Now the Philistines gathered together all their armies to Aphek: and the Israelites pitched by a fountain which is in Jezreel. And the lords of the Philistines passed on by hundreds, and by thousands: but David and his men passed on in the rereward with Achish. Then said the princes of the Philistines, What do these Hebrews here? And Achish said unto the princes of the Philistines, Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of lsrael, which hath been with me these days, or these years, and l have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day? (1 Samuel 29:1-3)

    Consider for a moment the question asked by the Philistine princes: "What do these Hebrews here?" It is very poignant, isn't it? Why have these godly men taken up arms against the army of Israel? Why are they numbered among the ungodly? Are they not God's children, and is David not a man after God's own heart? Why, then, do they march in the rearward with Achish in the army of the Philistines? Indeed," what do these Hebrews here?"

    God's people are supposed to be distinctive in character and behavior. "Be ye separate." Paul writes! "A peculiar people," we are commanded to be as "the salt of the earth" and "the light of the world," but our distinctiveness can be blurred or even erased when we fail to positively assert ourselves as children of God. "Be not conformed to this world," Paul teaches, "but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God." The struggle to maintain our peculiarity as Christians is constant and sometimes very difficult. This is especially true on college campuses. Here temptation is ever present. Here young Christians are shamelessly encouraged by their peers to disregard conscience and consequences in the pursuit of carnal gratification. Here the child of God can find himself dangerously close to Satan and his many destructive devices. Having completed four years at the University of Tennessee at Knoxville while working toward my M. A. with Honors in English Education, I have unfortunately come to know these things all too well. Thus, it is my sincere desire and prayer to God that this article will inspire hope among my young brothers and sisters in Christ and provide practical advice for all those who endeavor to "fight thc good fight of faith" on college campuses.

   Paul writes: "Be ye not unequally yoked together with unbelievers: for what fellowship hath righteousness with unrighteousness? and what communion hath light with darkness?" Is it fair to say that college campuses are inappropriate places for young Christians? Absolutely not! If we would completely separate ourselves from sin and temptation, then we must "needs go out of the world." One of the members of the church where I labor said recently about her niece who would soon be beginning college that she wanted the young woman to be an influence rather than be influenced herself. What a thought! The college campus is not a place of inevitable defeat for God's children. Nor is the college experience something to be avoided at all cost. Actually, the campus is a place of boundless possibilities for those who know the Lord! It is a place where minds can be enlarged, where faith can be tested and strengthened, and where souls can be won for the honor and glory of God! However, before we can learn to master these possibilities, we must first establish and defend our reputation as a peculiar people.

   To be effective in the cause of God especially on college campuses, we must maintain a good relationship with Him at all times. Under no circumstances should daily prayer and Bible study, be neglected! I find it extremely helpful to meet once or twice a week with friends who are close to God for group study or discussion. Don't be afraid to share your testimony of salvation! Peter writes: "Be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear." Attend church regularly! Don't be afraid to seek the counsel of your pastor, Sunday school teacher, or church friend when a situation becomes especially trying! Always exercise sound judgment! Parties where alcohol and drug abuse are prevalent may not be the best places to visit. Jesus teaches: "Let your light so shine before men, that they may see your good works, and glorify your Father which is in heaven." Finally, don't approach the college experience with a defeatist's attitude: be optimistic, adopt a missionary spirit, and remember that we are "more than conquerors through him that loved us."

   Even though David was numbered among the Philistines at Aphek, he retained his distinctive character as a child of God. "Is not this David, the servant of Saul the king of Israel?" Achish asked. The Philistine princes knew of his success on the battlefield and feared him. Indeed, none were ignorant of his reputation. The life he lived under their close scrutiny was impeccable. "(He) hath been with me these days, or these years," Achish proposes, "and I have found no fault in him since he fell unto me unto this day." How glorious are those words! Beloved, "be strong in the Lord, and in the power of his might!"

to be continued...... By Deric McClard / Minister member of Longview Missionary Baptist Church Gallatin, Tenn.

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