 1963 Abiding Hymns edited by Robert C. Welch; and the 1965 Great Christian Hymnal No. 2 edited by T. S. Teddlie. Today it may be found in the 1971 Songs of the Church and the 1990 Songs of the Church 21st C. Ed. both edited by Alton H. Howard; the 1978/1983 (Church) Gospel Songs and Hymns edited by V. E. Howard; the 1986 Great Songs Revised edited by Forrest M. McCann; and the 1992 Praise for the Lord edited by John P. Wiegand; in addition to Hymns for Worship, Sacred Selections, and the 2007 Sacred Songs of the Church edited by William D. Jeffcoat.

The song helps us to understand practically what walking in the light involves.

Stanza 1 tells us that stepping in the light means following the steps of our Savior
“Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, Trying to follow our Savior and King;
Shaping our lives by His blessed example, Happy, how happy, the songs that we bring.”

Jesus Christ, in whose steps we are trying to walk, is the Saviour: Lk. 2.14. This Jesus who is our Saviour is also our King: Rev. 17.14 and as our Saviour and King, He left us an example that we should follow His steps and shape our lives by His: 1 Pet. 2.21

Stanza 2 tells us that stepping in the light means turning to Christ in temptation
“Pressing more closely to Him who is leading, When we are tempted to turn from the way; Trusting the arm that is strong to defend us, Happy, how happy, our praises each day.”

We should strive to press more closely or draw nearer to Him who is our leader: Jas. 4.8.  This is especially true when we are tempted to turn from the way: Jas. 1.14-15. Thus, in pressing more closely to Him, we can trust in His arm that is strong to defend us and deliver us from evil: Ps. 59.1-2, Matt. 5.13. The hymn writer practiced this after breaking her spine and continued to serve the Lord.

Stanza 3 tells us that stepping in the light means walking in forbearance
“Walking in footsteps of gentle forbearance, Footsteps of faithfulness, mercy, and love; Looking to Him for the grace freely promised, Happy, how happy, our journey above.”
God commands that we develop and exhibit the quality of forbearance in our lives: Eph. 4.2, Col. 3.13. Walking in forbearance makes it easier for us to walk in footsteps of faithfulness: Rev. 2.10.  While walking in forbearance and faithfulness may not always be easy, God has promised grace to help us in time of need if we will but come to Him through our High Priest: Heb. 4.14-16

Stanza 4 tells us that stepping in the light means following Christ all the way to heaven
“Trying to walk in the steps of the Savior, Upward, still upward we’ll follow our Guide;
When we shall see Him, ‘the King in His beauty,’ Happy, how happy, our place at His side.”

The purpose of our guide is to lead us ever upward on the straight and narrow way that leads to eternal life: Matt. 7.13-14.  At the end of the way, we shall see Him, “the King in His beauty”: Isa. 33.17, 1 Jn. 3.2.  And we shall know everlasting joy when we take our place at His side and serve Him forever: Rev. 22.1-5

Finally, the chorus reminds us how wonderful it is to walk in the light of the Savior.
“How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Saviour, Stepping in the light, Stepping in the light; How beautiful to walk in the steps of the Savior, Led in paths of light.”

Throughout the Bible, sin is characterized as darkness and righteousness is pictured as light. Since God is light and in Him is no darkness, He desires that His people make it their aim as they journey through this world to be “Stepping In The Light.”

The Bible in 1 John 1:7 says “If we walk in the light, as he is in the light, we have fellowship with one another, and the blood of Jesus his Son cleanses us from all sin.” A man called Gary Henry also wrote that “Life is a long journey indeed, but although the steps that take us toward God are many, they should be taken; indeed, can ONLY be taken; one at a time. The key to life is the peaceful, persistent management of the moments.” And Lord chesterfield wrote “Take care of the minutes, and the hours will take care of themselves.” Faith is the victory!

Faith is not a way of talking, but a way of walking. It is not a problem to answer, but a path to follow. It is the habitual loyalty of a disciplined life to a living and loving God. “Each step I take my Saviour goes before me, and with his loving hand he leads the way. And with each breath I whisper “I adore thee;” Oh, what joy to walk with him each day. I trust in God, no matter come what may, for life eternal is in his hand; He holds the key that opens up the way; that will lead me to the Promised Land.”  How beautiful it is to walk in the steps of the Saviour; led in paths of light! “Our faith comes from hearing; and hearing through the word of Christ.”

(Rom 10:17) “Let the word of Christ dwell in you richly…” (Col 3:16) “Walk in the light! And you shall find your heart made truly His who dwells in cloudless light enshrined; in whom no darkness is. Walk in the light! And you shall share your path; though thorny; bright; for God in grace walks with you there; and God himself is light.”

Friends we are, “Trying to walk in the steps of the Saviour; trying to follow our Saviour and King; shaping our lives by his blessed example; happy; how happy; the songs that we bring. Upward; still upward we’ll follow our guide. When we shall see him; the King in his beauty; happy; how happy; our place is at his side.”

Advertisements
This entry was posted in Hymns Alive and tagged , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s