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Stats: 23,785 words / Reading Time: 118.93 mins

Published: Wednesday, 22nd June 2022

By: Gboyega ADEDEJI

Refocusing Disciples for Effective Discipleship is read 228 times on CentreNDL.org 228
  

REFOCUSING DISCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE DISCIPLESHIP

X-raying Religion, Spirituality And Followership


Listen To Podcast: Refocusing Disciples for Effective Discipleship

In this piece we want to consider something important to God which must become important to us, so that we may become important to God and to our generation. I'm sure you know it is not everybody that’s important. We are not all VIPs (Very Important Person). Not all of us are very, very important. It was during the just concluded All Progressive Congress (APC) primaries that I got to discover another term; VVIP. The VIPs sat somewhere different from where the VVIPs sat. So, you could be an aspirant and may not even be able to enter the VVIP without an approval from the presidency. So, not all of us are very, very important.

 

I don’t know if your desire is to be nobody or we want to become somebody. What is it that defines the importance of men in this world? What is it that determined the importance of men to God? Now, the sons of Jesse lined up before the man of God called Samuel; they were like aspirants, presidential, royal aspirants, they wanted to contest for the position of the throne. And the eldest brother who perhaps had the best physique came walking, looking important before the man of God. And the man of God said, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed is before him. And he was about to begin the inauguration process. And God told him, Don't do that, I've rejected him [he is not important to me]. For God does not see the way a man sees.

 

Bible says, God looks at the heart but a man looks at the outward appearance.” Men give importance to what they see on you, what they see you wearing, and what they see you using. When they look at you and see how fresh you look; your hair well arranged, and you're a woman, your hair is very beautiful. When they see things around you, they say you are important, you are beautiful, and you deserve their honour and respect. But God said, “He does not work like that.” Why men may focus on the outwards, the things they see on you, I focus on your heart. So, becoming a VVVVVIP to God is not about the adornment of yourself; it's about the state of your heart. So, we can see why we are looking at what makes anybody important in the scheme of things when God is concerned. Now, what they wanted to compete for was something that looked like a carnal thing; becoming a leader among the people. But what is it that qualifies a man to be chosen by God?

The truth is that all of us could sit anywhere to choose a leader for ourselves. A nation can choose the leaders for them. A people can gather in the name of an association; Yoruba women association in the market, they can gather and choose a market woman who will lead them. It is one thing for a people to choose you, and it is another thing for God to choose you. That's why the search for our importance in this message is not the one with people. We're talking about how important are you to the point that when God is looking for one person, and there are five people including you in a place, God could say that person is you; not someone else. Do you understand?

 

Do you still remember the widow of Zarephath? The Bible says, There were many widows in Israel but to none was Elijah sent except the widow of Zarephath.” Who was not even an Israelite she was like a Gentile! That was the person that God sent Elijah to. God was not looking at the outward appearance of the Jews, God was looking at their hearts, who could God use to accommodate the man of God for the number of years, and will not take glory for it? God could not find among these people; he went elsewhere to find; God is looking for the heart. Is it possible for a man not to carry the title of a Christian, yet be chosen by God, or accepted by God? And yet a million Christians are filing up, but God is saying, I've refused them. So, what will disqualify those people, and what is it that will qualify that one person?

 

Would God use the packaging; the things we put on ourselves, that make us look good to people, and acceptable to people? Or is God looking at that man or woman whose emphasis is not on the things that the people are looking for, or the things that people are celebrating, and rewarding, but who emphasizes what God wants him or her to do? When we see anybody in the Bible, and the Bible shows us that the person identified with God, please, know a million other people did not. And when he or she was identifying with God, what is the opposite of identifying, he was not identifying with something else. You cannot identify with God, and at the same time, you're identifying with something else. You cannot be present with God, and at the same moment, you are present somewhere else. You may not be able to please God, and still please someone else.

 

The crux of the matter is that we are discipled effectively and that is why we are examining REFOCUING DISCIPLES FOR EFFECTIVE DISCIPLESHIP. The background or foundational issue is that we don't just sit to warm the benches in our different denominations or churches; just carry the title of I'm a Christian. No, I'm a Christian from Southern Kaduna, I'm a Christian from Taraba, I'm a Christian from Benue, I'm a Christian, you know, from a state that is known to be an Islamic state, I'm a Christian. And so you say, I'm a Christian. That's not what we are looking at. Effective Discipleship that is not about carrying names, it is not about looking good to people. Effective discipleship that is not about pleasing people, effective discipleship that is not about you becoming like any other person, effective discipleship that is not about being important among men, but it is about pleasing God, being in touch with God, knowing the will of God for your life and doing it; even though you are the only one. That is effective discipleship.

 

Now, if we are not effective; when I say we, I mean all of us in the body of Christ. You know the Bible says, What I say to one, I say to all” if we are not effective, one of the reasons for our ineffectiveness is lack of focuswe major on the minor, and we minor on the major. What is the real reason why I call myself a Christian? What is the primary reason that I identify myself with Christians, but not Ifa worship, or Amadioha, or Baal worship? Why have I chosen not to identify myself with the worship of the Sun? Why have I chosen to identify myself with Jesus Christ, the living God? Is it because I love the paparazzi of being called a Christian? Is being a Christian a political office title that entitles you, what is the reason?

 

You know, when a politician just became a presidential aspirant in Nigeria, and he was trying to calm down religious nerve, he was telling people, the man who is called Bola Tinubu, he said to them “you didn't choose your religion, you were born into it, and you accepted the religion of your father or your mother. And this is where people need to start asking questions; that you were born into it doesn't mean it is the right thing. If you were born inside a toilet, are you going to remain in the toilet? I'm just asking, this is time for us to ask questions about the things we believe. So, why didn't you remain with which religion that your parents gave birth to you with? I'm sure we know many people are not born Christians. And many people were born ifa worshipers, different people were born in different circumstances. Some people would say, I was born a Catholic’, people will tell you different things; but why didn’t you stay there? Why did you choose to become a Christian? Is it because everybody will accept you? Is it because you are looking for love? You need affection, you need a social gathering that is better than where you are coming from? There must be a reason.

 

If you have any reason other than the real reason why a man, or a woman, should follow Jesus then you will not become effective in that followership. Now let us look at the Bible together. There's a place in Matthew that I want us to start from, Matthew chapter 19, I will read from verse 27-30, the Bible says, Then Peter answered and said to Him, “See, we have left all and followed You. Therefore, what shall we have?”  Peter is human like you and I, he was born into a family, he was born into a religion. What was his religion? Judaism! Peter was not born a Christian. So, Peter was not born a Christian. But he said to Jesus, “I have been a Jew, and I have practiced Judaism all my life, all my adult life; I was born there, this is the religion on my fathers, but I and my other colleagues, we have left all; we've, left our religion, we've left our ambition, our pursuits, the things that used to entice us, we've left them behind; we've left.”  And you can’t say you've left all, while in reality, you're still holding onto something else — all means all.

 

This is something that an average Christian could ask himself or herself. I, Gboyega Adedeji, have I left all? Am I really following Jesus? These are questions we can be meditating on. He says, See, we have left all and followed you; we've left all and choose to become your disciple.” Like an average Nigerian would say, Therefore, it looks as if the brethren pushed Peter to go and negotiate; this abandonment is costing us, what is there for us, therefore, what shall we have? What is the promise you are for us? Now, I don't know if you would be willing to step into the shoe of Jesus in this situation, and another believer is asking you, Sir/Ma, I have left everything to follow you; since I've left everything, and I am following you, what will I have? What would be your response to somebody like that, especially if you don't want to lose him or her, or what are you going to do? Are you not going to promise him or her don't worry, I'll give you this, I will buy you this, I will give you this, I will buy you this, I will connect you with this, would that not likely what you might say?

 

Certainly, you will tell them things that they want to hear? Was that what Jesus said directly or indirectly? Look at the answer I just imagine Jesus said to them, I know you have left all, that's true, and you have followed me, don't worry, I will send 20 million shekels of silver to your account. Oh, I will tell the people to come and help you build something.” But instead, He said, “Assuredly I say to you, that in the regeneration, when the Son of Man sits on the throne of His glory, you who have followed Me [not that people call you followers of me, you truly followed] will also sit on twelve thrones, judging the twelve tribes of Israel.

 

If that is what Jesus said to you today, would you abandon all and follow Him? How tempting does that sound to you? Is it tempting enough to make you abandon, and remain abandoned? What do you think will be the reaction of your friend or anyone who is offering to follow, if you were to say to him or her, just follow me, when Jesus comes back, you will become a judge? An average Nigerian would just give you a simple reply, “Na that one we go chop?” Is it that one I will use to send my children to school? But in the Word of Jesus, anyone is left to decide what he or she must do, whether to pick up the Word to run with it or go and seek for my survival somewhere else?

 

Please, let it be clear in your hearts that you will either choose Jesus or something else. Don't be confused. Don’t be confused. And that was what Joshua was discussing with the children of Israel in his days, he said, And if it seems evil to you to serve the Lord, choose for yourselves this day whom you will serve, whether the gods which your fathers served that were on the other side of the River, or the gods of the Amorites, in whose land you dwell. But as for me and my house, we will serve the Lord.”  brethren, don't be in between two opinions. Elijah also told the children of Israel, And Elijah came to all the people, and said, “How long will you falter between two opinions? If the Lord is God, follow Him; but if Baal, follow him.  We must not be undecided, we must not be an undecided generation that is neither here nor there, or that is both here and there.  

 

We must not be a generation that is neither here nor there. We must not also be a generation that is both here and there. When they are calling the Baal worshipers, you are there. When they are calling the Christians, you are equally there. When they are calling the Muslims, you are also there. When they're calling those who are looking for money, or who will attend seminars, you are also there. You're the one looking for everything. As you're downloading this one on the internet, you're downloading that other one. You're doing this, you're doing that. We don't know the one that would work; it is good to try everything.” Please, remove the name Christian from your name, and be free.

 

Jesus continued in verse 29: And everyone who has left houses or brothers or sisters or father or mother or wife or children or lands, for My name’s sake, shall receive a hundredfold, and inherit eternal life.”  I could even imagine Jesus sayingcattle or sheep”, He was listing everything people used to own in those days. They don't own a computer, they don't own a phone. They don't have cars. As a citizen, for you to have horses was not easy; only the king that rides on horse. So, He couldn’t write those things, fisherman. He said, Those who have left houses,” He knew they have houses, those who have left brothers, sisters, Father, or mother or wife or children or lands for my sake, for my namesake, shall receive a hundredfold and inherit eternal life.

In addition to the promise of in the regeneration, when the Second coming of Jesus becomes an actual thing to you, you will sit on the throne, and you will judge. It looks like Jesus was doing what we could call tautology, but it was not, He just needed to reinforce it. In verse 28 Jesus said to them, “Assuredly I say to you, who are “the you?” There was an assumption; that those who have abandoned all, and are following Him, are “the you.” Peter told Jesus, “We have abandoned all,” lest anyone is ignorant of the all, Jesus began to list them, the all; in verse 29. You can't follow Jesus and still doubt that statement. He says you will receive 100 fold. Whatever you abandoned for my namesake, you will receive a hundredfold.

 

Basically, we keep that message in our mind, we keep that verse in our mind, we don't really abandon everything, but we are looking for a hundredfold. We believe the name Christianity, or the name a Christian”, is a name that abandons on our behalf. People know I'm a Christian, so they know I have abandoned this; adultery, fornication, drunkenness. They know. They know, they know, they know. You can continue to count the list, but really beyond what the people assume you have abandoned, have you really abandoned everything? Please 100 times zero is what? It is zero. Imagine God even saying for His mercy’s sake, He will not even make it that 100, it will be 1,000, but if you abandon nothing, it will still be zero. If you abandon, all that will be 1000. So, you won't be jealous of somebody who has abandoned 30 things, 30 times 100, what is that? That's a serious reward.

 

So, when you start inheriting, you must understand that you are inheriting based on your abandonment. We've talked about the inheritance of the saints. So, somebody's like, I'm supposed to inherit glory, I'm supposed to inherit riches”, but have you abandoned shame?  Or have you abandoned something else? Have you abandoned your glory  — your search for riches? Or are you following Jesus and you're still following money or riches? Jesus is saying, If you have abandoned anything, even though I may not have mentioned it, you will receive a hundredfold. Not only that, you will inherit eternal life.

 

Let’s read Jeremiah chapter 6 verse 16, Thus says the Lord: ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is, and walk-in it; then you will find rest for your souls. But they [the people, the generation] said, ‘We will not walk in it.’”  I'm sure you know that these people that God was talking to, were not Gentiles? They were not the unbelievers. They were men and women that have considered themselves to be servants of the living God. And so, the Lord was telling them the secret to eternal rest, what we can call eternal life. He said, Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths.” The things that God expects us to focus on, they're not the trending things. So don't go to a new edition of a magazine to find it there. You may need to go for the old Book: the old vision, the old revelation, these are not trending. If you find it and you choose to do it, you may become odd; you will be different. People will look at you as somebody who is not trending; an old school. But it was God speaking, not the prophet Isaiah or prophet Jeremiah, He said, Thus says the Lord,” this is the Lord. ‘Stand in the ways and see, and ask for the old paths, where the good way is’ it's in the old path. He said, “Walk in it, live your life by it.”

 

Pattern your life by the things you see from the old path. When you stand in the way, whatever you see on that path do it; let it become your lifestyle. People would look at you and wonder, do you have ambition at all? Does this lady, does this man have no taste? Why is he not pursuing anything, is it that nothing is pursuing him? The solution is that the man has found the old path and he's walking in it. Anyone that is on the new path might be assumed to be moving fast, but guess what, no one moves fast on the new path. The path is crowded, it is for all and sundry. It's a path of anything goes, it is a path of no restraints, it is a path of “I cannot come and kill myself,” “it is a path of I am not the one that killed Jesus.”

 

Everybody across the world is there. When you are there you will never be lonely. You will not be feeling hot. You will feel like you are among your people, and you are doing what your people are doing. So you will feel among, you will have enough self-esteem because nobody's ever seen you. No standing out, you are just in the crowd. It's a mixed multitude; you will enjoy it, perhaps until you are stampeded on. But when you are on the old path, this is what Jesus was calling the narrow way. He says there are few that finds it. Because God even said, Ask for the old path”. So, until you ask for it, you don't even find it. It's not on the surface. It's like until you ask the right person, you don't find the right path. So, you don't find any good in your life because God said, “Where the good way is.”  When you're on a good way, you live a good life.

 

They say culture is the way of life of a people; the way of life. So, culture is a way, is a life. I'm sure you have seen the plan of God, that you and I should ask for the old path. Why should I have to ask for the old path?  It is because it is not obvious. It's hidden, that's why you must ask for it. Let me quickly emphasize the phrase, rest for you souls. When you hear rest for your souls, what does it mean to us as believers? Now, if they ask you what are you looking for; rest for your soul or you have a nice house to live in, what will be your response be? Really, can you think about it? Rest for your soul, and a big house, mansion with nice cars for you; your name on the vehicle license, and rest for your soul; the rest does not include house nor car — but rest for your soul, which will you pick?

 

This is a decision or decisions that we make daily. You don't suddenly enter unrest. It is by the decisions that we make. I came to a point where I realized that when God was using the Word find rest for your soul, he was talking about the personality. That's how I defined the soul, the personality of my spirit. If a man dies, the body stays behind, while his soul and his spirit go to God. But when he appears before God, will he be looking for identity he is coming there as a person. So, the soul is the personality of your spirit. Your spirit has a mind, your spirit has a will, and your spirit has an emotion. So, the personality of your spirit is your soul. When God was talking about the rest for your soul, God was talking about you, as a person of your spirit having rest. The only thing you remove from that equation is your body.

 

I know, you might be aware that the man is made up of a spirit which has a soul and dwells in a body. God did not promise you bodily rest. God did say you will find rest for your body. And this is where we have a challenge as Christians, we are looking for rest in the body. It is possible to have rest in the body, but lack rest in the soul. Yet it's possible to have rest in the soul, and lack rest in the body. There's a Scripture that will help us; 2 Corinthians chapter 4 verse 16, Apostle Paul speaking under the unction of the Spirit said, haven said everything previously, He said, “Therefore, we do not lose heart [our identity], even though our outward man [or woman] is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day.  

 

There's something about us that is outward, there's something about us that is inward. What do we give focus on? What do we give importance to, is it the outward person or the inward person? The apostle said, as far as he was concerned, his own outward man was perishing. I don't know about you. Many of us, our outward being is not perishing. We are looking more beautiful day by day, everything is fine and rosy, right? When my daughter was born, she was fair in complexion; she deceived me; now she has taken to my color. I'm sure you know that when a young person falls and gets injured, even if he breaks his bone, doctors don't give up. (There's hardly anything that gets spoiled in the body of a young person that doctors easily give up.) But once you start approaching a certain age, hopelessness sets in; the chance for regeneration becomes low or non-existent.

Even though our outward man [or woman] is perishing, yet the inward man is being renewed day by day,” that inward man talks about your soul and your spirit. And that is where God is focusing on if you will find his way if you will walk in it if you will not run after the norms; what is trending in your generation, what everybody is doing, you will find rest for your inward man; you will have rest in your spirit. You will not be destabilized, you will not be double-minded, your mind will be sound, you will not be a man given to change, and your life will not be tossed to and fro by every wind of doctrine. People won’t tell you to go like this today, you go, and tomorrow they are to you, go the other way, and you are going; your life will not be given to the deceptions and the craftiness of the people. You will be a man that is established in the truth. You'll be a woman that knows the will of God for your life and he's able to do it. That was what Jesus was promising.

 

When we look at the outward man, we know we are talking about the body, your flesh and blood. And when we talk about your inward man, you know we are talking about your soul, your spirit. Let’s go again to 1 John chapter 2 verses 15-17, the Bible says, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him,” Let God be true and every woman and man a liar, the Scripture cannot be broken: If you love the world or the things in this world the love of the Father is not in you. Many of us do what we do is reset. Usually, we reset every Sunday, sometimes on Tuesdays on Wednesdays, whenever we appear in the church. You will say, “I rejoice when I heard that we should go to the house of God. So, when we want to go to the house of God, we reset, we do all manner of holy, holy things. We invite the Holy Spirit to come in, we will remember to speak in tongue, and we quickly practice everything. If I don’t pray in the Spirit, how will they not think I am not a Christian? How will they know the things I've done this week, I have to make sure I don't allow anybody to assume I'm not a Christian because really, I'm a Christian. Well, but you know, you are not a Christian. We only reset the realities, usually when we set out on Mondays, set out on Tuesdays, usually, we love the world; we go out loving the world, we go out loving the things in this world.

 

Sometimes, when we are faced with a lot of challenges or failures, we return home saying, “Oh God!” Especially when we are disappointed, we call on God, I just give my life to you. When we're frustrated, we go to God that could be in the evening, in the morning again, I have to pay school fees, I have to do this, I want to buy that land, I want to buy that car. So, the love of the things of this world preoccupies our minds, it defines our choices. We go looking for Naira and Kobo, dollars and pounds; when we find money, we celebrate. And sometimes, when the Holy Spirit comes to remind us of something, oh, the pastor said we should give tithe; the tithe of whatever we've got, we take it to church, not because we love God, somebody said it, and if the pastor will not think I have backslid, I have to do the right thing.

 

This is how we live our lives every day. In the morning, we pick the world, in the evening, we pick God. I don't want to sleep and a witch is hitting my head, Jesus, where are you? I pick you; I accept you. Do you know for many denominations, and many believers, there is an encouragement of people to give their life to Christ every time; when they are praying. And beyond giving their lives to Christ, they ask God for forgiveness every time they pray. I'm not saying you should not do it, or you cannot do it. But is like saying, I don't know how many times my daughter, Deborah, will have to come up to me, and say, Daddy, I'm sorry.”

 

How many times should she tell me, every time she wants to talk to me, Daddy, I'm sorry. Everything I've done that is wrong, “I am sorry”.  She does it often, and I don’t like it. What did you do? I don't know, I could have done something that offended you; I just want to say I'm sorry. It's good to say you're sorry, but it is only ideal for you to say it when you know, you have done something wrong. Don’t say I'm sorry in advance. But that's what we do. It does not become a culture. Something that can look like a spiritual thing; has now become something that guides us. We don't mind how we live the day, but we come back home to say, Lord, I'm so sorry. Everything I've done today, please forgive me, but the money is in the bank account.

 

Now, let me tell you something I went out today this afternoon, and somebody wanted to help me to negotiate something. I felt the price was too high. I told him my decision: the price I priced earlier, that is the price I am willing to pay for it.’ They've increased the price too much. The person who wanted to help me said I shouldn’t worry, he told me, “I will just tell them that you have something else, you just wanted to manage this one, that they should reduce the price. I answered him, “I don’t have something else.” He then replied to me, “Oga ‘boss’ in this our mechanic village, we to succeed anything, you must be ready to lie.”

 

He was telling me all of that, yet he is a Christian, a Catholic. He said, That's the language that people understand here. You don't tell people the truth, they don't know it, so you have to lie.” And I kept telling him as far as it is about me, just tell him the truth. You know, I don't look interesting to him, but he said, Sir, I've heard you. Please, tell him the truth, I don’t have something else, and you don't have to lie.

 

How many people like that, that are religious; lie. Guess what, they will still go to either the reverend father or go to God and say, Lord, I'm sorry for the lies of today,’ I'm sorry for everything I've done today. That's why we could drop God anytime, and we pick him up at another, what is the driver of the life of that man? He is looking for permission from me; once I buy what, I want to buy, I will permit him. The love of money, the things of this world; if he knows that lying will make him lose his soul, and have restlessness in his soul, will he still do it?

 

We believe that, once we tell God, we are sorry, that is all. But how many people have died before saying, ‘Lord, I'm sorry?’ Have you seen anybody that when death is coming,  that death is telling ‘I'm coming, I'm coming, just get ready, let’s be going before? Death does not like that. People give up the ghost in a split second. You cannot be switching your life off and on, today you give it to the world, and tomorrow you collect it back and give it to the Lord.

 

You want to preach on Sunday, you quickly collect your life from the world and give it to God. One day, you could forget the address of where you drop your life in the world.  You remember that place in the Book of Revelation that says,  Remember where you have fallen.”  Then you could be asking yourself, now that Jesus is close, where did I fall? I've lied too much; I lied to so many people, and I need to go and tell all of them the truth before you come back, Jesus would have gone and gone.

 

So, on your ways, says the truth, live the truth,  be the truth. Let the life of God be visible in your life. Don't say I have enough time to restitute or to repent, I'm still a young man, I'm still a young woman, I can live my life anyhow. You cannot live your life anyhow. You have only one life, one testimony. You can only say, you were once a youth in your life, you can't be a youth several times; you can't be 16 more than once, you can't be 13 years old more than once. You can't be 34 more than once. You can't be 50 more than once. “Once it has been given to a man to die and after that judgment.”

Everything is once, so you make the most of it. Don't give your life to the world and collect it back. In the name of I am a deacon or deaconess, I  must not be found doing these things; let me collect it back, and you give it again, they say you've come again, I've come again, mind your business. Some people say, let's leave the church,’ when they talk like that, what do you think they are saying? It means let's stop following Jesus. Let's pick the things in this world. And the Bible says, Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. 16 For all that is in the world—the lust of the flesh, the lust of the eyes, and the pride of life—is not of the Father but is of the world.” And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever. But he who does the will of God abides forever. That appears to me as the primary responsibility or focus of a disciple is to love God and to do His will.

 

Yet, you cannot do a will that you don't know. So, knowing the will of God precedes doing His will. So, what do you do? You love God, you know His will for your life, and you do it. If you can do these three things, do not caring names. I'm a Christian and my name is Joseph doing these three things, you can be an effective disciple. And when you are an effective disciple because you love God; it means you do not love the world nor the things of the world. At what point are we going to begin to base our decisions on there is a greater purpose, not this immediate gratification? After looking at what apostle John said, I came to a point and I concluded that everything in this world has expiring date and a lifespan. Everything including people, and relationships. There is a saying that says, “20 friends don't work together for 20 years.”

 

Friendships, relationships, many things; cars, houses, and so on, when they say ‘this is the oldest house in the world;’ maybe it is  1000 years old. And when you get there, you could meet only one pillar remaining. Things collapse, cement will expire, everything will expire; plastic will expire, and no light bulb is produced without a lifespan. Sometimes they will say 50,000 hours; they have hours that they must live; if you use them well. Do you understand?

 

Nothing in this world that the world produces or gives lasts forever they pass away. When you buy your phone this year, there is a new one next year; your own has become old. No matter how expensive anything you buy in this world is, there is a newer model the next year. That's how the world is, the world lives and strives on trends. They upgrade and improve anything they give you. So, if you even kill yourself to buy something, they would have upgraded it by next year. Then, how many selves will you have to kill, you have already killed yourself the last time. If you sell yourself to the devil so that you can buy a mansion or buy a car or buy an aeroplane, in reality, the devil has got you, but yet you only have one aeroplane. But when you now build up a desire to get another one, that's when the devil will tell you, you don’t have yourself anymore to exchange for what you need,  can you give me your children or your wife? Okay, now, we finish your immediate family; start going into your extended family, start going to your community, start going to your country, that's why politicians don't mind giving a whole street. they can give a whole aeroplane. Do you understand? But they started by giving themselves, and many people will you give away just for you to get new things?

 

They appointed you a politician this time, you want to renew it, they say go and bring another set of people. The people you brought last time, we need new ones, is that how you want to continue to live your life? I don't think that's okay. Everything the devil gives you, if you need a new one, you need to give him something else. Like we were taught in Matthew 19; true discipleship is about abandoning, total abandonment and is not going to be once, it is forever.

 

You abandoned in 2010, even in 2020 still abandon, 2022 still abandon; in the years to come, you will need to still abandon things. It will not be because you don't have opportunities. Your life will not be said to be a life without opportunities, it will be a life that is defined by your choices. Opportunities could call on you to sin, opportunities could call on you to compromise, to expand your empire, to become great on your own.

 

The opportunity came for Lot, the Bible says, he lifted his eyes and saw the plane. He said it was very beautiful. That was before God destroyed the place and he chose it. And as soon as he was done, God said to Abraham, Now lift your eyes, look to the north, look to the east, look to the west, look to the south; As far as your eyes can see it will be yours.

 

But for Lot, the opportunity came and he took the opportunity. He didn't get it from God. He took the opportunity. Anything God doesn't give you, the world has given you. If it doesn't come from God, it has come from the world. If the husband does not come from God, the husband has come from the world. The husband you received from the world, when he comes, he is going to satisfy your flesh; your eyes, and he's going to make you feel proud. The satisfaction fades away, it will not last.

Have you seen any marriage in the world that lasts forever? How many celebrities are lasting, there is a man, they call him Jarrod Picchi, he is a footballer. He married a woman that was older than him; a celebrity like him, a musician, Shakira. Now, the 12 years old marriage has come to an end. When you marry a woman on the dancing floor, ultimately, by the time you are looking for her, she has gone looking at something; you can't find her again. Where you found her is what determined who she becomes to you. So, you can't afford to find a wife in the world, husband in the world, a job in the world, promotion in the world, anything in the world, you must find it in God. The same land that Lot got for himself, God gave a land to Abraham. God says, Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and every other thing will be added to you.”  Not by the world, God will give it to you.

 

Peter and John, we're talking to the man at the beautiful gate, The man was looking at them so that he can get a financial favour from them. They said, look at us Naira and Kobo I don't have, dollars I don't have, but such as we have, we give to you; in the name of Jesus, arise and walk. At what point are you going to be content with the name of Jesus? Jesus said, Those who have abandoned this and that for my name's sake,are you going to abandon things for the name of Jesus?

 

You see, when you abandon everything for the name of Jesus, you will have the name of Jesus in the greater fold, the name of Jesus will answer for you. When the enemies are calling your name, instead of you responding, Jesus will respond on your behalf. When you need somebody to go and speak for you, Jesus will go for you. When you tell yourself this situation that I am, it will not continue in the name of Jesus, the elements of this world will obey you, why? You have abandoned; you've abandoned yourself.

 

In conclusion, what is the difference between following the world and following Jesus? When you follow the world, this is what happens when you become a disciple of this world, this is what happens to you - your soul will be subjugated. You will be put under control, and your body will be indulged until you have emptied yourself of your spirit. When you love the world according to John chapter 2 verses 15 to 17, you subjugate your soul, you indulge your body, and you empty your spirit. Now, look at the opposite, what following Christ does to any man is that it subjugates his body, restores his soul, and refreshes and refills his spirit.

So, the choice is left to every one of us. There was a point when David was saying, “He restores my soul (Psalm 23). So, in Christ Jesus, your soul is restored, and it must be a daily restoration. Your body's subjugated, Apostle Paul said this one thing I do, I put my body under, I subject my body less after I've preached to others, I become disqualified. I put my body under. In Christ Jesus, you don't put your soul under, you don't subjugate it, but you subjugate your body. You restore your soul. And then your spirit is refilled. Your spirit is refreshed. You know that time that the sorcerer was asking Peter if he wanted to bribe so that he could have the same power. He said, like, let me give you money so that you can give me this power.

 

The Bible talks about how believers need the Holy Spirit so that during the time of refreshing from the Lord, He will refresh our spirits. He will feed your spirit. Your spirit is emptied in the world. Your spirit is refilled in Christ. 1 Corinthians 15 verses 19 says, If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable. Our hope in Christ is beyond this world, there is eternal life. The life that begins from here and continues forever.

 

John chapter 6 verses 16  Jesus did a magnanimous job, a beautiful job. And the people gathered together and they wanted to make Him a king over them by force. And Bible said that Jesus departed away from them. So, when it comes a time for you to be rewarded by men. When men want to make you something that makes you important to them which will make you unimportant to God, are you going to depart? Are you going to sit down there and enjoy it? Are you going to sit down, or will you run away because it is not the will of God for your life? Remember, you have to love God, you have to know his will for your life, and you have to do it. That's what makes you a Christian, a disciple of Jesus indeed, not a name.

 

I pray that God will help us to become faithful disciples in Jesus' name, amen.

 


Thanks for the gift of your time, I am Gboyega ADEDEJI!

Feel free to share your thoughts or testimony in the comment box below. I promise to respond to them as soon as possible!

Word of Confession: (Optional)

Lord Jesus, I confess to you that I have sinned against the LORD God - in the rebellion of my heart, I have disappointed your expectations on my life. I have fallen from Your grace and followed wrong influences around me. Today, I retrace my steps back to you - and I ask that in your mercy you accept me as your son and give to me (again) the promise of the Father - the Holy Spirit. Lord Jesus, please, come and make my heart your home, and from there rule in the affairs of all men. In Jesus Name I have prayed.

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Disciples Effective Discipleship Discipleship Jesus Christ Heart Inward Man Outwar


The call of discipleship is a call to live a life beyond reading and searching the letters of the Scripture, to knowing and becoming one with whom the letters of Scripture testifies about.


Published: Apeh Francis Abah | Monday 28th February 2022


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