This Sunday our focus in worship will be on the theme of “TEMPTATION” as it usually is in Christian churches on the first Sunday of Lent. And so, as I was choosing hymns for Sunday’s two services, I knew in my mind that what I considered an old favorite “Yield Not to Temptation, would definitely be one of our hymns. However, as I looked for it in the two hymnals we use at CCC—The New Century Hymnal and the older Hymns for the Family of God, I was unable to find it in either. I then expanded my search to other hymnals I have in my collection, including The United Methodist Hymnal, but, alas, no “Yield Not to Temptation”!
I was finally able to find the hymn online, and you’ll have it as an insert in your worship bulletin this Sunday. But…I have to ask, what does it mean that this hymn seems not to be included in hymnals as a matter of course anymore? To refresh your memory, or to introduce it to those of you who have never heard of it, the first verse of the hymn is:
“Yield not to temptation, for yielding is sin. Each victory will help you, some other to win. Fight *prayerfully onward, dark passions subdue, Look ever to Jesus, He’ll carry you through. Ask the Savior to help you, Comfort, strengthen, and keep you; He is willing to aid you. He will carry you through.”
Granted that the hymn, written in 1868 by Horiatio R. Palmer, is over 150 years old and the language may be a little dated (*I took the liberty of changing the word “manfully” to “prayerfully”). But still… I must ask, “Is the temptation to do wrong any less for human beings in 2019 than it was in 1868?” From my own experience, I’d have to say that I don’t think so!!!
I guess the main reason I like this hymn is the assurance it gives that we are not alone in dealing with life’s temptations; we can turn to Jesus for help and he will respond. Another reason is that the catchy tune makes the message of the hymn easy to remember. In fact, I think it would be a great ringtone to have installed on our cell phones, so that each time we receive a call we’d be reminded not to yield to temptation!
I invite you to join me in worship Sunday when we’ll definitely be singing this hymn and considering the universal human problem of temptation and Christian strategies for dealing with it.
In Christ’s Love,
Pastor Candy Thomas
Christ Congregational United Church of Christ