Lord I Want to be A Christian, A Hymn Written by A Slave


Ephesians 5:15-21

15 Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise, 16 making the most of your time, because the days are evil. 17 So then do not be foolish, but understand what the will of the Lord is. 18 And do not get drunk with wine, for that is dissipation, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your heart to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to God, even the Father; 21 and be subject to one another in the fear of Christ.

I have been a lover of music & when I got saved, I listened to less secular music & more Christian music. Once I was shopping at a local Christian bookstore & saw a CD titled, Bridges: Classic Hymns by a modern Christian recording artist. I knew most of the old treasure classics like, Amazing Grace & It Is Well. I heard one hymn I had never heard before, it was titled “Lord I want to be a Christian,’ & the words really amazed me. The beginning line of the hymn really grabbed my attention, here they are;

 A hymn is someone’s testimony & how the person felt moved by the Lord’s love, so I wanted to learn how the person’s relationship with Jesus was like. What I this hymn doesn’t have known author,but what  truly amazed me, this is what i learn, The book, Negro Slave Songs in the United States (1953), by Miles Mark Fisher tells about the song, “Lord, I Want to Be A Christian.”

It says: “In 1756, a slave of Hanover, Virginia, went up to William Davies, a Presbyterian minister, with this request: “I come to you, sir, that you may tell me some good things concerning Jesus Christ and my duty to God, for I am resolved not to live anymore as I have done.”

Davies was a pastor in Virginia between 1748 and 1759, so the date of the slave’s request in 1756 and place of Hanover, Virginia is likely true.  “This spiritual was first published in Frederick J. Work’s Folk Songs of the American Negro, Nashville, 1907.  One of the first uses in a major denominational hymnal was in Methodist Hymnal, 1964.

1756 is many years before the United State War of Independence, & century & half before President Abraham passed the January 1, 1863. This African Slave, learned that in practicing the love of Christ Jesus is freedom; & asking the Lord help me more loving in my heart, is saying Lord give me freedom.

 Galatians 5:12- I wish that those who are troubling you would even mutilate themselves.13 For you were called to freedom, brethren; only do not turn your freedom into an opportunity for the flesh, but through love serve one another. 14 For the whole Law is fulfilled in one word, in the statement, “You shall love your neighbor as yourself”

Too many want revenge for the sins of  the past, & they demand some kind of judgement, & live with bitterness & hate. But A unknown African Slave, who was in the dead center of slavery, they go pay for their labor, they saw & witness mistreatment. He or she learned by words of the Lord Jesus to  love those who mistreat them & even hate him or her. They learn by the word of Jesus to not let bitterness, anger or rage dwell inside their flesh, but to learn how to forgive like Jesus & there is no joy in living that way. Dear brothers & sister,  why don’t we be like this African slave who said, Lord help me a Christian, Lord Help me to be more loving in my heart, Lord help me to have the heart of Jesus, that he die for me when i was his enemy, & finally Lord help me to live & love like Jesus every day of my life. God bless you all, the Lord Jesus loves you & so do I. Sam H

1 Corinthians 7:21 Were you called while a slave? Do not worry about it; but if you are able also to become free, rather do that. 22 For he who was called in the Lord while a slave, is the Lord’s freedman; likewise he who was called while free, is Christ’s slave.

Categories: Book of Ephesians, Christian HymnsTags: , ,
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