“You prepare a table before me in the presence of my enemies. You anoint my head with oil; my cup overflows.” Psalms 23:5 (NIV)
Welcome to a New Year, a New Decade. I pray it marks the beginning of great things in your life. This new year, I want us to be deliberate in deciding to live from within our spirit; making sure that life flows from within our spirit, into every area of our lives. This article aims to explain this.
The word ‘anoint’ is nothing new to any Christian. Throughout scripture we see people being anointed for new positions, mostly as leaders. Examples are Moses anointing Aaron and his sons as priests (Leviticus 8: 12 – 13), Samuel anointing Saul as king (1 Sam. 10:1), and also anointing David right in the midst of his brethren (1 Sam. 16:13). Of importance, in this article is what happened after these people were anointed.
After Saul was anointed the Spirit of the Lord came upon him and he prophesied. (1 Samuel 10: 1 – 11). The same happened to David; the Spirit of the Lord came upon David.
“Then Samuel took the horn of oil, and anointed him in the midst of his brethren: and the Spirit of the Lord came upon David from that day forward.” (1 Sam. 16:13 KJV)
The Holy Spirit through David, in Psalms 23, tells us what the anointing does:
‘You anoint my head with oil; causing my cup to overflow’ Ps. 23 : 5
You see brethren, everything is spiritual. Everything manifested in the physical is as a result of something affected in the spiritual. The Spirit comes over me, causing my cup to overflow (making me to abound in abundance). The Spirit comes over me, causing my career, my academics, my finances to succeed. This should not be surprising, since scripture says, everything comes out of the spiritual:
“Through Faith we understand that the worlds were framed by the word of God, so that things which are seen were not made of things which do appear.” (Heb. 11:3)
This is actually very serious. This scripture warns us to guard our spirit, because from our spirit flows the issues of our lives. The spirit of the believer is in the class of God, because He that is born of the Spirit is Spirit(he is not less John 3:6). So out of this Spirit flows life (John 7:38).There is always a flow from our Spirit. As believers we have to be intentional about channeling this flow into every area of our life.
‘Keep vigilant watch over your heart; that’s where life starts.’ (Prov. 4:23 MSG)
Yes, out of your belly (spirit) flows life. If there is any new year resolution you should make, I will advise that it be to have a sound spirit. Be careful to nurture your spirit to the point that your spirit is able to transfer Life to every area of your life. This new year, we should be intentional in spending time in fellowship with the Holy Spirit. This new year, we should consciously learn of the anointing that dwells within us.
“As for you, the anointing you received from him remains in you, and you do not need anyone to teach you. But as his anointing teaches you about all things and as that anointing is real, not counterfeit — just as it has taught you, remain in him”. (1 John 2:27 NIV)
Despite what may be happening around us, the Holy-Spirit is able to perform a contrary work in us so that we are not affected. There may be sadness, confusion, darkness, despair through the circumstances and situations we face, but in spite of this the Holy-spirit is able to work peace, comfort, joy within us. Brethren we need to deliberately nurture a robust spirit this new year.
“You became imitators of us and of the Lord, for you welcomed the message in the midst of severe suffering with the joy given by the Holy Spirit” (1 Thess. 1:6)
The anointing of the Spirit is able to flow into every area of our lives, to bring about the change we desire.This new year, my prayer for you my dear reader, is that you will be strong in faith, energized through your spirit-man and continue to grow in love. Welcome into your season of a better walk with God.
I Call You Blessed
OUR FAITH PROFESSION
Last time, I shared about forgiving and forbearing one another especially in our local assemblies. This week let’s look at something a bit different but definitely towards equipping us for the work of the ministry. Three scriptures, Heb. 3:1, Heb. 4:14, Heb. 10:23.
Wherefore, holy brethren, partakers of the heavenly calling, consider the Apostle and High Priest of our profession, Christ Jesus; (Heb. 3:1)
Seeing then that we have a great high priest, that is passed into the heavens, Jesus the Son of God, let us hold fast our profession. (Heb. 4:14)
Let us hold fast the profession of our faith without wavering; (for he is faithful that promised) (Heb. 10:23)
Notice in all the verses above, the scriptures are bringing us to keep the profession of our faith. Heb. 3:1 tells us we have a faith profession, we have a High Priest over this profession, this High Priest is Jesus Christ. Google defines the word profession as a paid occupation especially one that involves prolonged training and a formal qualification. (Synonyms are career, occupation etc.). It also defines Profession as an act of declaring that one has a particular feeling or quality, especially when this is not the case (Synonyms are declaration, affirmation etc.)
I want us to see the use of the word profession in the above verses beyond the verbal declaration but as an occupation, as the first definition explains. Our Faith Profession. The Christian faith is a profession not a hobby or what we do to relax or feel good in the midst of our peers. No! It is a profession, our life depends on it. It is that serious. In fact it is our calling. We were called to this profession. We were called to live the faith life. Our life depends on it. It’s our major pre-occupation. Heb. 4:14 and Heb. 10:23 tell us how we handle our faith profession, it says we should HOLD FAST.
In the first definition provided it explains that a profession requires PROLONGED TRAINING and A FORMAL QUALIFICATION. In the faith profession, our qualification is our salvation, that’s where we receive the calling into this noble profession, our PROLONGED TRAINING is to search scriptures. Heb. 3:1 and Heb. 4:14 tells us how we get better; by considering Christ Jesus. We search scriptures to get better.
“You search and keep on searching and examining the scriptures because you think that in them you have eternal life; and yet it is those [very Scriptures] that testify about me; (John 5:39 AMP)
We search the scriptures not because they qualify us for eternal life but to learn more about Jesus but to learn more about Jesus to be able to better testify of Him (Philemon 1:6). As we search and know more of Him, we get better at our faith profession and we can be more like Him. The church is a bible school to learn and get better at our faith profession. We need to get serious, we have a job to do.
Philemon 1:6 also says something similar. It says we will get better in professing our faith as we continue to learn of all the good things Christ has worked in us.
“That the sharing (communication) of our faith may become effective by the acknowledgment of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus” (Philemon 1:6)
It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings to search out a matter. (Prov. 25:2)
And hath made us kings and priests unto God and his Father, to him be glory and dominion for ever and ever. Amen (Rev. 1:6)
God qualified us as a King to search out Christ in the scriptures. Our honour is in searching out Christ in scriptures. That’s the honour code of our profession. Brethren we have a job to do. We are not to be tossed around by every wind of doctrine. Let’s spend time in fellowship with the Spirit, in listening, to be taught scriptures. We as believers should take care so we do not become lazy. That’s not accepted in this profession. We search out Christ in the scriptures and follow him accordingly.
See this also;
Who also hath made us able ministers of the New Testament, not of the letter, but of the spirit: for the letter kills, but the spirit gives life (2 Cor. 3:6)
He did not just make your pastor a minister of the new covenant, he made you and me, a minister of the new covenant. And we are to;
Preach the word; be instant in season, out of season; reprove, rebuke, exhort with all long suffering and doctrine. (2 Timothy 4:2)
The scriptures even encourage us further that the mysteries of the kingdom HAVE BEEN given to us to know. (Luke 8:10, 1 Cor. 2: 10 – 14)
For I am not ashamed of the gospel of Christ: for it is the power of God unto salvation to everyone that believes; to the Jew first, and also to the Greek. For therein is the righteousness of God revealed from faith to faith: as it is written the just shall live by faith (Rom. 1: 16 – 17)
As we search the scriptures, one thing we see more and more is the righteousness of God. We keep unravelling this free gift of righteousness that we have received. We discover that God is righteous in saving the sinner as long as he comes through Christ, we see more and more that God is righteous in keeping the saint saved eternally. We see that God’s way of making people right with Him begins and ends in faith in Christ. And we move from faith to faith as we progress and get better at our profession.
Are you dutiful in your faith profession?
Written by Samson Afolabi
That the Communication of your faith may become effectual by the acknowledging of every good thing which is in you in Christ Jesus. (Philemon 1:6)
The above scripture, is one I pray for myself frequently (almost daily) since the past 4 years. I recommend you to also pray it. It’s called the Pauline Prayers, found in Eph. 1: 15 – 23, 3: 14 – 21, Col. 1: 9 – 18, Phil. 1: 9 – 11, 1 Thess. 3: 11 – 13, 2 Thess. 1: 11 – 12, Philemon 1: 4 – 6, Hebrews 13: 20 – 21. They are prayers of spiritual growth. But today, we will focus on Philemon 1:6.
If we ever desire to get better in the communication (sharing and putting into action) of our faith with believers and un-believers alike the above scripture tells us what to do. It says we have to acknowledge (come to the accurate knowledge) of every good thing which in us in Christ Jesus. I like how the AMP Bible puts it;
I pray that the sharing of your faith may become effective and powerful because of your accurate knowledge of every good thing which is ours in Christ. (Philemon 1:6 AMP)
The next question to ask is, what are those good things in us in Christ? Going back to the beginning, gives us a little insight into this. We know that after the fall, the bible describing Man says,
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. (Gen. 6:5) Emphasis Mine
Notice that, ONLY EVIL. There was no good thing in Man, why? His heart was DESPERATELY WICKED (Jer. 17: 9). Jesus Speaking (before Man was saved) saying …none is good, save one, that is God (Luke 18:19). Yes, that was the state we were, there was nothing good to be acknowledged in us. Paul speaking said
“For I know that nothing good lives in me, that is, in my flesh [my human nature, my worldliness – my sinful capacity]” (Romans 7:18)
First, we notice from Philemon 1:5 that the book of Philemon was written a believer and largely to believers. Philemon 1:6, makes us understand that those good things we must come into accurate knowledge of are found in us in CHRIST JESUS, not just in OURSELVES but US in CHRIST JESUS. They are the things that were wrought in us at Salvation. They are the things that are in us, because of the presence of the Spirit of the good one (God) in us.
“Whoever confesses that Jesus is the Son of God, God abides in him, and he in God” (1 John 4:15)
These good things are the product of His good work in every believer. This good things are not our making. They are the making of the continuous working of His power in us. In-fact we know that every good and perfect gift comes from Him.
For it is [not your strength, but it is] God who is at work in you, both to will and to work[that is strengthening, energizing, and creating in you the longing and the ability to fulfil your purpose] for His good pleasure. Phil. 2:13
What then should be our response? We are to acknowledge the Holy-Spirit work in us. Acknowledge his working of Love, Peace, Hope, Joy and every godly virtue in us. Everything that can be found in God dwells in us, we only must acknowledge them for them to gain expression in us. You know one way, I have learnt recently to acknowledge this things is by confession. You know we make confessions for 2 reasons either they are our present reality, or we want them to be our reality.
When you pray say to yourself: the Wisdom of the ages is in me, faith dwells in me, I love the brethren, I have a Sound mind 2 Tim. 1:7, I am not troubled, I rejoice, I am patient with everyone today, I am a man/woman of grace, I speak grace through the words of my mouth, I am a blessing to many, I am humble, my hope doesn’t make me ashamed (Romans 5:5), I walk in the spirit, I am led by God’s spirit in me and you will begin to see them. And as they gain expression through you, the communication (sharing, acting out) of your Faith (what you have believed) gets better (improves). As this things get expressed through us, we express Christ the More. Christ is revealed in us and through us. We becomes a more visible image of the Father. Our Faith (Salvation) is made more known. We become shinning lights.
There is a power at work in every believer …according to the power that works in us (Eph. 3:20). Power signifies ability. There is an ability in us. That’s the ability we have to acknowledge! This are the things that have been freely given to us of God. (1 Cor. 2:12). And if the scriptures says it’s in us, then it’s in us, even if we haven’t been experiencing them.
Brethren, the work of Salvation has wrought in us a lot of godly virtues, we are a new creature with a wealthy load of all good things available in Christ Jesus in us and we have to learn to acknowledge them i.e. bring ourselves into an accurate knowledge of them and as we do that the profession of our faith gets better and better.
I Call You Blessed.
This week, I like to share with you about Rejoicing in a study of Philippians 3 and 4. To rejoice according to the Meriam Webster dictionary simply means to give joy to or gladden or to feel joy or great delight. To have joy is to experience great pleasure or delight. As much as it is so nice to see all this definitions it is even sweeter to experience Joy. Even if you can’t define it in grammar, you know it when you feel it or experience it. The scripture encourages us to Rejoice always. Paul writing to the Philippians wrote;
…and Rejoice in Christ Jesus, and have no confidence in the flesh. Philippians 3:3
Later again, he writes
Rejoice in the Lord always: and again I say, rejoice. Philippians 4:4
I believe when there are close repetitions in scriptures like this, then there is something for us to take note of. They are very important. A lot of times, we want to rejoice always but it seems the circumstances of life keeps our heads bowed and sad. The scriptures says
…In the world you shall have tribulation: but be of good cheer; I have overcome the world. John 16:33
Notice that Paul writes to us in Philippians 3:3 and 4:4 as though, Rejoicing lies completely within our hands and our rejoicing never depends on the happenings around us. I believe this is true. You know despite the roughness and pain in the world, as Christians we can still rejoice. The secret is clearly stated in Philippians 3:3 and Philippians 4:4. It says Rejoice in the Lord, Rejoicing in Christ Jesus. That’s the Secret of Rejoicing always. Yes, continuous Joy forever is in the Lord. Rejoicing is only in the Lord.
Paul gave a thorough explanation of this in Philippians chapter 3 up until chapter 4. Rejoicing in the Lord, is Rejoicing in knowing the things he has done for me and He is doing in me. Joy is in focusing on the change of life, person and character he has given us. Looking at who we used to be and who we are now in Christ Jesus and even the hope of who we would become in Him. Joy is in focusing on His plans, His thoughts and will for us. See what Paul says here
Circumcised the eight day, of the stock of Israel, of the tribe of Benjamin, a Hebrew of the Hebrews; concerning the law, a Pharisee; concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless. But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ, Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord… (Phil. 3:5 – 8).
Paul, despite being in chains while writing this could rejoice and even implore others to rejoice because he was focusing his attention on what Christ was doing in Him. He could see the kind of Paul he was before, the kind of Paul he was now, and then could acknowledge Christ’s work in him. Paul wasn’t putting his attention on himself, the light was on Christ in him. So he could rejoice always. Rejoicing always is in Christ. Joy is in counting those things that makes us puffed up and proud and make us want to boast as dung and irrelevant. Rejoicing always is in pushing aside those things we always like to rely on outside of Christ, so that we can enjoy the true riches of rejoicing in Christ.
Joy is in giving up the things of this world that don’t matter and pursuing the spiritual matters that would bring life and peace to our souls and be beneficial till eternity. Joy is in the pursuit of Him. The knowledge of Him. See what Paul says later in that same chapter,
That I may know Him, and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death, if by any means, I may attain to the resurrection from the dead. (Phil. 3: 10 -11)
Rejoicing always is in seeking him. Joy is in worshiping in spirit and truth and not putting our confidence in the flesh. Rejoicing always can never depend on us. It’s about Him. And as our hearts yearn and pants for Him, the more His peace fills our hearts and minds. Paul must have experienced this, despite all the problems and challenges he said this,
“We are troubled on every side, yet not distressed; we are perplexed, but not in despair; Persecuted, but not forsaken; cast down, but not destroyed; (2 Cor. 4: 8-9)”
You know the source of sorrows and sadness, is when we fill our minds with what we expect to happen to us or not happen to us. When our focus is outward and not in inward on Christ Jesus in us. Only Men of true joy can do what he said 2 Cor. 4:8 – 9 above, men who don’t bother about what is happening around them, their focus and pursuit is on Christ. Joy is keeping our gaze on Him. Joy is about Him and what he does, not what is happening to me. Rejoicing always is in Christ and in Christ alone. Philippians 4: 8 – 9 tells us the things we should focus our minds on that brings Joy.
Finally, brethren, whatever things are true, whatever things are noble, whatever things are just, whatever things are pure, whatever things are lovely, whatever things are of good report, if there is any virtue and if there is anything praiseworthy-meditate on these things. The things which you learned and received and heard and saw in me, these do, and the God of peace will be with you. (Philippians 4:8-9)
Another source of Joy, Paul mentions is helping other believers, and especially those who labour in the work of Christ.
Brethren, Jesus came to give us the spirit of joy. That spirit dwells in every believer. We only have to tune our focus on him. Isaiah prophesying about Jesus, said Jesus came to do this:
“To appoint unto them that mourn in Zion, to give unto them beauty for ashes, the oil of joy for mourning, the garment of praise for the spirit of heaviness: that they might be called trees of righteousness, the planting of the Lord. That he might be glorified. (Isaiah 61:3)”
He commands us to rejoice. He gave us the spirit. We only have to keep our gaze on him. Pursue the knowledge of Him. Focus our attention on what He is doing in us, who He is making us to be like. Know that Rejoicing always is only possible in Him. Rejoice always IN CHRIST and once again I say Rejoice.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
Today, identity questions are big issues. People identify themselves as strange things according to the many lies the devil is publishing in our world. But thankfully the Bible clearly explains who the believer is. Among several descriptions he says we are a new creature (2 Cor. 5:17), a royal priesthood, a holy nation, God’s own people 1 Pet. 2:9, citizens of Heaven and the one I love most, SAINTS! 1 Cor. 1:2 and many more. It is also interesting that God through the holy-spirit at work in us helps us in being this descriptions. Amen!
While we may be described by the world according to where we work, what we do etc. we must ensure that our biblical identity is retained and comes first. There is a big difference between a student and a Christian student. A civil servant and a Christian civil-servants. A teacher and a teacher that is a believer. A chauffeur and a Christian chauffeur. A doctor and a Christian doctor etc. In all the cases cited above there is a big difference between the former and the later.
While a student can decide to cheat in exams, a Christian CAN not. While a doctor may decide to do abortions, a Christian is Pro-life! He doesn’t believe in it and would never do it. Same goes for a Christian civil-servant, he would never take bribes. As believers we belong to a kingdom, whose ways, beliefs are completely different from those of this world. The ways of the world are not our ways. Our Identity presented in scriptures must swallow whatever identity the world gives us.
Truth is, as Christians our views/beliefs/ideologies are completely dictated by the Bible as such often times we would find ourselves going against the general views of the world. For-example, scriptures says “…male and female he created them Gen. 1:27”, if you identify yourself as anything outside of this two, to me you are wrong and probably must have believed a lie from the devil. Yes! I am biased and I do not support or believe what people call transgender or gay etc. because the scriptures doesn’t support it. That’s a believer. His life is dictated by scriptures. Who he/she is, what he/she holds in high esteem is dictated by the scriptures. And Yes, scriptures! Scriptures! And scriptures!
The bible says when the believer reads the bible, it’s like someone looking into the Mirror. And we know when we look into the mirror, we see ourselves. We see who we truly are.
But we all, with unveiled face, beholding as in a mirror the glory of the Lord, are being transformed into the same image from glory to glory, just as by the Spirit of the Lord. 2 Cor. 3:18 NKJV
For if anyone is a hearer of the word, and not a doer, he is like a man observing his natural face in a mirror: for he observes himself, goes away, and immediately forgets what kind of man he was. James 1: 23 – 24. NKJV
We are what the word says we are. It’s our code of conduct. We are being empowered to live like this by the Holy-Spirit living in us.
We are loving, caring, respectful husbands and house-wives. Yes, because that’s who the bible says we are. We are respectful and obedient sons and daughters. We are law-abiding citizens not because we are scared of the Police nor because of the fear of going to jail but because that’s how scriptures admonishes us to live. We are givers, we love unconditionally and we love the fellowship of the brethren. Why? That’s how the bible identifies us.
By this all will know that you are my disciples, if you have love for one another. John 13:35
The Believer has an identity. We are defined by scriptures. If it says we are men and women of grace, yes we are. No matter the challenge we pass through, we are more than conquerors. We do not become new persons by changing behaviour. We discover the person we are already are in Christ as described through scriptures and behave accordingly.
The Believer is one with Christ because of what Jesus did at the cross. He is described out of that union. He is not described by his circumstances, or environment, or by the world thinks of him or what even he thinks of himself. His true self is in Christ. Christ defines the believer. We are who He called us. And that identity cannot be undone as long as Christ redemptive work cannot be undone. He called us Rich, healed, saved, rulers etc. all this are established in the spiritual, we only have to believe them and expect them to manifest in the physical.
Identity is the echo of belief. It is our identity in Christ that is always being challenged. But we have a choice. We will either believe who Satan says we are, depraved, guilty, hopeless, sinners etc. or who Christ says we are, righteous, honourable, and holy. We have the right to declare God’s identity over our lives as sons and daughters of God. It is the revelation of our identity in Christ that gives us the victory over sin. Christ is our Life. Col. 3:4.
Your old life is dead. Your new life, which is your real life – even though invisible to spectators – is with Christ in God. He is your life. When Christ (your real life, remember)… Col. 3: 3 – 4
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
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. For all that is in the world, the lust of the flesh, and the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life, is not of the Father, but is of the world. And the world passeth away, and the lust thereof: but he that doeth the will of God abideth for ever. Authorized (King James) Version 1 John 2:15-17
Dearly beloved, I beseech you as strangers and pilgrims, abstain from fleshly lusts, which war against the soul; Authorized (King James) Version 1 Peter 2:11
As believers the scripture says we are strangers and pilgrims here on earth, our true citizenship is in heaven. Eph 2:19. However, the land of our sojourn runs on a system that is characterized by Lust- the major code that dictates the tune of things, that the scripture says all that is in the world can be summarized to be lust!
Lust is one of the chains the prince of this world uses to bind his prisoners. Tit 3:3. But we have escaped that as believers 2Pet1:4. It is also a cherished instrument in his hands to allure citizens of heaven. He used it to tempt even Jesus Mat 4:3-9. The code simply appeals to our natural appetites such as appetite for food, money, fame, sex and so on. An unconstrained appetite then becomes its ground of operation.
This code is always lunched against the soul, that is while, the battle ground for lust is first in the heart. 1Pet 2:11. If the code succceds, the body then becomes the display screen of its effect! One then sees greed, love of money, fornication, impure thoughts and the likes manifest through the body.
For believers, the first way to practically defeat lust is to mind the things that are in heaven- our home. Col 3:1-2. Our love for God and our fellowship with God through Christ, personally and coperately are like wheel and axle which drive each other, our love for God brings us to fellowship and fellowship makes our love for God to grow. With these two, we can be sure our mind will be full of the things of God, our affection will be God-ward, our spirit man’s appetite for God will be strong enough to cast out all ungodly appetites. Anytime we fail in these that strengthen our spirit man, we are prone to the attack of Mr lust. Prov 24:10.
Another thing that’s equally important is to learn how not to make provision for the flesh Rom13:14. Getting rid of all that can lure us to lust is a very good step unto abstinence. Peter said we should abstain 1Pet 2:11. Putting away any structure lust can climb will be good in our learning of how not to make provision for the flesh. This will mean to place rules and laws to guide our appetite, learning both to abase and to abound Phil 4:12. This is called discipline. A Pilgrim cannot be without discipline.
Finally, we must learn to share our challenges with one another as believers, fellow citizens of heaven. As much as we are in this tabernacle of our earthly body, we will be faced continually with the temptation that lust brings. Let us therefore be ready to deal with this ungodly code anytime we notice it being fired against our soul. You can discuss with a fellow believer if it’s getting beyond what you can handle.
I call you blessed.
Written by Idowu Olasupo