Hymn History: “Take the Name of Jesus with You”

2 min

The moon shone through the curtains in the New York home. The moonlight revealed the middle-aged lady’s face, grimacing from pain. Lydia Baxter was an invalid and had spent most of her married life confined to her bed. Carefully she moved her stiff muscles into a different position. Then, closing her eyes again, she whispered a name . . . .

Many Christian workers gathered at the Baxter home because of the beloved woman’s cheerful personality. Despite her physical incapacity, Mrs. Baxter’s spirit was in fellowship with the Lord, and joy filled her heart. Preachers, evangelists, and Christian workers sought her out for comfort and encouragement. She would share with those who asked how she could be so joyful in the midst of physical pain—the secret was in the name she often whispered:

I have a very special armor. I have the name of
Jesus. When the tempter tries to make me blue
or despondent, I mention the name of Jesus, and
he can’t get through to me anymore.

Mrs. Baxter was an avid student of the Bible and loved to discuss the meanings of Biblical names. Bible names such as Sarah (“princess”), Samuel (“asked of God”), and Isaac (“laughter”) are well-known examples. However, Mrs. Baxter’s favorite Biblical name was the one that meant “Savior”—Jesus! He was the joy of her spirit. His name was the one she would call on when her pain or circumstances would seem overwhelming. He was her Savior, indeed, and the joy of her spirit was seen by many in her enthusiasm.

Another way Mrs. Baxter shared her enthusiasm for Christ was in her writing, which includes several hymns. One hymn that is still familiar today is “Take the Name of Jesus with You.” She wrote the hymn in 1870, just four years before her death. “Take the Name of Jesus with You” was widely used in the Moody-Sankey revival meetings in the late 1800s. In this particular hymn, Mrs. Baxter shares with the world the “secret armor” that strengthened her soul:

Take the name of Jesus ever,
As a shield from ev’ry snare;
If temptations ’round you gather,
Breathe that holy name in prayer.

The word enthusiasm comes from two Greek words: en, which means “in,” and theos, which means “God.” As we focus on being in God and knowing Him, we will have such joy in our spirits that our souls will overflow with enthusiasm. The next time you are not having such a good day, remember the hymn writer, Mrs. Baxter, and her secret armor. Let us take the name of Jesus and be filled with His joy!

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