A time like now or a day like today ten years ago I gave my life to Christ. In lay man language I became a born again Christian; that is a Christian who loudly confesses Jesus Christ as Lord and Saviour. I must say that this was my sixth or seventh attempt to get born again. The first time I was in class three after fire breathing evangelists from the city came to our village. I still remember how they made me feel as if the world was to end that day and I was not ready to go to hell. However I was to backslide a month later as I found the world was not ending soon. The second time I got saved I don’t remember who preached to me but my friends laughed to me loudly at my intent of living for Christ. You won’t last a week or month and so it was I did not last a month. I later became notorious in stealing, lying and fighting. I would later give my life to Christ fully as I was about to join High School. I intend to share some things that I have learnt in my walk with God.
Salvation is not about me. It is not I who has sustained myself in it. There is a bigger force operating in my life that controls me. When I got saved at first I thought I will remain saved because of my good works like not drinking, not smoking and not talking to girls. My endeavours were to ensure that I did more good works than I did the bad. Later I came to know that my good works counted nothing, God did not save me to be good. He saved me because I believed in him. I have therefore learnt not to trust my good deeds as a guarantee of walking with God. You can still be good and not be saved as the purpose of salvation is not goodness, it is eternity. “And to those who believed in Him, He gave them the power to become sons of God.”
Many are called but few are chosen. When I got saved this was a favourite scripture and it still is, only I cannot quote verbatim where it is and I won’t Google search now. Salvation is not a group assignment or team work. In fact you cannot survive as a Christian when walking alone. However salvation must be taken as a personal calling. I have been chosen for a particular mandate. God calls everyone to come to him. God asks in Isaiah 55: Who is thirty and who is hungry? Jesus also invited people to himself: Come ye all that are thirsty and heavy laden and I will give you rest. Yes many are called to enjoy the rest, but only a few who respond to this call. The few who respond to it are the chosen ones. Saint Peter describes the chosen on as peculiar people and a royal priesthood. In traditional societies being a priest and royalty was not a personal choice as it did not depend on the individual but on unknown forces that predetermined their birth. Therefore I was chosen to be a priest and royalty even before my birth. This makes me feel privileged and honoured. It is one reason why I treasure salvation because not all are chosen. I think of it as being appointed by the president to a cabinet position or to an elite position without any personal effort. Salvation is not earned; it is bestowed on those who believe in Jesus Christ. Oh my! Salvation is a privilege not an entitlement. I did not appreciate it as privilege until I went out to evangelise and met a boy who really wanted to get salvation. But his family would not accept him, already he was an addict and according to him it was his ninth attempt to get saved. He would be prayed for one day then go back to drugs the next day. Have you ever been that way or met a person who really wants salvation but cannot get it. I count salvation as a privilege.
Salvation is also a call to suffering. The neo modern evangelists colour salvation as a get rich quick scheme. They promise you houses, restoration, good family, and health once you get saved. It may be close to the truth, but it may not be the entire truth. Salvation is a call to carry your cross daily and being ready to be crucified together with Christ. This is the most difficult part about salvation. The call to suffer was even explained by Jesus where he told his disciples that they will be persecuted, whipped and hated. He was very honest and did not sugar coat the gospel. Yes! People will hate when you make moral stands. They will hate you when they realise you cannot collude illegality with them. They cannot talk anyhow in your presence. They will hate you when they learn that you cannot be bribed or bribe. Some will hate when they realise that you do not demand or accept sexual favours. Yes! You must be ready to be hated and to be persecuted for the gospel. Much more suffering is in crucifying the body and denying it its canal desires. Paul said that we must offer our bodies as living sacrifice which is a pure and acceptable sacrifice to God. Paul said that, “for I am crucified with Christ, it is not I who lives but Christ who lives in me.” Further suffering comes from undergoing trials designed to make us better. Count it all joy when you undergo various trials, for the suffering produces patience and patience produces hope. Even athletes must undergo trials for them to qualify for finals and the trophy. One must appreciate the role and value of trial in order to emerge victorious. Then there are temptations, they too are a form of suffering necessitated by our carnal desires. Nevertheless, the suffering of this present time is nothing compared with the glory to come. That is what keeps me going. I can see the crown that awaits me when Christ is revealed in His glory.
Salvation is not for wimps and cry-babies. It is sad that most people seek God when they are in their deathbeds or when they are really broke or when things are not working. Of course it is the right thing to do because God is a strong tower and a refuge to those who trust in him. However, the benefits of seeking God when your landlord has locked your house or when you are sick are short lived. Yes God will heal you and provide for you. However if that is all you wanted from Him you will certainly be disappointed. It reminds me of folks who followed Jesus because He gave them bread, and then one day He told them that there will be no bread. This is the truth; there are times when there will be no bread; there are times when there will be no healing; there are times when there will be no provision. So what will you do if you had followed him for bread? Have a better reason to live for Christ and to follow Him more than wanting a job, family, or a good life. Follow Him because he is God and because walking with God is the best decision that you can make in this life.
I am child of the light and I have to walk in the light. Soon after I got saved I found it hard to leave some of the bad habits I had like stealing. I would consider myself saved but when avenues of stealing came, I would indulge in it without a second thought. Then one day in school, I was caught red handed stealing and I was suspended in full daylight in the presence of everyone. I have never felt ashamed the way I did that time. It was even more shameful because I had publicly declared that I am Christian. God exposed me and my bad habits which I had refused to confess and repent to everyone. So many Christians even today still struggle with darkness issues, there are weaknesses and secret sins that they entertain. Confess them or else shame and big time shame is coming your way. Let the light of God light your life.
I have fallen over and over again. Falling does not necessarily mean I did backslide or stopped confessing Jesus Christ as Lord or I became an atheist or committed sexual sins. No. Falling is failing to meet the standard that God expects of you. For he who knows how to do good and does not do it sins. Yes. On this one I have erred and failed. Walking with God as I have learnt is personal and God judges us as per the knowledge that we have of him. The more you know about him and his expectations the more is expected of you. The more you know God the more God expects from you. That is why He seems to Judge those who know Him more harshly than those who do not know Him. It is a kingdom principle.
Wisdom is the principal thing. Wisdom is highly needed in walking with God. God does not entertain fools. Ask fool Nabal. God requires wisdom and even asks those who do not have it to ask it from him because he gives it liberally to all men. Wisdom is not only important in our walk with God but also in our walk and interaction with fellow men.
Pursue peace with all men. This is difficult but God wants us to be at peace with all men if possible. That is why physical violence against our enemies is prohibited in the New Testament. Love your enemies Jesus said. Pray for those who persecute you. Instead of engaging in physical violence, we are given spiritual weapons to use in our warfare activities. This is because our greatest adversary is not mankind. It is the devil who misuses mankind. If we can target the adversary with the spiritual weapons then we would be at peace with all men. Learning prayer warfare is imperative for every believer.
Forgive and forgive. Another major lesson I have learnt is to forgive. It is not easy and does not feel good to let someone who has wronged you off the hook. But vengeance belongs to God and trust you me He really knows how to avenge and when to avenge. You cannot outsmart Him at that.
God is looking for worshippers. Yes I have learnt how to be a worshipper. It does not mean that I am praise and worship member or a choir member of our church. Nay! I am a backbencher but I revere and worship God. Worship is the deep seated acknowledgement of his majesty and glory. It is exulting him above other things like your job or your children. It is letting God to occupy the first position in your life. He is looking for worshippers. I want to be a worshipper as there is shortage of worshipers in the Kingdom. God is looking for people who will worship in truth and in spirit.
These are some of the few lessons among the many that I have learnt in my walk with God. Make a choice to live for Him if you have not. It is a great decision with eternal implications. Seek Him and you will find him.