WHERE DO YOU BELONG?

Matthew 13:3-23

From the parable of Christ read in the reference scripture above, it is noticed that there are four categories of people who hear the word of God. This week we shall take a good look at all the categories in details.

The first group, termed hard path (Matthew 13:4, 19), is the group that hears the word of God but do not have any understanding. The people belonging to this group are easily influenced by satan and they let go the word of God.

The second group, termed shallow, rocky soil (Matthew 13:5-6, 20-21), hears the message from God, receives it with joy, but does not have depth in their life. When this group of people starts facing troubles then they give up the good words they have heard.

The third group is made of people who hear the message but the lures of the world, and their longing and thirst for money, sex, power, and other materials things block the words of God from manifesting and propagating in them. This group is termed ground covered with thistles (Matthew 13:7, 22).

The fourth and last group is termed good/ fertile soil/ ground. This group listens to the word of God, understands it, spreads the message, and wins thirties, sixties, and even hundreds of souls unto the kingdom of God.

This week affords you the fresh opportunity to think of the reference text once again and decide which group you would belong. Make sure you belong to the fourth group and you will be rewarded greatly. NB. Soil or ground in the text is the human heart.

WAITING ON GOD IN MARRIAGE

Isaac and Rebekah had their first children twenty years after their marriage. (Genesis 25:20, 26). A lot of times do Christians forget what they proclaim and profess, and give in to the inevitable challenges in their marital lives. It is, however, believed by a Christian that out of dust God formed MAN, but it is becoming difficult to trust in this same God, who is the same yesterday today and forever, to provide children even when science is saying, ‘no!.’ I sometimes wonder the kind of Christians we are. Without faith in the One we serve.

Do we sit for a moment and ask ourselves why God did not start creation with MAN? He could have started with MAN, anyways, but He chose to end with MAN. Sharing my opinion, I think He did that because He wanted to make everything that the life of a man depends on before actually creating the man. This is just to let you know that his wisdom surpasses all human wisdom and understanding, and we may find our ways, almost always, not coinciding with His. I am in no way hinting that God is insensitive to our plights, but rather raising an alarm that He provides in His proposed time.

God will not create us in His own image, accept us every day at the foot of his throne with our praise and worship, and then turn His back on us and make us objects of jeer and mockery in our communities. No way! I pity those Christians who are losing their patience on God because they have been married for some time without children, and then end up saying things like, “I have been waiting on God for so long, but I now think what people say is actually true, ‘He is inexistent.’” God have mercy! My brother, my sister, if these are your words then I plead with you to seek for mercy now before the wrath of God is invoked on you. Reading my path guide, the Bible, makes me understand that four, five, six, or whatever years of marriage without a child is nothing.

Are you yet to compare your case with Sarah, a pillar of patience, and Rebekah? Quickly do that and let’s see if the Lord has truly forsaken you like you think. Let us all crave for patience in all aspects of our lives, for patience is a great fruit of the Holy Spirit, and the Holy Spirit is the representative of God in us. So if you have God in you, you have patience. Erase the thoughts of seeking things, e.g. children, jobs, etc., from sources that are not Godly and look up to God always for everything. He is the provider of everything.

Those young men (Daniel and his friends), said in Egypt that even if He will not save us, we still will not bow to this god. I pray that we will come to the point of our lives where we are braced up for the worst, the point where the phrase “it is well with my soul” forever remain in our hearts.

THE EXAMINED LIFE

I had always asked myself what I would grow up to become, but one thing that has become obvious recently is that I am never going to grow up, but I am rather going to be growing up – that growing up was a slow ongoing process. And that the question “What will I grow up to become today?” will be a question of mine today that I will demand the answer from my own self tomorrow.

This truly informs me that the question ought to be “what have I grown up to become thus far?” or “What am I becoming as I grow?” This exercise is called self-examination of one’s life. Setting your own questions, answering some of the questions yourself, marking your own script, scoring yourself marks, and analysing what you have become by your own self.

This assessed life is what the Christians, Moslems, Psychologists, and others will term The Examined Life. In most instances, fear of getting to know what one has become has been the greatest limitation/ obstacle in evaluating one’s own life. Put to death now the fear of getting to know what bad you have become from what you have self architectured for yourself in the imaginary (dream) world. At least, it will afford you the chance to make things right if you had not. Remember, a life of mistakes is the one lived, and the one without mistakes is the one not yet lived.

A part of the examined life worth noting is that, there are two different kinds of people that are going to respond to your self-assessment questions. Yourself (occupying 30% of the assessment) and for the sake of un-biasness your close pals and buddies (occupying the remaining 70%). Kill your pride now, and let your friends help you examine your life lest you become a king in your own self built palace in the air, for the reason that pride comes before a fall.

In Matthew 16:13-20, Jesus conducted this examination by asking His disciples: Who do you say I am? From the response by His disciples he realised he was on course to fulfilling His purpose. It did not end there, He showed gratitude to His disciples. Show gratitude to whoever aids you in examining your life, and achieving your purpose and aspirations. Mind you, gratitude sustains a human relationship and the examined life is one worth emulating.

DON’T JUDGE THE JUDGE

He, as well as you, knows you did not rape that young lady, but since you are standing trial in that court with not much substantial evidence, you are waiting for the judgement to be pronounced against you to curse God and find some suicide to prepare your lifeless body for cremation. Let me tell you quickly that at that time when you were alone in the room with that young lady, he was watching. He was in the mind of that person who concocted that lie against you and He permitted it. He was there when the case was filed against you and He spoke not a word. Take it as God is putting you in the testing furnace of faith, because that is truly what is happening.

God took Jonah into the belly of the whale, all to give glory unto Himself and to tell someone of His greatness. Have you forgotten Jesus? And what about that messenger of the Lord who was in prison and the Angel of the Lord went to set him free? For God to allow those things come your way means that He has seen the traits of Jesus, Job, Paul, Peter, etc., in you.

Let your prayer for the week be, “I love you Lord. I want to wait on you, but is my humble prayer that as I wait on you patiently may You grant me the strength to not waver.” My brothers and sisters in the Lord, let Psalms 90:15-17 be your meditation this week.

15 Give us gladness in proportion to our former misery! Replace the evil years with good. 16 Let us, your servants, see you work again; let our children see your glory. 17 And may the Lord our God show us his approval and make our efforts successful. Yes, make our efforts successful!

CHRISTIANITY IS A CULTURE NOT A CONCEPT

The only way we can get the best out of Christianity is when we live it, and that has to do with manifesting the radiance of Christ in our day to day activities as we put hope on hope to someday see the Lord in Heaven. I honestly do not know how a child can manifest the radiance of his father if he did not talk/ act like him, and uphold with high esteem the virtues and values of his father. My brother Paul Lawer always tells me: The best description to Christianity is laying down your life for another’s. Look at even what 1 John 3:16-17 says, “16 We know what real love is because Jesus gave up his life for us. So we also ought to give up our lives for our brothers and sisters. 17 If someone has enough money to live well and sees a brother or sister in need but shows no compassion—how can God’s love be in that person?”

Christianity ceases to be an abstract idea once one surrenders his entire life into the hands of God through Jesus Christ, and it becomes his way of life. There and then Christianity becomes something one can feel, touch and hold, and those die hard unbelievers see them and walk boldly into Christianity. It only looks like a concept to those viewing it from afar, but to us in it, it is even more than our way of life – it is our life and our living. I always tell people: People who claim to be Christians will not denounce their identity in some circumstances if only they see their being Christian as a skin colour that they can do nothing about.

If we take Christianity as a culture that we eat, drink, think, walk, dress and wear, it will certainly become our immune system like Marimba Ani says, “Your culture is your immune system.” It is only there and then that what Paul wrote to the Corinthians to let their lives be epistles is manifested and comes into full force.

Let me quickly add that Christianity is not posing in your nicest of dresses with your Bible in hand and a necklace of the cross of Jesus hanging on your neck and dangling on your chest. There is more to it! It must be must be part of your makeup and definition. You cannot be defined without a culture and identity. So my question question is what culture have you been identified with that defines you?

A way of becoming defenceless and vulnerable is by losing your culture, your immune system. To stand your grounds as a Christian you must make it your culture and identity, not a concept and nonentity. God be with us all.

HIS FAITHFULNESS IS OUR SHIELD AND RAMPART

Have you heard of that man called Job? It took just a split second for Job to lose all His possession (wealth and riches). God did not befall Job with that tragedy, he rather gave in to a challenge thrown by the devil. This is just to tell us that God allows those things to happen to us because He boasts of us and knows that we can handle those trials with ease. God knows us very well and also trusts that even as we give Him thanks for the good things He provides for us, we would not curse him when the bad starts showing its ugly head. We still have to be grateful and wait upon Him for the best. That is why He said in His limitless wisdom that in all things we must give glory and thanks to Him.

Do you know that Job’s wealth and riches were restored much much faster than the calamity befell Him? Just wait on God patiently and He will glorify Himself with your case. Let the faithfulness of the Lord be your shield and rampart this week and the rest of the weeks in this year and beyond.