A quitter never wins and a winner never quits – Napoleon Hill.
Defeat doesn’t finish a man, quitting does – Richard Nixon
Most of us would have come across one or more of ‘don’t give up’ quotes at one time or the other and even gotten encouragement from them not to give up on a project, a dream or a desire. This time around, I want us to think about not giving up in an aspect of our lives that we hardly apply it. I try as much as possible not to use the phrase “spiritual life” like it can be compartmentalized like we do the other areas of our lives – my career, my relationships, my business, my social life, my love life, my spiritual life. Nah. I am a spirit being and therefore that controls every other aspect of my life. Whether you agree with this or not, I believe strongly that it applies to all persons. Who you are is what you produce in all other areas of your life. Back to the thoughts at hand. Many preachers today complain about the level of unrighteousness and the ‘world’ that has crept into the church and while there are many reasons that have and can be propounded for this, I want to consider it from an individualistic point of law. Nigerians are deeply religious people and generally believe in the spiritual or the supernatural. We believe in diabolic stuff which is one of the reasons I think Christianity is easily practiced here. Our belief in a God is not the issue, the issue I see is not giving up on that God.
God is an easy being to fall in love with and the message of salvation an easy one to believe. Who wouldn’t want a part of this life where all your past sins are erased and completely forgotten, you have the God of the universe on your side, a loving Father who has these amazing promises to keep you, provide all your needs, bless you and be with you for all time. I see needful people, people who never thought there could be another chance at life, people who have messed up so bad hungrily accept this message with all their hearts. A little while passes and the difference is quickly fading. That changed life isn’t so changed anymore, only this time it’s hidden and covered up by Christian clichés, church activities and all. We don’t have a lot of changed lives anymore and God is still the same with absolutely the same changing power so what’s going on? I don’t have the general answer and or solution but I am going to state something I have observed from a few lives around me and something I have had to overcome.
Christianity is a relationship with our Father and like all other relationships, it requires time and effort. Like all other relationships, with time you also get to create memories and intimate knowledge of the person. Christianity that is practiced as a ritual or just a set of dos or don’ts without enjoying the love and fellowship with the Father is powerless and bound to breed the attitude of the elder brother of the prodigal son: I have served you faithfully and kept all your laws and commands and others are more blessed than I am. One thing is sure if you are into this relationship with God, you would have to grow. You would have to get deeper, become better and this is where I see a lot of people around me stuck. Not many people want to get deeper into the mysteries of God. They stay with the part of the Bible that is comfortable and don’t even want to prod deeper. That’s the kind of attitude that keeps people from knowing about and experiencing healing, praying in tongues, the gifts of the spirit, rapture, the end times, soul winning. Those are usually reserved for the scripture union Christians but God won’t allow you stay in a spot, you have to grow. You cannot be dealing with the same habits and issues you had years ago, you cannot be the same person. Growth is not optional when you walk with God.
Christianity is not magic. This is the second area I see people around me stuck. My first experience with healing and confession almost resulted into me denying my faith. I believed with all my heart and did everything I had been taught but didn’t get results at the time. My hopes were so dashed I wrote a poem in which the first line was “have you ever had to forgive God?” I know many people have similar experiences. You believed and didn’t get. You confessed and it didn’t work and your heart gets discouraged. You’ve been dealing with this habit for a long time and praying and asking for help. You’ve been praying and waiting and praying and waiting. You’ve been praying and asking what to do and the silence couldn’t be louder. Please don’t give up. I wish I could tell you outright all the answers to all these experiences but I can’t. I can however tell you that if you hang in there, take your frustrations to God, open up to Him and be open to His ways, you will become better and deeper for it. You would get to know Him better by yourself and rely on your own testimony and not someone else’s. You would get to know how to do things better. Never give up on your relationship with God, grow and I mean deliberately grow. Flourish in His love. Don’t be a mediocre Christian. If you are going to be a christian at all, be determined to get the best out of it.