The criticality of our lifestyle as world changers

An Issue Paper presented at the National Strategic Youth Missions Summit, Salem University Lokoja, Nigeria by Steven Kator Iorfa

Introduction

You are the salt of the earth, but if salt has lost its taste, how shall its saltiness be restored? It is no longer good for anything except to be thrown out and trampled under people’s feet. You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.(Mt 5:13-16)

Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewal of your mind, that by testing you may discern what is the will of God, what is good and acceptable and perfect(Rm.12:2)

We live in a generation where the undiluted Word of God is already scarce. The youths especially can no longer endure the sound doctrine of God’s word and therefore teachers, mentors, disciplers, pastors, etc. are beginning to look for more appealing ways of presenting the gospel. They adopt high sounding philosophical and psychological motivations to get young people coming to church, and in very bad scenarios, some have employed devilish methods to attract, exploit and retain members. 2 Timothy 4:3 is fast catching up with us and before our very eyes, our friends, colleagues, children, wives, husbands, fathers and mothers have begun to accumulate for themselves teachers to suit their own passions, and are beginning to turn away from listening to the truth and are wandering off into myths. However, in all of these, our heavenly Father has affirmed over and over again in 2 Timothy 2: 19 that His firm foundation stands, bearing this seal:“The Lord knows those who are His,” and, “Let everyone who names the name of the Lord depart from iniquity.” What more can we say? Generations may come and go, civilizations arise and fall, dispensations change, but the Word of God will remain. The interpretation of His instructions on Christian holy living and conduct will not be subject to geographical locations or changes in generations. It is therefore critical that as world changers, we begin to pattern our lives and conduct to reflect the change we want to make, the change God has called us to make. To do this, we have to adopt a lifestyle different from what the world knows, has defined and accepts. We have to conform and be transformed to the life of Christ, the kingdom lifestyle. 

This plenary addresses issues on godly living for young persons who are aspiring to change their worlds. And it must be noted here that asides the term “world” meaning the physical planet earth, our worlds could mean the different platforms our Father has graciously granted unto us to serve him through. Thus, I would be having us treat the term “world” in a generic sense that would encompass the worlds of politics, academia, fashion and entertainment, sports, health, science/technology and innovation, art. Even the world of religion and spirituality. We will briefly define some key terms and then go on to look at the lifestyle of a world changer, its nature and criticality.

Lifestyle: a) Someone’s way of living; the things that a person or particular group of people usually do; b) the particular way that a person or group lives and the values and ideas supported by that person or group; c) someone’s way of living, for example the things they usually do, where they live, what they spend their money on, etc.

Critical: a) of the greatest importance to the way things might happen; b) extremely serious or dangerous; c) extremely important to the progress or success of something

World-changer: A world-changer is someone who is committed to changing the world. A Christian online devotional has this interesting thing to say about who a world-changer is; A world changer is not someone who blends in, a world changer stands out, sticks out and stands up ready to make a difference. A world changer goes beyond the usual expectations of Christianity. A world changer finds the most intense demands that Jesus places on Christians and does not shy away from them but goes after them with all his/her heart. A world changer does whatever it takes to get the job done. A world changer pursues God passionately. A world changer has been radically, completely and totally changed by their relationship with God. 

The world changers’ lifestyles

a) Dressing 

Do we now begin this endless debate about dressing? About whether it is okay to put on this and that as world changers? A world changer knows that when our Lord gave a command, He meant it and they are determined to live up to the standard. A world changer does not conform to the standard of dressing dictated by this world. He or she sincerely yearns to fulfil the mind of the Father. A world changer knows that he/she is always in the presence of God the Father and permit me to say that there is no sincere child of God who does not know how to dress and appear before his/her father. As God is with him/her always, so his/her dressing also, always must please the Lord. Or has the interpretation of the Word of God suddenly become subject to geographical locations such that our compliance with and obedience to it varies from place to place? Have we become so pretentious that the intensity of our obedience increases with our proximity to church alone? Are we world changers? Do we desire to become world changers? Can we please let our dressing and appearance reflect the true nature of the life we carry? Let’s be reminded of the scripture in Hebrews 4:13 which says “no creature is hidden from His sight, but all are naked and exposed to the eyes of Him to Whom we must give account”, and remember that He knows the very reasons why we dress the way we do. There is a pattern for Godly dressing, the pattern a world changer is known by.

b) Earthly riches and wealth

What about the love and desire for earthly riches? I know this is another area most believers do not agree on. But has our Lord not also clearly stated in Hebrews 13: 5 that as believers we should keep our lives free from the love of money, and be content with what we have? For our Father has said, “I will never leave you nor forsake you. What does this mean for us? Does this translate to our living beggarly lives and becoming burdens to our brethren and the heathen who seem to prosper? No. Our heavenly Father has also promised in Mathew 6: 33 that if we seek first His kingdom and His righteousness, then all other things will, in addition to His kingdom, be given unto us. We are not to live poor all our life. How else do we speak into the financial crises of our generation? How do we offer solutions to the enormous financial challenges of missions? We are to tap His resources for life, ministry and missions. But even if, He so desires, that through the denial of earthly riches, His children’s character be polished, shaped and sharpened, would we then as clay, tell the porter how best we want to be moulded?  

c) Prayer life and personal altar

A world changer is on fire for God and his/her prayer altar is always burning. He or she recognizes the Word of our Lord Jesus Christ in Luke 18: 1 that men ought always to pray and not to faint. World changers are committed to building an intimate secret life with God for they know that in it alone lies their strength. Therefore, they will not trade their Quiet Times and alone with God for anything else. They cherish the refreshing times spent in the presence of God and are always eager and yearning to return there. King David, a man who radically changed his world in his generation, had this to say about God’s presence; “one thing have I asked of the Lord, that will I seek after: that I may dwell in the house of the Lord all the days of my life, to gaze upon the beauty of the Lord and to inquire in his temple.” (Ps. 27:4).

Conclusion

In Mathew 28: 19, our Lord Jesus Christ commanded saying, “go therefore and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father, and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit. In other words, go therefore and change the world. How else can we change the world other than through the very best way we live our lives?

Firstly is the need to understand that the ability to really change our world and not just try to slightly improve it can only be divinely given with the ideas needed divinely inspired as in the case of Joseph and Daniel. Changing the world requires a power from Him that made the world.  Truly changing our world is about changing men and bringing them to the point that they become like Jesus. Where there is a complete transformation and renewal of the mind. It goes beyond an ability to put together a long list of exhaustive dos and don’ts to an internal transformation that seeks a fundamental foundation laying that equips an individual with the ability to take the right decision even in situations never met before or never put down into law.  This can only be achieved as God gives a man the ability to do so.

The second matter that proceeds immediately from the first is the fact that this ability is not available for every dick and harry. The decadence we have seen thus far cannot be attributed to the inability of God but rather the unavailability of usable men. There are those certified by heaven to carry out this task. Only such certified individuals get endowed with the divine grace to affect their generation and leave indelible marks of eternal worth upon the sands of time.  2Chr 16:8-9, makes it clear that God is actually more eager than us to demonstrate His power upon the face of the earth, but the bottle neck of the whole mix remains in the ability to locate such men on whose behalf He can show Himself strong. Such men that He can point to other men, such men about whom he can say “this is my beloved son, in whom I am well pleased, hear ye him”. It is needless to say that such men are scarce. This necessarily brings us to the point of realizing that it is such men who please God that will get endowed. Now the big question is what is the criteria, and the clear answer is “life”. There is that life that God is willing to associate with, that life that pleases Him, that life that He can call a friend. These are lives embedded in divine consecrations, lives that the actions you constantly see is a manifestation of the fact that they are completely sold out to Christ, again, lives who’s lifestyle is embedded in consecration. Heb 11 gives an account of such men in the Old Testament, men who loved not their lives. Even though they had limitations. They had not experienced the death and consequent resurrection power of the cross. As it is written Christ in you is the Hope of Glory.

The inability to connect with the almighty, the very SOURCE is what makes many resort to other means, but alas they can only be noise makers not change agents. If we must have devoted workers, honest students, faithful husbands, submissive wives, responsible fathers, sincere bosses, the list goes on… We must have correct lives to compel a following, lives inspired by God. True change comes from above.

We see few of such lives already existing in the world of missions, but many more are needed in business, law, engineering, medicine, banking…..lives before whom the Nebuchadnezzars of their professions will tremble and bow and acknowledge as in Dan 4:1-37. That the Lord HE is God. 

Steven Kator IORFA

© 2019

 

Doubts, Me and God.

When I first faced doubts about God’s love for me, I was thirteen years old. I would love that you read to the end.

Experience has taught me how natural doubts are. They never mean that you are not a child of God. They only show that you are living in the physical too because, really, we are living in two worlds simultaneously, the spiritual and the physical so while we live in a world that is intangible, we also live in a world that our five senses interact with. Tangible. Point is, I am a child of God and I doubted.

I didn’t lose a loved one to doubt God’s love for me. I did lose but I’d already started doubting before then. I made prayers and didn’t see the answers. I tried to convince myself that God had a better answer because I was told that God usually had three answers, it was either a ‘Yes’, a ‘No’ or ‘Wait/Not now’.

Well, wasn’t God just unpredictable? I remember back then, I’d go to a church meeting and see other people fall under the “anointing” and think to myself, “What about me?” When prophecies came for people, I’d pray and hope that I would at least receive mine. I doubt I still need to say I didn’t. This was all before I lost a cousin to cancer. I’d watched my mum develop high blood pressure while she spent all her money treating my cousin with both ‘white’ and ‘black’ medicine before she passed on and everyone said “Let the will of God be done”. So I doubted.

One day at school, the principal said, “God will punish everyone that steals” annoI just felt, well, they deserve it. Truth is, you might find a lot of people say God punishes people but He loves them. This would have been fine if they said it with the plain reason the writer of the Hebrews had when he said, “The Lord chastens the son He loves” but no, They believe once you lose your job, it would be for something wrong (in the sight of God) you have done or you fall ill and people start asking, “Have you asked God for forgiveness?” “Have you really reflected on what could have led to this?” Oh. No one’s ever asked you that? But I bet one day, it seemed  like you woke on the wrong side of the bed and you started asking, “What have I done wrong?” Done wrong to who? And getting punished by who? 

So deep seated in our consciousness is the idea that God is holy and will therefore do whatever is “just” and “right” as He deems fit, no matter how evil it is. And no. We don’t like to call anything something as ‘killing’ evil if we “know” God to be the doer. We say things like, “Maybe God just took his daughter to test his love for Him. Weren’t those assumptions? Plus when did the value of evil change depending on who does it? There were doubts.

But Apostle James said God does no evil. He said by the Holy Ghost that God is not tempted of evil neither does He tempt any man that way. God said we should not kill or steal and infact, the ten commandments are written in one line. Love. He would not do contrary because He is love and He is unchanging. The fruits of the Spirit do not include killing or anger or even jealousy. Why even did Jesus say “Be like your Father who causes His sun to shine on both the just and the ungodly?” and why did Apostle Paul say in Ephesians 5 that we should be imitators of God by walking in love if all this  doesn’t show that God has just one disposition? Love! I didn’t know and so I doubted.

I can say my doubts were dispelled completely as I learnt from the writer of Hebrews that Jesus is the image of God, the full representation of who God is and I gleaned from the prophecy of Jeremiah (31:34) that we will all know God and the stability of His character when we understand how He forgives. How does He forgive? 

Jesus Christ, when He was asked how many times forgiveness is required, gave a brief reply heavily laddened with meaning. Seventy times seven. He was saying “Behave like God”, ” Forgive uncountably”, “Do not bear the number in mind”, “Forgive ahead of time”.

Same way Apostle Paul revealed in Corinthians that In Christ, God reconciled men to Himself and everyone who believed (in Christ) was a new creature whose sins were not being put against him. The Holy Ghost was teaching through the apostle that we receive forgiveness as a gift and that you were forgiven before you even faltered. What were those things that made me doubt again? What are those things that make you wonder, ‘Oh where is God? Why does He seem to be like this?

Well, Jesus, the image of God healed and if He healed, it means God doesn’t put illnesses in people or “permit” them. We live in a world whose system is dead. If Jesus cast out devils, He was opening our eye to say, ‘See! You did nothing to deserve this. God is not in it!” How about when He calmed the storm? He was saying, “God’s hand isn’t in these natural disasters” Don’t you love God? It was personally a relief to me to know that the enemy, subtle thief as he is was the complete evil. It unburdened me to know God is always for His creation.

Even as I read the popular John 3:16, I learnt that God’s love is seen in the fact that He gave Christ(His son) to die and take our place in judgement so that we are declared innocent. Apostle Paul supported the truth by again declaring in Romans that Christ showed His love for us by dying not for a good or righteous-in-themselves humanity but for a world of sinners and in Ephesians, he buttressed his point saying that God’s show of love supersedes all that we can imagine or hope for because He blessed us with all good things in God (spiritual blessings), made us partakers of the divine nature and given us authority by seating us with Him. Ah!

I tell you! I doubted no more!

I’ve been through the valley of doubt but have learnt that, in that valley is where the enemy wants to have us all. In the pit of fear. I’ve learned by gazing on the love of Christ that I can put faith in the God who is good and true. I can put faith in the God who loves because it is His nature, not based on my doings and appearances. I have learnt much more that God’s love for me is primarily seen in the eternal life in His son(1Jn 5:11-13) and the gift of no condemnation(Rom.8:1) all my possession because I received His spirit on believing(Eph 1:13), not necessarily in good grades or income flow or working inter-personal relationships because they are controlled by men. 

All the while, it hadn’t been God. It was me. My mind being tilled by the enemy. I now not only receive edification, prophecies or healings but I also give by the Spirit at work in every believer because I have learnt that faith in His name and acting on what the word says is all the victory I need ‘coz there is no limit to what God can do through the willing. 

I renewed my mind in the word and began to know God. Light came and dispelled darkness. Love came and chased fear. Faith came and doubts were gone. I have learnt to take my stand with God’s word. You should.

by Buzhoo (2019)

Clothes of an Idea

The corpse of an idea
A zombie in my mind
I aim far a head
My time slips by as I bid time
Calculating the different ways to save time
Constantly telling myself how I should be
chaste
While I think off the skirts that I could’ve
chased
Its like I let my potential just waste
While growing, adding, learning at no haste

Write, hand, write for you were made to.
My life feels like a movie part too.
I look to Jesus,
So when I’m down, I know I’m up next.

The Niel
© 2019

The Most beautiful Girl- Part 2

Years pass and she remains a sister to me
A perfect relationship divorce can’t sever
There is no ‘more‘ to want
Her love is complete and I am satisfied
Until the 99th night she passed at my house
She wakes at midnight to find my fingers on her breast
With a push from her I land on the floor
On getting up I see the hurt and unbelief in her eyes as tears roll down her cheeks
There is no explanation to her or myself of my actions
No words are exchanged
The wait for dawn is like waiting for Jesus’ second coming
I curl on the floor while she clutches herself tightly on the bed with occasional sniffs
I die a thousand death in a thousand ways, all by suicide
She leaves as morning comes
Apologies are meant for explainable crimes, not inconceivable ones
This crime should not be apologized for nor forgiven
A lot of water pass under the bridge and today I cry;
I cry because she visits last week and wraps me in a hug
We go for walks and she leans on me like old times
Like I didn’t abuse her
She has a golden heart but the most I expect are patches;
A hand sewn cloth thread with caution
She disappoints me with total abandonment and oblivion of the past
I cry for I don’t deserve her yet I have her
Her name is Grace

ChyD
© 2019