Apples of Gold

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How shall we sing?

'How shall we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?'

Psalm 137:4

If ever our churches and our lands needed reviving it is now. There are so many Christians now that are downcast and sorrowful in spirit and unless the Lord does a mighty work in our midst our witness will be a sad and mournful one.

I do not know of any brother or sister who wishes to live their Christian lives with their heads down, yet for many that seems to be the norm. We seem to be a generation that has forgotten how to praise our God.

I cannot help but wonder if we have become so 'worldly minded' and so well taken care of that we do not have a real NEED for God in our lives. We have everything at our fingertips and we lack nothing.

Perhaps it is not until some trial or difficulty comes into our lives that we even think of turning to God for assistance. Is it because we lack nothing that we are not able to trust the Lord as we should? Do we really need to walk by faith when we have everything to hand? Are we not a people who like to have everything under control?

If a problem arises then we feel capable enough to handle it ourselves in our own strength. No need to ask God for help when we can manage ourselves! This type of life is of no use whatsoever to the Christian.

The reason God has provided us with armour is because we are in the middle of a battle. If we are not aware that we are fighting a cause perhaps it is because we have strayed that much from the narrow path that we have lost sight of our salvation.

Are we content to go through this life without scars and with the least amount of hassle? Is it the case that we do not wish to offend anyone and are therefore unwilling to make a stand? We do not seek spiritual highs and we definitely do not want any lows. Just let us live life without having to trudge along the rough paths.

Is it possible that all our desires focus upon ourselves and not on God? We may have a determined goal that we feel certain we can achieve, with or without God's help. Our aims in life may be quite legitimate and even worthy but we need to remember that without God all is vanity.

And then we stop our ears whenever it is suggested that we are not as we should be. We say it is up to Pastors, Elders and Deacons to evangelise the lost. We say let them get on with it! We may even back them with financial support but then we say, do not ask ME to speak or tell others about Jesus!

But there are others. Perhaps a peculiar breed, a yard of different cloth, a people who yearn to honour and serve their King. This world for them holds little. No satisfaction is found for them outside the spiritual realm. Christ is their portion and none but He can satisfy the hunger and thirsting in their souls. For them all is vanity but Christ. For them, perhaps wayfaring men and women, the place where their feet rest is not their home, but rather it is quite definitely a foreign land.

Such can be the anguish and longing for their Homeland that they can cry like the children of Israel, 'how can we sing the Lord's song in a strange land?' It is a strange sadness that they carry. They long for a place they have never seen and for the eternal company of a Saviour who died over 2000 years ago.

Often they weep and mourn because they are not different enough in their walk. They seek neither wealth nor honour of men. They would rather lose their lives in order that their King may be exalted. Yet it seems that trials and tribulations follow them each step of the way, but they remain steadfast and even content with their portion.

They suffer loss, yet soon it is turned to their gain. They live for the day of their death and they seem to be able to show joy even when all things seem to be against them. They could gain the whole world and not be satisfied. Often they are misunderstood and only a few close friends seem to be able to speak the same language. Their desire is to be different. They seek the One thing needful and they love nothing more than to tell others about their wonderful Saviour Redeemer.

The Christian life my friend should be a spiritual adventure. Let us dare to be different. Let us not be ashamed to own Christ as our Lord and let us be more willing to deny ourselves that we may follow Him wherever He may lead us.

Can we pray like George Whitefield did when he said, 'Lord make ME an extraordinary Christian?'

Author: Iain Mackenzie  Edited by: Pastor Al Moak