Hello there precious saints.
I am very sorry for the long break in communication. So much has happened since my last message but in it all, God has been good and faithful. Not least of all is the fact that I am back in full-time pastoral ministry overseeing a fledgling church.
Please do not at any point forget that God told us that 2015 will be our year of rest. On Sunday February 22, 2015, as I listened to my spiritual son, Demola Soremekun expounding from the Scriptures on the implications of that word for us as believers, this message was born in my heart.
In six days, God created the heavens and the earth. Once God finished creation, He rested from His work which means He will not need to create again. All you will ever need as a human being is here on earth, either within you or around you.
All Of Life Is A Transactional Interplay
You breathe in oxygen which in a sense is breathed out by the plants and you breathe out carbon dioxide needed by the plants. You give your time and skills to your employer in exchange for a salary or wage. You take those earnings and give them to a shop in exchange for goods and services. You are a part of a family, an organisation or a club. You discharge your obligations and responsibilities to them and in return enjoy the privileges and rewards they proffer. You have a complex problem and you employ your thinking faculties, the power of your intellect, memory or imagination till you come up with a solution or find out which expert in that field can do so.
When a need arises therefore, find out whether it requires resources from within or without. Once you have done that, then you need to pay the price, release the resource in exchange for the requirement. That sounds quite simple and straightforward. So why are so many of the needs of so many of us still unmet? Perhaps we neither understand the nature of available resources nor how to utilise them.
External Or Internal Resources?
Your resources can be external/physical or internal/abstract. Physical resources are easier to identify and exploit and so are more common and therefore cheaper than abstract resources. For example, loading a lorry with sand for sale is the kind of exercise that anyone can engage in. On the other hand, excavating diamonds from the earth’s core requires the kind of forethought and expertise that is not commonplace. By the way, precious stones found on the surface of the earth belong to someone else already! So strive to mine rather than to find diamonds. Everyone can prosper from natural or physical resources but only few do. This is because you need to be in the right place, at the right time, with the right people, doing the right thing over a sustained time frame. Most of us are either too lazy, incredulous or impatient to go through this slow, painful process to wealth acquisition or accumulation. The average person wants to get rich overnight. This accounts for the long lines at weekends at corner shops, supermarkets etc as people try to beat the deadline for the purchase of the Euromillion and other lottery tickets. In emerging economies where regulations are loose, backhanders are rife and patronage guaranteed, everyone is looking for that one contract that will change their destinies in a flash.
Recognizing Your Assets
Everyone can also benefit from their internal resources but only a minuscule proportion of people do or are willing to. This is because, as with precious metals, you have to sift through a lot of dirt to unearth the valuables. Of course, you have to be schooled in locating and identifying these assets in the first place. As a result, many of us are in possession of abstract assets we do not recognise (“What is that in your hand?” was the question God asked Moses who was unaware that the rod he was holding, would later be used to do all kinds of exploits). You may even have despised and therefore sold your “birthright” for a ” mess of pottage” to someone who knew its value a la Esau and Jacob.
What are these abstract internal resources? How can I recognise them? How can I excavate them? How can I trade them for what I need?
“Wisdom Is The Principal Thing…”
The first three are knowledge, understanding and wisdom. The Bible tells us that wisdom is the principal thing and in all your getting, get understanding. The Easy-To-Read Version of the Bible (ERV) puts it like this: “The first step to becoming wise is to look for wisdom, so use everything you have to get understanding” (Proverbs 4:7). Use your natural or physical resources (time, talent & treasure) to acquire wisdom. Knowledge and understanding are the crucial first two rungs on the ladder of wisdom. Knowledge is the diligent acquisition of facts. Understanding is taking time to discover how these facts work. Wisdom is the application of both knowledge and understanding for the fulfilment of God’s will and advancement of His Kingdom and people.
I do not need to remind you that the fear of God is the beginning of wisdom. So the most intellectually prolific atheist is but a dummy with, and by degrees! The so-called believer who knows the will of God and does not do it is no better and could indeed be a lot worse (see LUKE 12:47-48 “And that servant, which knew his lord’s will, and prepared not himself, neither did according to his will, shall be beaten with many stripes. But he that knew not, and did commit things worthy of stripes, shall be beaten with few stripes. For unto whomsoever much is given, of him shall be much required: and to whom men have committed much, of him they will ask the more.”)
Be Strong And Of Good Courage
In your thirst and quest for wisdom, you will find the oases of other abstract internal resources also known as virtues. To do something notable and or unique, the preeminent virtue you must find in the midst of your fiercest adversity is courage. The first instruction God gave the fledgling leader Joshua after Moses’ death was to be strong and of good courage. Dictionary. com defines courage as “the quality of mind or spirit that enables a person to face difficulty, danger, pain, etc., without fear; bravery”. Sometimes though, as in the case of Gideon, courage could be going ahead, even if apprehensive, because God commanded you to. Courage always brings honour which in turn carries favour. Favour will get you to places and heights to which money, hard work, connections, a good education and a pedigree cannot get you.
“The Patient Dog …”
Another virtue which will always ultimately stand you in good stead is patience. If you can keep your cool, that is maintain your dignity and control your tongue in the midst of great provocation, abject poverty or totally unreasonable people, and while others around you are losing theirs, then you will accede to greatness and authority. When men are looking for the right person for leadership, a man of patience and temperance will always be at the top of their wish list. Have you not noticed that even in action or disaster movies, everyone looks to that person who seems least flummoxed, for leadership! So when God in His infinite wisdom permits you to be in difficult situations and under unreasonable folks, He is probably preparing you for greatness, training you for reigning.
“… He Is Kind Unto The Unthankful And To The Evil…”
Kindness in the face of absolute power and generosity in the face of fame and sufficiency are two further virtues that form part of one’s abstract resources database. Being kind and generous to people who are less-privileged, and who cannot recompense you in any wise, as well as to those who indeed are ingrates, evil, antagonistic and yet weaker than you is one of the most obvious godlike qualities a believer can display. Jesus says as much in Luke 6:36 – “Be ye therefore merciful, as your Father also is merciful.” Yet another virtue is meekness, which is surrendering to the dealings of God even when they do not seem to make sense. It implies trusting God when you cannot trace Him. It is of course undergirded by unfeigned humility. The ability to forgive even the worst of transgressions is a final virtue we wish to highlight. It is a grace that only the agape love of God shed abroad in our hearts by His Holy Spirit can bequeath.
Live Like A Believer
Everybody can identify, hone and deploy their physical resources to good effect. Yet to maximise these would still mean the believer is operating way below his capacity and living way beneath his privileges. More importantly, though is the fact that operating solely at that level does not fulfil the purpose of your life as a new creation in Christ. Peter explains the nature of the new man in Christ in 1 Peter 2:9 (BBE) : “But you are a special people, a holy nation, priests and kings, a people given up completely to God, so that you may make clear the virtues of him who took you out of the dark into the light of heaven.”
These virtues are called, in Galatians 5:22,the fruit of the Holy Spirit who is resident in us. When Moses asked God in Exodus 33:13-18 to show him His glory so that Moses would know God, it was these virtues that Moses was shown. In Psalm 103:7, the Psalmist tells us God made known His acts (doings), His physical resources, as it were, to the children of Israel. To Moses however He made known His ways, His nature, character and virtues. The external was and is temporary: the children of Israel ate manna miraculously provided everyday for forty years but all perished in the wilderness. Moses however because he was exposed to God’s character was transformed from a quick-tempered murderer to one God called in Numbers 12:3, the meekest man on the face of the earth. The virtues which are spiritual are eternal.
“As Many As Are Led…”
From now on, purpose to live out of your spirit. Begin to develop your spiritual resources through study of and meditation on the Word of God. Then more significantly, be very sensitive to the promptings and leading of the Holy Spirit. Be quick to obey whatever He tells you to do. Just in case you think that what you need can be acquired much faster by utilising your natural resources, remember Jesus saying that spiritual things are true riches. He therefore advised that believers should seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness and the physical things which unsaved and natural people pursue after, would be added to the virtuous discerning God-seeker.
Too many of us are like ignorant childish heirs who have the promise of the title-deed to a quarry, yet we are outside in the playground fighting over a few pebbles! Your greatest assets are not things around or outside, but those within you. When Paul said we were to work out our own salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), he was not as many believe or teach asking us to work for our salvation. Rather, he was asking us to cogently and expressly manifest on the outside what was such a tacit yet unassailable reality on the inside. In other words, live what you believe by working from the inside out.
Over the next few days, meditate on Ephesians 3: 20-21 “Now unto him that is able to do exceeding abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that worketh in us, Unto him be glory in the church by Christ Jesus throughout all ages, world without end. Amen.”
Whatever any human can ask or imagine with their natural mind can be abundantly superseded by the power of God’s Spirit at work inside the believer. This is how the Church, the Body of Christ, in and through Him glorifies the Father henceforth and indeed for ever. Hallelujah!
Your best is within you so live from the inside out.
Shalom and welcome to true and unquantifiable riches.
O M EFUEYE
ASLAN LIFE MINISTRIES