Welcome to the PMF Workshop for the week of October 12, 2020. I’m your host, T. M. Moore. Each week we provide teaching, encouragement, and resources to help you in working your Personal Mission Field. By adopting the perspectives and practicing the disciplines we present in the Workshop, you can become more consistent and effective in realizing the presence, promise, and power of God’s Kingdom in your daily life.
Today’s Workshop is entitled, “The Power of a New Song.” Our text is Proverbs 29.6.
By transgression an evil man is snared,
But the righteous sings and rejoices. Proverbs 29.6
Feel like singing?
I have always found the story of Paul and Silas in that Philippian dungeon to be both surprising and encouraging (Acts 16.25ff.). I mean, here they were, rudely treated, stripped of their clothes and beaten with rods, and shackled in the inner prison, their feet locked in stocks. Welcome to Philippi.
So what would you be doing in such a situation? I doubt that most of us would do what we read Paul and Silas were doing: singing a song of salvation to the Lord. I’m convinced that they were able to do this because this is what they did much of the time they were together. After all, what do you do when you’re walking from one town to the next, looking for some place to stay, and working to disciple one another and win others to Christ? Paul and Silas sang, just as Jesus sang when He led the disciples from the upper room to the garden, where He would be betrayed and arrested (Matt. 26.30).
It seems to me also that the first Christians were well schooled in singing certain songs, especially the psalms. When Peter and John returned from being threatened by the Jewish leaders in Acts 4, someone began praying or singing a line from two psalms, whereupon all the people joined together in singing that led into prayer (Acts 4.24ff.).
It’s not hard to imagine how this could be. If you’re in a group and someone starts singing, “Jesus loves me, this I know…” don’t you expect everyone else to chime in as well? And don’t your spirits lift together, and smiles come to your faces, as you remind one another in song of the Good News that sets us free?
So Paul and Silas sang in that dungeon because they drew strength from singing. They knew that singing to the Lord could keep them from falling through temptation into sin. And singing would renew their witness, as Luke tells us that all the other prisoners were listening to them.
The discipline of singing
There are many benefits to be gained for working your Personal Mission Field from a more frequent use of singing in your walk with the Lord. Proverbs 29.6 encourages us that by singing and rejoicing we are able to avoid the snares of temptation and thus grow through every temptation unto greater likeness to Christ.
This is because singing and rejoicing fill our minds and hearts with the vision and beauty of Christ; and singing exercises our strength in worship. With soul and body thus lovingly occupied, we will recognize the temptations that confront us, and we’ll have the Lord present with us – for He inhabits the praises of His people (Ps. 22.3) – so that in Him we may find the way of escape and grow to be more like Him.
We may demur by saying we don’t sing well, or we don’t know what to sing. But singing well has never been an issue with the Lord. All He requires is a joyful noise! Even I can offer that! And if we don’t know what to sing, then that suggests we need to invest a bit more time and energy learning the songs of Jesus that can lift our spirits, keep us focused, and, it may be, open a door of opportunity for bearing witness to the Lord.
Pick a song, any song
Why not try choosing a Gospel song and singing it throughout the day? Sing as you prepare for the day. Sing as you take up daily tasks, or when you’re waiting in line for something, or walking through the grocery store. You don’t have to belt it out; just sing your song softly to the Lord. He will hear, and it’s likely others will hear as well.
By singing throughout the day, you’ll find your focus stays more readily on Jesus, you are more alert to the many ways He blesses you, and your spirits will rise with your singing into more of the joy of the Lord. You may even find that someone will overhear and ask you about the song you’re singing. This will give you an opportunity to engage in a conversation that could lead to sharing the good news of Jesus.
Singing is a way to bring more of Jesus into your Personal Mission Field, more consistently, and with more beneficial effects. Try singing a different song each day until you have developed a repertoire you can draw on as often as necessary. Singing can be a way that Jesus fills your soul more fully, and spills over into your Personal Mission Field more consciously and consistently.
Paul and Silas sang in what for most of us would have been a situation of fear, uncertainty, and roiling anger. By singing to the Lord, however, they set the stage for Jesus to do a mighty saving work in that sector of their Personal Mission Field.
Have you mapped out your Personal Mission Field? Watch this brief video, download the worksheet, and get started today.
For the Fellowship of Ailbe, and for the Personal Mission Field Workshop, this has been T. M. Moore.
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Except as indicated, Scripture taken from the New King James Version. © Copyright 1982 by Thomas Nelson, Inc. Used by permission. All rights reserved.