15 So then, be careful how you walk, not as unwise people but as wise, 16 making the most of your time because the days are evil.17 Therefore do not be foolish but understand what the will of the Lord is . 18 And do not get drunk with wine, in which there is debauchery, but be filled with the Spirit, 19 speaking to one another in psalms and hymns and spiritual songs, singing and making melody with your hearts to the Lord; 20 always giving thanks for all things in the name of our Lord Jesus Christ to our God and Father;21 and subject yourselves to one another in the fear of Christ.
I have always been a lover of music and when I got saved, I listened to less secular music and more Christian music. Once I was shopping at a local Christian bookstore and saw a CD titled, Bridges: Classic Hymns by a modern Christian recording artist. I knew most of the old treasure classics like Amazing Grace and It Is Well. I heard one hymn I had never heard before, it was titled “Lord I want to be a Christian,’ and the words really amazed me. The beginning line of the hymn really grabbed my attention, here they are;
Lord, I want to be a Christian In my heart, in my heart; In my heart, Lord, in my heart Oh, yes, I do, yes, Jesus I, I want to be, Lord, I want to be more loving In my heart, in my heart, Lord, I want to be like Jesus In my heart, in my heart In my heart let it be so in my heart, For every day and every way Lord, I wanna be, wanna be just like Him;
A hymn is someone’s testimony and 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 the 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 States War of Independence, and a century and a half before President Abraham passed January 1, 1863. This African Slave learned that in practicing the love of Christ Jesus is freedom, and asking the Lord to 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, and they demand some kind of judgment and live with bitterness and hate. But A unknown African Slave, who was in the dead center of slavery, they go pay for their labor, they saw and witness mistreatment. He or she learned by words of the Lord Jesus to love those who mistreat them and 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 and there is no joy in living that way. Dear brothers and 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, and finally Lord help me to live and love like Jesus every day of my life. God bless you all, the Lord Jesus loves you and so do I, Samuel J H.