A man was known in his community because of his wisdom and intelligence. He met often with the other elders of the community and had a place of honour because of his contributions in advice and suggestions. He was proud of his standing, and did everything to maintain his integrity.
Moreover his children were known and his wife was honoured by all.
One day he called his wife and demanded to know where she brought one of their sons from. This sparked off a heated argument between the man and his wife, with the man insisting that the boy was not like him.
In looks, stature, complexion and character, the boy was his exact replica. So what was the issue? What could make a wise man behave so irrational? The boy failed an examination! He felt ashamed that his son would fail a major examination, and did not know how to defend it. He felt his ego had been punctured, making him disappointingly angry.
But why was he angry? He was guarding something: his good name.
In the military, training is given, with all its rigors and harshness, to mould the individual to fit and suit the image of the Force; thereby preserving its good name.
In school, children are taught in many ways and with various methods. Children who fail consecutively are asked to go; expelled. Why? The school has a name to protect.
Even in Church! Church? Yes. When an erring member refuses admonitions and warnings, and persists in breaking rules and commands, he gets excommunicated! Why? The name!
“A GOOD name is rather to be chosen than great riches, and loving favour rather than silver and gold.” – Proverbs 22:1
A good name is of greater value and should be chosen than silver and gold! No wealth of this world can compare to a good name!
“A good name is better than precious ointment; and the day of death than the day of one’s birth.” – Ecclesiastes 7:1
Ointment here talks of anointing. Just like wealth, anointing cannot compare to a good name! A person could be so anointed, if he does not have a good name, his anointing is polluted and counterfeit!
Samson was so anointed his birth was foretold. His reputation and anointing went before him but because he had no GOOD name, it was only a matter of time before he was brought down.
To be entrusted or conferred with the name of the military, a father, school or Church, you have to be patterned or trained to fit the mould (characteristics and pattern) of that name. Before full responsibility is given you in a work place, you have to be trained to fit into the company’s ways and policies.
Earthly fathers have been known to disown children and ask them not to use the family name because of the shame of their conduct. They want to preserve the family’s good name, the integrity built over the years. Such steps are usually consequences for not conforming with the characteristics of the family.
To carry the name of our heavenly Father, you would have to be trained or discipled. Worldly characteristics would have to be washed or cleansed from you.
“Now ye are clean through the word which I have spoken unto you.” – John 15:3
That’s one reason we go to Church and are given the written word; that we might do away with the ways of the world and learn the ways of heaven.
“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.” – Matthew 11:29
Learning to be like Jesus is taking up the characteristics of God and being conformed to His Kingdom. This makes us sons.
Only sons carry the name of the family, servants don’t. God watches over and guards His name so jealously, that was why He warned Moses in Exodus 23, about his angel on whom He placed His name. He does not trust His name to just about anybody. And he that nameth the name of the Lord must depart from iniquity!
It is an awesome thing to carry the name of the Lord. That name goes with power, authority, favour, provisions: doors open to the one that carries His name, he is welcomed and celebrated, divine health and sound mind are companions of such a one. That was what Abraham received after God tried him. He swore by Himself to bless Abraham. It was His very name He put on the Patriarch!
The reason you are going through what you are going through is because God loves you, and has chosen to put His name on you.
“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” – Hebrews 12:6
God has not just chosen you but is preparing you to be called a son, not a child, so you might have the honour of carrying His name.
He has put you where you are, that you would be “chosen from the fire of affliction”!
Stop giving honour to the devil; he may be God’s instrument, but God is in charge. God rules in the affairs of men!
“If ye endure chastening, God dealeth with you as with sons; for what son is He whom the father chasteneth not?” – Hebrew 12:7
Know that you are a son! For God to bring out the best in you for His Name’s sake He has to “form and fashion” you to meet His specification or standard.
As a son you do not run but remain and endure hardness like a good soldier! Grit your teeth, toughen you body and “count it all joy when you fall into diverse temptations”!
Beloved, it may not be pleasant but God wants you to endure! It will soon pass! Be patient for as surely as the sun rises and morning comes, the season of tears will pass and a new season of joy shall come!
Stand firm and let the name of the Lord be glorified.
One major reason we go to school, go for on-the-job courses, seminars, conferences and trainings is to get to the top in our jobs, in society and in life. We all work to be promoted!
We desire to be taken beyond our present level to a higher one.
To be divinely promoted is to be “taken” beyond one’s present level to a higher one without the promotion being worked for. To be “made” to enter a higher office in power and dignity, even without merit.
“And hath raised us up together, and made us sit together in heavenly places in Christ Jesus.” – Ephesians 2:6
In Paul’s time the Ephesians Church was a faith-full Church. They loved the Word and lived it! Paul did not correct them of any particular error or heresy.
He wrote to give them details of what Christ’s resurrection did for the Church.
Paul starts by telling them and everyone of us, that blessings have been made (Ephesians 1:3), and are in heavenly places.
He talked about their eyes of understanding being opened, and of the height to which Jesus has been elevated; raised. Above powers and dominions.
In chapter two, he tells every sincere child of God that we have been raised up, exalted, lifted up: divinely promoted! Not by our work, neither a thing we obtained by merit. This is all a divine gift! Promotion is not a result of man’s labour but of God’s grace. We are not asking to be promoted, raised or lifted. We are already.
This is how we were made the head and not the tail. We are at the top and not the bottom! We are above and not beneath!
We have been raised in all things! All that happen to us physically come through the spirit realm. Being lifted in the spirit means we have been lifted in all things!
We need to know the gift of resurrection! We need to know what He did at death. At resurrection He raised us up.
We are no more at the lowly place! No more in the dust! No more with the losers!
The price has been paid, the work has been done so that we might be above: far above all principality and power and might and dominion! (Ephesians 1:18-21). Hallelujah!
When an aircraft meets rain and its destination is still far, the Pilot would climb higher, above the cloud. Meanwhile everything under the cloud will be beaten by the rain.
Principalities, powers, might and dominion; the powers of darkness, produce the rain of poverty, barrenness, sickness, failure, affliction, etc.
Since we are above the powers that create the evil rain, we are above the evil things they create!
“My people are destroyed for lack of knowledge: because thou hast rejected knowledge, I will also reject thee, that thou shalt be no priest to me: seeing thou hast forgotten the law of thy God, I will also forget thy children.” – Hosea 4:6
Many are still praying for upliftment! Still praying that God would promote them.
No one prays to be made a man or a woman. We are already what God fashioned us to be. We are born with every features needed to be male or female.
All that you would need as a gender: male or female has been provided. All you need is to eat the right food, do the right things and as you mature, all the features given you develop and become visible!
In Christ, you have been promoted. When you eat the right spiritual food, and do the right things, you grow into the exalted position that has always been yours in Christ!
“If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land.” – Isaiah 1:19
Two things stand out in that scripture.
(1) Willingness, and
These actions are propelled by the Word.
You will have to locate the mind or plan of God written in His word, agree with Him, whether you understand it or not. And, .. do!
Daniel was a slave in a foreign land. But overtime he rose to the position of leadership; even offered to be third ruler in the land.
How did he do it?
He did not scheme to be promoted nor was he ambitious to attain the height. He lived to please God in everything by maintaining his stand on the Word of God. He may not have understood everything, yet he accepted it, agreed with it whole heartedly. He did not try to rationalize or bend it to favour himself.
So did Joseph, who believed the Word of God, trusted it and refused the substitute offered by Portipher’s wife. Again he was not ambitious to be promoted. Rather than accept her suggestion, he fled, acting on what he believed. He proved that pleasing God and seeking after His Kingdom brings promotion.
What about Caleb and Joshua? They heard the Word of God like other spies, saw the giants, but refused what their eyes suggested to them. They held on to what God said, certainly not knowing how victory would come, but believed it shall come; for faithful is He that promised! When others were crying and pulling back, they were itching to move on, not out of ambition, but with the plan of God; His Word. They stood and did what He said and consequently entered the next level.
So did the three Hebrew children: Shadrach, Meshach and Abednego. They defied fear, thoroughly convinced that God would save them. They rejected every other word that suggested deliverance. They knew they already had deliverance! They acted on the Word of God they believed and saw the fourth man; even the Son of God, and were made to defy fire made seven times hotter! They certainly entered a higher realm and their promotion followed immediately.
So did countless others. All attained promotion and exalted positions.
These may be from the Old Testament, the principles of God remain the same, from generation to generation. The methods of God may differ, yet His principles are unchanging.
Man fell because he was ambitiously seeking something he already had. He was already divinely promoted. Adam was god over all of God’s creation. All things were placed under him. That is why the Psalmist asked:
“What is man, that thou art mindful of him? and the son of man, that thou visitest him?……Thou madest him to have dominion over the works of thy hands; thou hast put all things under his feet.” – Psalm 8:4,6
This is the eternal purpose of God, that Man be promoted. Adam was promoted by the Father, but because of ignorance of the Father’s plan, he tried working his promotion and consequently lost his position.
Most often we want to see how God’s Word would benefit us before we get involved with it, and drop it when it looks hurtful.
This was the undoing of those who died in the wilderness, who cried and refused to obey the Word, choosing to go back to Egypt. They were not willing to accept the Word as it is and so were not promoted to the next level.
It is not just what we do!
Is our willingness, our heart in it? What is the inspiration propelling us to do, or not to do?
We should not be like Thomas who wants first to see before he would believe.
Yes; to the threatening situations around us. Beloved, change the way you think, lift up your eyes and see what the natural senses cannot see: what God has ordained and settled. For beyond what your eyes can see, beyond what your ears can hear, beyond what your nose perceives, beyond what you feel and taste, lies the Truth: what God has purposed.
Yes, there lies your promotion!
Love is the command on which hangs the Law and the Prophets (Matthew 22:34-40). Meaning, every scripture from Genesis to Revelation is about the love of God, which we are commanded to show others especially to those of the household of faith.
It is not measured by gifts, visitations, fasting and praying.
Picture a dissected orange with all its segments; held together by a thick adhesive center that reaches even to the outer of all the segments in a bond of oneness.
“And above all these things put on charity, which is the bond of perfectness.” – Colossians 3:14
Like the various segments that make an orange, love has got segments or qualities that make it what it is; one fruit, but with segments. All these segments are interwoven, yet one.
QUALITIES OR SEGMENTS OF LOVE.
(1) Love is a cover.
Love has this tendency to forgive and forget offences.
A heart of true love over brims with such weight of love that makes offences insignificant. The power of love in the heart makes it possible to overlook offences, and not take them to heart.
“He that covereth a transgression seeketh love.” – Proverbs 17:9a
“Hatred stirreth up strifes: but love covereth all sins.” – Proverbs 10:12
(2) Love rebukes and corrects.
Love does not pass over an opportunity to rebuke, discipline and correct.
“For whom the Lord loveth He chasteneth, and scourgeth every son whom He receiveth.” – Hebrews 12:6
It is one that does not love that would not correct.
(3) Love receives correction.
Love receives correction without bitterness or complains of trying to justify itself.
“But the wisdom that is from above is first pure, then peaceable, gentle, and easy to be intreated, full of mercy and good fruits, without partiality, and without hypocrisy. – James 3:17
(4) Love suffers long.
Love forebears with people. It endures the contradictions of others towards it without complaining, murmuring, resentment or bitterness.
It is not ashamed to wait for another and believes so much in the success of that other.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4
(5) Love is kind.
Love goes beyond giving things, to having a sympathetic thought about somebody. It thinks, acts and speaks good of another.
(6) Love does not envy.
Love does not harbour or entertain ill-feelings about another person’s prosperity, blessing or promotion. Rather, it rejoices with them.
“Charity suffereth long, and is kind; charity envieth not; charity vaunteth not itself, is not puffed up,….. .., but rejoiceth in the truth.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4,6
(7) Love does not boast.
It does not speak boastfully, or exaggerate on his achievement.
“Charity ………. vaunteth not itself ……” –
1 Corinthians 13:4
(8) Love does not puff up.
It does not hold a high opinion of itself, nor have an undue sense of superiority over others.
“Charity ………. is not puffed up.”
– 1Corinthians 13:4
Love is not full of self, neither does it act snobbish like a peacock.
(9) Love is not rude.
It does not act in a rude manner, or indecent with words. Love is polite and modest in all things.
“Doth not behave itself unseemly ……..” – 1Corinthians 13:5
(10) Love is not selfish.
Love does not seek to or impose itself on others. It does not dominate in conversations, or insist on having its way all the time.
“Love ……. seeketh not her own.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
(11) Love is not easily provoked
It does not get angry too soon. Rather it tends to justify the offender.
Love “…….. is not easily provoked.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
(12) Love thinks no evil.
It does not imagine or wish evil for anyone.
” …….. thinketh no evil.” – 1 Corinthians 13:5
(13) Love does not delight in evil.
It does not take sides to undo another. Neither does it desire to physically harm others, even under provocation.
“Love worketh no ill to his neighbour: therefore love is the fulfilling of the law.” – Romans 13:10
These are the very attributes of God.
“And the LORD passed by before him, and proclaimed, The LORD, The LORD God, merciful and gracious, longsuffering, and abundant in goodness and truth, 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.” – Exodus 34:6-7
And He desires to see these qualities in us; called the “Fruit of the Spirit”.
“But the fruit of the Spirit is love, joy, peace, longsuffering, gentleness, goodness, faith, Meekness, temperance: against such there is no law.” – Galatians 5:22-23
These character traits are not home in man. The heart of man is deceitful and full of wickedness.
Yet God desires the fruit of the Spirit in His children.
We need to train or exercise ourselves to grow them. And since this is not humanly possible, the, “trainer”, the Holy Spirit is given to guide us.
May we cooperate with Him; that He may work into us the desire of our Father. It may be hard, long and painful, you may not get it even after so many times, but remember that the righteous, even the righteous, falleth seven times yet never stays down.
Lets not give up, and at the end we shall shine brighter than the Stars of heaven.
We start exercising with the most preached, yet the most misunderstood message. LOVE. It is the easiest message to preach but the most difficult to practice.
Love is the central point of Jesus’ teaching, and the high point of chapters 13, 14, 15 and 16 of the book of John. A teaching that was not given to the multitude but to the core disciples.
In Matthew 5, as Jesus began His ministry, He gave the sermon on the mount to his core disciples.
“And seeing the multitudes, He went up into a mountain: and when He was set, his disciples came unto him: And He opened his mouth, and taught them.” – Matthew 5:1-2
Again at the closing of His earthly Ministry, He washed the feet of the core disciples (John 13), and in a teaching that covers four chapters, opens to them more about living in the spirit.
He told them of His going away, yet would be with them wherever they were. He talked about the Comforter, the promised Holy Spirit, and about the Father.
This was when Philip asked Him to show them the Father.
In answer, Jesus tells them about the Spirit connection between the Father and Himself, and how it shall be so between them (person to person), the Father and Himself.
All these He summarized possible by a commandment. The commandment to love.
Love is the climax of Christianity and the climax of spirit-life.
That is the reason Paul said “if I can move mountains but have no love, I am nothing.” (1 Corinthians 13)
Love is given as a commandment; as a commission, an order, a word of instruction authoritatively given, a mandate that must be carried out.
Love is not an option for Christians but a command!
“These things I command you, that ye love one another.” – John 15:17
Even to people who see us as their enemy, we are commanded to show love!
Someone takes your coat, you do not only have to show him love, you give him your cloak too!
Another insults you, disgraces you in public and takes your blanket; give him your bed too!
The person comes back to you thirsty; give him water to drink!
“It sounds crazy, why should I give drinking water to my sworn enemy?”
Its not your choice! Its a command.!
When I come visiting I prove my love. No! Visitation does not prove love. One can visit with anger and hatred in the heart. Visitation is no love!
When I give gifts I prove my love. Again no! I can give you every beautiful thing in the this world, yet not love! Many have given gifts for the purpose of blinding and gagging the recipient. No, giving gifts is not love!
“Well, I feed the poor.” Sorry, but that is not love either! “Eat and drink, saith he to thee; but his heart is not with thee.” – (Proverbs 23:7b)
I have seen men who fed others with the intention of destroying them. No, feeding others is not love!
Some fast and pray for others and call it love. Again I say no! The fact you prayed and fasted for someone and another knows disqualifies it from being love. Many have fasted and prayed for others, to prove spiritually superior or to keep them around! No, fasting and praying for others is not love!
“Though I speak with the tongues of men and of angels, and have not charity, I am become as sounding brass, or a tinkling cymbal. And though I have the gift of prophecy, and understand all mysteries, and all knowledge; and though I have all faith, so that I could remove mountains, and have not charity, I am nothing. And though I bestow all my goods to feed the poor, and though I give my body to be burned, and have not charity, it profiteth me nothing. – 1 Corinthians 13:1-3
Love is not an outward show! Something done for others, for some to see! No!
Love is an inside demonstration: a thing of the heart done WITHOUT A GAIN TO SELF!
Love is not caring about yourself while laying your life down for other.
“Greater love hath no man than this, that a man lay down his life for his friends.” – John 15:13
Love gives. Yes! It gives, not just things. It gives itself!
It does not give its “body”, but its very being; its very life.
Love gives itself for another!
“For God so loved the world, that He gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” – John 3:16
God gave His all, His very being. In human terms, God gave His posterity, His future.
Made in His image and likeness, we should be like Him.
Let’s exercise our senses to love without pretence, and with all sincerity; for God our Father is Love.