As we advance into the New Year, I would like us to consider these things.
Have you ever wondered why it seems so difficult to live the Victorious Christian Life? Why it is like the harder one tries to please God, the more far away from Him one gets? More like a rash; the harder you scratch, the worse the itching gets. Well, I spent a moment or two thinking about this some time ago.
At the Experience 2013, I received a major breakthrough. One that would see me get answers to my questions. Let me quickly add that the Experience was awesome. Micah Stampley took me to heaven.
After the Experience, a friend gave me a book titled ‘The Deeper Christian Life’.
It was written by Andrew Murray, a pastor born in South Africa in 1828. Even though I am still reading the book, I want to just share some of the invaluable teachings I have received so far which I believe could be of help to you.
The transition from Sinner to Saint can be likened to the exodus of the Israelites from Egypt to the Promised Land.
Coming out of darkness is certainly not easy as there might be obstacles in the form of the Red Sea on the way. These obstacles might include guilt about one’s past actions.
Here, the devil tries to make one think that one’s old life is better than this new proposed life which is ‘uncertain’. Thoughts like ‘The devil you know is better than the Angel you do not know’ tend to crop up. No wonder the Israelites actually wished they were left to die in Egypt when they saw they were caught between Pharaoh and the sea.
At this stage, God tries to make you trust him. This is the first stage.
The next stage, the second, is the one which might not even exist, or might be very short or extremely long, depending on the action of the man in focus. This is the stage of living in the wilderness. This could prove to be the longest part of the journey as many Christians are tied down in the wilderness for years. The bible says the children of Israel spent forty years on a journey that could have been undergone in much shorter time.
At this time, like a man trying to get his ‘errant’ wife back, the devil tries to woo back people who scale past the first hurdle. ‘Golden calves’, rebellion, cares of the world, stubbornness, miscellaneous sins and unbelief are some of the tools employed. The aim is to distract young Christians and make them miss their goal; which is closer fellowship with God. God is definitely not left out of this battle for this beautiful bride.
Like a perfect gallant gentleman who knows what he wants, He calculates His moves. Cool, calm, collected. Basic chivalry. He provides pillars of cloud and fire respectively. A way of saying: I can protect you dear; just choose me over that heartbreaker.
Manna and water from rocks are ways of saying: Abeg marry me. Food no go scarce for our house. Can you imagine? Dessert in the desert – decide if pun is intended or not. You have your choice; democracy.
He wants a far deeper relationship with us. Deeper than feeding us fat on manna. He wants us to become his sons (Galatians 4:4-6). But alas, many times a lot of us still fall prey and spend time with the enemy. A date with the enemy probably at some sea-side five- star hotel. The menu in such places can only be laden with meals such as an appetizer of lies, a main course of lust, and envy for dessert. And yes, a cold glass of hypocrisy to wash it all down Thank God He still gives us a chance to always come back to him if we fall.
There is always the bronze snake on the pole for us to look up to.
The last phase is the act of entrance into God’s rest. Canaan at last. However, first the Jordan must be crossed. We still have to obey, believing that God’s presence (The Ark) can fling apart any obstacle, even at this point. So we need to cultivate his presence. This is not a stage where we say we are totally without sin though.
That can come only in heaven. We are all humans and are definitely fallible. The good news here is that one can be said to have a ‘perfect heart’ just like the likes of Enoch and Noah. Better news is that we have Jesus, a better covenant than goats and sheep. The best that a goat can achieve these days is to secure a place in my mother’s cooking pot. As for sheep, it’s either wool (in temperate climes) or ram fights (as is done at the end of my street, close to the security gate).
Finally, the point is this: It is possible to be out of Egypt but still remain in the desert. Though, even in the desert, God still shows us his might, hoping that we do not disappoint Him. Let us not be like those soldiers in Joshua 5:6 who could not see the Promised Land because of the extra time spent in sin in the desert.
I advice you get this book if possible. Though, truth be told, the English is so old, it feels like I am reading Shakespeare. Who cares anyway?
Where will you be tonight? Yeah I know you will go to church. Who misses New Year’s Eve services anyway? I mean after church where will you be? Please whatever you do, do in moderation. Don’t eat to stupor; only prayer to stupor is allowed. Be safe. God loves you. I do too, but maybe not as much as He does.
Happy New Year. Remain Positive.