When men of God turn themselves into gods of men, then it’s time the sons of men realize that they too are sons of God. In essence, that no one has a monopoly on revelation. Jesus has made a way for us by his death to enter the Holy of Holies and approach God by and for ourselves (see Hebrews 10: 16 – 20). We are in the New Testament dispensation of the priesthood of all believers; if you allow anyone hoodwink you or pull the wool over your face; it won’t be God’s fault but yours. You can know God for yourself. And you should!
The challenge with the church has been that the people in the pews had for long lost the culture of the Berean Christians who double-checked and cross-checked the things they were taught in church (Acts 17:11). When you don’t know God’s word for yourself, anyone can spew baloney into your mind and you believe it hook, line and sinker; and still be thanking and celebrating him/her for it! It’s funny that when Muslims enter a mosque to worship, they leave their footwear by the door. Sad to say, methinks the average Nigerian churchgoer (born-again or not, Pentecostal, charismatic orthodox or by whatever label you choose to give them) unlike his Muslim counterpart leaves his brain by the door of the church! Else how do you explain the credulity with which we believe some stuffs spewed forth in the guise of the gospel by some men of the cloth from our numerous pulpits.
I know you will argue, faith does not agree with reasoning. Yes, and no! Faith agrees with reasoning; reasoning of a different kind – the Bible kind. Paul said; if anyone preaches a gospel different from the one we have preached to you, let him be accursed! I mean, that scripture makes me cringe with holy awe as a preacher and teacher of God’s word. Whatever anyone – and I mean whoever, by whatever name or title the person goes – says that does not agree with the whole counsel of God as set forth in the Bible, vomit it! Before anyone teach you and fill your mind and heart with anything short of the full orbed truth of God’s word, tell him or her, “Teacher, don’t teach me nonsense!” Read the Bible for yourself. Think. Meditate. Compare and research scriptures. Double-check and re-check what you heard in church or by a TV preacher. Refuse to be a twenty-first century slave. Use your spirit, and use your mind! If you refuse to think or you cannot think, you are a slave all the same. And I’m sorry to say, I see a new generation of slaves in the Nigerian church; enslaved by their wrong beliefs and to their overlords (pastors, prophets, teachers etc.) who taught them wrongly. You’re responsible for what and who you choose to believe.
Gone are those days when we thought that godliness had no earthly benefit. Those were the days when being born-again meant being the scum of the earth. Popular choruses were “Take the whole world and give me Jesus…” Believers were so heavenly conscious that they were of no earthly relevance. But those days are gone! Now we know better. We are godly and we are successful. And, our songs have changed. “Give me the whole world and give me Jesus…” seems more like what we sing nowadays. We are more easily to be charged with being earthly good but of not much eternal consequence! We have gone from one extreme end to the other.
Before you start thinking otherwise, I’m not advocating that poverty is synonymous with piety. One can be rich and righteous. Yet another can be poor and be sinful. If righteousness were equal to prosperity, then the most righteous men on earth would be the top dogs on the Forbes rich list. And thus the likes of Carlos Slim, William Henry Gates III, Folorunsho Alakija, Oprah Winfrey, Aliko Dangote etc., would be the most holy men and women on earth!
God does bless his people! You can be righteous and prosper! And you can be godly and broke too. Yeah! Remember the story Jesus told in Luke 16:19-31 about the rich man and Lazarus. That is sufficient an illustration.
An error has gone forth in the church: “If you do not have money, you must have missed God somewhere. Conversely, if you’re wealthy, then you must be in sync with God.” I say, no! You cannot worship God and mammon!
This is the whole counsel of God as revealed in 1Timothy 6:5-10:
“They think religion is a way to make a fast buck. A devout life does bring wealth, but it’s the rich simplicity of being yourself before God. Since we entered the world penniless and will leave it penniless, if we have bread on the table and shoes on our feet, that’s enough. But if it’s only money these leaders are after, they’ll self-destruct in no time. Lust for money brings trouble and nothing but trouble. Going down that path, some lose their footing in the faith completely and live to regret it bitterly ever after.”(Message)
Aren’t we guilty of “using” God to achieve our selfish ends? Are we not fast slipping into this error of equating godliness with gain? A heart search is pertinent here, before we slip so far away from the kingdom of God than when we were infidels. This is not to knock any valid truth of God’s word no matter how much it’s been bastardized but to restore believers back to the straight and narrow. Bottom line: Gain is not godliness. However, godliness is great gain. You will still hear me on this matter. YOU WILL SUCCEED!
“MEN ARE NEVER DULY TOUCHED AND IMPRESSED WITH A CONVICTION OF THEIR INSIGNIFICANCE UNTIL THEY HAVE CONTRASTED THEMSELVES WITH THE MAJESTY OF GOD.”
I came across this quote from John Calvin, the reformer in my notes. It’s remarkable how this particular quote has helped me to stay humble and have a realistic sense of who I am in God’s eyes.
Have you ever contrasted the majesty of God with the nothingness of man? What did you find? Let me hear your views. Cheers!
My next few posts here will be from my archives. Over the years I have been privileged to learn a lot of things, of which I have been able to document quite a few. It is impressed on my spirit to share a little from some of those writings. Be blessed, dear friends.
On Tuesday, April 14, 1998 I wrote:
God needs manpower
And man needs God’s power
But God works only when man works
The work of praying
For, when man works, man works
But when man prays, God works.
God is sovereign, but He needs our cooperation in the place of faith and prayer to work in our lives and in the world.
My last post was on this same topic. In it I started by saying that life is a school. And every day, class opens and fresh lessons are taught. We’d be wise to pick up those nuggets and internalize them. To read the first five lessons, check here. Here are the remaining five lessons.
Lesson #6: I have found out in life that…
Every half-truth is a lie. Honesty has no degrees. So, “don’t talk out of both sides of your mouth; avoid careless banter, white lies, and gossip.”(Prov. 4:24 Msg.)
Lesson #7: I have found out in life that…
It pays to be a man/woman of few words. (Prov. 10:19 Msg.) Let your words be few. (Eccles. 5:2b) Always remember that the more you say, the less people remember. “Watch your words and hold your tongue; you’ll save yourself a lot of grief.”(Prov. 21:23 Msg.) “Don’t shoot off your mouth, or speak before you think…the less you speak, the better.”(Eccles. 5:2 Msg.)
Lesson #8: I have found out in life that…
The best advice on how to live is best gotten from someone who knows he/she is dying. “Your death date tells more than your birth date. You learn more at a funeral than at a feast – after all, that’s where we’ll end up. We might discover something from it.”(Eccles. 7:1b-2 Msg.) We must learn to live with the end in view. “Sorrow is better than laughter, for by a sad countenance the heart is made better. The heart of the wise is in the house of mourning…”(Eccles. 7:3-4)
Lesson #9: I have found out in life that…
There’s no surer way along the road to success than to follow in the footsteps of those who have reached it. Mentoring helps your quest for successful living. It pays to respect results.
Lesson #10: I have found out in life that…
To know the road, ask those coming back. We need the wisdom of fathers to help us go further!
Now, there you have them. have you also learnt some lessons from the school of life. Let’s hear it. To your success!