Fairest Lord Jesus
While this hymn is very old, it is still fresh today, with several contemporary Christian singers recording renditions of it. It is a truly Christ-centered song whose lyrics laud Him over the nature He created and the nations over whom He is Lord. Because it is so familiar, it is good for us to take it apart a bit and dwell on some of its words.
The lyrics say of Jesus, “Thee will I cherish.” The challenge we face with this statement is how much do we really cherish the Lord? To cherish something is to appreciate it, value it, treasure it. It implies holding it in high estimation, thinking of it as excellent, as precious. A cherished item is something we take great care of, loving it, taking pride in it. Is this our feeling for Jesus? We may appreciate what He has done for us, experiencing gratitude, but do we deeply cherish Him?
Scripture tells us to “love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, all your mind, and all your strength.” I think that comes pretty close to what we’d be seeking if we desired to cherish Jesus. I don’t know about you, but I so often feel I fall far short of this. I feel like I love with a lower case l, when I want to love with a capital L. Like Peter, when Jesus says, “Do you Love me (agape`)?” I want to reply with the, “You know I love You (phileo—a lessor love than agape`). It is my desire to truly cherish Jesus, so I have made it my daily prayer to love the Lord with all my heart, soul, mind, and strength. I pray to love Him affectionately, adoringly, and obediently. I know that only with His Divine aid will I ever come close to cherishing Him as I should.
Following the determination to cherish comes the pledge to honor. This, too, should be a main thrust of our lives. It takes the headline attitude in what we call “The Lord’s Prayer.” There we acknowledge His holiness and revere His name, call down His kingdom, and seek His will. These are the essence of honoring Him. We honor Him when we fear Him, when we love and cherish Him, when we obey Him, when we praise Him (both to His ears and to others), when we are grateful for what He has done for us. We honor Him when we take Him at His word, and act as if He means what He says—ALL of what He says. Honoring Him does become second nature to those who have walked with Him for a while, but perhaps the best honor comes when it is intentionally given. So the question becomes, are we living lives which seek to purposefully honor Him? Another question to ask ourselves comes from Jesus’ condemnation of people who honor God with their lips, but their hearts are far from Him—do we honor the Lord from deep within our hearts, so that our deeds and words of honor are just the overflow of intentionally honoring hearts?
The lyricist declares that Jesus is his soul’s “glory.” What do we glory in? I know people who are incredibly dedicated sports fans. They know all the stats of their teams, the name of all the players, attending as many games as possible, posting on social media all the glories of the objects of their fandom. I know others who are fitness buffs who glory in their physical achievements. Nothing is wrong with either of these “glories”, but they should all pale in comparison to the glory we give to Jesus for what He has done in our lives. We do that through praising Him to others, by testifying about what He is doing in our lives. Yes, we testify to what He did the day we were saved, what He did on the cross 2000 years ago, but what has He done in our lives recently for which we can give Him glory? How can we exalt Him and make Him famous to those around us for His active work in our lives even today?
Not only is He our soul’s glory, He is also our joy. Does Jesus give you joy? When you think of the things in life that push your joy button, is Jesus at the top of the list? Is He even on the list? There are so many Scriptures which tell us to rejoice in the Lord. We are told that the joy of the Lord is to be our strength. If that is true, how strong are we in joy, especially the joy of the Lord? One time I made a many pages long list of “reasons to rejoice” in the Lord found in Scriptures. Sometimes this world can get us so far down that we only look at Jesus to be our problem solver, we can fail to remember that He is so much more, and should be our richest reason to have joy.
The last word we will look at today is where the lyricist said that Jesus is his soul’s “crown.” A crown is a symbol of authority and of achievement. Jesus is certainly our crown of authority. He is our Lord, our Sovereign, and we owe Him all obedience. He is also our source of authority, for He has given us authority as His kingdom of priests for us to use in advancing His kingdom. We too often fail to realize how much power that crown gives us in this world and in the spiritual realm. It is good for us to meditate on Scriptures which tell us of this authority so we are not defeated and make more headway for Him on this earth.
But there is also the aspect of the crown that is achievement or reward. We have been promised crowns, victor’s crowns from running the race faithfully while here on earth. Jesus said that we are to seek reward, we are to be intentional about displaying the good works prepared for us to do from before the foundation of the world—not as something we do to be saved, but as the result of our hearts being grateful for His salvation. We are also told that we will cast those crowns at His feet, because we will realize that all we achieved was through His empowerment, and all honor and glory is due to Him. Ultimately He is our great reward, He is our crown, and He is all we need.
Fairest Lord Jesus is a good song on which to dwell, to aspire to live out its statements, to see Him as fair above all others and exalted above everything else in our lives, for He alone is worthy!