I remember growing up, I was taught how to pray in our children’s church as it was called. We were actually given a formula on how to pray. Our Teacher’s said when you pray,
1. Start with thanksgiving
2. Ask for forgiveness of your sins
We had to ask for forgiveness every-time we pray, even if we knew what our sins were or not. The explanation they gave was that there was no way we could live without sin. Now, I know that’s wrong, If we can’t live above sin, why did Jesus die? But that’s a discussion for another day.
Read Romans 6 Selah.
3. Ask God for our needs, petitions and all
4. We should always end with thanks.
All these were backed up with scriptures, a good reference for such a sermon was always “The Lord’s Prayer”, so there was no way I could have questioned that then. Anytime, our teachers asked us to pray, and I used this formula, I was greatly applauded as a good student of prayer.
Things were fine, and I had strongly believed God must have been listening to me because I was using the “Prayer Outline Formula” until I started reading the book of Psalms.I am a lover of the book of Psalms. If an estimate is made, it might end up being my most frequent book of the bible. I noticed that David wasn’t using the formula. What? David, the king, the man after God’s heart, the prophet was bumping into God in prayers (many of the psalms were actually David’s prayers) without thanking and praising him first, then ask for your forgiveness. I had thought that no matter how urgent our need or situation was, one had got to stick with the formula. As a Mathematician, I understand the place of formulas, and I know it takes years of labor of some people to dig it out. And it always works, until proven otherwise. Without the formula, no going anywhere.
That was rude, I thought, for David didn’t just “bump” into God once or twice but almost every-time he prayed. Although there were times when all he did was to thank God and times when he asked for forgiveness. I noticed he prayed as it “flowed from the inside of him” and not as “our formula states”. Then I asked, does he actually know my formula? I have so much respect for David, and I knew he shouldn’t just be “ignoring the formula”. Something was wrong somewhere, I thought.
As I grew, the Holy Spirit taught me, “Prayer wasn’t supposed to be coordinated with a formula”. It should flow freely, directed by your Spirit. If God was my father I shouldn’t be making rituals and observing a formula before talking with him. Even my earthly father, I don’t have to observe rituals before talking with him. Even though we are thousands of kilometers apart now, if I need to speak with him, I will just pick up my phone, call him and tell him my concerns. Maybe I would want to say “Good morning” or “Good afternoon” first, or call him “Baba ooo” (meaning father in Yoruba language) and we would both laugh and I tell him why I called. And when I miss him, or he misses me, we make a video call. If my earthly father being evil could be like that, how much more my father in heaven? (Matt. 7:11)
I also noticed David’s prayers were in the old covenant. If the prayers in the old covenant were this liberal, how much more in the new covenant? God said:
“Let us therefore come boldly unto the throne of grace, that we may obtain mercy, and find grace to help in time of need” (Hebrews 4:16)
He actually not just said this but showed it when he the veil tore in the temple when Jesus died. A stop came to all the rituals to be observed before coming into the most holy place. God is saying come boldly, Come and present your requests, no need for prayer formulas!. Just pray and pray as you are led. Freedom comes when we don’t have to observe a formula in prayers. Enjoy the liberty of the Spirit.
Over-time, I have noticed that just like me a lot of Christians are still caught in the web of Religion; a dogged practice of what we have been taught from child-hood that doesn’t conform in what way ever with the truth, just like in the prayer example I gave above.
Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion. Anything could become religious. Going to church without the understanding of why we go, why we give, fasting could also become religious,giving etc. When John the Baptist was given birth to, Zacharias his father was mute because he didn’t believe the prophecy of John’s birth. When he was given birth to, according to the words of the angel, the mother of the baby, Elizabeth requested the child be called John. The family members and neighbors who came for the circumcision said,
Luke 1:59 – 64
So it was, on the eighth day, that they came to circumcise the child; and they would have called him by the name of his father, Zacharias (vs 59)
His mother answered and said, “No; he shall be called John (vs 60)
But they said to her, “There is no one among your relatives who is called by this name” (vs 61)
So they made signs to his father – what he would have him called (vs 62)
And he asked for a writing tablet, and wrote saying, “His name is John”. So they marveled. (Vs 63)
Immediately his mouth was opened and his tongue loosed, and he spoke, praising God (vs 64)
The Custom was that John be named Zacharias. It was a norm. But God said he is to be called John which was against the custom. Just like Zacharias, a lot of us are caught in the web of religion, doing things the way we do them because that’s the way we’ve been told to them from our childhood, or the way accepted by the society. We oftentimes don’t ask why we do them the way we do them. Zacharias obedience to breaking the cords of Religion brought his freedom from being dumb. I believe the Holy-spirit is trying to paint an example for us from this scenario of how we can also be free if we dared to break the bonds of Religion. One way to do that is to always ask “why”. Why do you do what you do? Why do you have to do what people do?
I have had to ask, this kind of questions, like why should I be married?, why should I have a wedding ceremony, and even why should I have a reception afterward?. Interestingly I found many of my answers in scriptures and I am holding on to them. That’s the true test of spirituality. This would open the eyes of your understanding, and bring freedom your way swiftly from what bounds others. You would also have a good conviction of what you do.
Again let me say Freedom comes when we break the cords of Religion and also add that Christianity is not a Religion it’s a Life.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi
At the beginning of each year, there are always prophecies in almost every congregation, given by God to the shepherd in charge. It’s always beautiful to hear the promises of God for a new year as it always serves as a source of direction as we chart our course for the year, without which we would have been full of uncertainty and apprehension. With knowledge of the prophecies for the year, we can run with them and ensure their actualization by fulfilling our side of the promises. True prophecies never contradict the scriptures and the Bible make us understand that God always confirms the words that come through His prophets, and if we believe we will be established.
So they got up early in the morning and went out into the Wilderness of Tekoa; and as they went out, Jehoshaphat stood and said, “Hear me, O Judah, and you inhabitants of Jerusalem! Believe and trust in the Lord your God and you will be established (secure). Believe and trust in His prophets and succeed.” 2 Chronicles 20:20
Reading through the Bible, we see that God never did anything without revealing to His children ahead of time, including the birth of Jesus and the surrounding events. Isaiah, Jeremiah, and others foretold the future, as we see from scriptures:
All this happened in order to fulfil what the Lord had spoken through the prophet [Isaiah]: 23 “Behold, the virgin shall be with child and give birth to a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel”—which, when translated, means, “God with us.” Matthew 1: 22-23:
They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’ Matthew 2:5-6
Then what had been spoken through Jeremiah the prophet was fulfilled:“A voice was heard in Ramah,
Weeping and great mourning, Rachel weeping for her children; She refused to be comforted, Because they were no more.” Matthew 2:17-18
When Jesus was born, the wise men saw a star in the east and it went ahead of them all the way to the place the child was. How did the wise men know what the star meant? So many commentaries have tried to explain this, but I believe the wise men by some means knew about prophecies concerning the Messiah in the first place, and that’s why they could identify the star. Also, in the account of Matthew, Herod asked for the place the child was to be born and sent the wise men there. The answer was also from prophecy.
4 So he called together all the chief priests and scribes of the people and [anxiously] asked them where the Christ (the Messiah, the Anointed) was to be born.
5 They replied to him, “In Bethlehem of Judea, for this is what has been written by the prophet [Micah]:
6 ‘And you, Bethlehem, in the land of Judah, are not in any way least among the leaders of Judah; For from you shall come a Ruler Who will shepherd My people Israel.’”
7 Then Herod secretly sent for the magicians and learned from them the [exact] time the star [had first] appeared.
8 Then he sent them to Bethlehem, saying, “Go and search carefully for the Child; and when you have found Him, report to me, so that I too may come and worship Him.”
God has always revealed his mind to man. It is not His style to keep his children in the dark. In this dispensation, God hasn’t changed. He still tells his children about the future. The good news is that we don’t have to wait for the beginning of the year to know about the future, or our pastor because we have the word of God, our certain and sure word of prophecy. Prophetic revelations aren’t meant to be a one-off.
So we have the prophetic word made more certain. You do well to pay [close] attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and light breaks through the gloom and the morning star arises in your hearts. 1 Peter 2:19
The Bible is all the prophecy we will ever need. It tells us everything we need to know, and every child of God has access to this revelation-it is not hidden. God has given us His Spirit to help us understand it, interpret it and appropriate it in our lives.
1 Corinthians 2:9-13
9 but just as it is written [in Scripture] Things which the eye has not seen and the ear has not heard, And which have not entered the heart of man, All that God has prepared for those who love Him [who hold Him in affectionate reverence, who obey Him, and who gratefully recognize the benefits that He has bestowed].”
10 For God has unveiled them and revealed them to us through the [Holy] Spirit; for the Spirit searches all things [diligently], even [sounding and measuring] the [profound] depths of God [the divine counsels and things far beyond human understanding].
11 For what person knows the thoughts and motives of a man except the man’s spirit within him? So also no one knows the thoughts of God except the Spirit of God.
12 Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the [Holy] Spirit who is from God, so that we may know and understand the [wonderful] things freely given to us by God.
13 We also speak of these things, not in words taught or supplied by human wisdom, but in those taught by the Spirit, combining and interpreting spiritual thoughts with spiritual words [for those being guided by the Holy Spirit].
This prophecy doesn’t come once in a year; it comes as many times as we study the scriptures and fellowship in the Spirit. This means that every day of the new year and beyond, we can receive prophecies and see prophecies fulfilled.
In conclusion, the whole Bible, from Genesis to Revelations is our sure word of prophecy. We cannot walk in the light of what we do not know, and prophecies cannot be fulfilled if we don’t fulfill the requirements. Therefore, we must read, believe, speak and do the Word. The Bible wasn’t given to increase our knowledge, but to change our lives. If we do this, we will see prophecies fulfilled because God’s Word can never fail and we will be able to say like Joshua after all is said and done, “and I know in all my heart and in all my soul that not one word of all the good words which the Lord my God has promised concerning me has failed; all have been fulfilled for you, not one of them has failed”.
Written by Iyinoluwa Onobote
Unveiling the Reason for a Christians Existence
The topic of this article is a question I think that quite a number of people must have asked themselves at one point or another. Why am I here? What exactly is the reason why God created me? Am I just an accident? If one has very good answers to this question it gives one a reason to live. A reason to want to get out of bed every day, it gives focus, and helps one navigate through life. I pray that as you read, may the eyes of your understanding be enlightened, and may the Holy Spirit stir up our hearts, to give us understanding in Jesus name. (Amen)
First, I like to establish that everyone has a purpose. Just like everyone has a unique identity so also everyone has a unique purpose. God didn’t create you to be lost in the crowd; He gave you different fingerprints, unique facial and body features, and different blood groups in such a way that everyone is uniquely different from every other person on earth.
Given our individual uniqueness it is easy to deduce that God gave us all a unique purpose. Yes! I mean varying reasons to be here. You were created to fill a void. The world would be incomplete without you. God saw a need, a problem on earth and created you to be a solution to that problem. Scriptures affirm my statement above. We saw a lot of men, who when they were born, the bible clearly states the reason for their birth. Yours is not an exemption, these are some examples:
Let’s start from the Old Testament;
Joseph: was born to be a leader to preserve a lot of people from dying of famine. God had been showing this to him through dreams right from childhood.
Moses was born to be a deliverer of the nation of Israel from Egypt. He also wrote the first five books of the Bible. He was the one gave the account of creation. (Ex. 3:10)Samson: Before He was born an angel appeared to his parents and told them this, “For Behold, you shall conceive and give birth to a son: No razor shall come upon his head, for the boy shall be a Nazirite [dedicated] to God from birth: and he shall begin to deliver Israel out of the hand of the Philistines” (Judges 13:5). He was also born a deliverer; no wonder God gave him an unusual physical strength.
Many more examples can be found in the Old Testament, David, Solomon, Daniel, Elijah, Elisha and many more who lived during the times of the Old Testament.
In the New Testament;
John: This is the one who was mentioned by the prophet Isaiah when he said, the voice of one shouting in the wilderness, “Prepare the road for the Lord, make His highways straight (level, direct)!” (Matt. 3:3). He was sent to herald the coming of our saviour, Jesus Christ.
Jesus: “And she shall bring forth a son, and you shall call his name Jesus: for he shall save His people from their sins” (Matt. 1: 21)
Peter, Paul (who wrote a large part of the Bible and was very instrumental in founding many churches across our Europe of today), are a few more examples of men with their purpose from God stated in the Bible.
Having established that every man has a purpose, next, is how to know your purpose. God created man, so primarily He knows why He created each one of us. How then can we know? The first approach is to ASK. Yes ASK. At Paul’s conversion experience, he said
“And he trembling and astonished said, Lord, what wilt thou have me to do? And the Lord said unto him, Arise, and go into the city, and it shall be told thee what thou must do” (Acts 9:6)
Paul asked, “What would you have me do?” and God answered him and made preparations for him to be led adequately. For some people however, the case may be different, in that God might even reveal it to them without them asking. Just like in the case of Joseph, who started having dreams from childhood, which shows one important thing that God was more than willing to reveal to anyone who asks. I believe Luke 11:9 also applies here,
“And I say unto you; Ask, and it shall be given you; seek and you shall find; knock, and it shall be opened unto you” (Luke 11:9)
One other way to know one’s purpose is to be careful to identify the special grace and gifts God has given to each one of us. Let me be quick to add that every man has a gift. You have a special gift that makes you different from another man next to you. If you can find out what this gift is, then you might just be laying your hands on God’s assignment for your life.
Purpose, when discovered should drive your life. Every decision you make should be based on it. The books you read, the friends you make, who you to listen to, what you study, where you go, the job you take and even other minute issues in your life should be directed by it.
In Proverbs 31, Lemuel’s mother was advising him about how to live. She was giving directions about life and even the kind of woman he should marry, why? Lemuel was to be a king. That was Lemuel’s purpose. And his mother was preparing him for that. He had to be prepared; his every day decision was based on the fact that he was to be a king. He couldn’t just live like that every other person. He was to be a King. Here, are some of the counsel his mum gave him:
“Give not thy strength unto women, nor thy ways to that which destroys kings”
“It is not for kings, O Lemuel, it is not for kings to drink wine; nor for Princes strong drink” (Prov. 31: 3 – 4 KJV)
I recommend that everyone reads the book “Purpose driven Life by Rick Warren.”
Christians especially, are to take this more seriously, why? Because the life we live is not ours. We died in Christ. He gave us His life. Paul says this;
“I am crucified with Christ, Nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ lives in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, who loved me, and gave himself for me” (Galatians 2:20)
If the life you live now is not yours, have you asked the owner of the life, how He wants His life lived? Ask Him, why did He give the life to you? Paul asked, and God told him. God shows no favour. He would also tell you. Sure, I know it is to the praise of His glory, but what specifically? For me, part of it, is writing these articles, what is yours?
Lastly, let me say that as believers, I believe we have a personal purpose (as individuals) and a corporate purpose (as the church). As for the Personal purpose, we have been talking about that, and I hope I have been able to bring you to the awareness of that. Let’s look a little into the corporate purpose. By this, I mean why is the church here? (Quick note: Read my article on who is the Church? 1 & 2)
We first must note that in the eternal purpose of God, the church (which is me and you) was part of the plan. We have something to do. We are to herald his second coming. He is to come to us, come through us, come in us, come for us and then come with us.
“And heal the sick that are therein, and say unto them, the kingdom of God is come nigh unto you” (Luke 10:9)
“And he said unto them, “Go into all the world and preach the gospel to every creature. He who believes and is baptized will be saved; but he who does not believe will be condemned” (Mark 16:15 – 16)
In a later place, He even says the church is “the pillar and ground of the truth (1 Tim. 3:15)”. We are called to live like the truth (Jesus). We are to live as truths and teach the truth to our world. There is a lot of work on the body (the church) and more importantly on every part of the body. If you don’t do your part, it affects others. Today, I admonish you to find your place and relevance in the body and do whatever He has assigned and created you to do.
I call you blessed
Again, if you like to read more about this topic, you can read the book “Purpose driven life by Rick Warren”.
Written by Samson Afolabi
“To the praise of the glory of His grace, by which He made us accepted in the Beloved” (Ephesians 1:6)
Just as the story of the prodigal child, who was welcomed home not as a servant but as a son (Luke 15:11 – 32). When a man believes the gospel (about the death, burial and resurrection of Christ) i.e. become saved, His spirit is given life, because his spirit was actually dead in Adam (Gen. 2:17) and he becomes born into the family of God (Eph. 3:15). God legally becomes his father just as the devil was his father before he was born again. On this account he is linked up and rooted and joined to Christ. God becomes the vine and he the branch, he becomes one with the father, a level of spiritual oneness with God (John 15:5). He carries God’s nature, he has Jesus’s own righteousness, he is not condemned anymore, because Jesus carried all his guilt, shame and condemnation, all this happened when he accepted Jesus as lord (1 cor. 15:33). So he now deserves, all that Jesus deserves because Jesus took his place at the cross. He is accepted in God’s beloved, Jesus.
“Whoever believes that Jesus is the Christ is born of God… (1 John 5:1)”
“Behold what manner of love the Father has bestowed on us, that we should be called children of God!… (1 John 3:1)”
Every Christian is accepted as a son, he has a legal right to the things of God, wherever he goes he can boast of God as his father, he represents God wherever he goes (2 Cor. 5:20). He can legally demand things to be done in the name of his senior brother, Jesus Christ. He is accepted. God accepts him as much as he accepts Jesus. God loves him as much as he loves Jesus. And God can only stop accepting or loving him the day he stops accepting or loving Jesus (Matt 3:17, Rom 8:29). Every believer has a legal sit at God’s right hand (the place of all authority), he is accepted and welcomed always in the church in heaven, so he can command things to happen in the name of Jesus, and make requests because he is righteous in Christ (1 John 4:6 , Eph. 2:6 , Is. 54:17). We must learn not to walk according to our feelings but according to the fact that we are accepted.
Children normally grow bold in making requests or even accessing their parents (no matter who their parents are) because they know they are loved by their parents, they know they are accepted, so it doesn’t matter the offence they committed yesterday, they know today and always they are loved by their parents. This is because they didn’t earn their parent’s acceptance by what they did, so it can’t be lost by what they do or didn’t do, rather they earned it simply because they were born into the family. Any other stranger may not have this acceptance even if he/she continues to do right, this is because he is not born into the family. So Likewise are we before our father in Heaven.
Christians who know they are loved, accepted, chosen before the foundation of the world (i.e. before they were born physically) are always candidates for exploits in faith (Dan. 11:32). A very good example is the apostle Paul. They grow bold in coming into God’s presence (Heb. 4: 16) to make demands, so as such it is important for every Christian to know that they are “accepted in the beloved” as Paul puts it in Eph. 1:6, and also to know “why”. We are accepted in Jesus as Paul states, not in ourselves.
Brethren, let us rejoice because we are accepted before God in Jesus Christ, not because of what we did (Titus 3:5), but because of what Jesus did. Let us also rejoice because he is continuously supplying us grace that we may keep standing in the salvation which he has granted us that we may not fall from this exalted position. The knowledge of the fact that we are accepted is what we need to continuously overcome sin, live a life of dominion and do exploits in faith (works greater than what Jesus did). 1 John 5:4, Heb. 10:39.
Grow in Grace!
Written by Samson Afolabi
For my thoughts are not your thoughts, neither are your ways my ways, says the Lord (Isaiah 55:8)
Is it not interesting the way God goes about his things? In consideration of his ways, I am awed by his strength, wisdom and sense of humor. That he delivers from the lion by shutting its mouth all night (as in the case of Daniel) and He may also decide to give a man the strength to tear it in pieces (as in the case of Samson). That he wins Israel’s battles by turning soldiers into spectators and sometimes assigning a single angel to battalions of enemy forces. At one time he may decide to instruct the choir to lead the war with melodies of worship like He did during the days of Jephthah and another time he decides to fight for Israel with hailstones. The God we serve is definitely not short of ideas.
Logical Explanations often fail when God does His things. All we are left to say by faith is “It just has to be God”. He brings down tall walls through unintelligible shouts as in the case of Jericho. While many have tried to collate armories of knowledge, their vast arrays of intellectual properties and professorial endowments, yet their efforts are squelched by a virus so microscopic as not to be handled by the doctoral knowledge of the scientist. And God freely heals the blind using mud as his means. He casts out devils with just a word. He may also decide to allow the dead die well for four days and then show up to weep but yet to resurrect with words like he did for Lazarus.
He speaks to storms too. I mean real storms, just like the one you might be struggling with right now. It might be overwhelming. Storms are definitely dangerous and could drown the strongest of men. But my God, He speaks to calm them. He speaks to yours too today and I believe there shall be a great calm. He also has other ways of handling great water bodies especially when they obstruct passage into promises. There was this time he decided to part the sea and cause Israel to walk on dry land. Scripture says ‘…and the waters were a wall unto them on their right hand, and on their left (Exodus 14:22)’. This is so amazing for me! You just think about it. The waters would be like glass, housing a variety of beautiful sea creatures. Then, on this fateful day, he allowed Peter have his own experience of ‘the ways of God’ by a walk on water. Peter, walking, right on the storm! He walked on the boisterous waves. God might lead you to walk on stormy seas. You can dare to ask for it! It’s also included in the ‘ways of God’.
This is my Prayer, Lord, these things written, may it serve to remind your people of the kind of father you are. May it not form tales that excite our emotions but yet leave us unchanged. Change us with a taste of your glory. May your great wonders of the past stir us to seek you more. May we again walk in the limitless boundaries of the ‘ways of God’
Help us to Keep Gazing and looking at this things you have done that this will build faith in our hearts and help us to build a stronger trust in you.
“You will keep him in Perfect peace, whose mind is stayed on you: because he trusts in you (Is. 26:3)”
“Trust you in the Lord for ever: for in the LORD JEHOVAH is everlasting strength (Is. 26:4)”
Written by Alao Rotimi
As I was approaching my room, I had already started making plans for the 3 hours of free time I had on this beautiful Friday after my hectic week. The plan was simple: (1) get something to eat and (2) to sleep for as long as possible before my work shift later in the evening. I hurriedly boiled some rice, and made my favorite fried plantain and some stew and boiled eggs. I wouldn’t call myself an expert at cooking, but this particular meal was welcoming. I hurriedly reached for a bottle of Cola in my fridge to accompany my food. Everything was set, and it was written all over the atmosphere, as I sat on my bed to eat that I was set to have a nice time with my “special” brunch.
Then I decided to watch a short movie as I ate. To me, this was the perfect way to relax-to have a nice meal while watching a movie. My friend had just told me about this website where I could watch the latest movies and I decided to try it out. On getting to this website, I searched to find a movie I liked and then I saw a recent movie entitled “Beauty and the Beast”. It was a movie acted from the fairy tale written by French novelist Gabrielle-Suzanne Barbot de Villeneuve in 1740. And it was indeed a good one.
The story-line of the movie was quite interesting, with a lot of singing and funny imaginations. One of such imaginations was a talking clock, a living lamp-stand, Mrs Pot, a human tea cup, a talking wardrobe and some other fantasies. All talking and behaving like human beings. Of all the things in the movie, their characters was the most interesting to me. I watched in amazement. I had finished eating and was tired and ready to sleep, but I just couldn’t get my eyes off the special characters. I wanted to see how the story unfolded to the end! As soon as the movie ended, I fell asleep almost immediately. Now, here is the most interesting part of the story that afternoon. As I slept, I had a peculiar dream. I had this Mrs Pot, Mr lamp-stand, boy tea-cup, visit me and I was talking with them. I couldn’t really remember what our discussion was when I woke up, but I knew they came to me in my dream and that we had a “nice” chat.
The video I was watching some minutes ago, has now become a reality in my dream. Though this was funny and harmless, it opened my eyes and show me how the mind is in capturing sounds and images. This reminded of a particular lesson in the bible, which it is to “Guard your heart with all diligence”.
“Watch over your heart with all diligence, for from it flow the springs of life” (Proverbs 4:23 NLT)
“Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life” (Proverbs 4:23 KJV)
The 2 entrances to a man’s heart are his/her eyes and ears. Therefore, why should I guard my mind?
I guard my mind because it is very powerful in capturing visions and words. I am who I am today, because of the words I have heard and the things I have seen since I was born, and the same is also true for everyone including you, my dear reader.
Sex-addicts, drug-addicts, thieves, terrorists, Pastors are all products of words they heard and things they saw. Even being a Christian, you must hear and believe the gospel. Therefore, everyone is basically a product of what they have heard and believed.
Let me explain. I remember being taught in university that the mind is like a reflecting mirror. It only reviews and contains what is being exposed to it and that at birth it is like a “clean slate”. The later part of Proverbs 4:23 in the KJV says that out of the mind are the issues of life which means that a man is a product of how he thinks. So that’s why someone born in Nigeria won’t act like another born in Germany, because the cultures in this two countries are clearly different, and these two people have been exposed two different cultures entirely making them think different.
Many people have been captives of some strange and wrong beliefs all their lives because of such exposure. While I don’t say we shouldn’t be open minded to hear people and watch videos, it is advisable to be careful. It is good we are open minded to listen to people, learn and try new things, but we must be careful to examine everything we see or hear newly to be sure they agree with God’s word, the bible.
“Do not be carried away by diverse and strange teachings; for it is good for the heart to be established and strengthened by grace and not by foods [rules of diet and ritualistic meals], which bring no benefit or spiritual growth to those who observe them. (Hebrews 13:9 AMP)”
The Bible gives this admonition: “It is good that our heart be established in grace”. Listen to and watch things that establishes us the more in grace. Listen and watch things that reminds us that Jesus loves us, that he died for us and rose up for our justification and everything that makes the spiritual more real to us. So how do we know what is ‘’good for our heart’’? It’s very simple – it is everything that makes us understand the bible more and strengthens our faith in our lord, Jesus. As we do this, just as in my story, what we see and read becomes a reality and our hearts are established in GRACE. As we listen to God’s word we become like God.
As I round-off this article, it is important we also note that as Christians, the Bible encourages us to “renew our minds”.
“And do not be conformed to this world [any longer with its superficial values and customs], but be transformed and progressively changed [as you mature spiritually] by the renewing of your mind [focusing on godly values and ethical attitudes], so that you may prove [for yourselves] what the will of God is, that which is good and acceptable and perfect [in His plan and purpose for you]” (Romans 12:2 AMP)
As we renew our minds, let us expose it to the right things (songs, videos, words etc.). So that we are changed towards the image of Christ. And as our minds are changed, we are changed from our old way of life to live as Christ did on earth. Let us be selective to the songs, the videos, the gatherings we expose ourselves to. Some things are worth skipping, not because they are sins, but because they are not fruitful to the renewal process of the mind. So, I won’t do some things not because if I do them they are sins but doing them will not help the process of the renewal of my mind. My Pastor once said, God won’t change us without our consent. To Allow God change us, our consent must be given in what being careful in what we feed our minds through our eyes and our ears.
I have often said that our environment are filled with a lot of junks and nudity already that deliberating watching a video or song in support of it is not doing myself any good at all. I encourage you, as you progress in this journey of renewing of your mind, to guard your heart with all diligence, because whatever we allow into our minds sooner or later becomes our reality.
I Call You Blessed
Written by Samson Afolabi