ORDINARY JESUS

I have a feeling that any Christian reading the title of this article might be appalled but I really like this title, so we are going to stick with it. Since we are doing things weirdly, I am also going to alter my writing structure for this particular piece and talk first about the purpose of this article.

My sincere hope in writing this article is that you will begin to see more and more that God is interested in the mundane parts of your day. That God sees you struggle with choosing between black or brown shoes for the perfect corporate look and he is very much concerned about your sleeping habits. More than anything, I pray that when you are done reading this, that your daily activities become brighter because you finally see God’s light in all of it. Amen.

A quick summary of my Christian life – born in Nigeria, I am no stranger to religious intensity and that means that I tend to think of Jesus and the gospel in two very distinct ways.

First, Jesus as saviour.

This is the more popular stance of the personality of Jesus in which we see him give his life on the cross for our sins. This Jesus is the one we focus on as we sing songs of love and pour praise like poetry every Sunday and in our daily prayers. I see this Jesus as the one I run to when I am weak or scared or tired. Jesus as saviour is my lifeline and he always comes through.

The second is more unpopular – Jesus as Lord.

This personality of Jesus is where I am reminded that Jesus is no less God than the Father. He is Heavenly Royalty and is deserving of all the worship that we give him. It is this Jesus that comes to mind when I sin or when I forget that I am not surviving on the power of my will. He is also the Jesus I hand over to when the devil comes at me with all his nonsense.

Either way, I am always thinking of Jesus in this light and as I read through the gospels, I unconsciously look out for these. I see loving Jesus in the story of blind Bartimaeus and conquering Lord in his command to raging storms, “Peace be still”.

I see a forgiving saviour in his decision to dine with Zacchaeus and a judge Lord in his fury when the synagogue was used inappropriately. It was always one or the other, but I do believe that God is helping me see through a third and different lens.

This process started as I watched the third episode of a brilliant television series called, “The Chosen”. It is based on the life and times of Jesus but as it is made to be a series, it does something that all the former movies about Jesus could not do – it actually shows glimpses into the ordinariness that Jesus had to deal with it.

As I watched this particular episode, I was drawn to two scenes where Jesus would lay down to sleep and he would pray these words Blessed are you, Lord our God, King of the Universe, who brings sleep to my eyes”. This might sound absurd but as I watched this scene played out the second time, I was struck by the fact that Jesus had to sleep while he was on earth. Of course, I subconsciously knew that, but I had never given it much thought till that day.

It is important that we notice the words I used; Jesus didn’t sleep only because he wanted to but because he had to. He was completely human which means he got tired and needed food and rest regularly.

Seeing Jesus, the saviour of my soul and the conquering Lord of all things visible and not visible in a seemingly ordinary position of sleeping was a bit startling for me. I was taken aback that Jesus had to basically go through things I would consider inconsequential so that when the time was right, he would do something I cannot do for myself.

As I thought about this, I realised that the bible addressed this in the book of Hebrews:

For we do not have a High Priest who is unable to sympathize and understand our weaknesses and temptations, but One who has been tempted [knowing exactly how it feels to be human] in every respect as we are, yet without [committing any] sin.

Hebrews 4:15 (AMP)

Jesus knows exactly how it feels to be human. He knows the feeling of sand on your feet and how satisfying it is to wash it off and lay down at the end of the night. He knows how the smile of a child can literally make a day brighter.

He knows that wine tastes good and can get one drunk when you over-indulge. He is 100% human in that he faced every temptation that comes to man and he is 100% God in that he did not give in to any sin.

Why does this make me happy?

To know that Jesus can relate with the ordinariness of life that Monday brings after Sunday means he can walk with me through the lows as much as he can walk with me through the highs.

In simple terms, Jesus is not appalled when I am weak at the knees as my crush walks into the room. Nope, he can walk with me through that. Jesus is not disappointed when I want to over-indulge in eating because I am sad or happy. Nah, he wants to walk with me through that feeling. Like David said so beautifully,

Even though I walk through the valley of the shadow of death,
I will fear no evil,
for You are with me;
Your rod and Your staff, they comfort me.

Psalm 24:4 (BSB)

I hope this has brought you much joy as it has brought me. However, I would like to conclude with this analogy I learnt recently. I believe one of the most popular phrases in the Christian faith is what we are to accept Jesus as.

We say almost every day when people are called to salvation that we are to accept Jesus as our personal Lord and Saviour. For the longest time, I have considered this ageless description and the words of Saviour and Lord have grown to mean so much to me.

However, I have recently begun to consider the third word there, personal.

Jesus comes into our heart first as personal. He comes first to establish a relationship with us individually.

If I know anything about relationships, I know that both parties have to have some things in common and Jesus does not break that rule. Jesus left his throne to go through the ordinariness of life as a human for 33 YEARS AND SOME MONTHS so that he could have that in common with us.

That is love at divine proportions and it makes me giddy!

I hope that my thoughts were shared clearly. I hope that when you have to deal with something that doesn’t neatly fall into your relationship with Jesus as Saviour or Lord, that you remember there is a third option – Jesus as personal.

Jesus too had to deal with the ordinariness we deal with from day to day and he actually found a fool proof way out of practically every temptation.

This would mean that to navigate life with Jesus as personally as you want means you can lead a victorious Christian life in EVERY facet of your life.

Even in ordinary things.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL

FRUIT DIAGNOSIS: For the 21st Century Church

Disclaimer: I am not writing this because I fully understand it, but I am compelled by this thought and I hope this essay serves as an invitation to the thinking table.

I like to believe that as we grow in the Christian faith, we are constantly learning. This means we are constantly coming in contact with truth. However, I have found that sometimes, things that struck me as profound still hold that essence even as I learn other new things.

This might be true for just my experience, but it is worthy of mention because it gives us a great rationale to kick-start this thought process. I cannot remember the exact time, but I cannot forget the power behind the truth of the difference between the gifts of the spirit and the fruit of the Holy Spirit.

Simply, it goes that gifts of the Holy Spirit outlined in 1 Corinthians 12:8-10 are manifestations that are instant and sporadic in nature. Thus, the main difference they have with the fruits of the Holy Spirit outlined in Galatians 5:22-23 is that fruits are products of growth and they are consistent in nature.

This difference might seem simple enough, but it has evolved so much in my mind over the years. One thing that has been a hard pill to swallow is what Jesus said about fruits;

You will know them by their fruits. Do men gather grapes from thornbushes or figs from thistles? Even so, every good tree bears good fruit, but a bad tree bears bad fruit. A good tree cannot bear bad fruit, nor can a bad tree bear good fruit. Every tree that does not bear good fruit is cut down and thrown into the fire. Therefore, by their fruits you will know them.

Matthew 7:16-20 (NKJV)

I called this a fruit diagnosis.

If you are following this first point, I am sure you can put together that the fruits of the Holy Spirit are in effect of more consequence to the believer because they prove the presence of the Holy Spirit. This applies to many other things in life, and I find that this form of diagnosis is not as novel as I would like to present it.

In hospitals, symptoms are sought out as proof of an ailment or healing, we make sweeping comments about situations and people based on the results they produce and rightfully so. This is because fruits do not exist in a vacuum. If there is smoke, it is proof of fire. If there is a fruit it is proof of work, time, and a seed.

With this in mind, we can move a step further and ask; is there any sense in treating some fruit? By this, I am asking if it makes sense to treat a symptom or put out smoke. The very thought of it seems out of place because we don’t do this for good reason. I believe the reason is that fruit is proof of something else in the background. Thus, if some fruit provides you a diagnosis of an ailment, your response should not be applied to the fruit but to the problem, it is in fact pointing you to.

If you want the smoke to stop, you put out the fire; if you want the symptoms to stop, you treat the sickness. If you want to fix the fruit, you need to go to its source.

I find that in the 21st century Church, we tend to do the exact opposite of this common-sense approach. We see a flaw in our neighbour, but we go ahead to hack at the flaw which is a fruit of something else and we never address the real issues. This has given birth to so many weird laws and doctrines.

These injunctions while made with good intention, are very much harmful in the long run because while they might seem to address the flaw, they lead to long-term hurt, and most importantly, they never solve the problem.

Paul had a little issue with this concept in his day,

Therefore, if you died with Christ from the basic principles of the world, why, as though living in the world, do you subject yourselves to regulations— “Do not touch, do not taste, do not handle,” which all concern things which perish with the using—according to the commandments and doctrines of men? These things indeed have an appearance of wisdom in self-imposed religion, false humility, and neglect of the body, but are of no value against the indulgence of the flesh.

Colossians 2:20-23 (NKJV)

I would like to end here but permit me to do a bit of an over-emphasis. Going at people’s actions for the sake of the actions is either going to frustrate the person or imprison the person and it will not deal with the underlying issue. As a church, we need to come to terms with this and humbly undergo a re-orientation.

We must start looking to apply treatment where it matters most – the seed.

I believe that Jesus gave us a great example in doing this. In John 4:4-42 we see the account of the encounter of Jesus and the woman at the well. In their conversation, we learn very quickly that Jesus knew exactly who this woman was. He knew her wrongdoings and told her quite clearly that he did.

The thing that should strike us as odd is that for the rest of their conversation, Jesus never brings it up. In all of his instructions to her, he doesn’t ask her to leave her husband(s). He does something better; he addressed her heart’s questions and typically, transformation followed. It is noteworthy to mention that Jesus never shied away from correction, but it will do you much good to see the kind of instruction he gave. He never corrected actions for the sake of it; he always addressed an underlying mind-set or heart issue.

Thus, his instruction always pointed to solutions that would not only fix the fruit, but will heal the source.

I think we struggle to follow the perfect example of Jesus because seed instructions are not as dramatic or way too dramatic as fruit instructions. Even in a tree, cut off its bad fruit and everybody takes note but give it time and the faulty seed will produce yet another bad fruit. However, if the farmer addresses the root of the issue, it might demand taking down the entire tree or checking the seed before planting.

As a growing Christian, I have troubles with this drama imbalance too. I read the story of the rich young ruler and I can relate with the heaviness of heart in making such a dramatic change.

I also read the story of Naaman and I relate with the scorn that clearly said, “It can’t be that simple”.

I am however convinced that this is too important to give up on. So, I am writing this to other Christians in my century and beyond. We have to learn to leave the fruit and start looking at the seed.

I will end on this note. The further you go into seeking the source of a problem, the more you will find the nature of flesh and it can feel helpless because actions don’t change our nature; Paul told us that much.

However, remember what we said earlier about the fruits of the Holy Spirit? This is where they come in handy. The most important source to fix is the nature from which you are living. There are only two options: the flesh or the Holy Spirit.

If and when you decide to go with the Holy Spirit, you learn very quickly that it is work that is done in you. Your role in all of it is to surrender to the work and believe that it is for your good.

In the end, if you stay in the process long enough, you will notice your fruit changing and you will take no credit for it because the fruit is proof that the Holy Spirit is at work in you.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL

THE MOST IMPORTANT EVERYTHING

Do you ever get the feeling that you have been lied to?

I think many people especially feel this way when they are convinced of the promise in the pursuit of some goal, only to find out that there is more than meets the eye. Let me tell you a story.

The year I would get into secondary school, my parents had a wild idea to put me in boarding schools with my brothers and sisters. I say it was a wild idea because, at the time, that should have been frightening to a boy my age. I think the only reason my parents even considered the idea was because I was going to the same school as my elder brother and sister.

When they asked my opinion, I was absolutely elated to go, which I can imagine was surprising. You see, my brother had done some background work of convincing me with the age-old scam of “you can do whatever you like”.

I say it is a scam because while it had some truth to it, there was definitely more to that story than he let on. So, when the other parts began to unfold, I felt scammed.

In retrospect, I do not think my brother was trying to be malicious in his description of what being in a boarding school would be like. In fact, he was correct because to date, my ability to adapt to any context I have found myself in is largely credited to my boarding school days. So yeah, I did have the freedom to do whatever I liked but this freedom came with varying degrees of expressions and consequences.

The thing my brother was trying to achieve was to point my eyes to the most important thing or most attractive thing about boarding school.

So, while he may have not been trying to swindle me, I made the mistake of misinterpreting his information from the most important thing to the most important everything.

I find this is common with us as humans. As we travel through the most visually driven age of time, we tend to look at those shining bright ahead of us and we spot what we reckon is the most important thing and falsely tell ourselves that it is all we need to be like them. We assume that if this is the focal point of their success, it must be the entirety of what their life entails.

As you read this, you might plead guilty to this crime or not. Still, I want to provide one more important expression of this interesting subject: Marriage.

All you need is love. Popular? True? Or not?

Writing this as a single person, I have come across too many adults that have taken this popular phrase from the most important thing to the most important everything.

Love is essentially the central focus but to think that you can survive a marriage with just love would be setting yourself up for a great disappointment. You are going to need trust, lots of discipline, forgiveness, resourcefulness and so much more.

Someone might argue that love is supposed to encompass these qualities. To that, I would say most people can forgive and be hospitable to people they wouldn’t want to go home to every day. I should mention quite clearly that I do think love is by far the most important thing but without every other thing, it can falter.

My pastor said this quite succinctly; most couples that go through divorce still love each other but they go their separate ways because they don’t know how to live together.

Now that we have explored these examples, here is my suggestion; Get the full information.

Knowing the most important thing is great but knowing that everything is important is better. You are creating a blind spot when you ignore the process of learning.

It is important to note that I do not think you will get all the information you need before any decision or taking any step. In fact, I think you will always have blind spots, but I believe you can be intentional about avoiding as many blind spots as you can. You will be doing yourself a huge favour.

To conclude this article, I would like to highlight one of the saddest expressions of this flaw. Many people have been sold on the idea that our Christian faith is predicated on God’s love. While this is the most important thing, it is not all there is to it. Here is a bible verse to help us.

And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.

1 Corinthians 13:13 (NIV)

Many know this verse but they make the mistake of taking note of only the most important thing which is indeed love.

If you read the entire verse you will notice that Paul does not discount the place of faith and hope. These are not love but they are also pivotal to having an effective Christian life.

There is even more to the Christian life, but I hope this example helps you understand that every part of our Christianity is important and should be paid attention to.

This way, when you face persecution, (which is also part of our faith) you can be well prepared.

Pastor Mike Todd said, the blows of life that tend to knock you out are the ones you don’t expect. I hope this article helps you to double back and learn to learn all there is to learn. It is a wise way to live.

EZEONYEKA GODSWILL

Whose Honour Do You Seek?

In a generation where everyone wants their voice to be heard and their face to be known, you need to determine right at the inception whose honour you are going to be after. Know that in the journey to stardom, so many people and things do vie for the travellers’ attention on the way. Many will also make themselves vulnerable just to be identified with the most famous in the land. They will do everything possible to be seen with them, just to show to the public that they are important too. They will do all possible for acceptance. This is sure selling well in this generation. Highly rampant!

But whose honour do you seek, God’s or man’s? Who are you out to please? Note, trying to gain the approval of a man will only make you compromise in some ways, just that you may be accepted. It will cause you to modify some Christly convictions you’ve held so preciously. The Lord Jesus is asking you to dare to stand out today! In your expedition to stardom, don’t follow the conventional but the primordially set God’s standard. Don’t (for whatever reason) wane in the right things you’ve known of the Lord, even if you look odd. Stay believing rightly by seeking the honour that comes only from God.

“How can ye believe, which receive honour one of another, and seek not the honour that cometh from God only?”

John 5:44
Funmi P. Adebayo is a preacher of the gospel of Christ and believes that His gospel covers everything, as God is God of all things without an exemption at all. God has helped him found a ministry by the name, THE SIMPLE LIFE OF CHRIST MINISTRY (AKA THE RESTING PLACE), the platform through which God’s Spirit is helping him to reach out to the world with the simple message of Jesus Christ and by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, which is solely for the defense and the confirmation of the same gospel of Christ.

Kindness Versus Love

Kindness is a display of charitable behavior towards someone, while love means a profound and caring affection towards someone. Clearly, kindness and love don’t mean the same thing. Kindness is what one shows to the outsider, while love is for the insiders. It’s not rightly acceptable to say you are kind to your own children. You simply love them. You are to be kind to someone out there but loving to your own family. Thus, love is certainly of a higher value than kindness.

The prodigal son’s elder brother only knew and lived on their father’s kindness. He never knew nor understood their father’s love. He kept doing many things to please the father who was already pleased with him. On the day his brother returned home, the Scripture apprises to us that he was in the field till quite a later time of the day, whereas the main servants were already at home. One would wonder what he was doing out there all alone. By living only on his dad’s kindness, he only could SOMEDAY expect to receive a kid goat from his dad, when everything, including the fatted calf which was later killed for his brother, was for him to enjoy had he understood his dad’s love.

Hmm, it’s sad to know that many children of God are living exactly like this prodigal son’s older brother. They only know of God’s kindness, never His love all their life. They relate with Papa God as His hired servants when they are actually His beloved children. And mere kindness never gets anybody the best, only love does, always. God is kind toward everybody but especially loves His own children. You may have started on God’s kindness, as we all somehow do, but you don’t remain there. You need to move on to knowing and receiving God’s love that you may experience and enjoy God’s best in life henceforth.


The LORD hath appeared of old unto me, saying, Yea, I have loved thee with an everlasting love: therefore with lovingkindness have I drawn thee.

Jeremiah 31:3
Funmi P. Adebayo is a preacher of the gospel of Christ and believes that His gospel covers everything, as God is God of all things without an exemption at all. God has helped him found a ministry by the name, THE SIMPLE LIFE OF CHRIST MINISTRY (AKA THE RESTING PLACE), the platform through which God’s Spirit is helping him to reach out to the world with the simple message of Jesus Christ and by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, which is solely for the defense and the confirmation of the same gospel of Christ.

The Evening Will Tell

When we think of a group of children in an open place, somehow playtime should come to mind. During holidays or weekends, children could be seen gathering at the house of one person. They will play together and have fun. Sometimes some mothers will serve all of them some snacks. These children can sometimes get along so well, that if a total stranger happens to come around, they may not know whose child is which. But no matter how long they stay and play together, the evening time will always reveal who among them belong(s) in that particular house. The rest will have to go back to their respective houses one way or another.

Jesus said that the servant does not remain in the house forever, only the son does. We may all be rolling together now like we are God’s children, but the evening time will reveal who really is God’s; those who will remain with God. Those who aren’t will surely be sent away. Unlike the children’s case, only two homes are involved here, God’s and the devil’s. If you aren’t God’s, you are automatically the devil’s. So, as we all appear to be God’s children now, playing together at this temporary home, called earth, while God keeps serving us some good meals, do make sure you are God’s indeed. Don’t wait till the evening time before you know where you belong.

Please, thoughtfully answer this, Are you a son or a servant?

[34]Jesus answered them, Verily, verily, I say unto you, Whosoever committeth (is doing) sin is the servant of sin.
[35]And the servant abideth not in the house forever: but the Son abideth ever.

John 8:34-35

– Funmi P. Adebayo
(c) 2022

Funmi P. Adebayo is a preacher of the gospel of Christ and believes that His gospel covers everything, as God is God of all things without an exemption at all. God has helped him found a ministry by the name, THE SIMPLE LIFE OF CHRIST MINISTRY (AKA THE RESTING PLACE), the platform through which God’s Spirit is helping him to reach out to the world with the simple message of Jesus Christ and by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, which is solely for the defense and the confirmation of the same gospel of Christ.

Simply Be Your-Christ-You

Live your life not to try to PROVE a point to anybody, but to simply MANIFEST the manifold wisdom of God in you everywhere. Note that proving and manifesting are not the same. You may prove a point that you don’t necessarily live by and still be applauded by many. But who you really are, at the core, will surely manifest one way or another, especially in pressing moments.

Who you are is who you are

You don’t have to prove it to be approved of men. You just spontaneously live it out before all, both privately and publicly. No double life! No double living!

“I am crucified with Christ: nevertheless I live; yet not I, but Christ liveth in me: and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by the faith of the Son of God, Who loved me and gave Himself for me.”

Galatians 2:20

Funmi P. Adebayo is a preacher of the gospel of Christ and believes that His gospel covers everything, as God is God of all things without an exemption at all. God has helped him found a ministry by the name, THE SIMPLE LIFE OF CHRIST MINISTRY (AKA THE RESTING PLACE), the platform through which God’s Spirit is helping him to reach out to the world with the simple message of Jesus Christ and by the demonstration of the Spirit and of power, which is solely for the defense and the confirmation of the same gospel of Christ.

BE CHRIST’S LIGHT IN THIS WORLD

The system of this world is of darkness and we are not called to blend with it. We are called to be THE LIGHT OF CHRIST according to how it’s clearly noted in the Scripture of Truth. It is a decaying earth that we live in and we are to be the salt thereof for its preservation. But Jesus spoke of the possibilities of the salt losing its salinity and the light becoming darkness.

May we not fulfill this part of the prophecy, for it will surely come to pass on some and that has been happening since time immemorial. It’s a choice everyone will have to make, which part they’ll fall in.


Have you downloaded Funmi’s New E-book

The truth provided in this book will serve as a great tool in your hand to successfully and with ease navigate your path through life. You will walk in God’s understanding about everything concerning you and never be confused again on any matter of life. All this will always put your heart at rest. So make sure you peruse this book for proper application afterward.

– Funmi P. Adebayo
(c) 2022