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The LORD is the True Refiner of the Believer!  0

Priesthood as seen by the LORD:

The priesthood in the Old Testament developed an ungodly lifestyle under the Old Covenant after Israel returned from captivity. Many of the priests were dishonouring God as they performed their priestly duties.

The LORD called their attention to their dereliction of duty. They denied any wrongdoing.

(Please, read the two previous posts titled: “Are You Honouring God?” and “How They Dishonoured God” for more details.).

You might be full of words now and indeed want to ask a flurry of questions.

  • “Did the LORD let alone the corrupt priests under the Old Covenant?”
  • “What happened to the corrupt priesthood?”
  • “What did the LORD do?”
  • “Were false priests allowed to perpetually continue in their ungodly deeds of dishonouring the LORD under the guise of being the anointed?”

Were you to be able to pose the last one of these questions to the sons of Eli, they would have answered you with a capital NO! (see 1 Samuel 1:1-36, att. esp. vv. 12-17, 22-25, 34; 4:4-5, 10-11).

Yes, it is still the same God in both the Old Covenant and the New. What He did to and for those of old, He still does and will continue to do to all His people.

So, hold your questions for now.

Suffice it to say that the LORD went further than just confronting the corrupt priests with the evidence of their evil deeds. We want to look at what the LORD does to His own. How He deals with those who dishonour Him while pretending to belong to Him.

Please, bear in mind that many of the priests in the New Testament under the New Covenant have also been infected with corruption. Indeed there are numerous non-priests who are falsely claiming to be priests and it is difficult differentiating the true from the false.

The foregoing makes it imperative that everyone professing faith in the Lord Jesus Christ should not be complacent for the LORD has set the same standard for all His people both under the Old or New Covenant.

Hence, the title of this article in which we look at what the LORD does concerning His people is,

“The LORD is the True Refiner of the Believer!”

Anchor Text: Malachi 3:1-3:

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, Even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

2 But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope:

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer unto the LORD an offering in righteousness. ”.

Background

Many of the people of Israel had returned from exile. The temple had been rebuilt. Probably the messages of prophets Haggai and Zachariah had been forgotten. Hence, once again the people and the priesthood had drifted away from God.

Therefore, the message of Malachi was to call God’s people to repentance and to let them know that the ultimate fulfilment of God’s promises of salvation is yet to come.

God then confronted them with evidence of their evil deeds. Rather than to repent and to forsake their evil way they persisted with their ungodly lifestyle. By now we know those who constitute the new priesthood under the New Covenant.

Text Exposition.

1 Behold, I will send my messenger, and he shall prepare the way before me: And the Lord, whom ye seek, shall suddenly come to his temple, Even the messenger of the covenant, whom ye delight in: Behold, he shall come, saith the LORD of hosts.

 This verse 1 begins the answer to the question of Malachi 2:17.

 Behold:

This marks the beginning of a new unit and it calls special attention to the serious events which followed. These unbelievers who pretended to profess faith in the LORD and were coming to the temple with their hypocritical and much blemished offerings were being informed of the momentous truths to follow.

They had asked derisively: “Where is the God of judgement?” (Malachi 2:17). Hence, God responded to their unbelief by saying: “Behold, I will send”, as if saying, look at me!

It is as if God was telling them that their unbelief will not prevent Him from keeping His covenant and bringing to pass in due time that which they had said will never happen.

 I will send my messenger: There is an element of immediacy implied here. The sending is imminent though in the future. I am going to send, or I am about to send. 

 my messenger: This expression seems to be a play on the name of the prophet Malachi (Heb. Mal’aki) which means “my Messenger” in Hebrew.

 Further, it may denote either an angel or a human being. The prophet’s audience might not have differentiated as to which because in bible time angels were messengers of God.

 and he shall prepare the way before me:

It was the usual practice to send an emissary of a king ahead of a king to make sure any obstacles on the road he intended to travel were removed (removing debris, straightening curves, and grading the roads to make the surface smooth for the royal travel) so the king would have a smooth journey to his intended destination (cf. Isaiah 40:3; 57:14; 62:10)

 This first messenger is referenced in the New Testament as John the Baptist (cf. Matthew 3:3; 11:10; Mark 1:2-3; Luke 1:76; 3:4; John 1:23). The forerunner of the Lord’s first coming. But note that the New Testament quotations of this verse say, “before your face” rather than “before me” (literally “before my face”).

 Perhaps John the Baptist is representative of the long line of prophets starting with Elijah (Malachi 4:5), and culminating in John whom the Lord Himself described as

 “among them that are born of women there has not arisen a greater than John the Baptist” (Matthew 11:9-11).

 This is another way of calling him the last and the greatest of the prophets. The Lord came in His humiliation and as the Saviour. 

 And the Lord whom ye seek:

This refers to Yahweh Himself (Exodus 23:17; 34:23). For all the males were to appear before the God of Israel three times in the year.

 God was speaking, and He makes “the Lord” the “messenger of the covenant” one with Himself when He says, “I will send …. Before Me”, and adds, “The Lord … shall …come”.

 Hence, “the Lord” must be one with the “Me.” That is, He must be God, “before” whom John the Baptist was sent. The divinity of the Son and His oneness with the Father are thus proved.

 Also, the distinctness of personality is proved by “I send” and He “shall come”, as distinguished from one another. He also comes to the temple as “His temple” showing His Lordship over it, in contrast with all creatures, who are just “servants in” it (Haggai 2:7; Hebrews 3:2, 5-6).

 whom ye seek:

The people the prophet was speaking to were not truly seeking the Lord. Hence, it is saying to the people, “the one you claim to be seeking”

 These people in unbelief asked when He will come at last. Their unbelief was demonstrated in their questioning,

 “Where is the God of judgment?” (Malachi 2:17; cf. Isaiah 5:19; Amos 5:18; 2 Peter 3:3-4).

 “Ye have wearied the LORD with your words. Yet ye say, Wherein have we wearied him? When ye say, Every one that doeth evil is good in the sight of the LORD, And he delighteth in them; Or, Where is the God of judgment?” (Malachi 2:17).

 Compare

 “That say, Let him make speed, and hasten his work, That we may see it: And let the counsel of the Holy One of Israel draw nigh and come, That we may know it!” (Isaiah 5:19).

 “Woe unto you that desire the day of the LORD! To what end is it for you? The day of the LORD is darkness, and not light.” (Amos 5:18).

 “Knowing this first, that there shall come in the last days scoffers, walking after their own lusts, And saying, Where is the promise of his coming? for since the fathers fell asleep, all things continue as they were from the beginning of the creation.” (2 Peter 3:3-4).

 The Jews anticipated the coming of the promised Messiah and the Day of Yahweh because in their thinking it was going to be a day of salvation for them and of judgement upon their enemies.

They expected it to be a day of unmitigated good news for them and of unmitigated disaster for their enemies! They failed to realise that it would also be a day the LORD will also judge them for their sin (Malachi 3:5).

 At the time of Christ’s first coming, the people waited for, “sought” and “delighted in” the hope of a temporal Saviour to deliver them from the oppression of Roman rule, and not what Christ was at this time of His humiliation. 

 shall suddenly come to his temple:

suddenly is Not in the sense of speed or swiftness. Rather, in terms of preparedness. Hence, unexpectedly, unannounced, and therefore surprising. When they least expected.

 This word is almost always associated in Scripture with an unhappy and calamitous circumstance (Numbers 12:4; Isaiah 47:11; 48:3; cf. 2 Peter 3:10).

 This description marks the second coming unlike the first.

The seriousness of that unexpected coming to judgement (Luke 12:38-46; Revelation 16:15), is demonstrated in the Lord’s (the Messiah’s) expulsion from the temple of the moneychangers who were profaning it (Matthew 21:12-13).

 The temple in Jerusalem where they worshipped.

Understand this when all the preparations are completed, the Lord will come. But not to the temple of Zerubbabel, nor the partial fulfilment to the temple of Herod (John 2:13-24). But finally, to that millennial temple which is described by Ezekiel in Ezekiel 40:1-48:35.

 The unexpected coming of Christ, partially fulfilled at His first advent, will be accomplished in full at His second coming (cf. Matthew 24:40-42).

 Even the messenger of the covenant,

 Even the messenger of the covenant whom ye delight in:

A personality distinct from “my messenger,” He will purify the sacrifices, the priests, and the nation (Malachi 3:2-5). This “messenger of the covenant” is the Messiah. This is fulfilled in Jesus, who alone has performed the perfect sacrifice on behalf of His people.

 The ancient covenant with Abraham (Genesis 12:1-3) and Israel (Isaiah 63:9), with which the promise to the gentiles is ultimately included (Galatians 4:16-17).

At the First Coming of Christ, the gospel began with Israel, and then extended to the gentile world. At the Second Coming, it shall occur likewise.

All the manifestations of God in the Old Testament, the pillar of cloud, and human appearances were made in the person of the Son (Exodus 23:20-21; Hebrews 11:26; 12:26).

He was the messenger of the Old Covenant, as well as the New.

 whom ye delight in:

This is sarcasm. This were sinful people who were not delighting in God then, nor would they when He came in Judgement on their hypocritical worship and cleansed the temple (cf. John 2:13-25). Mark you all the ungodly will be destroyed at His return (cf. Rev 19:11ff.).

 Behold, he shall come, saith the Lord of hosts.

He will come without fail and purge the priesthood and the people.

 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope:

 2 But who may abide the day of his coming? And who shall stand when he appeareth? For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope:

There is the use of Hebrew parallelism here of two line having complementary meaning:

 But who may abide the day of his coming?

And who shall stand when he appeareth?

 Abide / stand:

That is, endure or withstand.

the day of his coming:

The Day of Yahweh (Joel 1:15; Amos 5:18).

Coming …. Appear:

He will come or appear suddenly when they least expect Him.

The Messiah is surely coming back, but this His Second Coming will be very unlike what they expected (Malachi 4:1; Revelation 6:16-17). They expected Him to come and pander to their desires and do things as they had determined.

But He will come (appear) suddenly, and in power, on His own terms, and to subject them to His fiery test as to the condition of their heart concerning His truth (Matthew 3:10-12).

And to destroy Jerusalem and their corrupt theocracy after they had rejected Him.

This is where endurance or being able to stand His testing will be needed.

For he is like a refiner’s fire, and like fullers’ sope:

 Refiner’s fire and fuller’s soap:

These are purifying agents. Fire burns off dross while alkali whitens. This is an indication of the condition of their hearts for the fire will burn of the dross of iniquity, and the alkali will wash out the stain of sin.

Instead of bringing rewards as they expected, His coming will be to remove impurities and no one will escape this cleansing. Crucially, He will come purifying and cleansing but not necessarily destroying (cf. Isaiah 1:25; 48:10; Jeremiah 6:29, 30; Ezekiel 22:17-22).

Hence the use of the refiner and fuller as illustrative language here. These are two occupations well known to the people.

The refiners work is to purify metals. Silver and gold are common examples.

A major instrument of his work is fire in the furnace or crucible. Fire both destroys and purifies.

The refiner sits down before the furnace. He is not in a hurry for his work requires patience. He lights the fire and heats the furnace to the required temperature.

He brings the silver or gold with all the dross or impurities clinging tenaciously to and defacing the metal. He inserts it into the furnace.

He tends the metal from time to time taking care that the fire in neither to low nor too high to produce the appropriate amount of heat.

 How does he know when all the dross has been burnt off and the metal is in its pure form?

 When he can see his reflection on the metal!

 To full is to launder or wash clothes with liquid.

The alkali (not soap in the way we know soap today) the fuller used was very strong and pungent. This contained harsh chemicals extracted from plants to remove stubborn stains from clothing. 

Thus, a fuller’s job is to clean clothes by treading, kneading and beating them. The cloths thus cleaned is exposed to much friction and is thoroughly cleaned too.

The people of Malachi’s day understood the punishment that raw silver and gold go through before they become clean, glittering, and desirable.

Similarly, dirty clothes undergo severe treatment in the hands of the fuller before they become clean enough for use.

Only now, this is applied figuratively to the corrupt priesthood. That as the refiner takes his time and does his work diligently to produce desirable pure silver and gold from those with dross.

So, the Lord will painstakingly refine and purge the priesthood and indeed, all His people until they are what He wants them to be. There is no escape, the true will be refined, the fake will be exposed and burnt off by fire.  

Both processes of refining metal and cleaning clothes involved separating what was of value from that which is of no value. Both processes also speak to the thoroughness and severity of the purification and judgement of LORD.

 No one will escape the all-seeing eyes of the Lord when He comes.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver: And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver, That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness.

3 And he shall sit as a refiner and purifier of silver:

shall sit: Sitting is a comfortable position. Refining is a long arduous task that requires much patience. The refiner will not be in a hurry for his work requires much concentration.

He looks with intent to detect any dross or the tiniest of impurities and ensures they are all done away with. It is only when he sees his own image reflected back to him by the metal that he becomes satisfied that he now has the pure and valuable precious metal in his hands.

And he shall purify the sons of Levi, and purge them as gold and silver:

 Remember, we are hearing the prophet the way his hearers would have heard him. At stake was the corrupt priesthood. And this is metaphorical language.

What the Lord was going to do to the corrupt priesthood was going to be as a manner of speaking like what the refiner does to get pure gold or silver out of raw gold or silver ore.

purify the sons of Levi:

The sons of Levi needed to be purified because of their disobedience to Yahweh’s covenant (Malachi 2:8). The Levitical priests were instrumental in leading the people astray.

Therefore, a new group of pure priests was required for the work of the millennial temple (cf. Ezekiel 44:1-45:8). The cleansing of the nation would begin with them (cf. Ezekiel 9:6).  

The priesthood of old was to be refined and purged of the sins mentioned in the previous verses. Similarly, the new priesthood, the believers in Christ in the new covenant will go through the same process.

This is being done now as the Lord separates the saved from the unsaved to His right and to His left. And then with those on the right, there is further refining and purging until all dross are removed by His seeing His own image reflected from them:

“For whom he did foreknow, he also did predestinate to be conformed to the image of his Son, that he might be the firstborn amongst many brethren.” (Romans 8:29).

It is those known to and by God, that have been given to His Son that will be made conformable. This he has been doing and will continue to do in the case of His elect (Job 23:10; Psalm 66:10; Proverbs 17:3; Is 48:10; Hebrews 12:10; 1 Peter 1:7).

He does this now sitting down patiently with love and unflinching justice. When the dross of sin is taken from the gold of the believer, he will be forever delivered from the furnace of trial and affliction.

This process will continue until the final glorification at His Second Coming.

Remember that the Angel of the Covenant while leading His people out of Egypt by the pillar of cloud and fire, had the aspect of terror to His enemies, and of love to His friends.

This is the same process of separation that goes on in the world as in each believer.   

 That they may offer unto the Lord an offering in righteousness:

 offering in righteousness:

Once their hearts have been cleansed and made right their offerings will be given from cleansed hearts in a right condition before God. That way their offerings will be “in righteousness.”

His refining though unpleasant is necessary for our own good. It is so we can partake of His righteousness and be made fit to serve Him the way we ought to.

In the new kingdom, all shall conform to the holiness of God. Not that has blemish, spot or wrinkle or that offends will be found there (Ephesians 5:27).

The refiner and you

Remember this was spoken to the people of the day. They heard. With the benefit of hindsight we see that they did not heed the warnings of the LORD. Eventually God judged them severely.

The Lord is both the refiner and fuller. God is holy and demands that His people and everything associated with Him must be holy.

What are we to make of it?

Remember also that we are far removed from them by time, culture and other aspects of preunderstanding and covenant.

But we have some things in come: We are people of the same God.

God set the same standard for all His people: They are to be holy, love Him above all else, and glorify Him with their lives.

You may want to absolve yourself by making some claims that are part of but not the whole truth. You are under a New Covenant: True.

You do not have to offer animal sacrifices again because Christ the ultimate lamb of God has been sacrificed for your sins: True.

But that is not the whole truth.

The sin of these corrupt priests and people was not only that they offered polluted sacrifice. But they were involved in a whole load of ungodliness before God while continuing to claim they were holy unto God.

For example:

5 And I will come near to you to judgment; And I will be a swift witness Against the sorcerers, and against the adulterers, and against false swearers, And against those that oppress the hireling in his wages, The widow, and the fatherless, And that turn aside the stranger from his right, and fear not me, Saith the LORD of hosts. 6 For I am the LORD, I change not; Therefore ye sons of Jacob are not consumed.” (Malachi 3:5-6).

From the verse of Scripture (Malachi 3:5), the whole life of the priests and the people were given up to the same sins as the ungodly around them. Their sinful lifestyle thus made them unfit to be the people of God.

It is particularly crucial to remember that God remains the same, He does not change (Malachi 3:6). Hence, New Testament believers like you are warned against the same ungodly lifestyle (cf. Galatians 5:19-21; Ephesians 5:3; Colossians 3:5)

Reminding you not to do these works of the flesh is not legalism. It is not an attempt to control your life or to stop you from enjoying your life. Rather, it is encouraging you to sincerely examine your life and relationship with the Lord.

Scripture makes it abundantly clear that God is holy beyond our comprehension. All that belong to Him must be holy according to his own standard.

Read Scripture again, God does not accept any excuse for sinning. Do not be deceived God is not mocked. His eyes are all seeing  

Please understand:

The people that are corrupt are the people of God. They are people of God because God had chosen and saved them. The unsaved, ungodly have been separated and go to the left, to damnation.

The believers are to be made fit for God.

 The refiner is God

He never changes. His standards have remained the same. The process is the same, though methodology may differ as per individual cases.

The process is refining

He shall sit as a refiner. God works with the believer. With his faults, and failures we are full of dross, raw, ugly, and undesirable.

His purpose is that we should be like Him one day without spot or wrinkle or any such blemish. As cloths must be fulled, so gold and silver must go through fire, be heated, and be refined.

He sits and watches patiently while the process is going on, for the metal (the believer) is precious to the refiner (the loving Father). The believer is “being made perfect through suffering” (Hebrews 2:10; 5:8-10)., and God does not want the process prolonged.

And do remember:

The Lord in the garden of Gethsemane prayed for “the cup” to be removed, but it was not (Matthew 26:39, 42; Mark 14:36; Luke 22:20, 42-43). It was taken away for the refining process had to continue to the cross. Rather, he was given grace to endure, for an angel from heaven came to strength Him (Luke 22:43).

The apostle Paul cried three times for his torn in the flesh to be removed it was not (2 Corinthians 12:7-9). For it was necessary for the refining process. Rather, he was given grace to endure.

You, the believer in Christ

A believer in Christ and disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ. Having a high view of the Holy Bible and eagerly looking forward to the Second Coming of Christ in power and glory. Though living in the presence of sin in the world, sin does not and should not have dominion over you.

 Two aspects of the refining process

Man was made in the image of God. After the fall that image became marred with sin. It became so disfigured that man now looked a picture very much out of focus, and so blurry that it is difficult to see the semblance of God in human beings.

God Himself indicted man:

 “And GOD saw that the wickedness of man was great in the earth, and that every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually.” (Genesis 6:5)

 And hence,

 “The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it?” (Jeremiah 17:9.

 Hence, though saved, all the vestiges of the old nature must be removed by means only the Lord can muster. Without the refining process, the believer will not become God-like.

The end of the process produces the refined produce by the purifier of silver.

 How does the refiner know when the process is complete?

 When he can see his face clearly reflected on the surface of the molten metal, he is sure the process is complete.

This will be the final glorification at the Second Coming of the Lord.

We are told:

“But we all, with open face beholding as in a glass the glory of the Lord, are changed into the same image from glory to glory, even as by the Spirit of the Lord.” (2 Corinthians 3:18).

And

“till we all come in the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a perfect man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ.” (Ephesians 4:13).

Remember: Help is available.

Let us therefore persist, ask for more grace to be sustained.

 May the LORD make available all you need to successfully go through the refining process till you truly reflect His true image in Jesus’s Name, Amen.

Do You Practice Love Abuse?  0

We are starting our talk with a few questions. The subject itself is framed as question, “Do You Practice Love Abuse?” And I pray you will be able to answer that question by the end of this talk.

This question is reframed in three other ways.

  • Are you an abuser of Love?
  • Are You A Practitioner of Love Abuse?
  • Put another way, are you an abuser?

What we are not talking of

We are not talking of:

Human love

No, I am not talking of human love. Human love is majorly lust anyway. I am talking about a different type of abuse and a different type of love.

Foul language

The word “abuse” is quite common in human conversation and in the news these days. Quite often abuse suggests to many the use of improper, obscene or what some refer to as “swear” language. The type of language not to be spoken in the presence of children. Important as that is, it is not what this article is about.

Domestic and other types of abuse

To some others “abuse” connotes the physical or emotional or psychological ill-treatment of someone or something (e.g.: Domestic abuse, drug abuse, child abuse, racial abuse etc). Important as that is, it is not what we are going to talk about here.

All these are legitimate meanings “abuse” in the right context. And it is important to focus on these ills wherever they exist in the society and to deal with them as appropriate.

We are talking of a special type of abuse

But here we are going to concern ourselves with a different or should I say a special type of abuse. There is a more profound abuse that hardly gets a mention in conversations. This abuse is so frequent as to be commonplace especially amongst those who claim to know and belong to God.

So what type of abuse am I referring to?

Let us go back to the beginning so we can get a clear answer to that question.

The right of God to receive loyal love

You see, God created everything, known and unknown, visible and invisible. As we are informed,

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth” (Gen 1:1).

And surveying what He had created, we are told God’s conclusion,

“And God saw everything that he had made, and behold, it was very good. And the evening and the morning were the sixth day” (Gen 1:31).

All who profess genuine faith in Christ are to love the LORD above all else. Next to that love of God is to love one’s neighbour like oneself:

29 And Jesus answered him, The first of all the commandments is, Hear, O Israel; The Lord our God is one Lord: 30 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind, and with all thy strength: this is the first commandment. 31 And the second is like, namely this, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. There is none other commandment greater than these.” (Mark 12:29-31).

To love God loyally and single-heartedly is the obligation of every genuine child of God. Such love of God is to be demonstrated by the believer through obedience to God in daily life.

Remember, God did not only create, but loves us too. God is the one who first demonstrated His loyal love for us,

“But God commendeth his love toward us, in that, while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us.” (Rom 5:8).

God as the object of love abuse

Virtually every Christian you speak to will tell you of loving the LORD. That is what is expected and should be. That is it until you realise that such confession is mouth talk and not heart talk. But the people of God are commanded to love God.

Despite what God commands and all the shouts about love, it is apparent that many are abusing love.

I am referring to the love abuse in which God is the object of the abuse. You are probably surprised at that, right?

You might ask, what has abuse of love got to do with God? Well, my short answer is that love abuse or the abuse of love has everything to do with God.

The one type of abuse which is quite common, but which hardly gets mentioned is what I will call “love abuse”, that is, the abuse of love with God being the object of that abuse.

This love abuse or abuse of love is when the love that should be for God is misdirected to and given to something else. It is love for God directed to and showered on something else.

The genesis of love abuse is the lack of loving God above all else. Loving God above all else and loving your neighbour like yourself go together. They are mutually inclusive.

We believers in Christ talk so much of the cross of Christ. If our knowledge of the cross is commensurate to our depth of understanding of the cross, the world would likely be a different and better place. As it is, we know, that is, we have much information about the cross but little understanding of the cross.

There is a whole world of difference between having knowledge (information) and understanding the information. We leave the discussion of the difference between information and understanding for another day.

The cross is a depiction of love

But returning to the cross. It is common to depict the cross as having two beams: the vertical beam with a horizontal one. That is information. What may not be easily realised is a spiritual dimension of the cross

(Sorry to disappoint you, I am not looking for a theological debate right now. Just trying to illustrate a point.).

The vertical beam represents the relationship between God and each human being. God loves all His creation including man. However, the cross is about the reconciliation of humans to God at great cost to God through the finished work of Christ on the cross. One can then say, the love of God flows to man, and this is depicted by the vertical beam of the cross.

Hence, the love for God demanded by God can only come from God for it is part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit (Rom 5:5 cf. Gal 5:22). And you cannot have the Holy Spirit except by Christ (John 14:26 cf. Rom 8:9).

The horizontal beam represents the relationship between human beings. Similarly to the love for God, the love for fellow human beings demanded by God can only come from God, again part of the fruit of the Holy Spirit. Having received the love of God as depicted by the vertical beam, the true child of God now radiates that same love to fellow human beings as depicted by the horizontal beam of the cross.

The cross is a depiction of the love of God for man and should be that also of the love of man for God.

And so, the genuinely born-again child of God receives the Holy Spirit who then begins to work on the believer so he/she can begin to grow spiritually and manifest more and more of the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

But because the believer in Christ, though growing is not yet a finished product, and can indeed not be perfected until the final glorification in the presence of the Lord, he/she is still very susceptible to becoming an abuser of love.

Again remember, love abuse is the redirection of the love that should be exclusively for God to the wrong direction and to the wrong object.

Let us now look at a few examples of the abuse of love. Out of the numerous abuses of love we shall look at four.

These four are broadly representative of the unchanging desire of humans to turn away from God that they may continue in sin:

Love of self

It seems natural for each human being to love himself/herself above all else. But God was aware of this strong tendency in humans before commanding that He be loved above all else. If you are honest with yourself, you will agree that it is quite difficult at times not to be engaging in self-love. The danger is that uncontrolled love of self may then mushroom into selfishness that then causes the person to do almost everything out of self-interest.

Love of self becomes love abuse when you shower the love meant for God upon yourself, you become your own god, and an idolater!

To guard against this possibility, we are commanded,

3 Let nothing be done through strife or vainglory; but in lowliness of mind let each esteem other better than themselves. 4 Look not every man on his own things, but every man also on the things of others.” (Phil 2:3-4).

Haman is a classic example of someone with love of self that mushroomed into selfishness. Hear what he thought:

“So Haman came in. And the king said unto him, What shall be done unto the man whom the king delighteth to honour? Now Haman thought in his heart, To whom would the king delight to do honour more than to myself?” (Esther 6:6).

And this love of self we are informed in Scripture will be one of the signs of the perilous times that shall come in the last days (2Tim 3:1-2).

Love of self is one form of love abuse as you redirect the love that legitimately belongs to God inwardly to yourself.

Instead of God being the centre of everything, you plant yourself squarely at the centre as the one to whom all else must reckon with.

Possibly without realising it you have become a god. And like all gods, you also desire to be worshipped. You start worshipping yourself as all your resources are harnessed to ensure that all your desires are met. You then attempt to extend your rule to and over others as you crave their attention and worship.

  • Brother, sister, how close to selfishness is your love of yourself?
  • Have you become so immersed in yourself that things are only seen through the eyes of “how will this or that be of benefit to me?”
  • Are you covering you desire with the cloak of righteousness claiming you are fighting for God’s cause?

Love of the world

Our second example of love abuse is love of the world. Remember, we are talking about those who profess to belong to God. Believers in Christ are warned against having love of the world,

“Love not the world, neither the things that are in the world. If any man love the world, the love of the Father is not in him.” (1John 2:15).

The love of the world manifests in a diversity of ways few of which are:

  • Following the multitude to do evil.
  • Colluding with others to bear witness so as to pervert justice (Ex 23:2).
  • One who loves the world will usually conform his ways to the standards of the world. To such a one lust is nothing but enjoyment!

Demas is an example of a person who loved the world. There was a time he engaged in the work of preaching and propagating the gospel of Jesus Christ as he worked with apostle Paul and other believers (Col 4:14; Philemon 24).

But along the way, he fell in love with the present world and departed from the gospel (2Tim 4:10).

The love of the world will usually start innocuously, with something minor that is not thought of as anything. It will then surreptitiously expand its tentacles until it possesses its victim completely. Thereafter, such a person will see things only through the eyes of the world much aided by the flesh.

Love of sin

Sin is doing something prohibited by or contrary to God. In the first instance, God informed the first man, Adam of the penalty for disobeying His command. The instruction would have been noticeably clear to the first man:

16 And the Lord God commanded the man, saying, Of every tree of the garden thou mayest freely eat: 17 but of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil, thou shalt not eat of it: for in the day that thou eatest thereof thou shalt surely die.” (Gen 2:16-17).

It was a direct communication between God and the first man. There was no intermediary. It was the same language with no need for translation. First God told him what he could do, then what he should not do, and the consequence of doing what he should not do. The man heard, knew, and understood what God commanded.

The first couple sinned knowingly

Hence, the man knowingly sinned. He chose to deliberately act contrary to what God demanded of him. Hence, the sin of the first human couple in the garden in Eden (Gen 3) caused man to fall.

Since then, man has not only continued in but also loves and delights in sin. Sin was what has and continues to separate human beings from the Holy God who created all.

The penalty for sin has always been death

God told man that the penalty for disobeying His command was death. And man deliberately chose death over life. God has decreed that whoever sins shall die:

“Behold, all souls are mine; as the soul of the father, so also the soul of the son is mine: the soul that sinneth, it shall die.” (Ezek. 18:4).

“For the wages of sin is death; but the gift of God is eternal life through Jesus Christ our Lord.” (Rom 6:23).

It follows that whoever sins have chosen death instead of life unless God provides a means of escape.

Sin is disobeying the commandment of God.

God in His mercy has provided the solution to the problem of sin by the provision of the finished work of Christ on the cross.

Christ is the propitiation (the appropriate atoning sacrifice) for our sins (cf. Rom 3:25; 1John 2:2; 4:10). Though Christ has come and been offered as the sacrifice for our sins, numerous people are still choosing to sin and thereby are choosing death instead of life.

Many are choosing not to appropriate the sacrifice of Christ and are instituting their own alternatives. These man-made, devil-instigated alternatives are unacceptable to and are rejected by God.

That so many are continuing to choose to sin shows the power of sin. Those who sin are characterised in many ways by the word of God. As an example, those who sin are described as those who,

“received not the love of the truth that they might be saved. And for this cause God shall send them strong delusion, that they should believe a lie: that they all might be damned who believed not the truth, but had pleasure in unrighteousness.” (2Thess 2:10-12).

Contrary to what many people claim, sinning is neither accidental nor incidental in the life of a person. Rather, from the beginning human beings have deliberately chosen to sin and taken delight in sin and continues to do so as a habit. There seems to be this innate desire in man to do things that are known to be contrary to the will of God.

Scripture after scripture testifies that those who sin do so deliberately. They chose to do their own will and not to do the will of God. They are those,

“who knowing the judgment of God, that they which commit such things are worthy of death, not only do the same, but have pleasure in them that do them.” (Rom 1:32).

God hates sin and we have been seriously warned of the consequences of continuing in sin,

“Let no man deceive you with vain words: for because of these things cometh the wrath of God upon the children of disobedience.” (Eph. 5:6).

(cf. Eph. 5:5 and Col 3:6-9 where some of “these things” are enumerated).

King Ahab of Israel and his wife, Jezebel were supposed to use their position as the rulers over Israel to uphold the true worship of God and to rule justly and in righteousness. But they used their position, power, and influence to oppose God, to oppress the people of God and to serve the devil through the worship of idols.

The word of God describes them thus,

25 (But there was none like unto Ahab, which did sell himself to work wickedness in the sight of the Lord, whom Jezebel his wife stirred up. 26 And he did very abominably in following idols, according to all things as did the Amorites, whom the Lord cast out before the children of Israel).” (1Kgs 21:25-26)

cf. 1Kgs 16:30-33 which give more detail of their abominable idolatry.

30 And Ahab the son of Omri did evil in the sight of the Lord above all that were before him. 31 And it came to pass, as if it had been a light thing for him to walk in the sins of Jeroboam the son of Nebat, that he took to wife Jezebel the daughter of Ethbaal king of the Zidonians, and went and served Baal, and worshipped him. 32 And he reared up an altar for Baal in the house of Baal, which he had built in Samaria. 33 And Ahab made a grove; and Ahab did more to provoke the Lord God of Israel to anger than all the kings of Israel that were before him.” (1Kgs 16:30-33).

This couple just loved to sin!

There are many like them today within the church of Christ who outwardly seem to be sheep but inwardly are ravening wolves (Mat 7:15). They are using their position and influence to oppose God by bringing in damnable heresy into the church and exploiting the people of God for filthy lucre. Please, beware of such ones!

  • How are you operating in the position God has placed you in His church?
  • By your activities are you obeying or rebelling against God?
  • What does it take for you to forgo the word of God for the opinion of someone you respect?

Love of other gods

The living God is in intimate relationship with each of His children.

How?

Each genuine child of God, each genuine believer in Christ carries the presence of God in the person of the Holy Spirit. Hence, each disciple of Christ is truly a temple of God. Loving other gods is tantamount to bringing idols into the temple of God. Such idols will pollute the temple of God making it unclean and unfit for the worship of God.

Hence, the love of other gods is spiritual adultery in Holy Scripture. It is the giving of that which should be the exclusive preserve of God to something profane. It should not be done!

Adultery has devastating effect in human relations

The breaching of the conjugal love within the most intimate relationship between two adult human beings of opposite sex united in the marriage covenant is used to illustrate spiritual adultery. Such a breach when discovered by the victim can be very devastating to the relationship and health of the couple.

If adultery at the level of human relationship could have such serious negative impact, it should be no surprise that it is of even more dire consequence when it is the relationship between God and any of His children that is involved.

The couple in a conjugal relationship are rightly jealous of and diligently guard their relationship against outside interference and enticement as they value their union immensely.

Similarly, God values, seriously and jealously guards His relationship with His children. He does not accept any competition.

In like manner, the true believer should jealously and diligently guard his relationship with God and not allow idol to intrude.

Our God is rightly described as a jealous God,

“for thou shalt worship no other god: for the Lord, whose name is Jealous, is a jealous God.” (Ex 34:14). Also see Ex 20:5; Deut. 4:24).

“Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the LORD thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of them that hate me.” (Ex 20:5).

“For the LORD thy God is a consuming fire, even a jealous God.” (Deut. 4:24)

The commandment of God to all humans is that He must be loved above all else.

“Thou shalt have no other gods before me” (Ex 20:3).

And

4 Hear, O Israel: The Lord our God is one Lord: 5 and thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thine heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy might. 6 And these words, which I command thee this day, shall be in thine heart.” (Deut. 6:4-6).

Examples of love of other gods even amongst the people of God abound within the pages of Holy Scripture.

The incident of the golden calf amongst the Israelites during the journey in the wilderness is well known to many (Ex 32:1-35). It is difficult to understand how such evil could have taken place considering that the Israelites had witnesses many miracles from God. God was even leading them through the presence of one of His angels.

But then, it truly happened as we are told,

3 And all the people brake off the golden earrings which were in their ears, and brought them unto Aaron. 4 And he received them at their hand, and fashioned it with a graving tool, after he had made it a molten calf: and they said, These be thy gods, O Israel, which brought thee up out of the land of Egypt.” (Ex 32:3-4).

God was and is too slow for some

Why did the people do this?

Because God’s timing was too slow or too late for whatever they wanted. We are informed,

“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” (Ex 32:1).

Similarly today, we see people in a hurry. They want everything instantly and on their own terms. There are many that imagine a god only in their own image. The true and living God is foreign to what they imagine their god should be. So, they manufacture or concoct a god of their own making.

  • Hence, today, we see a diversity of caricatures of Jesus, a Jesus that is far removed from the Jesus Christ of Nazareth:
  • Jesus that is too loving to send the wicked and ungodly to hell,
  • Jesus that only blesses if you sow “dangerously” into the coffers of the “name it, picture it, claim it” crowd pastor,
  • A Jesus that can only heal or do miracles in a specially created atmosphere of music and only if you have enough faith or put in enough money,
  • A Jesus that does miracles and wonders through only “specially anointed” one who are the “spiritual elite”
  • A Jesus that mandates the foot soldiers who are the spiritual commoners and downtrodden to contribute all the money demanded of them by the so-called man/woman of God before they can be blessed,
  • A Jesus that is only present when the foot soldiers are wiped into a frenzy by the false teacher masquerading as “the anointed one.”

One can go on multiplying these false gods that people are running after, which some are even willing to defend with their own life! All these are false gods and are nowhere close to the Jesus of the Holy Bible. But the crowds that follow these false gods, like those that followed the golden calf will not be deterred.

Idolaters reject God

On the pages of Holy Scripture, God makes it abundantly clear that He alone is the true and living God. And demands absolute obedience from His people.

What is common to all idolaters is their rejection of God and His righteousness and the institution of their own gods and the righteousness as determined by themselves.

God has the absolute right and authority to demand unalloyed obedience from all His creation as their God. By His will they were created and exist (Rev 4:11). And beside Him there is no Saviour,

“I, even I, am the Lord; And beside me there is no saviour.” (Isa 43:11).

Before you absolve yourself claiming you are not bowing before some statue, hear this:

“Whatsoever and whosoever you give the worship and reference that is due to God only, whatever has taken the place of God in your life is your idol, your new god. That is what makes you an idol worshipper, an idolater.”

Such idol could be your ambition, your job, a relationship, an infirmity, love of money, love of prominence, love of praise, and many more.

Our God knows us much more than we can imagine. He knows that even at our best we are still vulnerable to love abuse. Hence, the numerous warnings and admonitions in Holy Scripture to be on guard and to avoid as much as possible love abuse.

The Love of self, The love of the world, The love of sin, and The love of other gods are a small sample of love abuse. They are all the symptoms of an underlining condition, the fallen condition of man.

The fallen man’s heart is the seat of the evil as we are informed that, “every imagination of the thoughts of his heart was only evil continually” (Gen 6:5).

And his heart is described as, “deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked” (Jer. 17:9).

Hence,

Man is not a sinner because he sins. Rather, man sins because he is a sinner.

The above is not exhaustive. Rather, is more of representative of innumerable others that upon reflection you can add to these. Please, reflection on this small sample.

Are you by any means an abuser of love where God is concerned?

Are you an idolater?

Please, do not wave this off flippantly. Rather, look intently at yourself and the way you are living your life. And if perchance you discover something amiss, please quickly rectify it before it is too late.

I pray the Almighty God will help you to draw the right lessons from what you have heard, and to be in the right relationship with Him in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Are You a Christian Professor or a Disciple?  0

Believers in Christ are the disciples of Christ. Non-believers are not disciples of Christ. There is no in-between. There is no half-way house. You are either in or you are out.

Which are you?

The Lord Jesus Himself gave us ample information as to who is His disciple.

It is enough for the disciple that he be as his master, and the servant as his lord. If they have called the master of the house Beelzebub, how much more shall they call them of his household?(Mat 10:25).

The disciple is not above his master: but every one that is perfect shall be as his master.(Luke 6:40).

Then said Jesus to those Jews which believed on him, If ye continue in my word, then are ye my disciples indeed.(John 8:31).

43 Why do ye not understand my speech? even because ye cannot hear my word. 44 Ye are of your father the devil, and the lusts of your father ye will do. He was a murderer from the beginning, and abode not in the truth, because there is no truth in him. When he speaketh a lie, he speaketh of his own: for he is a liar, and the father of it. 45 And because I tell you the truth, ye believe me not.(John 8:43-45)

The beloved disciple echoed his Lord as he tells all those who will listen that:

He that saith he abideth in him ought himself also so to walk, even as he walked.(1John 2:6).

You are only His disciple if you abide in His commandments.

I often hear some people say that you cannot actually know that a person is truly a Christian.

But the believer in Christ is commanded to correct fellow believers in love and to avoid being entangled with the ungodly.

If the believer cannot distinguish between fellow believers and unbelievers, “how is the believer then expected to witness to unbelievers?” How is the believer to avoid being “yoked with the unbeliever?”

The believer in Christ is not to determine the eternity of the ungodly for that is wholly the prerogative of God.

The believer is only to distinguish the holy from the profane with the guideline given by Holy Scripture. This is so he can live a life pleasing to God and as much as is possible, to be at peace with others.

Hence, it is contrary to the Holy Scriptures to say we cannot distinguish the believer from the unbeliever for we are instructed as to the characteristics of a genuine Christian as far as human beings are concerned. The Christian is not to determine the status of another human been as to his/her eternal destiny. No human being determines who goes to heaven or hell only God does.

Rather, as we live in the world, though not of the world we live in the world and have to interact with fellow human beings. It is because of such interactions and the relationships that will develop therein that believers who also are the disciples of Christ are instructed as to the traits to expect in a disciple of Christ and to aspire to, and those traits to expect in the unbeliever and to avoid or do away with in their own lives. We are then to relate on the basis of how the life of the individual correlates with what the word of God commands.

Saying someone is not a believer or saying that a believer is not living through to the faith of Christianity is not judging in the sense of condemnation for only God can judge at that level. The Christian will only be determining the type and depth of both the interaction and relationship he wants to have with the other person according what he understands from Holy Scripture.

However we may look at it and however it may sound in the ears of modern-day humans the truth is the Holy Scripture clearly distinguishes between the children of God and the children of the devil. It is our wisdom and for our own good to follow the instructions of the word of God.

I encourage the doubters to read the whole of the book of 1John for a start and then go over the rest of Scripture.

The true believer in Christ is one who has been saved and who has committed to become a life-long disciple of Christ.

The term “professor” here is not referring to an academician with a high and valuable degree in an area of study. Rather, in terms of the Christian faith, the professor is the one who professes to be a Christian by mouth but whose lifestyle is in every way contrary to word of God.

 The professor is an unbeliever who associates closely with the church. He is comfortable in church and the gathering of believers. He easily passes as a believer because through long association he has imbibed the mannerisms of genuine believers.

Meanwhile here is just a sampling of some of the distinguishing traits of the professor or unbeliever who associates with the church:

Concerning the Holy Bible,

An unregenerate person (a Christian professor or unbeliever) may read the Holy Scriptures but will still not have faith. Though such ones may even take to studying the Holy Bible they will not be better than other unbelievers who have nothing to do with Christianity as they will have no life of God in them.

A professor of Christianity may have a reading plan and even read several chapters of the word of God every day and yet never appropriate a verse of Scripture. The person simply does not see the bible as the word of God but more of an interesting literature from which to occasionally snatch a word or passage interesting to him to use as motivation.

In Listening and Hearing

A carnal professor will usually boast of having attended numerous conferences: I was in this conference and that conference; I have been under the ministration of or heard numerous popular preachers.

He comes out of each meeting extoling how powerful the message was, but he never seems to be affected by the power he claimed to be present.

He may have and be listening to many sermons every Sunday and indeed all weekdays as well year-in year-out. Yet several years down the road he is still as spiritually dead as the first day he was in church. Such reckon their spiritual status by the number of years since they have been coming to church or since they became associated with Christianity.

Such are the ones who are ever hearing, never understanding and never coming to the knowledge of the truth. Rather, they are hardened without even realising that they had become impervious to the word of God.

In prayer

The sentences flow from his lips as readily as that of a person with verbal diarrhoea. He has a very impressive repertoire of pleasant-sounding phrases and words. Scripture verses seem to run through his mind as freely as a dam breaking its bounds, they just gush out in torrents.

They are adept at saying nice prayers which are just mere meaningless words. They think prayer is for show: how much you can shout, stamp your feet on the ground and jump around sweating like a turkey who knows he is the next at the dinner table.

Observing them at prayer you may be tempted to think they are the offspring of Baal worshipers in action as in the days of Elijah!

In conversation

The Christian professor can talk glibly and frequently orthodoxly of doctrines, yes and of worldly things too. He switches smoothly between the two according to his mood, according to his audience and according to the perceived advantage and filthy lucre he is after at the moment. To him nothing seems too sacred to peddle. In his attempt to display knowledge, he only often exposes his ignorance of spiritual things and his unbelief.

I have heard some people say it does not matter how you dress or speak as long as you have Christ in your heart. Such are either ignorant or deceitful because what is inside is reflected by what is happening outside. One even said, “I am a Christian but not religious and I worship nobody” What a confused mind!

Can you be a Christian and not worship the Lord Jesus Christ?

Please remember this:

As it is internally so it is externally. What is resident within the heart is reflected on the outside. The heart in which the Lord Jesus Christ reigns will be productive of fruits that are in keeping with the character of Christ. Hence, the difference is just as real between the genuine Christian and the mere professor in their daily lives.

 And remember this too:

Faith applies the whole of the Word of God in all its glorious detail and authority. Hence:

  • Faith applies the fearful threatening of the Word of God and trembles before
  • Faith applies the warnings of the Word of God and endeavours to obey them.
  • Faith applies the precepts of the Word of God and looks unto God for the grace to be able to walk in them.

And this faith is what distinguishes the genuine Christian from the professor, the one who is one in name only. But this faith is also the genuine faith too. This genuine faith cannot be worked up or be exercised at will, nor can it be legislated by law or be forced on a person by anyone. This is the faith that is God-given: it is a gift. This is the Holy Spirit-given and Holy Spirit-moulded faith in the heart.

This is not the mere head-knowledge and intellectual assent to the truth that the carnal professor may possess.

Rather the divine faith is a living, spiritual and vital trait. It is:

  • the faith which “purifies the heart” (Acts 15:9);
  • the faith “which worketh by love” (Gal 5:6);
  • the faith that “overcometh the world” (1 John 5:4).
  • This faith is the faith that is divinely rooted and sustained in the midst of trials within and opposition without.
  • This is the faith that makes its possessor to exclaim:
    • “Though he slay me, yet will I trust in him” (Job 13:15),
    • “For I know that my Redeemer liveth” (Job 19:25).

It is not a common faith for it is found only among those who genuinely belong to God. Where it is, it cannot but be manifested! 

Do you have this genuine faith?

If not begin to pray for it for you may actually have labelled yourself “a Christian” while in reality you do not belong in the household of God.

Please diligently observe that this divine faith is not always exercised nor is it equally strong at all times. However, the genuine Christian who possesses it must be taught through experience which is often painful, that, as he did not originate it neither can he command it at will and therefore he must turn to its author and originator for the needed sustenance. He must often turn to God and say Lord, I believe; help thou mine unbelief” (Mark 9:24).

 

And therefore in contrast with the carnal professor, we see with the genuine Christian with this divine faith that:

  • when reading the Word he is enabled to lay hold of its precious promises;
  • when bowing before the Throne of Grace, he is enabled to cast his burden upon the Lord;
  • when he rises to go about his temporal duties, he is enabled to lean upon the everlasting arms;
  • and when he is made to pass through the valley of the shadow of death, he will triumphantly cry “I will fear no evil for Thou art with me.” (Ps 23:4).

O Lord our God grant us the divine faith that has been the privilege of all your saints through the ages that our lives may truly begin to “shew forth the praises of him who hath called us out of darkness into his marvellous light” (1Pet 2:9). And Father have mercy upon the mere professors as your Holy Spirit convicts them of sin and brings them to repentance and salvation in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

What to Do in Time of Crisis  0

We may be faced with crisis or situations that threaten us at one time or another. We may be unable to avoid such an event or even do something about it.

How should we respond in such a time?

For even though we may not be able to do something, responding is a natural human instinct. We just feel we must do something even when we don’t know what.

The world faces a situation that threatens all of us right now. Virtually every country is prepared for the possibility of a conventional war with some other country. Many countries spend a disproportionately higher proportion of their wealth on preparing for such wars. Some even foment troubles in other countries so as to be able to sell and test their weapons to both sides in such conflicts.

Oftentimes, our responseto the problem or difficulty is the problem and not the crisis confronting us. This is because of the attendant anxiety and fear which make us prone to inappropriate response. We become so strung up with fear that we may not even realise that our response to the problem is inappropriate or outrightly wrong and counterproductive.

Hence, our response to the problem may become a major complication of the already bad situation. And so our response to the problem is the problem and not the crisis confronting us. Our attitude is crucial in any situation, more so, in crisis situations.

Our attitude in time of Crisis

Generally, believers in Christ respond to crisis in one of several ways:

  • Some cover up the problem hoping that it will just go away.
  • Some give up. Claiming that it is God’s will, or the enemies are this time just too powerful and God will not do anything either.
  • Some deny they have a problem. They believe or have been taught that admitting to having a problem is confessing negatively or a sign of lack of faith. They have not learnt that Christianity is not positive confession but relationship with the creator of the universe.
  • Some panic and want to end it all by doing some terrible things. and in the process act out of impulse. Such acts often lead to unpleasant consequences.
  • Few pray.

Effect of the attitude

Very often it is not the crisis that destroys the person, but what the person does: Whether he acts or Does not act. And whatever he acts are all responses.

For those who belong to the LORD, our attitude is a measure of the health of our relationship with God. The closer you have walked with the LORD, the closer your attitude will reflect the rectitude of those who are abiding under the shadow of the Almighty.

The attitude of the believer in Christ is a reflection of his level of spiritual growth.

It is common for many people to claim to have little faith and then be asking God for more faith during a crisis. But oftentimes the person claiming to have a little faith has yet to know the Lord Jesus Christ as his Saviour and Lord. He is still outside the circle of the people of God. Rather than asking for more faith in the person he does not know, the right thing for such a person to do is to come to the place of repentance and then be saved by the Lord before he can begin to think of faith whether great or little.

But for those who are already believers in Christ, it is the exercising in the spiritual disciplines and being regularly in the word and the ministration of the Holy Spirit that help us to grow in faith as we advance in spiritual growth. This presupposes having a habit of putting God first in all that we do. Then at the time of crisis we know where to turn. King Jehoshaphat of Judah can be cited as a case in point (2Chr 20:1-13)

In time of crisis check and ensure you have an attitude of prayer

Our status in time of crisis

This then brings us to the issue of our status before God.

Who are you before God, His child or His enemy?

We must have a God, not just believe there is a God. We must have been reconciled to Him [born-again] and in right relationship with Him through the Lord Jesus Christ.

The demons believe there is God and tremble (Jam 2:19), a belief that has not led them to repentance and willing obedience to God. It is also not about moralising, claiming that you do good to others and are harming no one. Any moralist not reconciled to God is heading towards hell unless he repents and is reconciled to God soonest (Isa 64:6).

So, you should not flippantly claim a relationship with Christ. It will not only be a worthless exercise but can be dangerous as you are only luring yourself into false security. Rather, examine yourself not by your feelings but by the word of God to see if you are genuinely in faith with Christ as your Saviour and Lord.

If any of us believers in Christ having God as our Father is out of fellowship because of sin, we should repent of such and be reconciled to Him immediately. It is through confessing and repenting as we forsake the sin that we then receive pardon and are reconciled to and are back in fellowship with the Lord (1John 1:8-9).

Believers in Christ are not insulated from challenges of life. Indeed the word of God tells us that challenges are part of being a follower of Christ.

As believers in Christ in this time of global crisis of corona virus pandemic with individual and personal ramifications,or indeed during any crisis, we should not give room to fear. Notice that I did not say do not be afraid. This is because we have not to pretend, we all fear sometimes, especially in times of crisis. And right now there is an atmosphere of fear prevailing over the whole world, so thick, it can be cut with a knife!

The children of God are commanded,

“Neither fear ye their fear, nor be afraid” (Isa 8:12).

This is especially important as if as a follow-up to this we are further told,

“For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.” (2Tim 1:7).

What is important is what we do for that is what shows whether we are beginning to give room to fear or not. We must focus our attention and not allow ourselves to be distracted. Particularly at this time our focus should be on God, especially on three of the traits of God as they concern our relationship with our God: His power, His character, and His promise.

Yes, come to God having faith in the power of God, Faith in God’s character, and Faith in God’s promise.

Believe that you are still a child of God in spite of the problem. The crisis is not a sign that God has left you.

Three traits of God

According to the word of God, there is no situation that we may face that God does not already know about. Why we may be surprised or even shocked to numbness because of the suddenness and seriousness of a situation, our God is never caught unawares or unprepared. We have an all-knowing and all-able God who is our loving Father.

We are to therefore approach Him on the basis of relationship. He is our Father and we are members of His earthly household. Our God is infinitely better in every aspect than even the best of earthly fathers at his best.

“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of Grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need.” (Heb. 4:16).

We come to our Father in humility and deep reference having:

  • Faith in the power of our God (past, present and future) 
  • Faith in the character of our God
  • Faith in the promise of God

Faith in the power of God (v.7)

We must have faith in the power of our God (past, present and future). Our God is the God in heaven and on earth. For the avoidance of any doubt as to who our God is:

“In the beginning God created the heaven and the earth. 2 And the earth was without form, and void; and darkness was upon the face of the deep. And the Spirit of God moved upon the face of the waters.” (Gen 1:1-2).

And

“In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 The same was in the beginning with God. 3 All things were made by him; and without him was not any thing made that was made. 4 In him was life; and the life was the light of men. 5 And the light shineth in darkness; and the darkness comprehended it not.” (John 1:1-5).

21 …..and there is no God else beside me; A just God and a saviour; there is none beside me. 22 Look unto me, and be ye saved, all the ends of the earth: For I am God, and there is none else.” (Isa 45:21-22).

We see the demonstration of the faith of Jehoshaphat and the people as he addressed a question to God,

“Art not thou our God, who didst drive out the inhabitants of this land before thy people Israel, and gavest it to the seed of Abraham thy friend for ever?” (2Chr 20:7).

Of course, the answer is yes, god was the one. In other words, Jehoshaphat was telling God that God defended His people in the past and he believed God was going to deliver them from their current predicament too.

Our God is the Triune God: One God in three persons (Father, Son and Holy Spirit). Our God rules over all the kingdoms of the earth. In His hand are power and might so that none is able to withstand Him (2Chr 20:6). He will execute judgement upon our enemies. Let it be said that though we may not have power over the horde that come against us (any and all adversaries), we may not know what to do, but our eyes are on our God (2Chr 20:12).

Psalm 91 speaks much about our God and our security in and from Him. We only need to believe and act on that belief: That is faith.

Our God is:

  • A shelter of Strength
  • A refuge of Rest
  • A fortress of Peace where we can rest, be in peace and have living hope from the fears of life.

Look at verses 1 & 2 again.

What do you notice?

That there is something required of us believers. We are to abide.

How do we abide?

The Lord asked a question then which still applies today,

“And why call ye me, Lord, Lord, and do not the things which I say?” (Luke 6:46).

And went on to clarify what it means to abide in Him,

24 Everyone then who hears these words of mine and does them will be like a wise man who built his house on the rock. 25 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat on that house, but it did not fall, because it had been founded on the rock. 26 And everyone who hears these words of mine and does not do them will be like a foolish man who built his house on the sand. 27 And the rain fell, and the floods came, and the winds blew and beat against that house, and it fell, and great was the fall of it.” (Mat 7:24-27).

We abide by doing the will of God. We must constantly affirm our trust in our God. We cannot love one we do not know. We cannot do God’s will if we do not know and love Him.  

Faith in God’s character (vv.6, 12)

We must have faith in the character of our God (vv.6, 12). The LORD is God in heaven and on earth. He is a covenant keeping God (Deut. 4:39; 1Kgs 8:23; 2Chr 20:6). He has demonstrated in His dealings with His creation that He is consistent and completely trustworthy. And we have the sure testimony of Holy Scripture,

6 And the Lord passed by before him, and proclaimed, The Lord, The Lord God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth,

7 keeping mercy for thousands, forgiving iniquity and transgression and sin, and that will by no means clear the guilty; visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children, and upon the children’s children, unto the third and to the fourth generation.” (Ex 34:6-7).

Jehoshaphat approached God on the grounds of God’s previous record. God has been consistent. He has been and continued to be the God in heaven who has all the power and might. He rules over all the kingdoms and he judges the ungodly. It is God’s character to be consistent and trustworthy.

“and said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” (2Chr 20:6).

And

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2Chr 20:12).

Our God will judge the ungodly and reward the godly ultimately at the end of the age at the second coming of Christ. Meanwhile He continues to deal with all His creation according to His own counsel. In the final analysis, we do not know the details as to how God makes His decisions about us on day to day basis. He knows how powerful and hateful the wicked are and will not leave us at their mercy (2Chr 20:12).

Our God is all powerful and is never weary. We cannot search out His understanding. He gives power to the faint and to him who has no might He increases strength of those who do not have.

28  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, That the everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth,            Fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; And to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall:       31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; And they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa 40:28-31).

Our God will supply us with whatever we need to pass through any situation threatening to overwhelm us. Whatever such challenges are they have an expiry sate well known to our God. He will ensure we outlive whatever the scourge may be in the Name of Jesu, Amen.

Faith in God’s promise

We must have faith in God’s promise. God promises to keep us safe (Ps 91:7, 11-12). Everything God says concerning you will come true for He stands by His word to perform what He has spoken. God always stands by His word and hastens to perform it (Jer. 1:12).

And

10  For as the rain cometh down, And the snow from heaven, And returneth not thither, But watereth the earth, And maketh it bring forth and bud, That it may give seed to the sower, and bread to the eater: 11     So shall my word be that goeth forth out of my mouth: It shall not return unto me void, But it shall accomplish that which I please, And it shall prosper in the thing whereto I sent it.” (Isa 55:10-11).

7 A thousand shall fall at thy side, And ten thousand at thy right hand; But it shall not come nigh thee.

11For he shall give his angels charge over thee, To keep thee in all thy ways. 12 They shall bear thee up in their hands, Lest thou dash thy foot against a stone.” (Ps 91:7, 11-12).

All of us believers in Christ should have every confidence in God and trust Him to be true to all His promises to all He has given to His only begotten Son, Jesus Christ of Nazareth, our Saviour and our Lord.

Approach God as your Father having faith in His power, character and promise.

We now come to the content of our prayer and this brings us to the actions of king Jehoshaphat

The contents of our prayer (cf. 2Chr 20:1-13)

1It came to pass after this also, that the children of Moab, and the children of Ammon, and with them other beside the Ammonites, came against Jehoshaphat to battle. 2 Then there came some that told Jehoshaphat, saying, There cometh a great multitude against thee from beyond the sea on this side Syria; and behold, they be in Hazazon-tamar, which is En-gedi. 3 And Jehoshaphat feared, and set himself to seek the Lord, and proclaimed a fast throughout all Judah.” (2Chr 20:1-3).

Jehoshaphat was a God-fearing king, doing things that pleased God according to the testimony of Holy Scripture (2Chronicle 17:3-6):

3 And the Lord was with Jehoshaphat, because he walked in the first ways of his father David, and sought not unto Baalim; 4 but sought to the Lord God of his father, and walked in his commandments, and not after the doings of Israel. 5 Therefore the Lord stablished the kingdom in his hand; and all Judah brought to Jehoshaphat presents; and he had riches and honour in abundance. 6 And his heart was lift up in the ways of the Lord: moreover he took away the high places and groves out of Judah.” (2Chr 17:3-6).

Yet he was confronted by a crisis situation as the people of Ammon, Moab and Mount Seir united and came against Judah with a great multitude (2Chr 20:1-2). Being a believer in Christ does not always mean we would not have to face crisis situation. As Jehoshaphat faced the great multitude of the enemies, he was afraid but did not give room to fear as he went to God (2Chr 20:3-5).

At the time of a crisis more than any other we need to appraise our prayer life, especially the contents of what we offer to God.

  • Brother, sister, how do you pray?
  • What do you pray?

Please, check again!

To assist us, let us take a closer look at the prayer of king Jehoshaphat as to what we may learn from there.

We observe some basic facts:

Relationship with God

“God of our father” (2Chr 20:6). This speaks of relationship. Christ taught His disciples to start with relationship, “Our Father which art in heaven” (Mat 6:9). Jehoshaphat acknowledged that they belonged to God. The land that their enemies were threatening was a gift of God (v.7). Our relationship with God is paramount. It is the foundation for all else. God is our Father who has adopted us through His Son Jesus Christ. He knows and loves us and will do us good.

5 And Jehoshaphat stood in the congregation of Judah and Jerusalem, in the house of the Lord, before the new court, 6 and said, O Lord God of our fathers, art not thou God in heaven? and rulest not thou over all the kingdoms of the heathen? and in thine hand is there not power and might, so that none is able to withstand thee?” (2Chr 20:5-6).

Ownership.

Many live with the mind set of “it is my life and I can live anyhow I want. I am the captain of my ship, paddle your own canoe!” And if it so happens that they have a “measure of success”, they say, “I worked hard for my success, I am responsible for my success.” As the word of God makes us to understand, there are those who say in their heart that there is no God and they act accordingly.

But genuine believers would not fall for that fallacy as they know that is far from the truth for there is the God who created all things. Believers in Christ know this God has made them new creatures in Christ (2Cor 5:17). We must acknowledge God’s ownership of us. Our Lord Jesus Christ has purchased us (His church) with His blood. We no longer belong to ourselves but to Him (1Pet 1:18-19; Rev 5:9). As our God, He rules our lives and will not brood any interference from anyone who may want to take over His place in our lives.

The enemies wanted to determine how Jehoshaphat and Judah should live, something that is totally the prerogative of God. Naturally, God would not allow such. Similarly, when problems and situations threaten to overwhelm us, we should recognise God’s ownership of us and plead with Him not to allow such to usurp His place in our lives.

God is our help.

Jehoshaphat asserted that he was turning to God in time of need (vv.8-9).

8 And they dwelt therein, and have built thee a sanctuary therein for thy name, saying, 9 If, when evil cometh upon us, as the sword, judgment, or pestilence, or famine, we stand before this house, and in thy presence, (for thy name is in this house,) and cry unto thee in our affliction, then thou wilt hear and help.” (2Chr 20:8-9).

As the people of God, we should let God know we are turning to Him in our time of need. We are to draw near to God, “unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Heb. 4:16).

Indictment of the enemy.

Jehoshaphat indicted their enemy for their show of ingratitude. Israel had restrained from attacking these countries (Ammon, Edom and Moab) at the time of the exodus as they encountered them in their wandering in the wilderness (vv.10-11; cf. Num. 20:17-21; Deut. 2:4-5).

10 And now behold, the children of Ammon and Moab and mount Seir, whom thou wouldest not let Israel invade, when they came out of the land of Egypt, but they turned from them, and destroyed them not; 11 behold, I say, how they reward us, to come to cast us out of thy possession, which thou hast given us to inherit.” (2Chr 20:10-11).

At the commandment of God (Mat 5:44-48), (I do hope we are obeying this difficult command to the best of our ability), believers in Christ have continued to do good to the ungodly and their enemies. It is therefore in order to indict the enemy before God for their ingratitude. Remember that God knows them more than we do, and He is the one to judge them too.

Confession of total dependence upon God.

They admitted and confessed their complete dependence upon God (v.12). We ought to never be too full of ourselves when we come to God. Rather we should be down-to-earth humbling ourselves before His Majesty as we confess our utter dependence upon God to Him.

“O our God, wilt thou not judge them? for we have no might against this great company that cometh against us; neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee.” (2Chr 20:12).

Simple, sincere prayer from the heart

King Jehoshaphat’s prayer had one request: judge them (v.12), one complaint: how they repaid us (v.11), and one confession: we don’t know what to do (v.12). Our prayer should be simple for God looks at the heart not how big are the words we say nor the fluency of our speech. We do not need a speech writer before approaching our God in prayer. We should not only marvel at the simplicity of this prayer but should also try to emulate it.

We are to apply the truth of Holy Scripture to our lives:

We have no power, but our God has unlimited and unlimitable power

When we realise our powerlessness and dependence on God great things will happen. Rather than becoming afraid we should let our powerlessness drive us to God who has all the power and is ever willing to enable us.

Oftentimes God takes away the things we use as crutches, all those things we tend to depend on in place of God. Yes, God will take away all our potential God-replacers, all our false security. Even the best of Christians still has much of the undesirable baggage. And such baggage must be done away with.

Christian growth towards spiritual maturity is the process by which God does away with the excess and undesirable baggage thus breaking down our false security that we have surreptitiously used to replace Him in our lives.

Yes, if need be, God will take away everything else so that we have nowhere to go but to Him. God wants to be the “All-in all” in our lives. It to our advantage and good if we cooperate with His Holy Spirit in His work of consistent continuing sanctification in us. Hear, again what Jehoshaphat said to God, “neither know we what to do: but our eyes are upon thee” (2Chr 20:12). That is where God wants us to be!

At the risk of sounding like a broken gramophone record, please bear with my repetition. I just think this bears repeating:

Our God is all powerful and is never weary. We cannot search out His understanding. He gives power to the faint and to him who has no might He increases strength of those who do not have.

28  Hast thou not known? hast thou not heard, That the everlasting God, the Lord, The Creator of the ends of the earth,            Fainteth not, neither is weary? There is no searching of his understanding. 29 He giveth power to the faint; And to them that have no might he increaseth strength. 30 Even the youths shall faint and be weary, And the young men shall utterly fall:       31 But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; They shall mount up with wings as eagles; They shall run, and not be weary; And they shall walk, and not faint.” (Isa 40:28-31).

Our God will supply us with whatever we need to pass through the pestilence and emerge victorious at the end of it all. Yes, even this Corona virus (Covid-19) that is currently rampaging the world has expiry date known to our God. All of us will outlive the scourge in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Cultivate the worshipful heart

Having a worshipful heart is important especially in the midst of problems. For this to be so, we ought to have been cultivating worshipful heart as part of our daily Christian exercise. It should not be when we face a problem that we are then searching for how to worship.

Worship should be our response from a heart that is grateful to God. If we truly are grateful, then genuine worship will be our response to the mercy He has shown us as we go into the presence of God. And worship will thus be our response as we turn to God in our helplessness in time of trouble.

They worshipped before the battle, during the battle, and after the battle.

That did not happen as a spur-of-the-moment-decision. Rather, it was the result of a cultivated lifestyle of worship!

Such is the state we ought to be too: always in the habit of worship from a heart filled with gratitude to God.

Start now. Do away with the fear in and around you. Enter into the presence of our all-powerful, all-loving and ever willing God. Worship Him with a heart filled with gratitude and not fear. He is merciful and will add His surpassing sufficiency to our insufficiency and see us all through this dangerous and uncertain period.

We shall all be here again to thankfully praise and worship Him after the expiry of whatever crisis you and any of us may be going through right now. 

Again remember,

In time of crisis check and ensure you have an attitude of prayer all through.

Believe that you are still a child of God in spite of the problem. The crisis is not a sign that God has left you.

Approach God as your Father having faith in His power, character and promise.

Let the content of your prayer reflect the situation but focus on God and not on the devil or anyone else you may be blaming.

For the unbeliever

However, if you are not yet a disciple of Christ, if you are not yet born-again, that is what you have to resolved face. Pray to God to save you by confessing the Lord Jesus Christ.

9 that if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. 10 For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10).

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” (Rom 10:13).

May the LORD accept and grant you salvation through His Son, Jesus Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Do not fear for God is still on His throne  0

Today the world is engaged in a war with an enemy which neither plays to any known rules of engagement nor respects any borders. The enemy cannot even be seen with ordinary human eyes without the aid of powerful microscopes. But whether seen or not, its impact is being felt across the globe. This enemy is the pestilence named Coronavirus (Covid-19). Governments and institutions were neither prepared nor ready for it and so were caught napping. That alone ought to raise serious questions.

How can nations and peoples who claim to be so advanced and sophisticated as to declare there is no God be almost brought to their knees by a tiny speck of God’s invisible creation?

And so, anxiety and fear have gripped the nations. People are just afraid to meet God!  Many questions are being asked and many erroneous reasons are being given as the cause of this pestilence.

Those who have lost loved ones, those who have had the severe type of the disease and have survived after being treated and those who have been engaged in treating the victims will tell you that this scourge is real and very devastating.

This is not the time for frivolous questions. For it is clear only God knows the why and how of this virus. But human beings as usual will not accept their ignorance. Rather, they will continue to propound theories of causation and proffer solutions that only lead to more confusion. Mark you, the religious crowd is not left out of this.

This viral pandemic has brought certain things that have been hiding in plain sight out in the open to all whether people will accept it or not:

Human beings can only live on this earth. For,

“The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: But the earth hath he given to the children of men.” (Ps 115:16).

When trouble comes, no human being is powerful or wise enough to successfully take flight to another planet to live. We are all limited to this earth until death do us part!

 In the meantime, we all must stay here and face whatever comes our way as best as we can.

But God promises His people His presence and His help

You can claim there is no God. But that simply means you are possibly deluded. Take it or leave it, there is God. He created all known and unknown, visible and invisible to man. God superintends all affairs of life.

You ignore, reject or disobey Him at your own peril. You embrace Him, obey Him, depend on Him, petition Him at this time for your own good and the good of humanity.

By now you must be aware that a life without Christ will be a life full of crisis.

You either give your heart to God and serve Him or you serve the devil and man-made gods including yourself. The Lord Jesus said you are either with or against Him (Mat 12:30). There is no middle cause. There is no neutrality. If you think you can be neutral, you are only deceiving yourself. The Lord wants and demands exclusive relationship with His own and broods no competition.

Remember, truth is still truth even if you don’t believe it! God said He created the earth and gave it to mankind to live in. So any usurper called Corona or any other name will not and cannot make an end of us. Corona has expiry date known to our God.

Do not endanger the lives of others

Most of the governments of the countries of the world have asked people within the areas of their jurisdiction to stay at home as one of the ways to limit the spread of the virus. Only workers on essential duties are exempted. Though the level of the quarantine and degree of enforcement vary from country to country, most people are compliant.  Please, be compliant according the government instructions in your area of residence.

I am aware that there are many that though they have titles of pastors and ministers, are charlatans who cannot perform their macabre dance without the crowd of baying sycophants urging them on as they spew out their errors to their itchy ears.

And so, if you are addicted to having a physical crowd around you to hail you and you are already having withdrawal symptoms because of their absence, or possibly for others of your own personal agenda that you are trying to cover with the cloak of righteousness, God is not with you in this. You are on your own.

But please, do not endanger the lives of others by claiming to have some faith or mandate from God. You neither have the right nor the authority to expose others to danger or to waste the lives of others. As the Holy Scripture commands and I think this is the appropriate time for this, “Hast thou faith? Have it to thyself before God” (Rom 14:22). Let it be that you alone should pay for the errors of your ways should you chose to disobey the instructions of the government under which you reside.

There are still genuine Christians

Though the charlatans are most vocal and conspicuous, thank God that He has not abandoned His church. For out there are still numerous genuine believers in Christ. Out there are still numerous genuine and committed ministers of the gospel of Christ who are truly labouring for the glory of God and His kingdom. To you I offer my encouragement and prayers. To you I say, do not fear for God is on your side.

Have you lost a loved one to this pestilence? May the Lord console and comfort you at this time of your loss. Are you or a loved one currently suffering from a severe form of this disease? May the Lord heal you and yours. Are your challenged as to the means of daily living? May the Lord send help to you.

Hear the word of God:  

10Fear thou not; for I am with thee: Be not dismayed; for I am thy God: I will strengthen thee; yea, I will help thee; Yea, I will uphold thee with the right hand of my righteousness. 11Behold, all they that were incensed against thee shall be ashamed and confounded: They shall be as nothing; and they that strive with thee shall perish. 12Thou shalt seek them, and shalt not find them, even them that contended with thee: They that war against thee shall be as nothing, and as a thing of nought. 13For I the Lord thy God will hold thy right hand,    Saying unto thee, Fear not; I will help thee.” (Isa 41:10-13).

This is not the time to ask frivolous questions that no one has answers to but dangerous speculations that lead to more confusion and fear. This is the time for the people of faith, the true children of God who have been ransomed by the precious blood of Jesus Christ to arise, and go before the throne room of grace to ask for help in this time of need for all humanity. 

You see that I repeatedly say “genuine.” This is because we are talking about relationship. Christianity is not a collection of codes of living. It is not morality. It is not about how hard you can shout and sweat claiming to be “anointed.” It is about the person of the Lord Jesus Christ of Nazareth.

The question is simple enough: “Is Jesus Christ your Saviour and Lord or not?”

This is a simple but very serious question. For the answer has eternal implications. Do not flippantly claim to be a Christian please. It can be dangerous. This is especially important at this time of great upheaval and uncertainty in the world. There is no half-way house. You are either in or out. And the danger is that you may be out and think you are in.

Remember the wife of Lot. She must have thought she was a believer. People around them must have thought she was a believer. What else do you need? Married to Lot, the nephew of Abraham the Patriarch who was the friend of God. They had abundance of the good things of life which many in our day erroneously see as a sign of God’s blessing even though their God is their belly. She possibly was so big that she was an area mother spreading the largess of her husband to nurture a large following of the ungodly like Jezebel centuries after her.

Unfortunately, when the day of testing came, she failed where it mattered most: in her heart. Her heart was not given to God but was given to the world and its poisonous alure. She was found wanting when it was too late to change. To her was the answer to the rhetorical question our Lord asked true,

For what is a man profited, if he shall gain the whole world, and lose his own soul? or what shall a man give in exchange for his soul?” (Mat 16:26).

The answer is a resounding “NOTHING!”

So, please do not depend on your feelings, do not depend on your longevity in church attendance. It will not matter how many titles you have acquired, it will not matter how much tithe and offering you have paid. Works of charity will be worthless if your heart has not been wholly given to the LORD. You may be flying around in private jets claiming you are doing the work of God, while deceiving the gullible because their hearts towards God are so soft that they have become undiscerning.

The portion of hell where you will burn is currently in quarantine and under lockdown in the gym as it is doing press-ups and weightlifting in preparation to receiving you if you fail to repent.

Of course, am aware as the word of God says that like the rich man in the story of Lazarus (Luke 16:19-31, esp. v.25), you may currently be receiving your good things now so when you are burning in hell you will know why.

The word of God makes us to known that performing miracles may not be an indication that God is with you. Indeed, you may perform miracles and do many wonderful things and still end in hell (Mat 7:21-23). But this is the time of grace. Please, I urge you to repent now in this time of grace.

The genuine believer in Christ

Please bear in mind that as it was in the beginning, so it still is now. In the beginning, biblical Christianity started with the heart. It was the heart God demanded and it is the heart that has to be given to God. You confess with your mouth and believe in your heart (Rom 10:9-10). It is as many as received Him and believed in His name that are given the right to become children of God (John 1:12-13).

Hence, Jesus and His early disciples met in the temple precincts of the temple, in homes, in natural environments like hill sides, fields and so on. It was much later that structures referred to as church buildings came on the scene. But the church of Christ has always been and continue to be the people. The church is a living temple joined together by and is the abode of the Holy Spirit.

This is why the church of Christ cannot be closed. Only physical structures can be and are closed. It good and desirable to fellowship together. But when situation does not allow as it is currently the case in most parts of the world, the individual temples of the LORD must still continue to function as we continue to offer the sacrifice of praise and thanksgiving to our God wherever we happen to be in quarantine.

Do not let any deceiver lure you into disobeying the quarantine rule. The government is neither in error nor is it asking you to do anything that is ungodly at this time. You are not sinning by obeying the government and staying at home at this time. Not having physical fellowship with other believers but continuing your own private worship at home at this time is not a sin.

Do not neglect your spiritual exercises:

Do as much good that you can to as many as you can. Pray fervently for yourself, loved ones and others. Pray for the leaders of the governments of the world and the community where you live. Prayerfully study the word of God and diligently apply what you are learning. Pray fervently for those workers in the frontline in the war against this pestilence.

Pray for the consolation and comfort of those who have lost loved ones to this plague. Pray for the poor. Petition God for divine intervention to put an end to this pestilence. Be usefully engaged and not be idle.

Pray that even this pestilence will lead to many more turning to God in true repentance, that many more will be saved. Pray for those who are already saved that God will keep and blessed them. Pray that all things will work together for the glory of our God.

Again, continue to obey the instructions of the government that has jurisdiction over

your place of residence.

For all of us believers in Christ, I pray for more grace for us. May the power of the resurrection of our Lord Jesus Christ avail for us at these trying times. May the protective hedge of the LORD around us ever remain intact and strong, and the mark of Christ upon us ever remain very conspicuous so that as the angel of destruction and death is passing, he will pass over us and no plague will come upon us in the name of Jesus, Amen.

Please, cut through the chase and focus on what really matters to God (Matthew 22:36-40).

Please, I encourage you to regularly prayerfully meditate upon these passages of Holy Scripture in any order that suits you:

(Psalm 23:1-6; Isaiah 40:26-31; Isaiah 41:10; Matthew 6:25-34; Matthew 11:28-30; Romans 8:28-39; 1 Corinthians 10:13; Ephesians 6:10-20; Philippians 4:6-8; 1 Timothy 6:12; Hebrews 4:12-16; James 1:2-4;).

Feel free to add many more as you dwell in the word of God with the Holy Spirit superintending all of your life.

As we are all quarantined at our homes from this terrible plague I pray we will remember the death of our Lord Jesus Christ who became the ultimate spotless Passover sacrifice lamb and by His blood freed us from the slavery of sin and death as we are told, “Christ our passover is sacrificed for us” (1Cor 5:7).

May everything in our lives that should be alive and well but are not be visited by the power that resurrected our Lord. And may they come roaring back to life and begin to thrive again. The Almighty God surely see us through this pestilence and at the end we shall all from a heart filled with gratitude give Him thanks and glory in the Name of Jesus, Amen.

Beware that your attitude does not portray you as one of the foolish (ungodly)  0

I do not think there are many people who would want to be thought of as a fool. And I doubt very much if anyone, especially one who is a believer in Christ would want to be spoken of as giving the appearance of a fool. But any believer is vulnerable if not susceptible. It is therefore important to watch against potential slip ups. To help us, we shall look at and try to learn from the life of one of the believers of old.

In the book of Job God testified to the enviable qualities of the man Job. Job was the servant of God. There was none like him in the earth, a perfect man. And Job feared God and eschewed evil (Job 1:8). It was God who initiated the conversation that led to the problems of Job.

At the end of the first conversation, God gave Satan permission to afflict Job, but to spare his life (Job 2:6).

As a result of being allowed by God Satan went to work with a vengeance. He must have been shocked to his bones to hear God’s permission to go out and do what he does best: to do as much damage including grave bodily harm to job. One can be assured that this personality would go to the maximum limit allowed. He immediately went to work with unfathomable zeal. Little wonder then that as a result of and at the end of the Satan’s acts of aggression, Job had lost ALL except his life and his wife.

Yes, Job had lost ALL:

  • He had lost all his property.
  • He had lost all his children.
  • He had lost all his wealth.
  • He had lost his enviable position in society.
  • He had lost his health.
  • Everything was gone, and he was in a terrible state.

Job’s wife was there too!

What is seldom mentioned is that in all his plenty and adversity, the wife of Job was equally affected, and she stayed with him. Even when she is mentioned, it is often in bad light and many even speak of her in venomous outbursts of vituperation.

The personal situation of Job was so terrible that he was now sitting outside on a heap of ashes, scratching his rotten sores with a potsherd (Job 2:8).

Do remember that Job was not privileged to know that God held a council meeting with the sons of God in heaven in which he was a prominent item on the agenda, neither was he informed of what transpired in that meeting (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6).

Only the readers of this book down the ages, including us are given that privileged information. We are reading the story after the events and many therefore frequently think they would have acted differently and better were they in the place and position of Job.

A wife in agony

Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die” (Job 2:9).

 It is important to remember that this was a woman married to Job in a covenant relationship. She had lived with him for a long time and was the mother of his 10 children (7 sons and 3 daughters). The wife of Job knew him very well. She knew his devotion to God to be real, and not a pretension. Naturally Job also knew his wife very well.

Job’s wife had enjoyed the period of prosperity with her husband and so was not a stranger to God’s goodness in their lives. But she lost everything, and even her husband though still alive was now a caricature of his old healthy self. She was now a woman deeply grieving and finding adversity with her husband unbearable. Hence, she spoke out of the depth of her sorrow and grief. She was in agony with apparently nobody to help.

Her husband’s attitude towards their calamity must have been a big area of perplexity to her. She just could not understand how someone in his position could still be talking positively about God!

Integrity: (in this context), spotless character in regard to God; blamelessness before God.

God Himself testified to Job’s integrity before Him though Job and his wife were not privy to that testimony given by God at the council meeting.

 Job’s wife knew Job was still maintaining his relationship with God. That he had refused to charge God with error or wickedness. Hence, her question. She was like asking:

  • Are you still maintaining your integrity?
  • Are you still continuing to have faith in your God, the God who has done all these terrible things to us?

She asked the question “Dost thou still retain thine integrity?”, knowing fully well that Job was still faithful to God, and that he was still refusing to blame God for their calamity.

The serpent’s strategy re-enacted

Remember the adversary uses the same strategy of questioning and undermining the integrity of his would-be victim all the time.

 Observe the serpent in the conversation with Eve in the garden:

 With Eve:

Eve was in a place of plenty. A place where all their needs, including regular fellowship with God were met. Yet, the devil came there. Knowing what God has said to Eve, he said,

 “Yea, hath God said?” (Gen 3:1).

 With the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord was in the wilderness. The wilderness was a place of deprivation, preparation and testing. The Lord was fasting as part of the preparation for His soon-to-be lunched ministry of Salvation.

So, further down the line, the devil used the same ploy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Though, he knew Jesus to be the Son of God, he still went ahead to challenge that truth. He wanted the Jesus to use His privileged position to attain an aim in a manner contrary to the purpose of God. He said,

“If thou be the son of God” (Mat 4:3, 6).

Notice that the questions and statements are calculated and framed in a way to create doubt in the hearer. They are coiled like a powerful spring that will spring up with force as the intended victims tries to prove the devil wrong. In attempting to prove the devil wrong or reject his insinuations, the would-be victim actually falls into the snare of the devil!

The devil was saying to the Lord, “you are the Son of God eh! I know but put your power into action for me to see me now!”

 Remember that Eve was wallowing in abundance, while the Lord was in a 40-day fast. They were both confronted by the tempter with things that would be quite enticing and irresistible.

The situation of the believer matters little to the devil. All he is concerned with is the possibility of success in whatever he wants to do concerning his would-be victim. Hence, being in plenty or lack is all game to him.

Yes, the devil makes his moves at the moments of maximum vulnerability! The time he is most likely to succeed in his deception against his would-be victim. He presents his case in a most believable way, attractively packaged to make it seem to be in the best interest of the would-be victim. It is done in ways and situations that even others, especially some in the inner circle of the would-be victim will join in to put pressure upon the intended victim.

Hence, in this case, seeing the possibility of the failure of the friends of Job, next one to try to ally with himself was Job’s unsuspecting.

And so, the devil did not stop with Job nor with his three friends. Rather, he got around to the human being closest to him, his wife.

 Who else could Job have trusted other than his wife?

Job’s wife was advertently acting doing what the devil wanted

The heathens around them were in the habit of heaping curses upon their idol gods when they thought such false gods had brought misfortune and evil upon them. Job’s wife would have seen them berating and reproaching their gods on many occasions.

Job as the head of the family is the one with authority to call time on the family’s relationship with God. Through him, both blessings and curses come. And in this case, all the calamity that befell the family was because his faithfulness pleased God but angered Satan. It led to God allowing him to be further tested by the devil.

And he is the one who could end their relationship with God. Hence, she was asking her husband to do the ultimate: curse God and let Him kill us out of anger and save us from this miserable life!

 What she might have forgotten because of her deep sorrow was that Yahweh, their God was the true God and not an idol. The idea was that Job should make an end of everything, because by what had happened to them, God had proved to be unworthy of their devotion and worship.

What worse thing could befall them other than what they had suffered?

 It is better to die and end all than to live such a miserable life she must have thought. Anything else but this horrible existence!

Be aware and beware for suffering and pain can do much damage to a believer’s thinking.

So, mind your thinking and words when you are in unpleasant circumstances.

Job’s wife’s words would have had very heavy and devastating impact on Job, even more than whatever Job’s friends might have said to him. She was the closest to Him, the only one after God that he could trust, and rely upon. His long-term confidant. And so, to hear her spoke like she did would ordinarily have deflated Him.

Job’s faith showed forth in dealing with his wife

But he showed that he was really a man of faith as he refused to lash out at her.

Job demonstrated perseverance in His faith and trust in God. But Job’s wife misconstrued his perseverance as possibly religious fanaticism. She might have thought Job was blindly refusing to face the reality of their very desperate situation.

 She showed her bitterness against God by lashing out at her husband. Her action would have been another terrible blow to Job, her husband.

 Notice that, though Job and his wife were unaware of what was going on in the heavenly council: The suggestion of his wife that Job should curse God was exactly what Satan had twice predicted in the presence of God that Job would do if God should allow him to attack Job (Job 1:11; 2:5).

Job cautioned his wife

But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.” (Job 2:10).

Her husband, who was in addition to the loss of their children and all their material wealth, was in serious physical sickness responded but not in harsh tone as some would have.

Foolish here means spiritually ignorant or undiscerning of spiritual things. Someone lacking understanding or even the capacity for understanding, implying a willful moral insolence and impudence and disobedience to the law of God. See also Deut. 32:6; Ps 74:18.

Notice that her husband, Job, did not call her foolish. No right-thinking believer should call his wife foolish, neither should the wife her husband. There should be no derogatory language between spouses under any circumstances.

Rather, Job was cautioning his wife. It is as if saying, be careful now. Do not speak like one of the foolish women.

Foolish women here likely referred to the heathen unbelievers around them. Job was cautioning her not to let her situation overwhelmed her to the extent that she would disparage and charge God with error.

Who is the fool?

  • The fool is the one who has said in his heart, that there is no God.
  • The fool is the one who worships idols and other false gods.
  • The fool is the one who claims to be a Christian while living contrary to the word of God, and says it is neither God’s nor the devil’s business.

Brother, sister, how do you speak? Like one of the foolish?

Please, speak as one of the wise ones.

Job’s next statement was framed as a question:

“What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?”

It was as if Job was reminding his wife of who she was in God, and their previous blessings from God. By his statement in put to her as a question, Job was not being a fatalist who resigned to the will of an unknown God.

Rather, Job recognised the sovereignty of God over their lives, and indeed, over all of creation. He believed nothing would happen to them except God allowed it. He trusted God so much that despite their terrible situation he continued to believe that God knows all things, and especially in their situation, that God knew what He was doing.

His life is the life of one totally submitted to God. In spite of his own personal pain, he found time to be the pillar of support for his wife. Hence, he was still able to be gracious towards her.

Job remained faithful

Through all his travails Job remained faithful to the only true God.

In all this did not Job sin with his lips:

Try to picture the level of personal agony he must have been in because of his sickness, add to that the loss of all he possessed except his wife. And all friends and relatives had deserted them. He had lost his high status in society. Yet, he refused to charge God with error. Though in serious pain, he did not sin!

Only the true and living God could see a person through what Job and his wife went through and still remain in faith to the Living God.

Observe that this strongly positive affirmation of the God-pleasing character of Job that, “in all this did Job sin not with his lips”:

  • Proved Satan’s prediction wrong: Satan had twice predicted to God that if Job was attacked severely enough, Job would curse God.
  • It also vindicated God’s confidence in Job, and God’s words about Job (Job 1:22, Job 1:8, 11; 2:3, 5).

How would you have fared? Or should I ask how you are faring now? Yes, how are you faring in the face of your challenges and troubles?

  • Brother, sister, how is your relationship with God.
  • In what ways may Satan be challenging your integrity before God?
  • What may the devil be predicting concerning you before God?
  • Will God have such confidence in your integrity or faithfulness if Satan were to argue in the court of heaven that he be allowed to attack you to test your faith in God?
  • If such were to happen, or perhaps, is already happening, how will you respond?
  • Like Job or like Job’s wife? Or like the friends of Job?

Please, this is a serious issue. Do not dismiss it flippantly. As the Word of God counsels, examine yourself to see if you are still in the faith!

Rather than berating God as some would have, Job confidently affirmed that trouble (evil) as well as good come from God. Scripture confirms the same (cf. Eccl. 7:14; Lam 3:38). This is in contrast with the view of most people, including Christians.

Problem is no indication of the absence of God

Many people’s view is that bad things happening means the very existence of God is questionable. For if God truly exists and have all the powers ascribed to Him, everything should just be good, and with the complete absence of evil or trouble.

Many Christians even claim if bad things happen to you, you are either not a true Christian, or have some hidden sin in your life, or you are suffering from the sins of your ancestors or the enemy is just more powerful than God! Many of us still have many friends who are not wiser, and oftentimes worse than Job’s friends. Just be aware!

Have a serious problem is not always an indication that God is not there or that God is angry with that person. We should as fallible human beings be humble enough to admit that we don’t always have the answer as to why bad things happen to people.

Such humility will help us to at least reduce our numerous but often ungodly speculations. It will help us to resist from giving grievous advice like the friends of job in our attempts to sound spiritual while only clutching at powerless finger-piercing straws.

Such humility will help us to the realisation that oftentimes when a person is undergoing suffering or mourning a loss just being there but keeping our mouths shut from speaking unhelpful platitudes is more needful.

Remember the Word of God: Even the hairs on your head are numbered, and you are of much value to God (Mat 10:28-31).

Later, Job affirmed to his friends that he would retain his integrity till death (Job 27:5). Christ was to, much later affirm this principle of openly confessing one’s allegiance to God, and to Christ (Mat 10:32-33). And apparently that was what Job did: He remained openly faithful to God till the end.

Not all are called to be a Job

Job was a human like any, and all of us. I have heard that uncountable times. It is true that Job was a human like us. What is probably not true is to in our zealousness to help to assume that everyone having a serious issue is called to be a Job. It is thus important to recognise that though the destination is the same for all genuine Christians, the race and track for each are different. But whatever the case may be, the LORD gives enough grace to be sustained so that His perfect will takes place.

Indeed, how many of us could have stayed true to God if we were suddenly thrown into Job’s position?

Consider where you are now, and the things you think you are going through:

  • How is your relationship with God?
  • How are you bearing up under the burden if you are carrying any?
  • Could you have gone further than Job’s wife and taken the laws into your hands?

Watch where you look for help

It is natural to seek help when there is a problem. It is better still to have help that can help prevent a problem from taking place. Sometimes, in spite of all the best efforts or even because of the best efforts problem occurs. And the need to seek help arises.

 Please, be careful where you look for help. Do not look for help in places where there is none. There are places that have the appearance of righteousness but are actual citadels of wickedness. Those who go to such places receive no help but are fleeced. They end up spending all their livelihood on wolves in sheep’s clothing and their false promises that profit nothing, and the situation will in all probability get worse like that of the woman with the issue of blood before she met Christ (Mark 5:25-26).

Rather, affirm your faith in the LORD as you seek godly counsel.

Be grateful to God that in His wisdom, not many of us are called by God to be a Job.

Remember, Job’s wife stayed with her husband till the end and they were restored together.

What if there is no evidence of blessing?

Each person has his own idea of what things should be present to indicate the presence and blessings of God. Sometimes, such criteria are man-made and may even not have any support from Scripture. But many still insist on them all the same!

 So, what would you do when you are in that place where though you are a believer in Christ, there is no evidence of God’s presence, and blessing, as in this case of Job?

 How long do you think you will stay true to God before seeking additions, and or alternatives?

 This is especially important in this day of benefits Christianity. We have a deluge of prosperity gospel, instant gratifications, and so-called instant miracles.

Please, it is important to look intently at yourself and sincerely re-evaluate your relationship with the Lord and make necessary adjustment.

While not everyone is called to be a Job and his wife, each of us have our place and time of testing.

Believers respond differently and so, need to grow

Remember that, both husband and wife were believers in God and had walked with God for many years. God had been very good to them. But suddenly as if from thin air, they were both beset with an overwhelming tsunami of calamity, though the husband more so, as he was also physically afflicted in his body.

Both were grieving due to their devastating loss. Yet, their response concerning their faith and trust in God were so different. One possible reason for this may be their different levels of spiritual growth. We must always realise that though we may all be true believers in and followers of Christ, we are all at different levels of spiritual growth. The response of the individual Christian to a situation will be commensurate to that person’s level.

This is not to say some are super spiritual while others are not.

At the base level all are fallible. At the Spirit level all can avail themselves of the help of the Holy Spirit. In-between, each person must make use of the means for spiritual growth that God has graciously provided so that he can grow towards spiritual maturity rather than remaining “babes in Christ” (1Cor 3:1).

Each should strive to get to the level thus described, 14 that we henceforth be no more children, tossed to and fro, and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, and cunning craftiness, whereby they lie in wait to deceive; 15 but speaking the truth in love, may grow up into him in all things, which is the head, even Christ.” (Eph. 4:14-15).

As people of faith in God, and followers of Christ, we must have faith and trust in God in both prosperity and adversity, even while we are unable to understand why bad things happen.

Watch for you may not be better than Job’s wife

From the foregoing, we have seen a behaviour that could best be characterised as akin to that found amongst the ungodly and which should to be that of a believer in God.

Job cautioned his wife against anything that could have such appearance in her. It was as if Job, her husband of many years who knew her well warned her to watch herself so as not to fall into the trap of the devil because of her grief.

What will be foolishness on our part as New Testament believers in Christ?

 That calls for serious reflection on your part. This is so you do not find yourself inadvertently manifesting a type of behaviour that ordinarily is a preserve of the ungodly. And who is there to graciously caution you as Job did his wife?

 No excuse for unfaithfulness

What Job’s wife said was unbecoming and bad. She seemed to think that Job had good reason to rebel against God in view of all they had lost. And many us were we in her shoes would have done the same if not worse. Hence, her question, and the following statement. Job, her husband knew and understood her. And he was able to show that he was not serving God for profit.

 New Testament believers have an even more obvious or objective thing to look up to: The suffering and sacrifice of Christ on Calvary on our behalf.

 And because the believer’s sacrifice and persecution cannot be compared to that of Christ, it will be foolish to claim any excuse from not being faithful to God.

 This is not to shy away from the pain and suffering of believers in this world. Such are real and are often devastating. However, as the word of God makes clear, whatever level of suffering and deprivation a believer goes through in this world can never be compared to the glory and blessings that await the believer in the presence of the glorified Christ.

Hence, as a believer in and a disciple of the Lord Jesus Christ, you should recognise that there is no excuse for being unfaithful to your Saviour and Lord. Rather, ask the Lord for more grace in time of need.

God always have use for His children

God has and will always have use for His children. Job’s wife calling Job, her husband to end it all by cursing God is akin to saying God had no use for them anymore. She was deep in sorrow and grief, with her understanding clouded by her grief. She was wearied and tired and she seemed not to have the strength nor the will to want to continue to live.

She therefore looked for the quickest way to end it all: There was no point to continue to live a miserable existence. “Let us make God angry so He can kill us” she might have thought.

Thankfully, God is not man. He is too powerful, long-suffering and merciful to act precipitately or irrationally. But Job, her husband was an example of patience in the face of adversity.

 Job’s faith should challenge you and me and indeed, all those who believe in the Lord Jesus Christ. For as in the case of Job whom God used to confound and silence Satan, God still wants to use His children for His glory in the way and by the means He chooses at His appointed time. It is therefore unreasonable and possibly foolish to think that because of being in adversity, God has no further use for us.

 Never let adversity make you forget the goodness of God

Job’s reply to his wife showed that though his anguish was intense, he still remembered the goodness of God. God had been good to them with all they enjoyed in the past.

 Though one’s circumstances could change dramatically, God never changes. God is always good even when our personal circumstances wants us to think otherwise.

 And as New Testament believers, God has and continues to demonstrate His love for us through salvation, daily provision, protection, and good promises for the future. It is therefore foolish to forget the goodness of God when we have problems or challenges that are not easy to resolve.

 As I often encourage us, you should never question what God had spoken or given to you in your steady state when trouble or difficulties come. God is always good and true.

Do remember:

  • Satan will do his best to make you charge God with error.
  • Satan will come, and especially at periods of vulnerability:
    • He will try to sow doubt.
    • He will try to tempt us with foolish questions.
    • He will try to make us draw foolish conclusions from incomplete and corrupt information.
    • And he will try to urge us to urgent precipitate and unwise actions that could make our situation worse if not irredeemable.

 But never forget who you are in the Lord, neither forget whom your Lord over your life: God not Satan. So, whatever the circumstances may be, we should remember who we are: Job never forgot who he was. Job never forgot who God was for knew he had a living, all-powerful redeemer (Job 19:25). Though his current situation was terrible, Job knew his future was bright (Job 19:25-27).

 We the New Testament believers have our future in the hands of Christ. This is a surer promise of bright future based upon His finished work on the cross. Therefore, we should be careful that our walk or anything in us does not portray us as one of the ungodly around us.

There is a possibility this could happen. Hence, the need for more grace in time of need. Determine not to allow any circumstances to cause to appear as a fool before God.

 Are you getting weary? Are you becoming discouraged? Does your situation seem overwhelming? It can happen. But please ask the Lord for grace to help in time of your need.

 The LORD will always supply enough grace for the circumstances He allows in your life. He did it for Job and his wife. He did it for our Lord Jesus Christ in Calvary.

 He is still on the throne and reigns sovereignly over ALL: the visible, the invisible, the known and the unknown of ALL He created. You are of much value to Him. He will do it for you too. Just ask and believe.

So far so good for the believer in Christ, the child of the living God. God ever watches over all His children.

But what if you are not yet a believer in Christ?

Please understand that the above concerns the followers of the Lord Jesus Christ. They can with the help of the Holy Spirit and the written word of God, and a humble spirit be able to be obedient to God, even in the worst of circumstances. This is because what God demands of His people can only be done with the help of God who superintends the lives of His people.

 So, if you are not yet a believer in Christ, if Jesus Christ is not yet your Saviour and Lord, the above may sound to you as unreal or a fairy tale. But I assure you it is real and not a fairy tale. And better still, you can come in and have what genuine believers in Christ have.

 How?

 By becoming a born-again child of God:

Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.

But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:

But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us(Romans 5:8).

Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.

We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.(Romans 10:9-10). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved(Romans 10:13).

Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.(Matthew 11:28-30).

So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!

I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

%MCEPASTEBIN%

Do You Know That You Are a Double Portion Treasure to God?  0

O yes, believers in Christ are double treasures of God though not many speak in such terms about man and God.

 

When humans talk of and about treasure, something that they value much, its often centred on some material physical item: a piece of real estate, gold bullion tucked away safely somewhere, some newly acquired exotic gadget or other such things that people are wont to put a premium upon.

 

Earthly treasure is so close to the heart most people that secure storage of treasures is a booming industry. But all such treasures have one thing in common, they are restricted to the earth and cannot be taken along when their owners exit this earth.

 

But from the perspective of God, there are more enduring treasures. No, this is not another piece to berate prosperity and those intoxicated by its acquisition at any and all costs. From the point of view of God man himself is the treasure. Yes, read that right, man himself is the treasure. Come along with me and see.

 

Be humble before Him but do not insult God

It is expected and it is good to be humble before God. It is also important to reflect humility in our everyday interaction with fellow human beings. Such humility before God should be genuine and not be for eye-service, to curry favour, to flatter or hypocritical for I real terms God can neither be mocked nor deceived. God sees through all human facades and masks of deception. But such humility should not be to the extreme where a genuine believer in Christ considers himself worthless in the sight of God.

 

God is infinite, omnipresent, omniscience and omnipotent. God is way, way higher than man by an unbridgeable very long mile. Though believers are precious to Him, they still are his creation which is inferior to Him in everything.

 

There are those who think and claim that they are worthless before God. They claim there is nothing worthy of God’s attention in their life. Such attitude and thinking may sound like humility but in reality, it is another subtle way of insulting God.

 

At the other extreme are those who claim to be sinless because Christ has paid for their sins. They claim they are very important to God. In fact, so important to God that God cannot do anything without them. Some amongst such people have even gone so far as to say that God cannot do anything on earth without asking for their permission.

 

Neither of these two extremes are biblical but are men speaking from their wrong perceptions of their relationship with God. One from confusion and error as to what is humility before God. The other out of the pride of his haughty heart.

 

What is clear is that the Almighty God is so high and lofty compared to man that the right-thinking person cannot but humbly pay homage to the majesty of God.

 

It is the acknowledgement of the infiniteness and majesty of God with the corresponding worship that comes from a grateful and obedient heart that is humility before God, and not some self-denigrating eye-service bowing down like a bulrush done in a so-call place of worship while the heart of such remain deviant to God.

 

Understanding what humility is then prepares us to accept what God calls us who belong to Him without getting puffed up with pride that goes before a fall. Rather than pride, the child of God recognising the enormity of what God has done for him, knowing he can never repay bows down from a heart filled with gratitude in humble adoration of such a loving, merciful God who is mighty to save!

 

Who do you think you are?

  • How would you answer the question, “Who do you think you are?”
  • Is your answer from human or God’s perspective?
  • Does your warped understanding of humility make you to denigrate what God says He made with purpose and wonderfully?

 

Think then answer this question: “Would you spend your all to obtain something you consider worthless or valueless?” Though you are just a human being I doubt if you will knowingly make any serious effort to acquire something that will be worthless to you.

 

So, if you, a mere man with all your proneness to wickedness will not make effort to acquire something you know will be worthless to you, why do you think the Almighty, All-knowing God expend much effort to reclaim man for Himself, if as some say, man is worthless to God?

 

Who is God?

 

But who is this God?

 

Though, man can have a general idea and knowledge about God through His creation, the more important and specific information about God can only be obtained by God revealing to man what He wants man to know. Hence, the specifics we can know of God is revealed in His written Word: The Holy Bible.

 

  • There is only one God (Deut. 6:4; 1Cor 8:4-6).
  • He is the only living and true God (1Thess 1:9; Jer. 10:10).
  • God is infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7-9, 26:14).
  • God is the creator of all things visible and invisible, known and unknown to man (Gen 1:1).

 

God chose to create when He needed not to. No one compelled Him to create neither was there any with enough wisdom to give Him advice. He created as He desired to create.

 

Down the line many millennia into His creation, a sequel to the prior call of Abraham, their ancestor and founder of the ethic people-group (Gen 12:1-3), God chose Israel to be his possession, a special people to himself (Ex 19:5-6; Deut. 7:6; Ps 135:4), not because of any merit they have over other people-groups for God himself spoke concerning his election of them thus,

 

  • 7The Lord did not set his love upon you, nor choose you, because ye were more in number than any people; for ye were the fewest of all people: 8but because the Lord loved you, and because he would keep the oath which he had sworn unto your fathers, hath the Lord brought you out with a mighty hand, and redeemed you out of the house of bondmen, from the hand of Pharaoh king of Egypt.” (Deut. 7:7-8). See also 9:6).

 

And we are told further,

 

  • 4For the Lord hath chosen Jacob unto himself, And Israel for his peculiar treasure. 5For I know that the Lord is great, And that our Lord is above all gods. 6Whatsoever the Lord pleased, That did he in heaven, and in earth, In the seas, and all deep places.” (Ps 135:4-6).

 

God is not under any obligation to explain His actions or state His motive for He is most free (Ps 115:3). But though invisible and eternal (1Tim 1:17), He chose to speak and to reveal things that can only be known by revelation, especially those that are of benefit to His intelligent creation.

 

God has always taken the initiative. And whatever He starts He follows through to completion.

 

And so as in the Old Testament period, God acted similarly in the New Testament. Hence, the New Testament believers in Christ are chosen by God as His own possession. No believer in Christ has done anything to merit or to qualify for predestination and call (cf. Rom 8:29-30; 1Thess 1:4; 2Pet 1:10).

 

Some of the attributes of God

Though the pages of Holy Scripture abound with copious details of the majesty of our God, many believers still lack the right perception of God in their heart.

 

Hence, it is worth repeating some of the attributes of God as revealed to us in Holy Scripture, and perchance, you that is reading this may be helped further in your journey of faith:

  • Our God is the only creator of the heavens and the earth (Gen 1:1);
  • The God of Abraham, Isaac and Israel is our God and He is the only true and living God (Deut. 6:4; Jer. 10:10; 1Cor 8:4-6; 1Thess 1:9);
  • Our God is invisible, infinite in being and perfection (Job 11:7-9, 26:14; 1Tim 1:17);
  • Our God is immutable, immense and eternal (Jam 1:17; Mal 3:6; 1Kgs 8:27; Jer. 23:23-24; Ps 90:2; 1Tim 1:17);
  • Our God sustains his creation and redeems as He pleases (Rom 8:29; 11:36; Heb. 1:3);
  • Our God is great (Ps 135:5);
  • Our God rules sovereignly over the whole universe (Ps 135:6), and so, He does whatever He pleases in and with His creation;
  • The word of our God is all-encompassing and comprehensively powerful (Ps 19:7-11).
  • God Himself speaks, about Himself,

 

I, even I, am the Lord; And beside me there is no saviour.” (Isa 43:11).

 

And further,

 

Thus saith the Lord the King of Israel, And his redeemer the Lord of hosts; I am the first, and I am the last; And besides me there is no God.” (Isa 44:6).

 

The advent of man

God reveals to us in the Holy Scripture that He spoke His creation into existence. But there is one element of His creation whose existence seemed to have involved more than the spoken word: the creation of man.

 

Scripture informs us that God took the initiative, that creating man was a deliberated action by God.

 

There apparently was a sort of council meeting concerning the creation of man. Human beings did not just happen to be as in,

 

“Let there be…, Let the waters…, Let the earth….” (Gen 1:3-25)

 

as was the case concerning plant and animal life. Man is not a product of evolution that evolved from some low-level creature.

 

Rather, the need for the existence of mankind was discussed as we are informed,

 

“And God said, Let us make man in our image….” (Gen 1:26).

 

Hence, mankind came into existence by the deliberate and thoughtful creative act of the Almighty God:

 

  • 26And God said, Let us make man in our image, after our likeness: and let them have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over the cattle, and over all the earth, and over every creeping thing that creepeth upon the earth. 27 So God created man in his own image, in the image of God created he him; male and female created he them.” (Gen 1:26-27).

 

Our God created man out of love. God made man wonderfully (Ps 139:14), and with the capacity to relate to Him. God created man for the fellowship and worship of Himself as his creator-God.

 

We are told that God deliberately and need I say, joyful fellowshipped with man before the fall:

 

“the LORD God walked in the garden in the cool of the day….And the LORD God called…“Where art thou?”” (Gen 3:8-9).

 

The fellowship with man as God intended was soon interrupted by the devil luring man into sin. But it was man who listened to the devil and disobeyed God (Gen 3). And man has continued in sin and rebellion against God since.

 

God could have easily replaced both Adam and Eve with another set of beings. But He did not, not for want of capacity, for He was willing and ready to replace the Israelites with a new people-group through Moses (Ex 32:10).

 

Rather, God chose to save them because of His love and the much value He placed on man.

 

Further, no one of the creatures of God can be allowed to stop His plan for man. So, God decided to redeem man.

 

What do you think you are worth in gold, diamond or any other precious stone?

 

The means by which you were redeemed will give you a good idea of your worth in the sight of God.

 

If someone was to surreptitiously acquire your precious treasure, to what length would you go to redeem that your precious treasure?

 

Well, God went all the way to reclaim and redeem His precious treasure, man that He had created in His own image (Gen 1:26-27).

 

So, God loved man. Put another way, man is God’s treasure.

 

Naturally, God’s heart was on earth because God’s treasure, man is on earth.

 

[[Scientists tell us that the earth is one of the smallest of the smallest planets. If this is true, the question needs be asked: “Why is God focused on earth, one of the smallest of his planetary creation?” This answer will not be farfetched if I say God is focused on the earth because that is where God’s treasure is. That treasure is man.

 

Remember, God gave the earth to man,

 

The heaven, even the heavens, are the Lord’s: But the earth hath he given to the children of men.” (Ps 115:16). To buttress this point, remember that God first created all that man would require for his existence (Gen 1:1-25), before He created man.

 

And remember, the truth spoken by our Lord when he said, “where your treasure is, there will your heart will also.” (Mat 6:21).

 

I venture to say the Lord might have been speaking from experience. He knew how much the Father’s heart was on earth and how much He Himself could hardly wait to come down to earth to overcome the strong man the devil and retrieve man, the treasure of God that he stole.

 

Still in doubt?

 

Then tell me, “Why did the Lord of Glory divested himself of his glory to come to planet earth and not to Jupiter, mars or any of these other planets named by man?”

 

Well I say, it can only mean one thing: “Because of His treasure, which is man, is here on earth!”

 

Remember, He came to seek and save that which was lost,

 

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).

 

Man was the lost treasure of God, stolen by the devil if you like, that Christ came to save.

 

And God needed to do something about His treasure on earth that has been corrupted and taken over by the devil through sin. God needed to redeem His treasure.

 

But, by what means would man be redeemed that will meet the standard demanded by the love, justice and integrity of God?

 

Jesus Christ the Lord of glory

The Lord Jesus Christ was there with His Father in the beginning. He carried out the creation and so knew the purpose and will of His Father for man (Gen 1:1, 26-28; John 1:1-4). He knew man is God’s peculiar treasure. He loved man and loved His Father even more. He knew His Father’s heart was on earth with His treasure, man (Mat 6:21).

 

The Father desired to reclaim, He desired the reconciliation of and the reestablishment of the broken relationship with man. Hence, God took the initiative: He set the price of reconciliation. His loving son volunteered to pay the set price.

 

Apparently, the devil and his cohorts were not in on the arrangement between Father and Son concerning His treasure. Hence, we told of,

 

7…the hidden wisdom, which God ordained before the world unto our glory: 8which none of the princes of this world knew: for had they known it, they would not have crucified the Lord of glory.” (1Cor 2:7-8).

 

The Lord Jesus Christ knew about the existing problem of the devil.

 

He said,

 

10 The thief cometh not, but for to steal, and to kill, and to destroy: I am come that they might have life, and that they might have it more abundantly. 11 I am the good shepherd: the good shepherd giveth his life for the sheep.” (John 10:10-11).

 

The Lord came in flesh through a virgin birth. He grew up in obscurity though He was of the royal lineage of David for at the time of His birth, the glory had departed and there was only a stump remaining in the stem of Jesse.

 

When He was about 30 years of age in His earthly, fleshly existence, the previously latent and clandestine battles with the kingdom of darkness broke out into the open.

 

The enemy wasted no time in seeking and obtaining the support of the cultural, religious and later, governmental leaders and systems to ensure victory for himself. All the devil needed was to present his own agenda and methods of achieving such in a way these his cohorts believed them as their own, and he was home and dry. Or so he thought.

 

The Ministry of Jesus Christ

The Lord Jesus gathered some common members of the community and went about teaching them about the kingdom of heaven and what He was about. The enemy must have thought He was beside Himself. For to the devil it would have made more sense and with success guaranteed to go through established, well-oiled system corrupt men and wicked devil than to start something new in a very hostile environment with recruits not used to the established order.

 

However, Christ was undeterred because He knew His purpose and His calling in life!

Do you know your purpose and calling in life?

 

Man was redeemed with God’s best, His only begotten Son,

 

even as the Son of man came not to be ministered unto, but to minister, and to give his life a ransom for many.” (Mat 20:28).

 

The Lord further said, this is my blood of the new testament, which is shed for many for the remission of sins.” (Mat 26:28).

 

The devil executed all his repertoire of wills, devices and all else he was capable of, but the Lord came out victorious and in power (Mat 28:18-20).

 

But the devil is under restraint

And so, please remember, left on his own the devil wants to supplant God and failing that, to destroy man as a way of hurting God if that were possible. But is under constraints placed by God. Hence, the devil cannot do all the evil he is capable of doing nor all the evil he wants to do. The devil can only perform with the limit God allows (Job 1:12, 2:6; John 7:30, 8:20).

 

So, we are informed too concerning believers,

 

being born again, not of corruptible seed, but of incorruptible, by the word of God, which liveth and abideth forever.” (1Pet 1:23);

 

Christ is the propitiation for the sins of all believers including you (1John 2:2). Christ purchased you with His own blood (Acts 20:28);

 

who gave himself for us, that he might redeem us from all iniquity, and purify unto himself a peculiar people, zealous of good works.” (Tit 2:14);

 

Hence, if you have been saved, you do not belong to yourself but to Christ,

 

19 What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? 20 For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.” (1Cor 6:19-20. Also see Gal 3:13; 1Pet 1:18-19; Acts 20:28).

 

Then comes the gospel

The men later described as being perceived by Annas the high priest and his kindred to be unlearned and ignorant (Acts 4:6, 13), proved they were the right choices for the Ultimate Teacher and Builder, our Lord Jesus Christ. Through the apostles and their foundational pioneering work (Eph. 3:20), the Holy Spirit working through them, the Biblical Christian Faith was birthed.

 

And so, the world continues to witness the presence and power of the gospel of Jesus Christ (Rom 1:16), even till today. But remember, they started in earnest after receiving the Holy Spirit at Pentecost (Acts 2:1-4).

 

The vessel, the first treasure (2Cor 4:7)                                                                                            

The believer in Christ, himself a treasure of God, carries the gospel of Christ, another treasure of God.

 

God Himself choses and prepares His vessels. The first step is usually the salvation of the would-be vessel. The vessel accepts the gospel and confesses Christ as Saviour and Lord. The useable vessel must be clean, empty and available for service.

 

Hence, the believer in Christ must seek to become

  • “a vessel unto honour, sanctified, and meet for the master’s use, and prepared unto every good work.” (2Tim 2:21).

 

Believers in Christ are vessels that God uses. We are earthen vessels so that we will depend on the power of God and not our own in the propagation of the gospel. The jars of clay are inexpensive, brittle and easily broken. This illustrates the truth that the power released through the preaching of the gospel is from God and not from the believers who are the earthen vessels preaching the gospel.

 

Within the earthen vessel is a treasure, a second treasure.

Within the earthen vessels, the believers in Christ is the gospel, another treasure of God. Hence, a treasure carrying another treasure. As long as the vessel guards the treasure, God would guard the vessel. Believers in Christ must focus on the treasure and not the vessel, and on the master and not on the servant.

 

One way for believers in Christ not to give up in the face of serious challenges is by remembering that we are privileged to have the treasure of the Gospel in us who are though vessels of clay are precious to God too!

 

The enemy fights both the gospel, the invisible treasure and the vessel, the visible human treasure, that carries it (2Cor 4:4). Having failed woefully at Calvary, the enemy now directed and continues to direct the full power of his weaponry against the gospel. This he does by multi-prong attacks.

 

The devil fights against the gospel and believers in Christ through planting and sustaining false religions, philosophies, false teachers and prophets. He also works directly on the unbeliever by blinding the mind of the people as we are told,

 

“the god of this world hath blinded the minds of them which believe not, lest the light of the glorious gospel of Christ, who is the image of God should shine unto them.” (2Cor 4:4).

 

The battle has continued till this day as the gospel continues to be veiled from the perishing even today.

 

The sun is always shining though it may not always seem so as we may not see it all the time because it is obscured by other things between it and us.

 

Similarly, the light of the gospel is always shining. God is always seeking to shine its light into the hearts of men in every era and very culture. But the devil puts various barriers between the lost sinners and God.

 

These barriers include love of the world and the things in it over and above God, rebellion against God and everything God stands for, pride that demands self-worship and worship by others, self-righteousness or any number of several other obstacles. They all serve often effectively to hinder the light of the gospel from shining for the enemy simply does not want those who are lost to be saved.

 

 

Again, the treasures are:

  • First Treasure is the vessel which is you the believer in Christ.
  • The Second Treasure is “the light of the knowledge of the glory of God in the face of Jesus Christ” (2Cor 4:6), that is, the gospel of Jesus Christ.

 

The gospel illustrated by comparison with creation as described in Genesis

When the sinner hears the preaching of the gospel, when a believer in Christ shares the good news of the gospel with an unbeliever, the light begins to shine. Like the earth of Gen 1:2, the lost sinner is formless, empty and in darkness.

 

As the Gospel of Jesus Christ is preached, the Holy Spirit moves upon the heart of the person hearing, just as He moved on the face of the deep at the original creation. Then light shines into the heart of this person showing him that he is guilty sinner who needs a Saviour.

 

As the material creation in Genesis began with light, so also does the spiritual creation begin with light. Through the gospel light God shines in our hearts by the Holy Spirit, then spiritual life begins.

 

The believer in Christ is precious to God

 

God sent His only begotten Son to die for you while you were still in your sins. This was because you are valuable to God. Though you may not have adequate knowledge as to your value to God, it is clear that He loves you and decided to save you. Nothing can be plainer that what Christ said,

 

For the Son of man is come to seek and to save that which was lost.” (Luke 19:10).

 

And,

 

No man can come to me, except the Father which hath sent me draw him: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:44).

 

And further,

 

37 All that the Father giveth me shall come to me; and him that cometh to me I will in no wise cast out. 38 For I came down from heaven, not to do mine own will, but the will of him that sent me. 39 And this is the Father’s will which hath sent me, that of all which he hath given me I should lose nothing, but should raise it up again at the last day. 40 And this is the will of him that sent me, that every one which seeth the Son, and believeth on him, may have everlasting life: and I will raise him up at the last day.” (John 6:37-40);

 

  • Are you a genuine believer in the Lord Jesus Christ?
  • Is the Lord Jesus Christ your Saviour and your Lord?

 

If yes, then you are doubly precious to the living God. You are God’s treasure and you carry another treasure of God.

 

“There is joy in the presence of the angels of God over one sinner that repenteth.” (Luke 15:7, 10).

 

There is joy because it is a good and God-glorifying thing each time a sinner repents. Remember, you were once a sinner. Which means there was joy in heaven when you repented and were saved.

 

Each person saved is another manifestation of the victory of Christ on the cross over the devil and his kingdom of darkness. A resounding defeat for the devil and his cohorts.

 

And further, if the death of His saint matters to God, Precious in the sight of the Lord

Is the death of his saints.” (Ps 116:15), then His saints are important to Him.

 

 

This knowledge should humble the true believer in Christ. Especially when you realise that you have not done anything special or important to warrant such love from God.

 

God has refused to give up on man

Many derogatory things are said about man and the devil many of which are true. God himself says many unsavoury things about man and God will never lie. Yet, all these unpalatable attributes have never been able to discourage God from doing everything possible to save man.  

 

And we are informed that God’s determination to save was not an after-thought but a deliberate act,

 

  • 4according as he hath chosen us in him before the foundation of the world, that we should be holy and without blame before him in love: 5 having predestinated us unto the adoption of children by Jesus Christ to himself, according to the good pleasure of his will.” (Eph. 1:4-5).

 

Thus when a person believes in Christ and is saved the sinner becomes a new creation (2Cor 5:17). As the new believer in Christ begins to be transformed by the Holy Spirit through the instrument of the word of God, he begins to be productive and fruitful.

 

The light of the gospel does not shine in your heart simply to give you knowledge of salvation. You are not the end of your blessings.

 

Rather, as a new believer in Christ, God expects you to be a new channel through which the gospel will get to others. Put another way, you are blessed so you might be a blessing to others. As a believer in Christ you become another instrument in the repertoire of God to reach other human beings for God.

 

The gospel is the good news of Christ in glory. Christ has triumphed on the cross over the forces of evil. This is the Lord Jesus Christ who came to seek and save that which was lost. He died on the cross, was buried, He rose from the dead on the third day, showed Himself to His apostles, ascended into heaven and He is now seated at the right hand of God in heaven.

 

The glorified Son of God is the object of every true believer’s faith. He is coming back again but this time in power and glory.

 

We (believers in Christ) are truly a double portion treasure in the sight of the Lord. A jewel of inestimable value. Thus He offered His highest and best for you on Calvary in the person of His only begotten son. The Son offered His life so that He might have you as a co-heir.

 

This knowledge should humble you and indeed humble every true believer. You should not be puffed up as some do.

 

Remember, you have no credentials to present to God other than the righteousness of His Son which has been imputed into your account. God and His Son did everything for you. Therefore, as you begin to understand this knowledge re-dedicate your life to the service of the LORD out of a grateful heart.

 

Begin to seek to make His glory shine through you to others. You should begin to serve now out of love, gratitude and referential fear for who He is and what He has done for you and not from the fear of going to hell. God’s perfect love casts out fear.

 

You are the light in the midst of the darkness around your environment. Begin to shine and let others see the glory of God over your life!

 

To the unbeliever

The above piece about being a double treasure to God refers to believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Those who have made peace with God through Christ are commonly referred to as being born-again.

 

But what if you are not a believer in the Lord Jesus Christ! What if you are yet to be saved? Then you are still at enmity with God and are yet outside of the circle of the people of God.

 

But God in His mercy has made provision for you too. God says you should repent and come back to Him. He is willing and waiting to forgive you and take you back to Himself through His Son, Jesus Christ.

So, you should act fast and NOW: Repent, that is, change your mind about what you think of God, Christ, sin and the purpose in life.

 

Wondering, “how do I become born again?”

 

The Holy Scriptures say that:

  1. “All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23).

This means that in God’s opinion, we fall short of His standard.

 

  1. “For the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

Our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in Hell.

 

  1. “But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Even in our sin, God continued to show us His love and demonstrated this love by sending his Son, Jesus Christ to die on the cross for us. He thus gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16).

 

  1. There is only One step that must be taken:
  2. “If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Rom 10:9-10).

 

“For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

 

All that appropriate the sacrifice of Christ are acceptable to Him. For He Himself extended the invitation to all:

“Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Mat 11:28-30).

 

Why don’t you confess the Lord Jesus Christ NOW?

 

Please, do not reject that invitation as you do not know when you will be called by God to give account of your life!!!

 

I pray that you will take the necessary step towards the Lord and God will accept you in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Beware that your attitude does not portray you as one of the foolish  0

Many believers in Christ are so sure of their faith that they claim that nothing can shake them. That nothing will make them want to think evil of God. On the surface that sounds nice and even spiritual. Yet many are living like God has left them or that they never knew God in the first place. Peter the apostle once boasted that he would never deny the Lord even if others did. He was to later regret that boast as in the face of potential persecution and possible death, he reneged and denied his Lord.

And believers are warned to take heed least they fall. Believers are to regularly examine themselves to see if they are still in the faith. All these go to show to the believers in Christ that it is important for them to know they are vulnerable, especially at certain times and circumstances. They are to therefore be grounded and rooted in their faith and be on their watch against any slip ups.

Let every believer in Christ therefore beware that his attitude does not portray him as one of the foolish. To help us we shall look at a passage of the Holy Scripture, (Job 2:9-10) to learn from the life of one of the believers of old and his wife.

Job 2:9-10:

9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips..

Most anyone who has read the Holy Bible or been to Sunday Schools knows the story of Job or at least have heard of him. He is often held up as the epitome of faith in the face of adversity. Many often forget that while those reading the story as written in the Bible have the privilege of knowing the behind the scenes conferences held by God with the sons of God, Job in the centre of the testing did not.

And today, many believers in adverse circumstances expect to be told point blank that God is the one allowing Satan to test-prove them. This is not always the case as in the case of Job, God alone has the right to have such privileged information.

What God requires of you the believer is to stay true to him in all circumstances. However, as he demonstrated in the case of Job, God is able to see you through any situation without giving you the details of whatever may be taking place in the spirit realm concerning your situation.

God demands and expects you who claim to be his child to stand with him in the face of the adversary. I pray you will not fail God in the name of Jesus.

God Himself testifies concerning Job that:

  • Job is the servant of God.
  • There is none like him in the earth, a perfect man.
  • Job feared God and eschewed evil (Job 1:8).

Satan the opportunist

And God gave Satan permission to afflict Job, but with one exemption: God commanded Satan to not touch the life of Job (Job 2:6).

What better opportunity could Satan ever had again against such a highly regarded servant of God. The devil took his opportunity with both hands and joyfully went to work on Job. By the time Satan got to the limit of what God permitted him to do, Job had lost ALL:

  • He had lost all his property.
  • He had lost all his children.
  • He had lost all his wealth.
  • He had lost his health.
  • He had lost his standing and prestige in the community.
  • Everything was gone, and he was in a terrible state.

In all his plenty and adversity, his wife was a full participant equally affected as her husband.

Job was now sitting outside on a heap of ashes, scratching his rotten sores with a potsherd (Job 2:8). Job that was a man of authority and prestige (Job 29:1-25) was now an outcast scorned by all. What a terrible personality Satan is!

Job not aware of meeting in heaven

Do remember that Job was not privileged to know God held a council with the sons of God in heaven, neither was he informed of what transpired in that meeting (Job 1:6-12; 2:1-6).

Only the readers of this book down the ages, including us are given that privileged information. We are reading it after the events. As such we have a tendency to be wiser after the events forgetting that Job was not privy to the behind-the-scenes spiritual goings-on.

9 Then said his wife unto him, Dost thou still retain thine integrity? curse God, and die.

 Job’s wife was married to him in a covenant relationship.

  • She had lived with him for a long time.
  • She is the mother of his 10 children (7 sons and 3 daughters).
  • She knew him very well.
  • She knew his devotion to God to be real, and not a pretension.
  • She had enjoyed the period of prosperity and was now undergoing adversity with him.
  • Hence, she was not a stranger to God’s goodness in their lives.

However, she is a woman deeply grieving. And she spoke out of the depth of her sorrow and grief.

Integrity:

Integrity: (in this context), is spotless character in regard to God; blamelessness before God; Completeness with regard to his relationship with God. This completeness in relationship with God manifested in concrete action as Job refused to charge God with wrongdoing.

Job persisted in the same level of devotion to God that he had at the time of his prosperity even in the time of his great and tragic adversity. God Himself testified to the veracity of Job’s integrity though his wife was not aware of God’s testimony.

 Of Job can truly be said, “He loved the giver of the gifts infinitely more than the gifts.”

 Believer in Christ how are you responding to God in your prosperity?

  • Believer in Christ, how are you responding to God in your adversity?
  • Like Job or like his wife?

 Job’s wife knew Job was still maintaining his relationship with God. That he had refused to charge God with error or wickedness.

 Hence, her question.

  • Are you still maintaining your integrity?
  • Are you still continuing to have faith in your God who has done all these terrible things to us?
  • How long are you going to continue to insist that God is good and loves you?
  • How worse can things get before you wake up from this your religious fanaticism.
  • Stop burying your head in the sand like an ostrich and face the reality of your situation!
  • And on and on. You, fill-in the blanks!  

 She asked the question knowing fully well that Job was still faithful to God and that her husband was still refusing to blame God for their calamity.

The age-old modus operandi of Satan

This line of questioning by Job’s wife is not new. It is as old as when corruption was found in Satan, the adversary. Neither prosperity nor adversity is a panacea against it. It can be indirect through a cooperating agent like the serpent in the garden, an agent who may not be aware of having been coopted like the case of Job’s wife, or direct by the devil himself as in the case of Christ in the wilderness.

Remember:

The serpent (the instrument of the devil in the garden) with Eve:

Eve was in a place of plenty. A place where all their needs as a couple, including regular fellowship with God were met. Yet, the devil came there. Knowing what God has said to Eve, he said,

“Yea, hath God said?” (Gen 3:1).

 The devil directly confronted the Lord Jesus Christ.

The Lord was in the wilderness and fasting. It was a place of deprivation, preparation and testing. The Lord was fasting as part of the preparation for His soon-to-be lunched ministry of Salvation.

So, further down the line, the devil used the same ploy with the Lord Jesus Christ. Though, he knew Jesus to be the Son of God, he still went ahead to challenge that truth. He said,

“If thou be the son of God” (Mat 4:3, 6).

 Notice that the questions and statements are calculated or framed in a way to create doubt in the hearer.

The devil was saying to the Lord, “you are the Son of God eh! Prove it to me now!” But since when does a child of God has to prove to the devil that he is a child of God? He knows his Father and his Father knows him!

Remember,

Eve was wallowing in abundance, while the Lord was in a 40-day fast and in the wilderness. They were both confronted by the tempter with things that would be quite enticing and irresistible.

The devil makes his moves at the moments of maximum vulnerability of his intended victim! The time the devil is most likely to succeed against the would-be victim in his deception. The devil presents his case in a most believable way. In ways that even others will join in to put pressure upon the intended victim.

Job asked to imitate the heathen around him

Job’s wife’s command to him was, “curse God, and die”

The heathens around them were in the habit of heaping curses upon their idol gods when they thought such false gods had brought misfortune and evil upon them. Job’s wife would have seen them berating and reproaching their gods on many occasions.

Job as the head of the family is the one with authority to call time on the family. Through him, both blessings and curses come, and in this case, all the calamity was because his faithfulness pleased God but angered Satan and led to his being further tested.

And he is the one who could end their relationship with God. Hence, she was asking her husband to do the ultimate: curse God and let Him kill us out of anger and save us from this miserable life!

 What she might be forgetting because of her sorrow was that Yahweh, their God was the true God and not an idol. You can neither curse nor make an end of the true and living God! You cannot even curse the true child of God. If you doubt this ask Balaam and Balak (Num. 22:1-24:25. See esp. Num.23:7-8, 18-21).

 The idea was that Job should make an end of everything, because according to the theology of the wife by what had happened to them, God had proved to be unworthy of their devotion and worship. Doesn’t that remind you of the prosperity crowed?

What worse thing could befall them other than what they had suffered? she must have reasoned. It is better to die and end all than to live such a miserable life she must have thought!

 Please, be aware, suffering and pain can do much damage to a believer’s thinking.

So, mind your thinking and your words when you are in unpleasant circumstances.

Her words were harsh and would have had a devastating effect on Job more than whatever Job’s friends might have said. She was the closest to Him, the only one after God that he could trust, and rely upon. They have done intimate and confidential things together and she knew her husband inside out. Job, her husband knew and trusted her too.

And so, to hear her utter the words she uttered like she did would ordinarily have deflated Him. But he showed that he was really a man of faith. Job demonstrated perseverance in His faith and in his trust in God.

 However, Job’s wife misconstrued his perseverance in faith as religious fanaticism. She thought Job was blindly refusing to face the reality of their very desperate situation. She showed her bitterness against God by lashing out at her husband. Her action would have been another of so many terrible blows to Job, her husband.

 Notice that, though Job and his wife were unaware of what was going on in the heavenly council, the suggestion of his wife that Job should curse God was exactly what Satan had twice predicted in the presence of God that Job would do if God should allow him to attack Job (Job 1:11; 2:5). Hence, inadvertently, she was being an advocate for the devil!

Please be careful that neither your utterances nor your actions inadvertently strengthen the enemy position.

“10 But he said unto her, Thou speakest as one of the foolish women speaketh. What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil? In all this did not Job sin with his lips.

Her husband, who was in addition to the loss of their children and all their material wealth, was in serious physical sickness responded but not in the harsh tone that some would have.

Foolish here does not mean to be stupid or lack natural intelligence. Here, foolish means being spiritually ignorant or being undiscerning of spiritual things.

Notice that her husband, Job, did not call her a foolish woman. And no right-thinking believer should call his wife foolish, neither should the wife her husband. There should be no derogatory language between spouses.

Rather, Job was cautioning his wife against speaking unadvisedly. It is as if saying, be careful now. Do not speak like one of the foolish women. Foolish women here likely referred to the heathen unbelievers around them. Job was cautioning his wife not to let their current terrible situation to overwhelm her to the extent that she would disparage and charge God with error.

The fool:

It is the fool who has said in his heart, that there is no God. It is the fool that worship idols and other false gods. It is the fool that claims to be a Christian while living contrary to the word of God, and still expecting God’s blessings.

Brother, sister, how do you speak? Like one of the foolish? Please, speak as one of the wise ones.

What? shall we receive good at the hand of God, and shall we not receive evil?

Job was indeed reminding his wife of who she was in God, and their previous blessings from God by his statement put to her as a question. Job was not being a fatalist who resigned to the will of an unknown God.

Rather, Job recognised the sovereignty of God over their lives, and indeed over all of creation. Though he might not be able to explain it or even understand it, Job believed nothing would happen to them except God allowed it.

He was of such trustfulness that God knows all things, and especially in their situation, that he must have rested in the truth that God knew what he was doing. His is the life of one totally submitted to God.

In spite of his own personal pain and anguish, he found time to be the pillar of support for his wife. He was still gracious towards her as in her grieve she lashed out at him.

In all this did not Job sin with his lips:

Try to picture the level of personal agony and suffering Job must have been in because of his terrible physical sickness, add to that the loss of all he possessed except his wife. All his friends and relatives had deserted them. He had lost his high status in society. Yet, he refused to charge God with error. Though in serious pain, he did not sin! Though in a very serious situation he neither understood nor could explain, he refused to sin!

Observe that:

This affirmation and confirmation that, “in all this did Job sin not with his lips”, proved Satan’s prediction wrong. Satan had twice predicted to God that if Job was attacked severely enough, Job would curse God to his face (Job 1:11; 2:5). Of course, Satan is the father and purveyor of falsehood. He raises up false prophets to ensnare the gullible, especially those in pursuit of signs and wonders from whatever source. It also vindicated God’s confidence in Job, and God’s words about Job (Job 1:22, cf. Job 1:8, 11; 2:3, 5).

How would you fare?

  • Brother, sister, how is your relationship with God.
  • In what ways may Satan be challenging your integrity before God?
  • What may the devil be predicting concerning you before God?
  • Will God have such confidence in your integrity or faithfulness if the devil were to argue in the court of heaven that he be allowed to put you to the test, to be allowed to attack you so as to show God that you are not as committed as you claim to be?
  • If such were to happen, or perhaps, is already happening, how will you respond?
  • Like Job or like Job’s wife?

Rather, Job confidently affirmed that trouble (evil) as well as good come from God. Scripture confirms the same (cf. Eccl. 7:14; Lam 3:38). This is in contrast with the view of most people, including Christians. Most people’s view is that bad things happening means the very existence of God is questionable. For if God truly exists and have all the powers ascribed to Him, everything should just be good, and with the complete absence of evil or trouble they reason and affirm.

Later, Job affirmed to his friends that he would retain his integrity till death (Job 27:5).

Job was a human like any, and all of us. He was just getting on with life not knowing what was happening in the spirit world. Though he was oblivious to the conferences going on about him in heaven, he believed not only in the sovereignty of God but also in the goodness of God. He believed whatever God allowed in his life (Job’s) would be in his (job’s) and to the Glory of God.

  • How many of us could have stayed true to God if we were Job?
  • Consider where you are now, and the things you think you are going through:
  • How is your relationship with God?
  • How are you bearing up under the burden?
  • Could you have gone further than Job’s wife and taken the laws into your hands?

Remember, she stayed with her husband till the end and they were restored together.

  • What would you do when you are in that place where though you are a believer in Christ, there is no evidence of God’s presence, and blessing, as in this case of Job.
  • How long do you think you will stay true to God before seeking additions, and or alternatives or even abandoning God altogether as you seek solution your own way at all costs?

This is especially important in this day of benefits Christianity. There is a deluge falsehood and the merchandising of the God of the bible and his word. Purveyors damnable heresies, instant gratifications, and so-called instant miracles have invaded the land and numerous people are being ensnared daily.

Please, it is important to look intently at yourself and sincerely re-evaluate your relationship with the Lord with the intention to make necessary adjustment as soon as practicable. Please, do not delay as the Lord could come back anytime.

While not everyone is called to be a Job and his wife, each believer has his or her place and time of testing.

Remember, both husband and wife were believers. They were both beset in the same calamity, but the husband more so, as he was also afflicted in his body. Both were grieving due to their devastating loss. All they saw was the physical realities of their situation as they were not privy to the meetings that took place in the presence of God. Yet, their response concerning their faith and trust in God were so different.

As people of faith in God, and followers of Christ, we must have faith and trust in God in both prosperity and adversity, even while we are unable to understand why bad things happen.

New Testament believers

Both the Old Testament and New Testament believers have and serve the same God. His standards and demands for his people remain the same. We have seen what would have been foolishness on the part of the wife of Job.

What will be foolishness on our part as New Testament believers in Christ? How a believer could inadvertently behave or act foolishly. And hence the need for the believer in Christ not to be complacent.

 No excuse for unfaithfulness

What Job’s wife said was bad. She seemed to think that Job had good reason to rebel against God in view of all they had lost. Perhaps most people would have thought so too. Hence, her question, and the following statement. But God expect better things from his children.

 And Job like many others in Scripture demonstrate to the rest of believers that believers can be better ambassadors of Christ if they will allow the Holy Spirit and the word of God to do their work in in the believer. This is what Job also amply demonstrated.

 But Job showed that he was not serving God for profit. New Testament believers have an even more obvious or objective thing to look up to: The suffering and sacrifice of Christ on our behalf. And because the sacrifice and persecution of any believer in Christ cannot be compared to that of Christ, it will be foolish to claim or proffer any excuse for not being faithful to God.

 So, if you find yourself faltering or being unfaithful, do not excuse yourself or try to blame someone else. Rather, confess and repent asking God to forgive you. And God will forgive and restore you to himself.

God always have use for his own

Calling Job, her husband to end it all by cursing God is akin to saying God had no use for them anymore. She was deep in sorrow and grief. She was wearied, tired, and seem not to have the strength nor the will to want to continue. The depth sorrow and grief of such horrendous disaster and personal tragedy befalling the home of a believer in the one true God can only be imagined and no doubt would have clouded her understanding.

She was simply numbed by her grief and couldn’t care less whatever happens. She therefore looked for the quickest way to end it all – no point to continue to live a miserable existence. But contrary to what she thought, God still had much use for her and her husband and thus kept them alive in their adversity.

 While she seemed hasty in her decision of advising her husband to abandon his faith, Job, her husband was an example of patience in the face of adversity. And the faith of Job in the face of overwhelming tragedy should challenge every believer in Christ.

 God used Job to confound and silence Satan called the adversary. Satan is still in the business of opposing God by been the adversary to his people. And God is still ever proud of his people, more so wherever there are faithful ones like Job. God still wants to use his people for his glory through empowering them to resist and overcome whatever the adversary may throw at them as he did Job. It is talking like one of the foolish if a believer counsels another to leave God because of some tragedy or adversity.

It is foolish to think that because of being in adversity, God has no further use for any of his children, children that he has gone to extra-ordinary effort to redeem by sending his only begotten Son into the world to suffer and die on the cross for.

 Never let adversity make forget the goodness of God

Job’s reply to his wife showed that though his anguish was intense, he still remembered the goodness of God. God had been good to them with all they enjoyed in the past.

 Though one’s circumstances could change dramatically, God never changes. God is always good even when our personal circumstances wants us to think otherwise. And as New Testament believers, God has and continues to demonstrate His love for us through salvation, daily provision, protection, and good promises for the future. It is therefore foolish to forget the goodness of God when we have problems or challenges that are not easy to resolve.

 As I often encourage us, you should never question what God had spoken or given to you in your steady state when trouble or difficulties come. God is always good and true.

 Satan will do his best to make you charge God with error.

Satan will come, and especially at periods of vulnerability: He will try to sow doubt. He will try to tempt us with foolish questions. He will try to make us draw foolish conclusions from incomplete and corrupt information. And he will try to urge us to urgent precipitate and unwise actions that could make our situation worse if not irredeemable.

 But never forget who you are:

However, whatever the circumstances may be, the believer in Christ should remember who he is: Job never forgot who he was. Job knew he had a living, all-powerful redeemer (Job 19:25). Though his current situation was terrible, and he had no explanation for it, he knew his future was bright (Job 19:25-27).

 The future of the New Testament believers in Christ is in the hands of Christ. This is the living hope that is a sure promise of bright future based upon Christ’s finished work on the cross.

The believer in Christ should be careful that his walk or anything in him does not portray him as one of the ungodly around. There is a possibility this could happen. Hence, believers are commanded to abstain or flee from all appearance of evil (1Thes 5:22).

Christian, believer in Christ, DETERMINE from now not to allow any circumstances to cause you to appear as a fool before God.

The unbeliever

But this has been about the people of God, especially in our time, the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps unlike Job and his wife, you are not of the people of God, you are yet an unbeliever and you are asking, “How do I come in seeing I do not yet know Christ?”

 What if Christ is not yet your Saviour? What if you are not yet born of the Spirit? Then the above does not yet apply to you. You are yet outside the fold of the people of God, the believers in Christ.

 But there is a way out for God has made provision for you too. O yes, God created you. So, he knows you more than you know yourself! God knew you were going to get to this point and he therefore made provision for you.

How?

 By becoming a born-again child of God as demanded and provided for by God:

The invitation has gone out to all human beings including you reading this piece.

Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.

But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:

But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us” (Romans 5:8).

Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.

We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.” (Romans 10:9-10). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved” (Romans 10:13).

Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.” (Matthew 11:28-30).

So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!

I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

God is Big Enough, but Who is He to You?  0

Every person engages in various activities of daily living. The core thing that drives most people is that their needs and desires be met. They had decided what they wanted out of life, and then tailored their endeavours towards achieving it.

 

Things would seem well and good until challenges or difficulties arise. The young person leaves school all pumped up thinking the world is at his feet. “I will be a big success within a short time” he says to himself. But he soon discovers that life is not as easy as he thinks.

 

The point is when things are not going as you expect, where do you go? Who do you turn to?

 

Naturally when people want or need help, they look for someone they think has the capacity to meet that need.

 

  • So, when they need some loan, they go to a money lender.
  • If it is housing, to the estate agent they go.
  • They need treatment for an ailment, they go to a GP clinic, etc.
  • There will usually be terms & conditions to be met for such a need to be met.

 

In all your actions, you will usually act according to your faith in and relationship with God.

 

Oftentimes, you think of the physical helps and networks around you. It is when these begin to fail to meet your expectations that you seem to think of God, and in a half-hearted manner.

 

Part of the problem is that when in need, the place some believer in Christ should go first is the place they go last. This is an indication of what or whom they think God is. If you are a believer in Christ and this reflects your situation, you are not alone. You are not the first to be in this situation, and in all probability, you will not be the last.

 

However, there is much believers in Christ can learn from the experiences of the people of God in the kingdom of Judah. We shall look at a particular event in their live and see what we can glean from it. This would be especially encouraging as even in our day many people of God continue to behave in many ways that are similar to the Israelites of old.

 

A family of God that went astray

God picked a family and brought them near to himself. He multiplied this family turning them into a nation made up of people peculiar and special to himself. He gave them the details of how to approach and worship him. He gave them law and instructions on how to live their lives in a way to please him. He gave promises of protection, provision, progress and promised never to forsake them. They demanded for a king. He set up kings over them thus making them a kingdom unto himself.

 

However, in spite of all that God did for them and to them and all the warnings, they gradually drifted away from God.

 

The people had become so idolatrous and gone after many of the Gods of the surrounding nations, that on many fronts, they were worse than the nations God used them to replace in the promised land. Both the leaders and the people were full of wickedness, and ungodliness including sacrificing their children to false gods. Injustice, violence, and all manners of evil were rampant.

 

The faithful who never leaves his own

It was so bad, that, despite the reforms that one their kings who was zealous for God (King Hezekiah) carried out (2Chr 29:1-31:21), God had decided He had had enough. He was Going to judge them severely.

 

Right now, under king Hezekiah, they were under siege from the most powerful army of the time, the Assyrian army (2Kgs 18:1-37). So, the prophet Isaiah was himself wearied and discouraged because of the terrible things that they were doing.

 

But though, God was going to punish His people, He gave them hope for the future as can be seen in Isaiah 40:12-31.

 

In the midst of their distressing situation and despite their apostasy God was not going to abandoned them to be completely destroyed. They were going to be chastened but not unto perdition. While not letting them go unpunished, God was not going to make an end of them.

 

That nation was the kingdom of Judah.

 

It is still the same God

The same word that God sent to the people of the kingdom of Judah to give them hope in the midst of their trouble and the impending invasion can also give believers in Christ hope today.

 

The people of Judah faced a ferocious army that was intent on doing them maximum damage. Today, many believers in Christ, and in many places, the church of Christ as a group are similarly surrounded by enemies that are intent on doing them maximum damage. But unlike the people of Judah, the believers in Christ are fighting a multi-front war. The world of the ungodly and wicked encircles and threatens to strangle the believer. The battle can often be so fierce that the believer may become weary or even want to give in to the wicked.

 

But our God is on the throne with all the power and love to take care of every one of his children. And this is what we want to remind the believers in Christ of and for them to therefore be encouraged in whatever circumstances they may find themselves.

 

Whatever your situation God is there

  • Are you burdened by the terrible situation of the church?
  • Are your burdened by the level of the wickedness you hear about every day?
  • Like Lot is Sodom, is your spirit grieved by the horrendous disregard for God in almost anywhere you look today?
  • Are you being persecuted for your faith in Christ?
  • Do you feel overwhelmed by your personal situation?

 

Take heart child of God. Your heavenly Father is still on the throne. He knows you. He knows what he is going to do concerning you. And he is never late.

 

But who is God to you?

With God being on our side, his children, we have hope.

But this question needs to be asked and you should answer it sincerely and to the best of your ability: “Who is God to you?”

 

This is very important because the answer could be the reason for your situation and provide the way out at the same time.

When the Lord Jesus Christ asked a similar question of his disciples of what people said he was, there were numerous responses. But when he personalised the question, directing in specifically to his disciples, “…But whom say ye that I am?” (Mat 16:15), there was pin-drop silence. Only one could respond appropriately after a long silence (Mat 16:13-16).

 

As it was then, it is still the same today: It is not what others make of the Lord but what you who claim to be a Christian make of him that determines how you relate to him. And so, the question, “Who is God to you?” or put another way, “Whom do you take God to be to you?”. It is your view of God that underlies how you live your life.

 

Our God is the Almighty

Again, take a reflective look at Isaiah 40:12-31. This is just a snapshot of the numerous passages of Scripture that speak of the majesty of God. As you reflect on that passage observe and mediate on some of the attributes of our God. There is no better place to learn about our God than from the testimony of his word. Though much of this passage is in poetic and figurative language, this is describing our God and some of his actions in terms that we can understand.

 

To help you in your meditation, here are some points that can be inferred from this passage among other things and that you may use as starters:

 

  • God is one and self-existing
  • God unchanging
  • God’s power is unsurpassed (Isaiah 40:27-28).
  • God alone creates and his capacity to create is unsurpassed (Isaiah 40:21-22).
  • God measures all, but he himself is beyond all measure (Isaiah 40:12).
  • God alone has perfect Knowledge, knows all things perfectly, and is absolutely independent (Isaiah 40:13-14).
  • God alone is the righteous judge
  • God’s creation is vast, much beyond what any man can see or know (Isaiah 40:15-17, Dan 4:35).
  • God is higher than any man-made or devil-inspired rival (Isaiah 40:25-26).
  • God is incomparable to any of His creations and any man-made improvisations (Isaiah 40:18-20).
  • God alone promotes and demotes (Isaiah 40:23-24).
  • God gives power to achieve (Isaiah 40:29-31).

 

God is a self-existing. His creation exists because of Him. God owns His own existence to no one, but Himself. He knows all things perfectly, and is therefore, the righteous judge.

 

Idolatry

Yet some still dare to turn their backs on such a God! They turn to idols and false worship of false gods and in some cases, demons. The level of effort and expense they go through to procure these worthless idols shows how depraved they had become.

 

Idolatry did not end with the Israelites nor with the coming of Christ. Idolatry is not just bowing down to a wooden or golden statute and other such things. So, before you absolve yourself from being an idol worshipper claiming that you have no statue you bow down to hear this: Idolatry includes the giving of the worship and reference due to God, to creatures of God.

 

Each time a person thinks a more powerful being other than the true God directs him to comfort you, you may be putting that creature in the creator’s place. It does not matter whether in the face of a formidable army, well-stored magazines, a small circle of friends, or an income, it is idolatry if it is receiving that which is due only to God from you.

 

Remember, your idol or false god could be the devil and the numerous entities that front for him in the affairs of the world, you job, your spouse, your child, fulfilling your lust, and any number of other things people devote their lives to. This is what the Israelites were guilty of on numerous occasions. God had to eventually put a stop to it by sending them into captivity in Babylon.

 

Beware of personal pride

As the saying goes, pride goes before a fall. But common as that saying is, how many do the necessary self-examination to avoid it? Better than popular opinion is what the word of says of pride.

 

Here is a sampling,

“When pride cometh, then cometh shame: But with the lowly is wisdom.” (Pro 11:2); and

 

“Pride goeth before destruction, And a haughty spirit before a fall.” (Pro 16:18).

 

Please, never think that you are so faithful and committed to the LORD that you are beyond idolatry or cannot be ensnared. Such thoughts could be a sign of pride and could lead you to lowering your guard against falling victim to the worship of false gods.

 

Remember, the Israelites were people of God and many amongst them were committed and faithful to God. Yet they fell.

 

While His creatures come from nothing: He calls things from nothingness into existence, makes things in existence into nothingness.

 

Do not allow your personal situation to re-interpret the Word of God for you. What you received and believed in the light and when you were in the steady state, do not begin to doubt in the hours of darkness when you are prone to stumble.

 

Rather, examine yourself appropriately and regularly. Get yourself established and rooted in the word of God and personal relationship with his Holy Spirit. When in crisis, and in desperate situation, some claim that their ways are hidden from God or that God is no more interest in them.

 

But God is always the one in sole charge and the arbiter of all events. When you have Scriptural view of God and a heart that loves him you will be less prone to error or being deceived.

 

Some pertinent questions:

  • But you the believer in Christ, what is your response when you are faced with some situation that is serious or even desperate?
  • Who or where do you turn to?
  • What type of help are ready to accept in such a situation?
  • Do you think or assume that the end justifies the means irrespective of what you know of God?

 

You cannot run away from problem for God has not put you in a cocoon isolating you from life challenges. God’s word even says that,

 

“There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that you are able; but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it.” (1Cor 10:13).

 

So, you, a Christian, what do you do when you face a challenge or problem that does not lend itself to an easy or quick solution?

 

Check yourself, for you may be unknowingly committing a form idolatry.

 

Our God never changes

Again, remember and take this to heart:

 

Believers in Christ should have comfort from God’s attributes or character. Our God measures all but is beyond all measure Himself. Even the waters, the heavens, the mountains, and the dust of the earth, He created precisely to His perfect satisfaction.

 

God alone has perfect Knowledge. No one ever directed the Spirit of God, nor ever will be. His capacity to create is unsurpassed. Yes, his creation is vast, much beyond what any man can know or see. Yet, are insignificant in His sight

 

Our God is incomparable to any of His creations, any man-made improvisations. He is higher than any man-made rival. No man-made image could ever portray such a great God.

 

His power is unsurpassed, and God gives power to achieve. He alone promotes and demotes. Our God alone can deliver.

 

Those who wait on the Lord will renew their strength. This is letting the people of Judah who were at that time discouraged, and possibly thinking, God does not care anymore, to let them know God still cared for them. God never leaves, nor forsakes His own (Heb. 13:5).

 

You belong to God!

To crown it all: This is the God that calls you his own! Should this be motivation and encouragement enough for you to be able to persist and overcome even the preset storm?

 

It is those who put their hope in the Almighty God that will keep going, even when it seems humanly speaking, it is impossible. Do not judge by what you see or feel alone, but by the word of God. God is with you always. So, take God at His word from this moment on.

 

I pray that the LORD will quickly come to your aid in the Name of Jesus.

 

The unbeliever

But this has been about the people of God, especially in our time, the believers in the Lord Jesus Christ. Perhaps you are yet an unbeliever and you are asking, “How do I come in seeing I do not yet know Christ?”

What if Christ is not yet your Saviour? What if you are not yet born of the Spirit? Then the above does not yet apply to you. You are yet outside the fold of the people of God, the believers in Christ.

 

But there is a way out for God has made provision for you too. O yes, God created you. So, he knows you more than you know yourself! God knew you were going to get to this point and he therefore made provision for you.

 

How?

 

By becoming a born-again child of God as demanded and provided for by God:

 

The invitation has gone out to all human beings including you reading this piece.

 

Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:

 

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

 

That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.

 

But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:

 

But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us(Romans 5:8).

 

Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.

 

We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:

 

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.(Romans 10:9-10). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved(Romans 10:13).

 

Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:

 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.(Matthew 11:28-30).

 

So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!

 

I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.

Be a true disciple of Christ and not just one of the multitudes  0

Many Christians are self-certified and self-satisfied with their Christian life. This often despite a lifestyle that is obviously not in line with the word of God. Some excuse themselves by claiming that they are followers of Christ who are yet to become Christ’s thus creating artificial categories amongst the disciples of Christ.

 

However, there is only one group of Christ’s disciples in Scripture. Hence, those who claim to be followers while waiting to become disciples are drawing conclusions are erroneous and possible delusions from their own minds that have no bearing with the true word of God.

 

Thank God that we live in the time of grace. A time when we can encourage ourselves. And if anyone is beginning to fall asleep at his duty post rather than being awake to his responsibilities as a disciple of Christ, we can nudge him back to wakefulness.

 

Truly, there were multitudes who followed Christ about during His earthly ministry. But such ones were just faceless crowds who saw Him more as an entertainer. They were never considered nor confused with the disciples of Christ.

 

If going off course and into this error, it is required you retrace your steps and go back to your first love, that of being true disciple of Christ.

 

So today, I want each person who claim to know Christ to honestly answer this question in the deepest part of his heart:

 

“Are you a true disciple of Christ or just one of the multitudes?”

 

I say upfront that I desire and want to encourage you to “Be a true disciple of Christ and not just one within the faceless multitudes that followed Him.

 

As a form of help, I encourage you to read and reflect of Luke 14:25-35 as you attempt to answer that question. Please, this is not an attempt to bring you under condemnation. Rather, it is an attempt to remind you of what the Holy Scripture teaches: That those in Christ should appraise themselves regularly to ensure that they are still walking according to the light of the Lord.

Here is that passage of Scripture as in the King James Version of the Holy Bible:

 

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them, 26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple. 27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple. 28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish. 31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace. 33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple. 34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.” (Luke 14:25-35).

 

While you do your own reading and reflection, consider the following:

 

Background

The Lord was by now used to the crowds that followed him around. He had become so popular that He could hardly go anywhere unnoticed or unaccompanied. Many of these that followed Him were there just for the entertainment, free food or just to witness the miracles and not because of any desire to know the truth and get closer to God.

 

And now, another Passover was coming. Most of the people within these multitudes were Jews who had come from the Jewish diaspora. They were headed to Jerusalem for the feast of the Passover as commanded them in the law of Moses.

 

Many of them had spent much money and time to be there. Hence, they were religious. They came because they apparently believed in the law of Moses and the God who gave that law through him. They had come to perform their religious obligations.

 

However, the Lord knew that many amongst them were not committed nor did they know the God of their fathers whom they had come to pay religious homage to as much as they claimed.

 

So He spoke to them as to what is required to be His disciple, and by implication, members of the kingdom of the God they claim to be worshipping. He did not want them to be in any doubt as to what God required of them. What the Lord spoke to them He spoke to all including the one who wrote this piece and you reading it.

 

The Lord spoke to the multitude

25 And there went great multitudes with him: and he turned, and said unto them,

 

A multitude is a large number of people gathered together in one place. They are often fickle-minded. People within the multitude are faceless. They are uncommitted to anything. No one could be held responsible or accountable for anything. They are excitable and are easily roused and since they often are on a short fuse can do much damage when they engage in mob action.  

 

The multitudes that followed the Lord were there for the entertainment or whatever they thought could be of benefit to themselves and thus caress their need for instant gratifications.

 

At the sight of any trouble or problem, they will disappear or go away. When angry or in disagreement, they could become very vicious and destructive as they go into mob-action mode.

 

An instant that comes to mind is the multitudes that hailed the Lord and usher Him into Jerusalem as King turned against Him as they shouted, “crucify Him, crucify Him!” few days later.

 

The Lord recognised their core characteristics. He also recognised that committed ones could be drawn out of the multitude. He wanted such ones that would be willing to commit to following God to hear the truth. Hence, the Lord addressed them.

 

What the Lord demands of His would-be disciple

26 If any man come to me, and hate not his father, and mother, and wife, and children, and brethren, and sisters, yea, and his own life also, he cannot be my disciple.

 

It is a very big if. It suggests that there is a choice, a decision to be made by people within the great multitudes following Him. It is conditional upon the person who makes such a decision to fulfil the condition. He wanted them to have the needed information so that they will make an informed decision.

 

And what He said applied to any man, that is, anybody, whoever so choses or desires. There is no exception. There are no special circumstances or situations that could be the grounds for exception. No special privileges for anybody man or woman. All are to fulfil the same conditions.

 

To come to me is another way of saying, believe in and commit to follow the Lord as a disciple.

 

The crowds already had come from their various locations to him and were following Him. But their following Him was superficial and temporary as they followed Him to just enjoy whatever they could get from Him. To many of them, He was just a teacher working miracles which they were enjoying as a form of entertainment.

 

Hence, “come to me” here means to come to the Lord with the intention of wanting to become His disciple. It applies to anyone who would venture to commit to following Him the Son of God, as Saviour and Lord.

 

Hate here is a very strong word, demonstrating the seriousness of what was at stake. It is a figure of speech referred to as hyperbole or exaggeration.

 

Father, mother, wife, children, brethren and sisters are all blood relations within the nuclear family. It speaks of the closest and most important relationships known to all his hearers, and indeed, all mankind in all cultures and traditions. These are relationships that are the products of the family as ordained by God. That any normal person would hold above all others and would do anything they can to keep and to nurture at great expense.

 

Christ is to be held up supremely above all else.

The effect of true commitment to Christ will have an effect upon the person’s (the disciple’s) other relationships as to seem like he hates those other relationships. It is not hatred in the sense of doing harm to these blood and close relations. For in numerous places, the believer is commanded to take good care of such relationships.

 

Examples include:

  • The marriage relationship is to be life long and spousal responsibilities and obligations are to be fulfilled.
  • Fathers and mothers are to be honoured and taken care of.
  • Children are to be properly trained and cared for.
  • Nowhere in Scripture is it said that becoming a disciple absolves a person from such obligations.
  • Rather, neglect of such obligations could be a sign that such a one is really not a believer.

 

In addition, the would-be disciple is to “hate his own life also.” Self-love seems to be in-born and universal amongst all of mankind. Every normal person loves himself or herself more than anybody else. This self-love propels each person in all his endeavour in life. Hence, everyone wants the best for himself/herself. This ingrain self-love must be jettisoned by the would-be disciple of Christ. Failing to adhere to this demand of the Lord, the would-be disciple “cannot be my disciple” says the Lord.

 

Dealing with these important and sometimes crucial relationships is according to Christ, an all-or-none process that the would-be disciple must deal with not as one-off event, but as a continuous, on-going process all through his life as a disciple. Each of these relationships must be treated as prescribed by the word of God.

 

Verse 26 echoes a somewhat similar command of God to the people of Israel in the OT not to allow any close relations to entice them away from their God (Deut. 13:6-8).

 

This tells us that it is the same God with the same commands for His people all the time in all places and eras. As in the days of old, so also should be down the ages and down to us, the confession of the saints:

 

Whom have I in heaven but thee? And there is none upon earth that I desire besides thee.(Ps 73:25).

 

Jewish understanding of discipleship

The Jews understood what it was to be a disciple in their religion and tradition. Jewish disciples followed their masters or rabbis. They frequently imitate them literarily.

 

Their goal was to one day become masters or rabbis themselves having their own disciples. In contrast, the disciples of Jesus Christ were and still are to remain His disciples, and to follow Him only. They were and still are expected to point or lead others to Christ.

 

The disciple of Christ must carry his cross and follow the Lord

27 And whosoever doth not bear his cross, and come after me, cannot be my disciple.

 

The command is to an individual. For it is an individual and not a group decision. It is “whosoever” and not “whatever group.”  Personal responsibility is what is called for. Each person will answer to his/her name.

 

Does not bear or carry his cross suggests that there are crosses to carry. Though some may which they don’t have to but each person is to carry his own cross.

 

But what is the cross?

The cross is not some disease, mental anguish or physical infirmity as some suppose. Nobody decides to become sick or acquires a disease of himself. But the cross has an element of choice in it.

 

The cross is what you suffer because you are a true disciple of Christ. Hence, the content of the cross includes a pathway of reproach, persecution, suffering, loneliness, tribulations, and even death if need be voluntarily for the sake of Christ, and of the word (Mat 13:21; Acts 14:22; 2Tim 3:12).

 

It is not just to carry his cross, but such a one must in addition, come after or follow Christ. To come after or follow Christ is to submit to Him and to obey Him. It is those who obey Him that love Him.

 

A person not willing to carry his cross and follow cannot be a disciple of Christ.

 

Refusal to carry the cross and follow the master tantamount to a rejection of the Lord. The carrying of the cross is not a one-off event, but a life-time commitment carried out every day of the disciple’s life. For the command of Christ is:

 

If any man will come after me, let him deny himself, and take up his cross daily, and follow me.(Luke 9:23).

 

This level of commitment by a true disciple of Christ was alluded to by the apostle Paul. For the apostle Paul made reference to all the afflictions and troubles he had had, that still awaited him, when he said concerning himself:

 

But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.(Acts 20:24).

 

Discipleship is costly, can you pay what is required?

 

Three illustrations from everyday activities

 

  1. A would-be tower builder (Luke 14:28-30):

 

“28 For which of you, intending to build a tower, sitteth not down first, and counteth the cost, whether he have sufficient to finish it? 29 Lest haply, after he hath laid the foundation, and is not able to finish it, all that behold it begin to mock him, 30 saying, This man began to build, and was not able to finish.” (Luke 14:28-30).

 

 

A person wanting to build a tower would start with planning. He would sit down and count or estimate the cost of the project. He would then check his resources to see if he has enough to start and complete the tower project. This wise planning would prevent him from starting a project he may not have enough to complete.

 

Not starting a project for which he does not have enough to complete will prevent him from being the object of derision to be mocked for an otherwise uncompleted tower building project.

 

The Christian must assess himself and be willing to fully commit to Christ. It will not be acceptable to accept to become a disciple, be enthusiastic for a while, and then fizzle away. Even the people of the world will mock such a failure and hold such a one in contempt.

 2. A king going to war (Luke 14:31-32):

 

“31 Or what king, going to make war against another king, sitteth not down first, and consulteth whether he be able with ten thousand to meet him that cometh against him with twenty thousand? 32 Or else, while the other is yet a great way off, he sendeth an ambassage, and desireth conditions of peace.” (Luke 14:31-32)

 

The king planning to go to war with another king would first appraise his arsenal of soldiers, weapons and other resources beforehand. If he discovers that he would not be able to win the impending war, he would quickly make arrangement for peace with his would-be adversary.

 

For example: The Gibeonites did this with the Israelites during the early stage of the conquest of Canaan by the Israelites (Jos. 9:3-16)

 

The would-be disciple must be willing to and must forsake all

33 So likewise, whosoever he be of you that forsaketh not all that he hath, he cannot be my disciple.

 

This links back to what has been said in the previous verses about the would-be tower builder and the king about to go to war (vv.28-32). Just as the tower builder, and the king going to war had to use all their resources, failing which each would not pursue his respective project, the would-be disciple would go through the same process of evaluation of ability and willingness to become a disciple.

 

The would-be disciple must determine if he will be willing to forsake all and follow the Lord wherever He may lead and whatever He may demand of him as His disciple.

 

The conclusion to be drawn for him to be a disciple is:

“I am willing to, and I will forsake all that I have to become a disciple of Christ.”

 

If the conclusion of the would-be disciple of Christ is short of this, then like the tower builder who would not start building a tower because he does not have enough to complete it, or the king who lack enough soldiers and other resources to prosecute a war, and therefore sort terms of peace from his opposing king, this person cannot be the disciple of Christ, and has to turn back from becoming a disciple of Christ.

 

Others before left all to become disciples of Christ

We could see the demonstration of “forsaking all to follow Christ” in the:

  •  Life of Abraham (Gen 12:1-5), who left all to follow God, and in
  •  The lives of the apostles:
  • Simon, James and John (Luke 5:1-11, esp. v.11),
  • the publican, Levi (Luke 5:27-28).

 

Some others could not forsake all and could not become disciples of Christ

There were also others who could not forsake all, and therefore could not become the disciples of Christ.

 

Examples:  

  •  The rich ruler (Luke 18:15-24, esp. vv.22-23),
  • Ananias with Sapphira his wife (Acts 5:1-5).,
  • Hymeneus and Alexander (1Tim 1:19-20),
  • and Demas (2Tim 4:10).

 

Note that it is not that a person must be willing to, but that he must forsake all.

Many so-called Christians try to explain this passage away. But there is no explaining away what Christ Himself said was His demand of anyone who would want to be His disciple.

 

Christ knew what His disciple would face, and what the job would entail, so He wanted, and still wants people who will esteem Him above everything else in the world.

 

Same planning and diligence in the affairs of this world is called for in spiritual affairs too. It is common sense and normal practice amongst men to plan and ensure they have all the resources they would need before they start any meaningful and worthwhile project.

 

Why would any right-thinking person suppose that a matter of eternal consequences like becoming a disciple of Christ would require anything less?

 3. Salt, a common item of food (Luke 14:34-35):

 

“34 Salt is good: but if the salt have lost his savour, wherewith shall it be seasoned? 35 It is neither fit for the land, nor yet for the dunghill; but men cast it out. He that hath ears to hear, let him hear.(Luke 14:34-35).

 

Salt is good because of its flavour which is inherent in it. That flavour accounts for its usefulness in the various ways and purposes for which it is put. If the salt should loose its all-important flavour, it cannot be re-flavoured.

 

And if it has no flavour, it becomes useless to everybody. It will not even be good for the land fill or the dunghill (rubbish dump). The useless flavourless salt will therefore be thrown away.

 

This paints the picture of the disciple who starts his Christians journey with enthusiasm and zeal. But along the line, he begins to lose his zeal and begins to renege on his vows and promises.

 

The reason for the disciple’s existence is to live true to his Lord. As he begins to lose focus, he begins to live a life that is miserable and therefore, pitiable. As in the case of the salt, men, not God threw out the useless salt.

 

In the case of the disciple who is not living true to the demands of Christ’s discipleship, God does not cast him it, for that would never happen to a true believer.

 

But this believer that has lost his flavour would have men trample underfoot his testimony, as men hold him in contempt and mock him as someone who started well but is unable to finish.

 

What testimony do people have concerning you and your faith of Christianity?  

 

Finally, the Lord said, “He that hath ears to hear, let him hear”

This is not talking of physical ears and physical hearing as important as those are. This is because all his listeners had physical ears, and they could hear his voice as He spoke, otherwise, the whole exercise would be pointless if they were all earless or physically deaf.

 

Rather, those who have ears and would hear are those who could understand the spiritual truth He was teaching, and to go ahead and obey them.

 

In Conclusion

This was Christ informing His would-be followers of the standard required of His disciples.

 

The leaders of the world, and many Christian leaders today crave, cultivate and are excited by large crowds. They just love the crowds, especially when they are gullible and are easily exploited for the benefit of such leaders. This is contrary to Christ.

 

The Lord was not interested in the crowd just for having a large company of people around Him who were there just for the entertainment, who would not commit to any enduring thing, and would run away at the first sign of trouble or any problem.

 

But Christ was looking for committed people, who would prove reliable and endure to the end what the kingdom of God demanded.

 

So, He spoke to them in plain language, so that, such ones as were hoping to become His disciples, as we say in our day, “would make an informed decision.”

 

And contrary to what many think, being a disciple of Christ is costly to the disciple. Becoming a disciple of Christ is a life-long commitment to him. The apostle paul surveying his life in relationship to his life in Christ said,

 

7But what things were gain to me, those I counted loss for Christ. 8Yea doubtless, and I count all things but loss for the excellency of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord: for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and do count them but dung, that I may win Christ.” (Phil 3:7-8).

 

The disciple must prioritise Jesus Christ above ALL Else (family, his own life) bear his own cross, counting the cost, and live with purpose of being salt in the world, consistently all through his/her life.

 

There is no place or time for laxity. The Lord Himself made it clear when He said to all:

 

“No man having put his hand to the plough, and looking back, is fit for the kingdom of God” (Luke 9:62).

 

  • Are you a true disciple of Christ or just one of the multitudes of people?
  • Have you resolved to follow the Lord Jesus Christ anywhere He leads you?
  • Have you counted the cost of being a disciple of Christ?

 

I encourage you today to commit to a life of discipleship under the Lordship of Christ.

 

When you do, you will receive the grace to be sustained in your journey of faith, service and ministry to the risen Lord. 

 

To the unbeliever

But this has been about the believers in Christ. Those who have made peace with God through the propitiation of Jesus Christ. They are the one being exhorted to live true to their calling in Christ as they wait for His second coming.

 

But what if you are an unbeliever? What if Christ is not yet your Saviour and Lord? What if you are not yet born of the Spirit? Then the above does not yet apply to you. You are yet outside the fold of believers in Christ. And you cannot be expected to please the Lord and to do things that are only possible with the enablement of the Holy Spirit.

 

Perhaps you are saying you what to be part of the wonderful people of God who are the disciples of Christ. You want an end to the enmity between you and God.

 

And having read this piece you see the possibility but are wondering how you can change your situation.

 

You are asking, “How do I come into the fold of believers in Christ seeing I do not yet know Christ?”

 

Truly, there is a way out for God has made provision for you too. 

 

How?

 

By becoming a born-again child of God as demanded and provided for by God: 

 

The invitation has gone out to all human beings including you reading this piece.

 

Accept God’s verdict concerning human beings:

 

“All have sinned and come short of the glory of God” (Romans 3:23). And that “the wages of sin is death” (Romans 6:23).

 

That is, in the opinion of God, we all fall short of His standard. Further, our sin has earned a deserved wage which is death or separation from God in hell.

 

But while we are still in our sin, God took the initiative to reconcile us with Himself as we are told:

 

But God commendeth His love towards us in that while we were yet sinners, Christ died for us(Romans 5:8).

 

Yes, while we were all still in our sin, God showed His love for us by sending His only Son, Jesus Christ to die for us. God gave Jesus Christ to the whole world (John 3:16). So, all we need to do is to accept that Christ has died for our sin by standing in place of us.

 

We do this by doing what the word of God commands all would-be believers:

 

If thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For with the heart man believeth unto righteousness; and with the mouth confession is made unto salvation.(Romans 10:9-10). For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved(Romans 10:13).

 

Everyone who appropriates the sacrifice of Christ is acceptable to Him. And He Himself extended the invitation to all:

 

Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest. Take my yoke upon you, and learn of me; for I am meek and lowly in heart: and ye shall find rest unto your souls. For my yoke is easy, and my burden is light.(Matthew 11:28-30).

 

So, I encourage you to appropriate the finished work of Christ and confess Him as your Saviour and Lord NOW!

 

I prayer that God will accept you into His household through Christ in Jesus’ Name, Amen.