Phillip’s Tale I work with the media team in church. I have a lot of followers on all my social media platforms. That gives me so much joy, my sphere of influence is big and
There is a popular saying that I have often come across that says “God doesn’t want your happiness but your holiness”. I have greatly struggled with that saying and to be honest secretly loathe it. It doesn’t make sense. How can a good God not care about my happiness? Does God Want Me To Be Happy? Does God want me to be perpetually depressed? Sad and unfulfilled in life?
I have been reading books. Most recently a book where a pastor has chosen to live a celibate life. He chose this because he is same-sex attracted but for the sake of the cross has chosen not to embrace that lifestyle. This sacrifice has made him give up his desire to have a family, sex, and companionship. He is often sad and has moments where he sits on his kitchen floor and cries from the deep pain he feels from his predicament.
As I was reading that chapter where he opened up about these moments, I felt his pain. He then went on to say that in those moments he is reminded that obedience to God will often cost you temporary unhappiness in this life. He then said that when he is down, he is encouraged by the sacrifice he sees other Christians he knows who put obedience before their own personal happiness, knowing that what they have to give up now is nothing compared to the glories that will be received in the hereafter.
What a hard saying!!! Who can accept it? As I wrestled even more with this, I was reminded of the scripture where Jesus says “If anyone would come after me he should be ready to take up his cross and follow me“
Another scripture Jesus says “He who loses his life for my sake will find it. He who finds his life will lose it”. Deep words! But it’s true of the Christian life. Christianity is a life of cost. A life of sacrifices. I was challenged and began to think, “what have I given up in obedience to God ? What has the gospel cost me?”Christianity is a life of cost. A life of sacrifices. Click To Tweet
At first, I struggled to find an Answer and I started getting worried but then a thought suddenly came on!!
Yes by the grace of God I have in obedience to God-given up things, one major one being sex. Before I got saved I was sexually active. Indulging my flesh. But now I’m saved I’m called to be celibate till I get married. Right now I’m single. I hope to get married, I’m not promised I will! There is a possibility that I may never get married. But just because I’m single doesn’t mean I will use it as an excuse out of frustration with God to go and have sex.
Yes the lack of sex, intimacy often causes me pain. Some days are good and some days I feel like I want to throw in the towel. Like the author, I have “kitchen floor moments” though I don’t cry in the kitchen but rather in my bed at night.
Yes following Christ has cost me. Does it also mean I am perfect in my obedience? NO!! Like everyone, I struggle with sin mine being lust. But it’s a battle I will keep on fighting despite how I feel. And in those moments I have to encourage myself in the lord and remember not to grow weary. In those moments I have to confront that hard truth that my holiness matters to God more than my happiness.
But please don’t get me wrong . Am I saying that all God does is rain down pain on his children? No!! So much in scriptures show how God answers prayers. How he rescues his children. How he provides for them. Surely answers to prayer, provision, healing, are all blessings from God and they bring us happiness in this life. But what is the main point of this article?
In conclusion, it is said that a salvation that doesn’t require sacrifice or cost( those things/ sins that bring you happiness) is no salvation at all. A disciple who hasn’t lost or sacrificed anything for the kingdom is no true disciple. So my question to you today is this,
“Has following Jesus cost you anything?”
Then Jesus said to all of them, “If anyone would come after Me, he must deny himself and take up his cross daily and follow Me. 24For whoever wants to save his life will lose it, but whoever loses his life for My sake will save it. – Luke 9:23-24
Written by: Sherleen Adaisy; Adaeze is a Christian who seeks to be more like Christ and obedient to his word. She works with adults who have autism/ mental health and in her spare time she writes about history. She loves food, social media, books and horror movies.
Humans of New York (@humansofny) is a site that goes around the world seeking out people with extraordinary stories. For the past couple of months, humansofny has been in Africa and has interviewed people in Nigeria, Ghana, Cairo and most recently, Rwanda.
But in the midst of all these stories, the most jaw-dropping ones came from Rwanda. If for some reason you never heard of the Rwandan Genocide, let me give a brief summary of the happenings.
The Rwandan Genocide was a mass slaughter of the Tutsi by the members of the Hutu who were the majority, during the Rwandan Civilian War which begun in 1990. The genocide was directed by members of the Hutu in government and lasted for a period of 100 days (from April 7th to Mid-July 1994).
The genocide occurred because the Hutu-led government party had issues with the Rwandan Patriotic Front (RPF) which was made up of Tutsi refugees whose families had fled to Uganda. Conspiracy theories against the Tutsi spread and Hutu’s were encouraged to take up arms against their Tutsi neighbours. Checkpoints were erected and anyone who’s ID indicated being from the Tutsi was killed. Tutsi’s were dragged from their homes, schools, and churches and killed in cold blood.
This went on for a period of 100 days until the RPF captured Kigali thus bringing an end to the genocide.
I would very much encourage you to read further on the Rwandan Genocide because it is way more than whatever summary I can ever give, Wikipedia articles or blog posts. It’s unbelievable how people will turn against one another for the most trivial reasons.
Lest we forget, the war also affects individuals. Unfortunately, it is very easy to most times separate the individuals from the action of war because we are mostly presented with the actions of the military, meanwhile, it is those parts we do not see that are most affected.
In the Instagram post by @humansofny (see here), a pastor was interviewed and he told of how he was able to hide members of the Tutsi in his church. In the first post, he stated that he was always invited to the meetings where discussions were going on about how to kill the Tutsi. So I’ll put two and two together and say that he must have been Hutu. This means that he had the choice to completely separate himself from the killings, chill at home with his family and do absolutely nothing, but he didn’t.
“If our God is true, we will be OK” was what he said to the people who sought shelter in his church. This reminds me of Daniel and his friends when they were to bow to the graven image put up by King Nebuchadnezzar. They had complete faith in God, and he came through for them.
“If it be so, our God whom we serve is able to deliver us from the burning fiery furnace, and he will deliver us out of thine hand, O king.
But if not, be it known unto thee, O king, that we will not serve they gods, nor worship the golden image which thou hast set up”. – Daniel 3:17-18 (KJV)
The other three posts tell of how he faced opposition and was given the wisdom to go through everything that happened for the period of three weeks when they were in hiding. To the glory of God, every single person that was hidden in the church survived, until they were rescued by the Rwandan Patriotic Front.
“The killers belonged to our congregation, and we could have held them back. But instead, we did nothing. Every pastor had a different excuse. Some said they didn’t know things would get so bad. Some said they were too afraid, and some said the government was too powerful to oppose.
I won’t even begin to talk about how the killers were part of the congregation, because that is a story for another day, and frankly, I’m shook!
What I’d like to dwell on is how we as believers ought to stand up for each other, stand up for the truth.
I mean, if people in the world go as far as facing the worse punishments just because they do not want to snitch on a murdering, drug-peddling friend, how much more we who are believers. I’m sure every pastor who chose to look the other way must have been riddled with guilt.
Our bond is solidified by our relationship in Christ. We became family when we received the gospel. We share a common belief, we worship together, break bread together, fellowship together, counsel one another, very often marry within ourselves and yet we dare choose to look the other way when our brethren are being tormented??? THAT SHOULD NEVER BE THE CASE!
Worse still, we choose to take part in afflicting the torment.
Thankfully, we may not find ourselves in situations as severe as the Rwandan Genocide, but in our own little ways we can always stand up for our Christian brethren.
Refuse to partake in sharing lewd jokes. Someone is being bullied in school, you speak up, someone is being fat-shamed, you stand up and talk sense into the shamers. Join causes to help stand up for those being oppressed. However, we should do all our correcting in love so that we do not create an opportunity for more conflict.
I pray the Holy Spirit emboldens us to stand strong for others in the faith.But when you’re standing aside while people die, every excuse is a lame one. - @humansofny Click To Tweet
During the second week of July 2018, we noticed something very unusual on the website, Facebook and Instagram blacklisted the website link, every time we shared an article to Facebook, Facebook takes it down and marks it malicious and unsafe based on their community policy.
We checked the website and realized that every time you try to access any of the articles on the site, including the home page; https://lifegiva.com, it redirects you to some shipping company’s website.
Voila! We have been hacked.
This was the obvious conclusion, we then closed the front end access to the website, so we can clean out the malicious script on the site, the problem turned out to more rigorous than we thought and had eaten so deep into the site.
After about a month of working on getting the website back and coming to a pretty good but vulnerable place, we got hacked again, this time by a religious hacking society whose beliefs are against the content on the website.
But after rigorous work, we are back!!!
The hacks have affected us in some ways, so we will be needing your help with the following;
we want to blog moreeeee, like an average of 3 articles daily, and this time, we are going broad, wild and rich. Not just limited to Christian articles (don’t get me wrong, we are still a Christian blog, but Christian watch all kinda movies, listen to music, do other things non-christian, so we want to have all kind of articles that gives life )
We want to set some funds aside to publicise the blog, seeing that being offline for 3 months now have adversely affected our online ranking and presence.
If you want to partner with us for this, click here.
I believe you messaged because you know and have experienced the importance of the website, so help us spread the word. Share (retweet, repost…) our articles, mention people on our social media platforms…
We are open to suggestions, tell us what we can do, what we can do better, what we should change…
Thank you so much as I believe you can do at least one of the above.
During my second year as an undergraduate, I had begun to drift into unbelief, I then used to refer to myself as a freethinker. I had so many unanswered questions, so I resorted to unbelief and all that came with it. I sought to indulge in the most dastardly acts conceivable until God found me. I am so glad he found me, for he found me at a very dark place. But this article is not about the expression of God’s saving grace in my direction, although I will really love to write a book about that someday.
In August of 2012, God had worked on my heart and totally transformed me. I was beginning to break free gradually from all the things I struggled with. It was definitely a journey in the right direction, I realized early enough that one reason I constantly struggled was my association. So I began to surround myself with the right types of friends, I was growing and healing, I needed accountability.
On this fateful day, I was invited for a prayer meeting by one of my new friends. I was eager to go, but he gave a heads up, we will be praying for four hours. I was surprised when he said four hours but fought the desire to show it in my expressions.
One of the things you learn when you start associating with Christians is a way of speaking that some call ‘Christenese’. So instead of telling my friend I didn’t feel up to a four-hour prayer meeting and fall my ‘spiritual’ hand, I simply said ‘we will pray through or something like that’, then went along with him.
We were to have this prayer meeting at a place that was popularly referred to as the HOD ground, it was the large parking lot of the school’s chapel. As a result of my history in spiritual rebellion, I had never been to such a prayer meeting before, so this was going to be a first and I was definitely not sure what to expect. I got to the HOD ground and it was bustling with life, filled with people who were ready to pray all the way.
Someone came up, gave a brief charge on the need to pray through and we were all hyped up, ready to pray the heavens down. So after the charge the prayers started, I started with the same tenacity I had observed everyone around me approached the prayers with. But thirty minutes into the prayer, something began to happen, my head began to hurt, my legs felt heavy, my vision became blurred and hazy, it felt like I was beginning to have an out of body experience. At that point, I was sure my body was telling me to stop or I will die praying. But I looked around and everyone still continued with the same level of fervour, as when we started. So in other to save face, especially since there were some pretty sisters on that HOD ground that day, I ignored all the signs my body was giving and then I continued praying. At that point it was obvious that I was simply trying to make an impression, as my mind had long been switched off, I just barely mumbled words.
Then I started hearing voices, but I think the conversation would have gone like this:
Voice in the Head: Yo bro
Voice in the Head: Stop now, you are about to die
Me: IKR (I know right)
I guess the conversation went like that because the last thing I can remember was hearing voices. By the time the prayer session was over, my friend who had invited me came and tapped me. As I stood from the floor, where I had laid for virtually the whole prayer meeting, I honestly expected to see the great angels Michael and Gabriel. But it was my friend, I had not died, I had just slept off or passed out or whatever. I was left on the floor because in that kind of gathering it wasn’t outside the norm for someone to fall under the anointing, but I knew what happened to me and it had nothing to do with the anointing. I had not built the stamina required for that length of prayer.
But fast forward to now, I am sure I can go through a four-hour prayer session and even more without passing out. So I would like to just talk briefly on how to build endurance in prayer:
You will notice that I repeated the small, that is not a mistake, yeah I am Nigerian and that is how we say things when we want to emphasize them. The truth is that you must always have the ultimate goal of prayer before you, every time you pray. You don’t pray to prove a point to others, you pray to grow and like the physical, spiritual growth is taken one step at a time.You don’t pray to prove a point to others, you pray to grow and like the physical, spiritual growth is taken one step at a time. Click To Tweet
So I will advise you start with your current ability and consistently plan to grow from there. So if it is 30 minutes you can do now, keep doing it, gain mastery at that level and have a desire to grow from there. Growth most times is a gradual process and the growth processes of several individuals when observed are rarely identical. Just like in the physical you don’t give birth to a baby and start to feed it Pounded Yam, vegetable soup and Goat meat (If you have never had this dish, all I can say to you is sorry, what have you been eating though?).
Be honest and be true to who you are and where you are in your growth process, but always with a desire to do more.
When it comes to building endurance in the place of prayer, accountability and fellowship cannot be pushed to the sidelines. The book of Hebrews the tenth chapter and the twenty-fourth and twenty-fifth verses explain this point perfectly. The twenty-fourth verse tells us that we spur each other to love and good deeds.
As a Christian, you grow with and by other Christians. Although I was not prepared for it at the time, I am grateful to God that I had a friend that could invite me for a four-hour prayer meeting, it made me realize how much growing I had to do and yes glory be to God I have grown and I am still growing. So if you really want to learn how to endure in the place of prayer, get yourself praying friends, who will constantly spur you to good works and challenge you to do more spiritually.If you really want to learn how to endure in the place of prayer, get yourself praying friends, who will constantly spur and challenge you to do more spiritually. Click To Tweet
Yes, I said it, exercise and rest. Never get too spiritual that you forget that you are human. There is a type of endurance that physical exercise builds in you that is beneficial even in your prayer life. I am not advising you to go straight up to start lifting 1000kg barbells, if you can and already do, I salute you sir/ma, me, I can’t fit. So for people in my category, regular sessions of push-ups, some squats, jogging, long speed walks or anything that gets your heart pumping will suffice.There is a type of endurance that physical exercise builds in you that is beneficial even in your prayer life. Click To Tweet
Exercise and rest are important for keeping fit, healthy and alert for the activities of the day which include prayer. So you might realize that the reason you have been unable to endure in the place of prayer is inadequate exercise or rest.Never get too spiritual that you forget that you are human. Click To Tweet
I hope this article was beneficial, I will love to hear your thoughts in the comments section.