I must have been in 200 level. I went to write one of these professional courses exam. All those exams that will just blow into campus and blow out again. I guess it was to qualify us for a scholarship. As we stepped out of the exam hall and made to walk down to the center of campus, I saw this mesmerizing pretty damsel. She perfectly fitted my aesthetic taste. She was yellow. Neither short nor tall, neither fat nor slim. Then there was this gentle peaceful mien on her face like that of a dove. That’s the perfect fit. I was rattled, dazzled, bamboozled. Like the Queen of Sheba, there was no more spirit in me.
Now this was a perfect stranger and I couldn’t mutter the courage to even say hello. But her image stuck with me. I couldn’t take my mind off her. And then the investigation started. I don’t know how I did this back then but I got her. Her department, name, church, including her room number. I can’t even remember how I pulled this off. It took weeks of hard work and focus to get all the pieces together.
It turned out she was my senior and of course older than me. I wasn’t moved. She was Igbo from Imo State. It didn’t move me. She was Catholic. It didn’t move me either. I was raised taught that age, tribe or denomination had nothing to do with the choice of a good life partner- what my parents used to call, “the will of God.”
Before you say Jack, I became a Catholic. I started attending their services on campus. That brought me closer to my goal. She was a church girl. I started muttering the words “living the faith” anytime they chanted “N.F.C.S.”! They had such a beautiful choir which will at all times sing in a classical manner like the ancients. I fell in love with the Catholics. I’ll tell you the rest of the story at another time. Lol.
There is a different scenario of an occasion back on campus too as I was on my way to my Evangelical Christian Union Fellowship on a Sunday, I saw our brothers from the C&S as they dispersed from their service. Everywhere was beautifully white. I just loved them and began to shed tears. As I looked at them in the glamour of those white robes flowing to the rhythm of the wind, I heard myself saying to myself on my inside, these are my brothers and my sisters. I shed tears of love.
God had actually done something permanent to my heart about the love for the body of Christ. I know it. I cry uncontrollably when I see disunity and hatred in the body and among believers.
May the Lord give all of you reading this a heart that will truly love the body of Christ.
There’s an ancient song that goes thus, “I don’t care what church you belong to. In as much as in Jesus you stand. If by grace through faith you’ve been saved, you’re my brother so give me your hands.”
The reason this topic is such a big topic in itself is first because we haven’t obeyed the Bible that told us in Ephesians 4: 2&3
“With all lowliness and meekness, with longsuffering, forbearing one another in love: Endeavouring to keep the unity of the Spirit in the bond of peace.”
There can be no unity without love. There can be no love without humility (lowliness and meekness). I think the greatest obstacle to our ability to love and accept each other and forbear with each other in the body of Christ is that arrogance of heart that our own doctrine, our own church, our own man of God is the best- we are the only ones that are right, others are wrong. That feeling that everyone else is wrong except those in your small little group. This by the way is one of the manifestations of the flesh (the spirit and nature of the devil). Read Galatians 5:19-21 in the Old Living Bible translation. It is the spirit of hell that makes you have such arrogance. God abhors it.
The truth is that there is no denomination or man of God that has all the grace you need. And God did it deliberately. He scattered the bread. Everyone only contributes the little measure he carries for the edification of the body. He didn’t want some few to be super brothers while the rest of us are ‘follow come”. He didn’t want some parts of His body to be overworked while some other parts are completely redundant.
Of course, our brothers the servants of God (to whom I belong) always like to make their disciples feel they are self sufficient for them. So we use different gimmick in the guise of sharing testimonies to exalt ourselves in the face of the brethren so they’ll see us as small gods (who can do all things) and feel they don’t need anything elsewhere. We even fight them when we see them listening to another preacher or attending their meetings. But note what the Bible says about this in Romans 12:3.
“For I say through the grace given unto me, to every man that is among you not to think of himself more highly than he ought but to think soberly, as God hath dealt to every man the measure of faith. ”
This scripture is saying, every one of us has only received a measure of God’s grace. Only Jesus was anointed without measure yet he was never arrogant. I think it’s our own natural tendency for arrogance and boast that has dissuaded God from taking the risk of anointing any of us without measure. So if our graces are only small measures, it means it is not self sufficient, it means we need to collect the little measures of our brothers here and there (some of whom may be in other denominations) for us to be whole.
The foundation for any successful working out of doctrinal agreement for marital bliss is actually this spirit of humility. A general disposition of mind that despises no part of the body of Christ. A resolute conviction that there is a measure of grace in the life of everyone and the life of every denomination. I really have met fantastic Christians from virtually all denominations.
You also need a disposition of mind that is not afraid to be wrong. A humble spirit. Don’t be dogmatic. Be willing to have anyone challenge what you believe and be humble to double check and be humble to admit that you’re wrong if you’re really wrong. I used to believe for instance that after we are done in this world, we will spend eternity in heaven singing hallelujah in the heavenly choir forever. To be frank even though I couldn’t tell anyone, I thought that will be too boring. Isn’t God more creative? Hell no. We will spend eternity in the new earth and we aren’t going to be singing hallelujah perpetually. We are actually going to be flexing in a perfect world. What God originally intended if man didn’t fall. It took the Jehovah’s Witnesses to make me see that. They came to my house years ago and I welcomed them and gave them seat. My friends who were also believers were frowning their faces. They made several claims. I was shocked. I asked for time to go back and study on the subject. We fixed a fresh appointment. I was shocked to find they were right. The issue was whether the earth will be destroyed. I thought yes because we will be in heaven forever. I was wrong. They were right.
You won’t believe the great contribution that knowledge brought to my spiritual life. When I realised how much fun the new earth will be, first I didn’t want to miss it. Secondly, I wanted to go quickly if possible. So after then, any time anyone shared those false claims that Pastor Adeboye has seen rapture taking place soon, I wished the prophecy was true. Before, I would have been sad. And really should a true Christian be sad that Jesus was coming soon? I can’t tell you all I discovered today. It transformed my christian life.
Note that any denomination that believes Romans 10:9 is first of all a christian denomination and so part of the body of Christ and our brothers. Anyone that denies Romans 10:9 is not a part of the body of Christ. Any denomination that admits the Lordship of Jesus, believes his death and resurrection as atonement for sin and the way to life is a christian denomination. That’s the requirement for salvation in Romans 10:9. This is the reason I welcomed the Jehovah’s Witnesses because they believe and teach this. They are my brothers.
Now whether Jesus was crucified on a crossed tree or a straight tree is not as important as the fact he was crucified and we both believe that. Whether we should remove our sandals during service or wear it is inconsequential. Doesn’t affect the crux of our faith. I’ll happily remove my sandals and enjoy service. Whether we should cover our head or not during service is not the crux of the christian faith- the real issue is the need for a new life in Christ. Many cover their heads but are still ruled by the old nature. Brother Paul Said in Galatians 6:15. For in Christ Jesus, neither circumcision availeth anything, nor uncircumcision, but a new creature.
In Christ Jesus, that you are Catholic or Protestant or charismatic or evangelical or Aladura is inconsequential, what matters is whether you’ve become a new creature. Have you truly been converted? Have you renounced the life of sin? Are you growing spiritually? That’s what matters to God.
Really most of what divides us are inanities. They are sometimes mundane things.
What bind us together are more. One body, one Spirit, one hope of our calling; One Lord, one faith, one baptism, one God and father of all who is above all and through all and in you all.
We clearly haven’t finished this issue of securing doctrinal agreement. We will finish up next week. All I’ve said today is doctrinal agreement is possible for any two people who are truly Christians and are humble in their spirits no matter the differences in their denominations. For we share the same Holy Spirit. All of us. For there is just one Spirit!
#resettingtheodds #makingyourmarriageacenterofrevival #lovestraighttalks