One of the greatest prayers of Apostle Paul for the Church is that our eyes of the spirit be opened.
“The eyes of your understanding being enlightened; that ye may know what is the hope of his calling, and what the riches of the glory of his inheritance in the saints,” (Ephesians 1:18).
More often than not, our natural eyes stand against us. Most times they join up with the enemy, and are in fact the greatest weapon in the hand of the enemy against the Children of God.
True, we see with the eyes, yet what they interpret is the greatest undoing of the human race!
The eyes are the foundation or starting point of most vices: adultery, starts from the eyes! Idolatry starts from the eyes, envy, jealousy, hatred, greed, etc, find entry to the soul through the eyes. Even failure and defeat, are offsprings of sight!
The major reason most Christians are weak spiritually is the lack of spiritual sight. We have become like the Israelites in the wilderness, who fell because of spiritual blindness.
“And when the people saw that Moses delayed to come down out of the mount, the people gathered themselves together unto Aaron, and said unto him, Up, make us gods, which shall go before us; for as for this Moses, the man that brought us up out of the land of Egypt, we wot not what is become of him.” (Exodus 32:1).
They took Moses as their god; now he could not be seen, neither did they know what could have befallen him, for him to delay this long. He had never delayed like this before, and this made them uncomfortable; they needed to see their god, to be assured their god was with them. They could not endure not seeing Moses, so “up Aaron, make us gods! ” What we can see!!!
Journeying to our promised land through the wilderness called earth, many Christians cannot see God in their situations, their homes, jobs and businesses, and have not only “heaped pastors to themselves”, they have pressured them to make gods that they can see and follow: the god of success, “mammon” the god money, the god of technology, the god of cars, of fame and affluence. This has weakened Christians; we have a name, the form “Christians” but lack the power!
Spiritual blindness weakened the “desert Church” by robbing her of the presence and power of God, and here we are, the Church of the New Testament and New Covenant, being robbed of the same!
Moses endured trials and contradictions because he saw beyond the natural eyes; he saw beyond sight!
“By faith he forsook Egypt, not fearing the wrath of the king: for he endured, as seeing him who is invisible.” (Hebrews 11:27).
Most Christians buckle and fall at the slightest trial because they are not seeing beyond natural sight.
When Moses noticed the nakedness of (departure of God’s glory from) the people, he went to the entrance of the camp and called “who is on the Lord’s side come to me.” The tribe of Levi went to him. So why did they go to join Moses? What put them “on the Lord’s side”, because at this time they had not been chosen to represent God before the people? They saw what others could not see, not even the first born sons that God had chosen to represent Him!
What did they see? They saw and felt the presence of God in the camp, and also saw the consequence of walking against Him!!
In the presence of our earthly fathers, and filled with the consciousness of their presence, we would not do things we know they will not approve. This knowledge of their presence makes us uncomfortable and sort of paralyzes us from getting involved in any vice, no matter how much we would have desired to.
The Sons of Levi saw both the presence of God and the consequence of acting outside His approval. So they did not get invinvolved!!!
We see Pastors and Ministers, but do we see the Lord Jesus in His house, and at every gathering of the Saints? Do we see Him in our homes, our jobs and every areas of our world? He is our greater than Moses, presently “on the mountain”, in heaven interceding for you and I. Can we see Him in the “Camp”, the Church? Spiritual coldness is a product of spiritual blindness. Christians are almost begged to go to Church!
Why are we not able to stand and resist the enemy? Why are Christians so afraid: afraid of the devil, of lack, of failure, of sickness and all? If I know my Father is with me, I should not be afraid, knowing He would take care of me and all that concern me. That is Faith!! In other words, Faith cannot be in operation where spiritual blindness operates!
Look at the Church. Can we really say there is faith? Jesus spoke prophetically when He asked:
“I tell you that he will avenge them speedily. Nevertheless when the Son of man cometh, shall he find faith on the earth? ” (Luke 18:8).
If faith is lacking, it is due to the absence of spiritual sight. Because faith comes only by perceiving through the Word of God.
“So then faith cometh by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” (Romans 10:17).
Jesus, our Lord, Master and Example, endured because He saw!
“Looking unto Jesus the author and finisher of our faith; who for the joy that was set before him endured the cross, despising the shame, and is set down at the right hand of the throne of God.” (Hebrews 12:2).
No servant can be greater than the master. If our Lord endured and triumphed by what He saw, we need to see God’s way. This does not come by prayer. Prayer is done by revelation; after you have seen. And revelation is spiritual sight.
Only the Word!
A deep hunger and thirst for the Truth is the eye salve that opens the eyes. God will pour water on the ground that is parched and thirsty. When you begin to be dissatisfied with lies and seek after Truth, genuinely; not for what you can gain for yourself, the Holy Spirit shall open your eyes.
“Then said he unto the disciples, It is impossible but that offences will come: but woe unto him, through whom they come!” – Luke 17:1 (KJV)
Trials are a part of the Christian call; part of God’s will for us.
Promotion comes after successfully enduring trials: when we prove ourselves on top of the trial; when we go through trials without loosing our saltines, our goodness.
To be on top of the trials, you need to know four things.
(1) Know where you are.
You need to do an honest appraisal or evaluation of what has befallen you.
“Examine yourselves, whether ye be in the faith; prove your own selves.” – 2 Cor 13:5a (KJV)
Is it possible you are responsible for what befell you? Could you have done something that led to what situation you are in?
“But let none of you suffer as a murderer, or as a thief, or as an evildoer, or as a busybody in other men’s matters.” – 1 Peter 4:15 (KJV)
Be honest with yourself.
If you cannot be honest with yourself, you cannot be honest with anyone; not even with God! Self-respect comes from being true to who you are. When you respect yourself others will respect you.
Do not try to be another person or lie to yourself just because you want to avoid being blamed.
Withdraw to the deepest part of you where no man can come: your husband, your wife, your children. A place Jesus would call the “secret place”; and truly examine yourself.
“Stand in awe, and sin not: commune with your own heart upon your bed, and be still.” – Psalms 4:4 (KJV)
Sometimes the behaviour of people toward us is actually a reaction to what we have said or done! Clear your conscience!
Repent and ask God’s forgiveness, if you find yourself guilty in any way.
But after searching and you find no fault with you, rejoice!
(2) The second thing to know is that a better and greater life is ahead of you!
The sun is always above. After the planted seed has probed it’s surrounding with its roots and settled itself (as in confirming that its darkness experience is not its making), it looks up to the Sun!
“I will lift up mine eyes unto the hills, from whence cometh my help. My help cometh from the LORD, which made heaven and earth. He will not suffer thy foot to be moved: he that keepeth thee will not slumber. Behold, he that keepeth Israel shall neither slumber nor sleep. The LORD is thy keeper: the LORD is thy shade upon thy right hand. The sun shall not smite thee by day, nor the moon by night. 7 The LORD shall preserve thee from all evil: he shall preserve thy soul. The LORD shall preserve thy going out and thy coming in from this time forth, and even for evermore “ – Psalms 121:1-8 (KJV)
Look up to the Sun of Righteousness!
It shall be well! Everything will turn out to your favour!
……… to be continued.
Gideon had the presence of God, but did not know it!
“If God be with us ……. “ he said. (Judges 6:13)
Today, many have the presence of God so mighty in their life, yet they do not know and consequently do not follow His leading! God gives grace – His power, ability and presence – to the humble.(James 4:6).
“But he giveth more grace. Wherefore he saith, God resisteth the proud, but giveth grace unto the humble.” – James 4:6 KJV
Gideon was exceptionally humble! He claimed to be from a poor and insignificant family in Manasseh, whereas his family was notable and influential! His father erected the altar to Baal where the people of the city went to for sacrifice and worship. They were well known in the city. But like Moses, Gideon did not regard the wealth of his family as something to be proud of. Even he had servants…., yet said he was the least! He was unique, an original! He never followed people’s opinions. Though he listened to them, he allowed the inner voice of Spirit to lead him. He valued himself.
(3) PLACE VALUE ON YOURSELF!
I placed value on myself. I knew I could not compare with the others in terms of being in vogue fashion-wise, yet I believed in myself. Believed in yourself. People won’t believe in you until you first believe in yourself. If you wait for people to value you, you will amount to nothing and come to nothing. Gideon had to be encouraged to place a value on himself. The Prodigal son learnt the hard way and re-valued himself. No one told him he was worth more than pigs; but pulled himself off their realm. If he hadn’t, no one would have related to him. That was were circumstances placed him, because he cooperated with the circumstances. But after he discovered himself and took charge of his life, he was not only accepted in the realm of men, he was celebrated. You too can be celebrated!
Place a value on yourself before expecting others to have a regard for you.
A person without self-esteem is like a man in a coma. He could be the richest man on earth, however until he regains consciousness, he has no control over his riches. A bad self-image of yourself denies you of your God given entitlements. You are a book read by others!
“Ye are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read of all men.” -2 Corinthians 3:2 KJV
Like one would dump a boring book, even your friends would forsake you as in the case of the prodigal son. Your true friends are those who remain with you when you show your true worth.
A low self-esteem is contrary to the word of God in 2 Corinthians 3:18 which says you ought to change from glory to glory. The least you can ever get is “glory!” And that is your starting point! God has put so much in you, and He expects much from you. But a low self -worth will make you live below capacity and your input or investment in the Kingdom of God fall short of expectation.. According to Romans 12:3, God has given you a level of faith. Grow it, don’t hide it!
Someone said, “the way you are dressed is the way you are addressed.”
When you stop whining in self-pity and place a value on yourself, you will value your decisions and stand by them; taking full responsibility for those decisions whether they turn out good or bad. That is a mark of maturity, a mark of a leader; that is true beauty!
The prodigal son said “I will say to my father, I have sinned …..” He took responsibility for his actions. He did not try to pass the blame like Adam, and like many do today; blaming others instead of blaming themselves.
Believe in your self and take responsibility for your actions!
(4) PUT ACTION TO VALUE.
Gideon, recognising his worth in God, put an action in the knowledge. He gathered an army of 36,000 men and without fear or doubt, listened to God and sent home 35,700! Suggestions and advice could have been given him, yet he believed in the value God placed on him.
The prodigal son took an action after placing value on himself. I took an action of neatness.
No matter how “current” or expensive your dressing, you can never be fully confident when your clothes are dirty and rumpled. Cultivate the culture of neatness! Keep your finger nails clean, short and well manicured. If you wear your finger-nails long, give them some extra attention. What is the point in keeping long nail only to hide them under some table? Most men wash their hair everyday, I wash mine every other day, and I have a particular brand of hair cream I use. Groom your hair!
If you are a woman, do not stay too long before going to the hair salon. And whatever you do, don’t over-grease your hair, be it long or short! Be modest in your use of make-up. You certainly don’t want to look like a painted devil!
Your confidence will rise enhancing your value as you apply modesty in your appearance.
“In like manner also, that women adorn themselves in modest apparel, with shamefacedness and sobriety; not with broided hair, or gold, or pearls, or costly array.” – 1 Timothy 2:9 KJV
When you can afford it, buy a sweet smelling perfume, bless it and use it. It is not a sin!
Do not put up a false appearance by borrowing clothes to wear as sometimes this can bring you embarrassments. And do not go after things too expensive for you.
Be modest! Be strong! Be courageous!
Manifesting your beauty will give you a joy so priceless it cannot be bought with money.
But it starts with discovery; of who you are. What are the things you enjoy doing? Don’t despise those things, so long as they do not infringe on the rights of others. What clothes bring out the best of you? Are they neat? And not offensive to the public? Wear them! They do not have to be in vogue, or expensive!
As an original, you become a leader because others who have not discovered themselves will begin to copy you.
Remember, there’s is a beauty in you that needs to be discovered.
Gideon was a young man completely empty. He was empty of pride, status, power, ambition, influence, achievement, ego, power, etc. He was completely empty of self! Yet the angel of the Lord called him “mighty man of valour”!
There was something in him that he never knew was there! The call was for him to look inward and discover the beauty hidden in him.
Jesus said “the Kingdom of heaven is within you”. There is something in us that is waiting to be discovered. Until this discovery is made you cannot look beautiful and admirable to your neighbours. Again Jesus said
“Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself.” – Matthew 22:39
You have to first discover the measure to which you love yourself and extend the same to others. You cannot love others when you have not discovered the depth of love in you. To love your neighbour as yourself, you need to do a personal discovery first. It has to be in you, resident in you. Till you master yourself, your beauty, your worth does not come out!
(1) DISCOVER YOURSELF
I discovered myself. That was how I became a pace-setter. I did not compete with any of the others as I knew I could not compare to them financially. While the others bought clothes that were in vogue and in magazines off supermarket rack, I went bending down for fairly used clothes at Yaba, Lagos. The clothes were neat, modest and fitting. I never allowed anyone to despise me for my mode of dressing. I was bright, smart and confident in my dressing, and carried myself as though my dressing was worth more than any other’s.
As write this, I remember a song by Dolly Parton, “the coat of many colours”, in which she told the story of a girl whose mother was so poor she couldn’t afford to buy her any clothes. She could only stitch pieces of different clothes together and the girl wore it proudly everywhere, even to school. Though others laughed at her, she knew every stitch of that dress was made in love.
Like that little girl, I wore my clothes proudly. And why not? It is the man, the carriage of the man, that makes the cloth, not the cloth making the man. Before long, I noticed that others were copying me! When I began parting my hair, a neighbour laughed at me, called me odd and old-fashioned. I ignored her. One month later, it was the in- thing!
(2) BE IN CHARGE!
I was responsible for my appearance! No one, no magazine and no situation dictated to me. I was lord and master of my dressing.
Until you charge, you are not in charge! In your life, you are first-class! Don’t surrender that first-class to the second-class of another person’s imagination.
The prodigal son almost missed it when he submitted his originality to the imagination and dictates of so called friends. They praised him, hailed him and he got swollen headed, lived their expectation, not his, and ended having the carpet pulled from under him!
Thanks to God, he discovered and became in charge of himself after the friends had left! (Luke 15:11-32)
“And when he came to himself ………” – Luke 15:17 KJV
This was the time he made the decision not to allow others rule his life. See the end; not only was he restored, he was given a ring, which signifies authority. Something his brother did not receive.
What about Jacob? He became unique after he wrestled with God, and lived no more by other people’s imagination. Not only was his name changed, he became a nation!
Discover yourself, and be in charge! Are you short, tall, fat or slim? What shape of face do you have; oval, flat, round, square? Do you have high-cheek bones? What is your skin type; oily, dry, etc.
Your beauty is in your hands. Discover yourself and be in charge!
……… to be continued.
Have you ever wondered what people see in you to want to be around you? Especially your spouse; husband, wife?
What if in ignorance you cover, douse or kill the thing, would they still want to be around you? That is what self discovery is all about.
Many a home would have been saved the pain of separation and divorce had the couples taken the extra time to really get to discover themselves. No, I’m not talking about the man studying the wife or the wife studying the husband. But the man studying himself and the wife studying herself!
Who we are is so often dictated by society and people around us. That was the life Jacob lived until God encountered him.
We seldom know the uniqueness of our being; that much has been hidden in us that needs to be discovered!
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.” – Proverbs 25:2 KJV
I am sure its not everything in your city that you know or are aware of. You are a city! You do not know yet all you need to know about you. The human body is a complex machine. Self discovery is the key!
It is not actually a lack of radiant look that is the problem but a lack of personality! Until you are an original, you are not a personality and therefore not beautiful. You are just “another person, not “THE” person. And this is mainly from copying others and listening to advice of unqualified people, like Jacob did.
Copying others will not bring out the best in you. You are a peculiar person; fearfully and wonderfully made.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made.” – Psalms 139:14 KJV
You are an original, dare to be unique!
There are things that God has created in you that cannot be found in any other. Those things are the real beauty in you. They are the things that God used to draw your spouse to you. That is why what I call beautiful may not be so to you.
The entire world is waiting for you to manifest those things. Don’t copy others! Don’t do what they are doing! The fact it works for them does not guarantee it would work for you. Neither does it mean that anything which fails to work for them would not work for you.
What would look so stunningly beautiful in another, may not look good on you.
Imagine a fat woman who decides not to play down her natural figure, but admires a slim woman wearing a mini-skirt and goes to make the same.
“Horrible”, you would say!
But imagine the same woman who accentuates her natural beauty by wearing a flowing skirt. She would no doubt look stately and attractive.
Copying others destroyers your creative ability as you would be too busy looking at others, to think of what is best for you.
Years ago, in the 70’s, at Adeniran Ogunsanya area of Surulere, Lagos, Nigeria, I was a pace-setter. I still am (Ah..hem, chuckle!).
Most children that lived in that area were from wealthy parents, who had between between three to four cars, because of the even and odd number plates driving-alternating days. My neighbours had easy access to money and could afford whatsoever they wanted: designer clothes, shoes, toys, magazines, etc. After school hours, we had morning and afternoon sessions then, each would push a car out from their compound and drive around, have fun and go shopping.
Coming from a middle-class home, my father had only one car. I had no access to the luxury and affluence that others had, yet I was the pace-setter in fashion! How? Next week!
But know there is so so much in you that needs to be discovered. Remember, made in the image of God you are deeper than you know!
……. to be continued next week.
“I will praise thee; for I am fearfully and wonderfully made: marvellous are thy works; and that my soul knoweth right well.” – Psalm 139:14
She was in high spirits. The children, three of them were in institutions of higher learning and were away from home. Not until the end of the semester before they would come home again.
They were together alone as when they started; before the children started coming.
Her husband had gone to work and she knew by experience that he did not remember that day was their twenty-fifth wedding anniversary. They had surmounted the odds together: family pressures from both sides, financial pressures, business pressures, etc; pressures that threatened to tear them apart. but glory be to God for with every pressure came a greater strength and determination to continue. Every pressure had left them more bonded than before.
I was not easy, but looking back, she cannot but thank god for those times. for so the bible enjoins.
“In every thing give thanks: for this is the will of God in Christ Jesus concerning you.” – 1 Thessalonians 5:18
She hurried with the cooking, after which she went to the salon to have her hair fixed. A particular hair-style was on her mind and she asked for it. She had seen it on some other women and it was a breath-taking sight each time she saw it. That style was the rave of the moment. It made the wearer accepted in social circles as being “current” or up to date.
Some days earlier, she had gone to her dressmaker and asked also for a particular design that she admired. it was a design in one of the international fashion magazines. A design that looked stunningly beautiful on the model.
She was all out to please her husband; to present her very best to him. The flame of love was still in their marriage and she desired to fuel it to burn bigger than before.
Back home, she set the food and dressed herself. Like a teenager going out on a date for the first time, she spent some time in front of the mirror, admiring her new hair-style and the new dress.
Not long afterwards, the door opened and her husband walked in. She flashed a genuine smile at him, savouring the shock and surprise written on his face.
He stood staring at her as though he had seen a ghost. His gaze went to her hair, down to her dress and finally their eyes locked.
“Surprise! Don’t you like it?”
“Like what?” His face squeezed into a frown.
“The hair, the dress!”
“What is that?” He asked in disgust.
Her shoulders drooped and her voice trembled.
“You, don’t like it?” She stammered, less confidently. She could feel her pride dissipating through the pores of her skin.
“You look ugly in that hair-style. And the dress looks……..” , he shook his head, not finding the proper word to use.
“Thank you” she said angrily storming into the room with tears brimming in her eyes.
So much for trying to please her husband.
All she wanted was to excite her husband by bringing out the beauty in her.
However all she did was copy other people, and failed to be herself. She could not see herself, and so did not really bring out the beauty inside of her. She simply mirrored the beauty of some other women; women her husband did not marry and maybe did not fancy! She ought to have sought after what was best for her, not what was best on others; what her husband saw in her before asking her hand in marriage; at least it is said that beauty is in the eye of the beholder.
Like finger prints, there is a uniqueness about each individual person that is peculiar to just that one person. We may look alike, but not really the same. It is that uniqueness in people that we actually call “beauty”!
God hides this beauty, this uniqueness, for us to locate.
“It is the glory of God to conceal a thing: but the honour of kings is to search out a matter.”
Proverbs 25:2 KJV
Everyone is ugly, but potentially beautiful; till we have searched out this unique matter hidden in us!
Many are in bondage to satan through “what will other people think of me?” And “what are others doing?” They go about copying what others wear or do. Paul said that people who compare themselves with other people are not wise.
Many homes have been broken, not due to a lack of love, but for the demonstration of love which was not properly done!
Beloved, you are fearfully and wonderfully made! You are beautiful! Locate the beauty in you and accentuate it!
Remember, your discovery is your beauty!
– to be continued next week.
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.