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.
Jesus talked about the net cast into the sea and open to every kind of fish.
“Again, the kingdom of heaven is like unto a net, that was cast into the sea, and gathered of every kind: Which, when it was full, they drew to shore, and sat down, and gathered the good into vessels, but cast the bad away.” – Matthew 13:47-48
He likens the net to the Kingdom of heaven which is open to every body on earth, irrespective of their nationality, tribe, tongue, sex or race. A Kingdom to which many are called but few are chosen.
The rejected fishes were good and edible but not to specification.
He likens the chosen fish to the believer who meets a certain standard.
This believer has a rich store of knowledge, is able to seat down and by maturity and use of his senses, separates the old teachings from the new.
These are teachers.
A teacher is a matured person in the Kingdom, not a neophite.
Paul said matured believers ought to be teachers through word and character.
“For when for the time ye ought to be teachers, ye have need that one teach you again which be the first principles of the oracles of God; and are become such as have need of milk, and not of strong meat. For every one that useth milk is unskilful in the word of righteousness: for He is a babe.”- Hebrew 5:12-13
“…… a babe”, not matured!
It takes maturity which comes by experiencing or tasting the Word of God to discern between good and evil.
Our heart is like a net that grabs all forms of teachings; good and bad, edifying teachings and destructive teachings.
Our heart is like that tree of knowledge capable of good and evil which God asked man to stay away from.
The heart indeed is not so smart!
Experience, maturity, calls for us to sit down and sort out the old teachings that served in their time from the new and better teachings which came by divine revelation: a message of the hour, of now, of Faith.
For example, Jesus said He chose us to bear fruit and if our fruit remain we shall ask anything of the Father in His Name and He may give it to us. We have been told concerning this that fruit bearing refers to the souls we win! No!
This is a distraction from the real fruit! And it is a major contribution to the moral decay in church! No single one of us has the power to keep a soul! God will not hold us responsible for souls that did not remain! Every soul must answer, and be responsible for itself. True, we should encourage one another to keeping faith in God, yet salvation is a personal race! God holds us responsible when we fail to warn them of the consequences of indulging in sin, and of ultimate judgement!
Paul could not retain all the souls he won to Christianity. Even Demas, an evangelist under Paul, could not be retained! Non of us can retain a soul.
What then is the fruit we are expected to bear?
This can be developed only through exercising the senses with the Word of God.
In Matthew 3, Jesus likens man to a tree. Isaiah agrees. ( Isaiah 61:3)
“Bring forth therefore fruits meet for repentance. And think not to say within yourselves, We have Abraham to our father: for I say unto you, that God is able of these stones to raise up children unto Abraham. And now also the axe is laid unto the root of the trees: therefore every tree which bringeth not forth good fruit is hewn down, and cast into the fire.” – Matthew 3:8-10
You are a tree!
The kind of tree you are determines the fruit you bear! We are known by our fruit, not our seed!
In Christ, God empowers us to bear fruit. But we have to initiate the process. God will not force us against our will. This is implied in Romans chapter one; if we fail to meet our initial part: “retain Him”, He would leave us to ourselves and not help us.
“And even as they did not like to retain God in their knowledge, God gave them over to a reprobate mind, to do those things which are not convenient. – Romans 1:28
He rather “prunes” us to bring forth much fruit when our zeal, determination and trust are in Him.
“Every branch in me that beareth not fruit He taketh away: and every branch that beareth fruit, He purgeth it, that it may bring forth more fruit.” – John 15:2
We need to have the hunger ( Matthew 5:6), not a wish, but the burning desire that would drive us to exercising our senses with the Word of God and put our body under subjection to the Word.
Jesus chose you to make a difference, to make an impact in your home, your job, your business, your neighbourhood. Do the right thing whether your employer is there or not.
Be “filled with the fruits of righteousness” – Philippians 1:11
“…..abounding in fruit in every good work” – Colossians 1:10
Make an impact through your character!
In Christ, when we begin to work on our character, exercising our senses with the Word of God, He steps in to help us. There has to be a genuine interest. Not a wish, but a sincere desire. The desire that can stand the purging fire, the strain and rigours of exercise.
There is no good in man. Without God’s help we cannot bear good fruit.
Spiritual exercise is not only good for our spiritual health, it helps keep us raptureable; in shape.
If we stop exercising we go out of shape.
Moses was trained by God in the wilderness for forty years. A mighty man in word, an orator ( Acts 7:22). He became a stammerer because of training. Deposits of Egypt: pride, self, arrogance, and all, were burnt out of him. He bore the fruit of being the meekest man on earth.
But he lost it when he stopped exercising. When you start don’t stop!
The process of purging is a very painful process. Even trees cry out when cut!
Jesus learnt obedience through the things He suffered (Hebrews 5:7-8). He was hundred percent God and hundred percent man, meaning He felt pain like you and I. What He went through in training helped form His character. Though God’s son, He had to go through it Himself.
So let’s go to the gym of the Spirit and exercise; “work out” our salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12).
Work out and keep working out your salvation!
I went through an article recently written by a friend. In it he said that the choices we make in life affect us whether good or bad.
Indeed it is true! The choices we make affect our lives.
However there is an angle to it that we most often overlook.
This may come hard and pungent (forgive me Edmond, if it doesn’t come soft). Sometimes Truth comes out hard.
Our choices are based on our human desires which ought not to be!
Our desires are driven by our emotions.
James says “drawn away of his own lust, and enticed.” – James 1:14
Human emotion does not work with the Word of God!
In the book of Genesis Eve was driven by desire which made her stretch her hand to the fruit.
How did this desire come about?
She felt inferior! She felt she was not making progress in life; that her “divine destiny” was being delayed, and perhaps truncated. She felt she was not getting the “good things of life”, and so needed a change!
She was made to feel inferior by the serpent who planted a word of insecurity in her head. Eve’s desire was driven by insecurity; an emotional feeling that “others” were better than she was: a feeling that suggested to her that she was empty and could “improve” on God’s work in her life.
Consequently she reached for the fruit, and acting in a manner “to help herself become wiser”, she plunged Mankind into spiritual death.
Her choice was based on her desire, driven by emotion! A thing she called “wisdom”! She wanted to change her situation, which she had come to hate, since coming into contact with an alternative.
“And when the woman saw that the tree was good for food, and that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree to be desired to make one wise, she took of the fruit thereof, and did eat, and gave also unto her husband with her; and He did eat.” – Genesis 3:6
Today, many remain spiritually dead. Many more are dying from the presence of God because of choices made that were not based on His Word.
In wanting to be “wise”, they “engage EVERY PLATFORMS available (including Godless platforms), EVERY AGENCIES necessary (including agents of darkness), and follow EVERY PRINCIPLES required (even demonic principles), to ensure making the right choice in life.”
This was the same desperate emotion that drove Man from the presence of God!
Things may look beautiful, “good for food”,
but if emotion is its foundation, spiritual death takes effect.
Every platforms, every agencies, every principles may be convenient, yet NOT ALL are edifying and accepted by God!
That is why God asked us to choose life!
Life is not just having everything YOU want; so you might have the accolades of men, a large acceptance by the world and recognition; James would say to “consume it upon your lust”, your human desire!
That is not the life that God sees as successful!
And that is the reason Jesus asked what it shall profit a man after he has gained the entire world, the backing and support of people, only to lose the salvation of his soul.
Yes, indeed our choices affect our lives!
But what factors “drive” our choices?
Moreover, as Christians we should not make choices based on emotion; on the desires of the flesh; we should like Jesus, not judge after the sighting of our eyes, neither reprove after the hearing of our ears. (Isaiah 11:3)
We should rather make choices based on God’s Word; judge righteously: with the fear of the Lord!
If a man because of fame, wealth and affluence, acts contrary to the Word of God, by marrying another woman, when the Word of God says if you get separated from your wife, remain single and don’t remarry. And if you have to remarry, go back to that same woman! Such a man who marries another lives in adultery! In sin! Minister or Laity!
That is the word of God!
No human reasoning or philosophy can alter or change the Word! It remains immutable!
If for fame and affluence we throw away the Word of God, our action no matter how successful and appealing in the sight of men, becomes a lie!
The desire of man is evil! God testified to this, that the thought and imagination of man’s heart is continually evil, even from his youth!
Who are we deceiving, God?
The same Word we seek to philosophize and bend to justify our actions, will also be our judge! The standard of God’s Word does not change no matter how we try to change it!
Let us learn, no matter what it takes, no matter how hurtful or painful our situation may be, not to put our desires ahead of God’s Word! The moment you do, you put God in second place.
But, He must have the preeminence!
When you go His way, He knows your frailty, your weakness and your pain; and in His faithfulness, He will supply you the grace to carry on.
Even if it was a mistake that brought the unpleasant situation, He will help you!
Only, let it be on His terms.
A Sculptor went to the wood market to buy a log of wood. There, he saw different sizes and colours of wood, yet he stayed long wondering from wood to wood, stall to stall. The log dealers conducted him round the market as he scrutinized each log to the amazement of the dealers. Still, he would not make up his mind which to buy. One by one they left him, disappointed to have wasted so much time on him. They concluded that he was not a serious customer and was not worth paying attention to.
However the Sculptor had something in mind; he knew what he was looking for and of all the log in the market, he could see only one with the pattern.
The dealers noticed he kept returning to a particular log. They could not see what he saw in the wood because as far as they were concerned, the logs were the same.
Presently, the Sculptor returned to the log. He stared hard and long at it; going round it in deep study. The years of experience had trained his eyes toward recognizing at a glance, the pattern on wood that matches the design in his mind. He could actually see the image in his mind on the wood!
Uninterested, the owner of the log turned his face away, looking for a potential customer. Certainly, this man is not serious, he thought, until the Sculptor beckoned on him.
Back at his studio, he went to work chiselling over the contours of the wood, his trained eyes seeing the design on the wood come to life, depicting the picture in his mind. At last the work was completed. It was a breath-taking master-piece.
We are the Wood, the Holy Spirit is the Sculptor. He knows God’s mind for us individually: His gifts and callings; God’s plan and design put in us before the foundation of the world.
“But God hath revealed them unto us by his Spirit: for the Spirit searcheth all things, yea, the deep things of God. For what man knoweth the things of a man, save the spirit of man which is in him? even so the things of God knoweth no man, but the Spirit of God. Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” -1 Cor. 2:10-12
He alone knows where to chisel us. And He does, here and there, in the path we should go so that the beauty and aroma of God in us may be revealed.
“……but when thou shalt be old, thou shalt stretch forth thy hands, and another shall gird thee, and carry thee whither thou wouldest not.” – John 21:18b
“For as many as are led by the Spirit of God, they are the sons of God.” – Rom. 8:14
He connects us to God.
“But ye are not in the flesh, but in the Spirit, if so be that the Spirit of God dwell in you. Now if any man have not the Spirit of Christ, He is none of his.” – Rom. 8:9
He makes us know our heavenly inheritance.
“Now we have received, not the spirit of the world, but the spirit which is of God; that we might know the things that are freely given to us of God.” -1 Cor. 2:12
He teaches us and comforts us.
“But the Comforter, which is the Holy Ghost, whom the Father will send in my name, He shall teach you all things, and bring all things to your remembrance, whatsoever I have said unto you.” – John 14:26
He prays in us according to the will of God.
“Likewise the Spirit also helpeth our infirmities: for we know not what we should pray for as we ought: but the Spirit itself maketh intercession for us with groanings which cannot be uttered. And He that searcheth the hearts knoweth what is the mind of the Spirit, because He maketh intercession for the saints according to the will of God.” – Rom. 8:26-27
It takes the Holy Spirit to bring out or manifest the god in us as the Sculptor reveals the unseen beauty in the log.
Like the Wood, let’s learn to give Him the preeminence.
God does not protect people from the devil but from pride!
“That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.” – [KJV] Job 33:17
This He does through His Word.
“For God speaketh once, yea twice, yet man perceiveth it not. In a dream, in a vision of the night, when deep sleep falleth upon men, in slumberings upon the bed; Then he openeth the ears of men, and sealeth their instruction, That he may withdraw man from his purpose, and hide pride from man.” – Job 33:14-17
The devil is not our main enemy. Our heart is!
“The heart is deceitful above all things, and desperately wicked: who can know it? – Jeremiah 17:9
Often times in life we pray for open doors. Especially as Christians we want breakthroughs; we want doors to open up for us so that we can venture into new things; new jobs, new businesses, a new house, new relationships.
However in Revelations chapter 3, we see that the Lord Jesus Christ has set an open door for us. It is for those who have encountered the word and holding strongly to it.
He spoke to a particular group of believers, the group found to be on the right path or track.
In other words there is a depth of Christ that we get to and we don’t need to pray for open doors, because he has already set before us the open door. The door that the enemy shut against us.
He asked them to “behold”.
What Jesus is saying to everyone of us especially his children as Christians is that we should “behold”, “see”, “Look”, “stare at”. Behold means to look properly.
Jesus was pointing to something that he wants his believers to see. He was pointing to something that he wants his disciples to see, something that ordinarily they overlook; something that is there but not easily seen. He spoke to them in comparison to the synagogue of Satan, the congregation of the dead, who go by the name Christians. They go to Church, have the form but deny the power, by not holding onto the Word.
“The man that wandereth out of the way of understanding shall remain in the congregation of the dead.” – Prov. 21:16
Jesus began to draw a distinction, a line between Christians and TRUE Christians.
There are people who go to church, believed to be Christians, they carry the Bible and even preach the Bible but they’re not disciples of Christ!
Jesus sets the distinction by saying, “look the door is open!”
Open door is only for those who are true disciples. They hold on to the Word of God, act like Jesus, talk like Jesus, think like Jesus. As a matter of fact it is Christ that is living in them.
But the other, the congregation of the dead? They do not hold to the word of God, they don’t act like Jesus or talk like Jesus, having wondered out of the way of understanding.
God has set an open door before those who hold firmly to His word, those who bought His Word and refused to sell it. But they couldn’t see the door because of the cares of this world, as Satan magnifies their want, making their God-given vision or dream look small and consequently, they despise the little beginning throwing the vision away. Instead of searching out divine judgement, they give up. It was so at the beginning when man bought the lie from the serpent throwing away what he thought was of no value: God’s vision and plan for him.
But, God hide treasures in trash!
They see themselves as failures, not capable of carrying the vision. They think they are the ones to carry the vision not God, so they write themselves off.
Whereas the door has been opened, it remains shut for these, making it impossible for them to enter through because of these two negative thoughts -fear and unbelief.
“Casting down imaginations, and every high thing that exalteth itself against the knowledge of God, and bringing into captivity every thought to the obedience of Christ.” – 2 Corinthians 10:5
We are told here that nothing should be allowed above the Word of God. We should not, like the ten spies, allow the devil steal the vision from us, consequently the crown of glory. We defeat ourselves whenever we write ourselves off.
As it is said and written that as a man thinketh in his heart so is he.
Stop crying, complaining and murmuring! God is saying “move on!” Don’t allow fear to paralyze you!
The key of David (praise) opens the door. You can only enter the door with the “heart-tittude” of David.
“Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.”- Psalm100:4
It has to come from your heart. Remember Steven who was being stoned, from his heart he looked up, saw heaven open and from the abundance of his heart, did what was right before God.
Praise is not only in singing but in our obedience to Him no matter what we go through.
Until you learn to give all the glory to God even in the deepest agony, you are not a candidate for growth and supplies: open door.
Most often however, people abandon a praiseful life to equate themselves with others.
Learn to praise God even in the toughest of times, only then will you “behold” the open door.