From the moment we are born, we are nurtured and shaped into an overly competitive and selfcentred, “survival of the fittest” mentality – if not by our immediate families, then the societies we grow up in. We are told that weakness is not an option and second place is not good enough. We develop personal agendas to be “the leader” and “the best” in every context of life – to be “top dog”. I say nurtured and shaped because when God created man, His plan was not to throw us in a spherical cage and watch us tear each other apart like a dog fight. If you’re a sibling or the last born in your family like me, as you grow up you will discover the bittersweetness of sibling rivalry; the amount of times I’ve been compared to my sister and vice versa. What about extended families, relatives and even amidst so-called “friends”? Behind closed doors this cousin is being compared with that cousin, this aunty with that aunty, and the success of that family or friend is being weighed against the other.
It was never His plan in Eden to pit us against each other. Contrary to what we are taught within society and even our education system, “survival of the fittest” isn’t innate to man, God did not place it in us from the beginning as is often suggested today. Sin is responsible for this attitude and approach to life. Cain murdered his own brother, simply because God accepted Abel’s offering and rejected his. I can’t imagine what possessed Cain to decide his brother needed to go. God rejecting Cain’s offering had nothing to do with Abel’s offering, it was never a competition! But Cain saw otherwise. Other examples of this competitive attitude include Jacob and Esau, Saul and David, even the Apostle Paul and Apollos who early Christians tried to compare against each other:
For you are still carnal. For where there are envy, strife, and divisions among you, are you not carnal and behaving like mere men? For when one says, “I am of Paul,” and another, “I am of Apollos,” are you not carnal? Who then is Paul, and who is Apollos, but ministers through whom you believed, as the Lord gave to each one? I planted, Apollos watered, but God gave the increase. So then neither he who plants is anything, nor he who waters, but God who gives the increase. Now he who plants and he who waters are one, and each one will receive his own reward according to his own labor.
We are created to succeed. If you look at God’s command and unction to Adam and Eve before the fall, and Noah after the fall – it doesn’t change.
And God blessed them, and God said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth, and subdue it: and have dominion over the fish of the sea, and over the fowl of the air, and over every living thing that moveth upon the earth.
And God blessed Noah and his sons, and said unto them, Be fruitful, and multiply, and replenish the earth.
The splendor on earth is already ours, the earth was created for us all to cohabit, survive and thrive. We can all be fruitful and mutliply, and replenish the earth. But what a “survival of the fittest”, competitive attitude teaches us is that some how there isn’t enough oxygen or provision for us all, so secretly we are threatened by our counterparts’ success and insecurity festers in our hearts. This frame of mind leads to envy. At times not so secretly, we compete unnecessary with others in our work place, family, industry and even ministry; anyone doing “better” than us or simply doing well is a threat.
There’s a Gospel singer that I admire so much, her music always ministers to me! For the longest time I’ve been waiting for her to release new music – it’s been years -and I used to think, Gospel music really needs her input! So you can imagine, I was beyond excited when I saw an Instagram post of her announcing the upcoming release of her brand new album. After it sunk in that I would have amazing new worship music on my playlist, I thought about another female Gospel artist already doing very well – and within me I created a competition between the two of them.
Even in the Church, and by Church I mean the body of Christ we have believed the enemies lie “survival of the fittest”. Well of course there can’t be two gifted and anointed female Gospel worship leaders releasing edifiying music and impacting lives at the same time because…? There is no because. God convicted me in the middle of my thoughts. If you struggle with envy and I know I do at times, then what God showed me will definitely bless you.
He took my mind back to this scripture Matthew 9:36-38
But when he saw the multitudes, he was moved with compassion on them, because they fainted, and were scattered abroad, as sheep having no shepherd. Then saith he unto his disciples, The harvest truly is plenteous, but the labourers are few; Pray ye therefore the Lord of the harvest, that he will send forth labourers into his harvest.
Christ is The Messiah and even He saw the need for more labourers! The truth is if your goal is to fulfil your God-given purpose and destiny then that means being a witness for Christ irrespective of your sphere and winning souls for the Kingdom of God – fulling The Great Commission. So then our prayer should be for more God-fearing anointed ministers, prophets, preachers, worship leaders, actors, film makers, business men and women etc. to join in the work. When someone comes on the scene that is like you in your work place and people perhaps make the comparison, don’t be threatened by them, they can’t “take your place”, instead praise God and encourage that individual so that God might use them also as He is using you. Because in truth, the harvest is plenteous, but the labourers are few.
My prayer is that God in His mercy would work on our hearts and undo the poisonous mindset we may have developed, so that instead of competing with one another, we will encourage one another in doing the will of God and fulfilling His divine purpose for our lives, to the glory of God Almighty in Jesus name amen.
Peace and Love ❤
BEING SINGLE IS BEING RICH
Often times, our spiritual growth changes in pace and direction.
For instance, discovering a new spiritual gift within a short space of time or developing an enduring faith in God, over a life time.Yes the spirit is a mystery…beyond human understanding. But by the grace of GOD , HE reveals to us, what we need to know, when we need to know it.
I remember a time in my walk with Christ, when I found it difficult to pray. I would prepare myself in the morning, and soon after my prayer began, my mind would trail off, at times I would fall asleep or say things without really meaning it…
‘When I got saved’ (every Christian uses that line right…) the idea of a godly man appealed to me. I looked forward to being completely spiritually dependent on my future husband. So long as he could pray, he could speak in tongues, so long as his faith was strong, and he always said and did the “right” thing – then our relationship – our courtship, engagement and our marriage would be heaven on earth! As my passion for God developed, I came to a point in my life when I wanted, so desperately to be in a relationship (for mostly all the wrong reasons). Being in a relationship would heal my broken past, make me more God-fearing, and give me the spiritual fervour I saw and admired in my leaders at church and my Pastor – oh and I would be in a relationship – so that would be the icing on the cake.
What I’m learning now, which never occurred to me then, is that:
My future husband will almost definitely need me as much as I need him, emotionally and also spiritually. Our relationship could not be me at one end constantly taking from him spiritually, with him at the other end, carrying the responsibility for both of our spiritual journeys, and being drained out in the process. Just imagine two empty barrels at the end of the day.
Iron sharpens iron… There is a reason why iron sharpens iron. Because both parties are bringing something into the mix, which refines and helps replenish the other – by the grace of God bestowed upon them. Thus sustaining and encouraging them both in their walk with God and their journey together in pursuing righteousness.
So, I tried to make prayer the first thing I did when I woke up, but I found falling asleep came all too easy. So I tried praying after freshening up, which proved to be more successful. Over time I developed a kind of structure, and prayer points for every day of the week, which I followed loosely. I stuck to reading a chapter from the bible every morning, so that I could gain a greater understanding of the word of God – in order to communicate better with God in my prayer time. After all, you can’t speak a language you don’t understand. And before long, I started to enjoy praying – prayer points came to me more fluidly, and my structure became easier and easier to remember and follow.
I’m learning that relationships are physical yes, but they are also spiritual. In a God-fearing relationship, what you see isn’t all that you get – And isn’t that our bonus?! Like a well wrapped present, our real prize lies within. When God says two have become one, we can’t just take it literally, in the physical sense. But what we are being made to know is that before God we are now seen as one – even in spirit. So my husband’s spiritual state should be as important to me, as my own spiritual state.
For a relationship to thrive, the commitment of time, affection, and attention is very important, but so is our spiritual commitment and accountability to our spouse. Now that I am able to pray, when the season of marriage arrives in my life, I’ll be able to pray for my husband and our kids and family members and friends… the list is endless and I’m looking forward to it. Because I have developed the discipline and practice now. I can be that Super-Prayer-Warrior-Wife I’ve always wanted to be.
This is just one example. We may appear physical, but we are all on a spiritual journey. A journey God intended for constant growth and prosperity. So where do you feel you could improve spiritually? What spiritual gifts or fruits do you desire in your future wife or husband? Now turn that list towards yourself, do you have any of those gifts?
Being single is being given the opportunity to prepare, learn and grow.
So we can enjoy the benefits and rewards before marriage and during marriage.
May God grant us the grace to grow in spirit and to go from glory to glory for HIS glory. And when our season for marriage arrives, we will be anchored in CHRIST, and our marriages and our faith will stand in Jesus name amen.
Stay tuned for the next post on being Single and Rich!
Peace and Love
Did you know that it says in the bible that man should seek peace and work for it?
1 Peter 3:11
Let him eschew evil, and do good; let him seek peace, and ensue it. (KJV)
He must stop doing evil and do good. He must look for peace and work for it. (NCV)
As children of light, peace is one of our inheritances in the spiritual body of Christ. However, peace like all the fruits of the spirit require discipline, work and endurance. Most of us don’t wake up in the morning being very patient or very gentle people, it requires consecration and the grace of God.
Recently I regained peace in my heart after de-cluttering my heart from past regrets, bitterness and iniquity. I began to pray and fast with a purpose, asking God to heal my heart. As the Holy Spirit delivered me from habitual sin and a broken heart, I found that my heart was silent from aches and pains and moans and groans, which had burdened me for years. For the first time in a long time, I wasn’t in pursuit of any relationship or trying to please and prove myself to anyone – trust me when I say it felt good!
However more recently, I’ve been struggling to keep this newly uncovered peace, and it baffled me as to why, when I’d overcome a mountain of stumbling blocks, and I hadn’t reverted back to those old habits.
It so happens that there was a driving force behind my dysfunctional relationships which led me to sin, it was the fear of loneliness and the desire to receive attention, some depiction of love and care. I’m not sure where it all began, but I remember moments in my childhood (and even today) when I felt incredibly alone, though I had siblings, moments where I was floating amongst a multitude of people, unseen and unheard. Times spent desperately clinging on to nice words and ignoring abusive behaviour and neglect which sometimes followed.
So my attention seeking, my need for recognition from others, my desire to be needed, loved and cared for, took new form, in excessive helpfulness at church, at home, wallowing in self-pity about how lonely I was, when I had friends asking me out, wanting to see me and me being “too busy”. And worst of all I became wrapped up in works as evidence of my faith and stopped believing in the salvation I had already inherited by the sacrifice of Jesus Christ.
The bible says: James 2:24 + 26
Ye see then how that by works a man is justified, and not by faith only.
For as the body without the spirit is dead, so faith without works is dead also.
However, there is one thing which has absolutely no life in it and that is works without faith – I was slowly slipping into “religiousness“.
As God is now revealing this to me, I invite you to join me on this journey of chasing and nurturing our peace, and exploring the various ways which we can lose peace – although it is our inheritance in Christ.
For unto us a child is born, unto us a son is given: and the government shall be upon his shoulder: and his name shall be called Wonderful, Counsellor, The mighty God, The everlasting Father, The Prince of Peace.
Have a blessed day, peace be with you x
This performance from P4CM poets Ezekiel and Janette..iks is by far one of the most moving spoken word performances I’ve seen to date (I’m a spoken word artist, so my perception maybe somewhat biased), with the risk of sounding over dramatic. I was deeply inspired, moved, edified by the performance and the lyrical content.
‘I’m trying to remember why I was created’ – How many of us have even asked God this question and genuinely desired an answer, or do we ponder on this questions of purpose as an excuse for not acting? We get so engulfed in trying to behave as Christian as “Christianly” perceivable that God’s purpose for us barely gets a mention. Sometimes the answer is just waiting for a faith-filled silence, on our part, to trust that God knows the desires of our heart and he won’t leave us wanting.
‘Weaving a little bit of his will with a whole lot of mine’ – the whole point of Christianity is complete and total surrenderance, not 20% and not 99%, but entire surrenderance to the will of God. The more we surrender to his will, the further forward we move.
‘My love is based and his love is based on how I feel’ – Too often we allow our emotions to delegate the choices we make, I’m angry right now so I’m going to eat my feelings, I’m lonely so I’ll go and see her – who will make me feel worse than I previously felt, I’m jealous so I’ll tell her secrets or point out his flaws. To be gentle (One of the fruits of the spirit) is the antithesis of losing control of one’s behaviour because of one’s emotions or basing a decision on emotions alone, without asking or receiving instruction from God.
May God enable us to be patient in love, especially loving him and led by his guidance and not our desires in Jesus name amen. x