Monday, January 10, 2022

Satan’s Agenda for the Christian

There are two extremes to avoid when it comes to the works of Satan in a Christian’s life. The first is the tendency to fantasize and see him in every shadow of life. This is the thinking of people whose minds are preoccupied with sensationalism that is more akin to a fictional Hollywood production. The other is the thinking that belittles the work of Satan among believers. Such a mindset betrays itself, is naive and denies the truth of Scripture that we do not wrestle against flesh and blood but with principalities and powers. It is, therefore, imperative that we are aware of the works of the Evil one among us and be clear about his agenda in his works. What is his agenda?

1.                  To make Christians turn against God

Then Satan answered the LORD and said, “Does Job fear God for no reason? Have you not put a hedge around him and his house and all that he has, on every side? You have blessed the work of his hands, and his possessions have increased in the land. But stretch out your hand and touch all that he has, and he will curse you to your face.” And the LORD said to Satan, “Behold, all that he has is in your hand. Only against him do not stretch out your hand.” So, Satan went out from the presence of the LORD. Job 1:9-12

2.                  To make Christians rely on their resources

Then Satan stood against Israel and incited David to number Israel. So David said to Joab and the commanders of the army, “Go, number Israel, from Beersheba to Dan, and bring me a report, that I may know their number.” But Joab said, “May the LORD add to his people a hundred times as many as they are! Are they not, my lord the king, all of them my lord’s servants? Why then should my lord require this? Why should it be a cause of guilt for Israel?” But the king’s word prevailed against Joab. So, Joab departed and went throughout all Israel and came back to Jerusalem. And Joab gave the sum of the numbering of the people to David. In all Israel there were 1,100,000 men who drew the sword, and in Judah 470,000 who drew the sword. But he did not include Levi and Benjamin in the numbering, for the king’s command was abhorrent to Joab. But God was displeased with this thing, and he struck Israel. And David said to God, “I have sinned greatly in that I have done this thing. But now, please take away the iniquity of your servant, for I have acted very foolishly.” 1 Chronicles 21:1-8

3.                  To make Christians anxious and worried

Humble yourselves, therefore, under the mighty hand of God so that at the proper time he may exalt you, casting all your anxieties on him, because he cares for you. Be sober-minded; be watchful. Your adversary the devil prowls around like a roaring lion, seeking someone to devour. Resist him, firm in your faith, knowing that the same kinds of suffering are being experienced by your brotherhood throughout the world. And after you have suffered a little while, the God of all grace, who has called you to his eternal glory in Christ, will himself restore, confirm, strengthen, and establish you. 1 Peter 5:6-10

 4.                  To impede Christians’ sanctification

Put on the whole armor of God that you may be able to stand against the schemes of the devil. For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore, take up the whole armor of God that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm. Stand therefore, having fastened on the belt of truth, and having put on the breastplate of righteousness, and, as shoes for your feet, having put on the readiness given by the gospel of peace. In all circumstances take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming darts of the evil one; and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God, praying at all times in the Spirit, with all prayer and supplication. To that end keep alert with all perseverance, making supplication for all the saints. Ephesians 6:11-18

Dear Christian, we have a formidable enemy, and he is on a mission to sift us like wheat. We dare not take him on in our own strength, for the arm of flesh will fail. We should, therefore, take heed to the words of Scripture and be strong in the Lord and in the strength of his might.

 

 

 

 

 

Tuesday, January 4, 2022

Five 2022 Resolutions for your Consideration

 

Dear Christian,

As you begin your journey into 2022, here are some practical resolutions for you to consider applying this year as you walk with the Lord and relate with others. 

1.      Pursuing people persistently

Loving others requires intentionality. Whether it is edifying believers, restoring the lost or evangelizing the lost, resolve to pursue the people in your life passionately and persistently. They may look disinterested or unappreciative of your efforts but pursue them anyway. It helps you with accountability. Consider writing down the names you will pursue and pray for and over them.  

2.      Reading regularly (use a reading plan)

If the Christian is to grow and progress in their walk with the Lord, reading is an absolute necessity. Christianity is a religion of the book. And those who grow in it, read! Consider following a reading plan for your bible reading and other Christian books. If you read four bible chapters a day, you will read the entire bible in a year. You could also consider reading one book a month that is twelve books in a year. Ask other Christians for recommendations of books to read. 

3.      Hosting frequently (your home is for hospitality)

The home is a wonderful avenue for ministry to other people. Consider drafting a plan of how frequent, you will host and whom you will host. Host a variety of people, families, couples, singles, young people, children, family, friends, neighbours, church visitors, etc. Do not overthink or overdo it. It does not have to be a buffet. A simple meal, a cup of tea or coffee will do wonders. 

4.      Restore broken relationships (life is too short)

It is very common for people to have unresolved conflicts with friends, family, churchmates or workmates. It is unhealthy and unhelpful for you to continue living in bitterness and hatred. If ever you needed encouragement to restore broken relationships, remember Christians are called to love their enemies and seek their good! 

5.      Increasing your giving to God's work

Generous, cheerful and sacrificial giving should characterize Christians. Giving is an act of love and worship. As the Lord blesses you, consider increasing your giving to the work. Give regularly and consistently. It is more blessed to give than to receive.

One problem with resolutions is that they are often vague and impractical. Consider these five practical points and encourage others as well. Happy New Year! 

Wednesday, December 1, 2021

Three Reasons you are Killing your Marriage

The common joke on the street is that if you see a happy couple laughing and talking together, then they are not married! The implication of this is that married couples are not a happy people but people often on each other’s throats. The joke is an exaggeration laced with generalization but there is an element of truth to it. It is safe to say that for most marriages if they are not on the rocks, they are definitely not thriving. We become comfortable with marriage relationships that are not growing and basking in the beauty of love and pleasure as God intended for marriage. The goal in marriage becomes a striving for the absence of conflict instead of growth that leads to mutual satisfaction. This is unfortunate and there are three reasons behind it.

A wrong understanding of marriage

In our times, wrong views of marriage abound. They spring from bad examples in the homes, wrong cultural teachings, wrong worldviews and bad examples in the home and on the television. Therefore, by the time a 30-year-old person is marrying, they have all kinds of ungodly and unbiblical worldviews of marriage. And what is worse is that they are often stubborn in their ways and are unteachable. What has gone wrong? To begin with, people do not realise that in marriage you become one. That means you do life together “in sickness and in health, for richer and for poorer.” By marrying, you choose and commit to being open and vulnerable to your spouse. No secrets, no holding back and no privacy! You are one spiritually, physically, emotionally, financially etc. Furthermore, marriage is a commitment to the other person, with all their faults. It is also a commitment to change for the sake of your marriage and spouse. You cannot choose to marry and continue living like a single person. 

A wrong understanding of love

Love is a concept that needs redeeming. Society has ruined it with its corruption. The love the world preaches is self-serving. You love because of the benefits you get from others. This kind of love only looks out for its benefits. It is temporal and you can fall in and fall out of it anytime you want. Biblical love is the exact opposite. It is a commitment to seek another person’s good, regardless of their unworthiness. It is as Voddie Baucham describes it, “an act of the will accompanied by emotion that leads to action on behalf of its object.” This kind of love pursues after the other, it is dedicated to and finds delight in the recipient. Such love grows and it thrives. The perfect model for this love is Jesus Christ, who gave up his life for people who were hostile to him. This is the love that husband and wife are called to share for their marriage to thrive.

Lack of investment in the marriage

Relationships require hard work! They require enormous effort for them to grow. Marriage is no different. If you see a lovely, godly couple that is basking in love, you have seen two people who are working hard and investing in their marriage. They are working hard to grow as individuals and as a couple. They are learning how to better serve and love their spouse. They are working on the habits and behaviours that their spouse does not appreciate. They are finding ways to demonstrate love. They are also committed to church life together, worshipping and serving together, and investing in friendships with other godly Christian couples. They prioritize platforms and meetings that build their marriage. They are at couples’ meetings, conferences and outings. They also plan and prioritize dates, holidays and fun activities as a couple. They do everything in their power to invest in their spiritual, physical, mental and emotional growth as a couple. They know that failure to invest in marriage is a sure way to kill it.

Conclusion

Marriages done in God’s way are beautiful, enriching and challenging. It requires selfless love and continuous effort to know each other and grow in love. It demands intentionality from the couple to invest in their marriage. Dear Christian couple, make every effort to thrive in your marriage. Review, reevaluate, and pursue one another. Bask in the beauty of love!

Monday, October 25, 2021

Effects of Covid on the Christian Life

When a final postmortem of the short and long term effects of Covid is done, I wonder what the findings will be. There is no doubt that Covid has affected a lot of people health-wise, it has also left damages physically, socially, and emotionally. One effect of Covid that has gone under the radar is how it has left believers in spiritual ruins. The inability to gather with other believers for weeks, months and in some cases a year plus, has left several Christians and churches struggling. It is my observation that different people have been affected differently depending on where the covid changes found them spiritually.

Firstly there are those whose spiritual life was hanging on by the thread before Covid. They attended meetings occasionally; they barely touched their Bibles and rarely prayed to their Father. They were spiritually cold, one would say, they had no spiritual vitality.   And the moment the closures and isolations began, they were quickly swallowed up into the abyss of worldly cares. When the opportunity to return appeared, they had no motivation or desire. They just do not abscond from fellowship, they are comfortable with it. It is to these that the Lord calls out to examine themselves and see if they are in the faith. Furthermore, it is these that the Lord exhorts to awake from their slumber. Finally, it is these who were among us and spiritually have left us that we as a body must urgently and lovingly pursue, so they may return to the fold.

Some were vibrant and passionate. They were sold out and sacrificial in their service and pursuit of God. After the covid effect, they fell into a state of lukewarmness and indifference. They now want a comfortable and convenient Christianity. They are comfortable with virtual meetings or shortened services. They are used to gathering with others without relating with them because they have become accustomed to rushing off after the service and not hosting anyone in their homes. These dear friends need to return to their first love. They need to be reminded that to follow Christ is to take up the cross and deny yourself. They need to hear the exhortation to spend and be spent for the sake of Jesus Christ. They need to make up their minds, are they in or they are out? Do you know such a brother or sister? Provoke them to love and good works.

Some despaired during the restrictions. They longed for the gathering of the saints. They felt the void and knew this is not the ideal Christian life. They were frustrated with virtual meetings because they are a shallow replacement for physical gatherings. The period of isolation and restrictions was a moment for reflection in their lives. They came out of it resolved to serve their master until he returns or calls them home. They took stock of their lives and dealt with entanglements that easily ensnare them. This time helped them to appreciate their family and church family. And the first moment they had to return, they did so with grateful eagerness and resolve. These brothers and sisters do not need to grow weary in doing well, neither do they need to become complacent. They should press on the upward way. Lastly, they should reach out to those who may have fallen along the way.

Dear Chrisitan, there is work to be done. And though the picture may look dire, our work and mission remain the same. The Spirit of God who works and enables us remains the same. The word of God is still powerful and sharper than any two-edged sword. The postmortem may be depressing, but dear saint, why are you downcast? And why are you in turmoil? Hope in God, for he will surely revive his people. 

Tuesday, October 19, 2021

Four Types of Men in Leadership

 Biblical leadership is vital. It has been from the very beginning. The success of any institution in faithfully fulfilling their purpose be it the home, the church, organisations and nations are directly connected to the kind of leader(s) they have. It is, therefore, no surprise that leadership has always been under attack. Sometimes it is sadly abused by those entrusted with it, or it is undermined by those threatened by it. Either way, the devil and the world understand the significance of leadership, hence the systematic and deliberate effort to attack it.

At this point, we have to ask the question, what is biblical leadership? Leadership can be summed up in two words, responsibility and influence. To lead is to be responsible for a task and for a people, and to skillfully wield godly influence on those under your care. In responsibility, the leader is held accountable for the state and direction of the people they are leading. In other words, they are to blame when the institution fails. The first couple is a good case in point. When the Lord evaluated the situation, he found Adam guilty because he was the leader, the head of his wife. So, to lead is firstly to be responsible. Secondly, to lead is to influence those under our care for God. Our godly character must have a lasting impact on them, but it also means we are intentionally teaching them the truth of God’s word that we know and live out. To lead is to be responsible and influential.

It, therefore, goes without saying that leadership is not primarily a title or a position. There are many instances in the home, the church and government where the one who has the title is not the one leading because they are irresponsible and do not wield the influence they should. Furthermore, leadership is not about being served and enjoying the benefits of the position. It is common for people to think if they become the head everyone else exists to do their bidding. That is not biblical leadership.

In God’s design, men are called to be leaders (i.e. be responsible and exert godly influence) in the home and in the church. It is, therefore, imperative that men strive to be godly and responsible. Society has been working hard to undermine the leadership of men but also to undo the virtues in them that are necessary for leadership. Allow me to highlight four kinds of men commonly found in the church and in our society. 

 All talk, no action

These are the daydreamers. They do not have plans but wishes. They love unending meetings and discussions. They make resolutions yearly only to remake them the following year. They make grand promises and vows but never fulfil them. If they went by what they say, they would transform their families and beyond. Alas, as someone once said, “the road to hell is paved with men with good intentions.” The grave is full of people who had great ideas, plans and desires but never acted on them. These men die at 50 with the potential they had at 20. They talk but never act and end up frustrating the people they lead.

 All action, no talk

Then you have the doers. The lone ranger with the master plan. They do not share ideas or plans. They do not solicit feedback or input. Those they lead simply see things are getting done. They do not know how or why. This kind of leader feels it is their job to do things and do them by themselves. They move alone and ahead and leave the people they are leading behind. They do not invest in anyone they lead. They do not train or disciple, hence when they die or leave, no one knows where to start from and the family, ministry or organization crumbles because they never communicated and shared their plans. 

 No talk, no action

Then we have those who somehow manage to combine the two. They do not talk and they do not act. They are passive and aloof. They have no plans or visions and they have no drive. This is seen in the single young man who never states his intentions to a girl but is content with chatting with her daily on social media. It is also seen in the husband and father who is glued to the TV and his gadgets while he watches his family go astray. It is further seen in church leaders who are reactive and not proactive. In addition, it is seen in civic leaders with no stated vision or plan.

 All talk and all action

Not so for the biblical leader. He is responsible. He takes initiative and ownership. He communicates the vision and plan. He gets input and feedback from the teammates, whether it’s a spouse, fellow leaders or workmates. But he does not end there, he is driven and committed to getting things done and targets met. There is talk and implementation. Nehemiah is an example of such a leader, he prayed, had a plan, shared the plan and got into action. That is leadership! Taking responsibility and wielding godly influence.

Dear Christian men, rise up! Stand up for Jesus. Put on the gospel armour. Take responsibility and influence the world for Christ.