Leadership as it Should Be

Leadership, yes leadership. What does it mean to be a leader? Does it mean to represent your tribe, clan or personal interests in higher authorities? Does it imply to just receive a huge salary and increase your pay any time you want without doing anything else? Does it merely mean to sit in committees and pass policies that favor you and the few people you care about? Or does it mean to get a job that will help you become rich quick without caring about your subjects? Well, is leadership all about personal gain?

The Kenyan Case

So many things stand out about the types of leaders that are present in the nation of Kenya. The correct meaning of leadership seems to have disappeared from the minds of the people of Kenya altogether and left them with only rumors to cling on. Just like majority of countries in the continent of Africa and the world, Kenya suffers a large leadership crisis and the need to explore leadership in depth and explain what it is and what it should not be is inevitable. There is an urgent demand that the citizens invest more in leadership development and capacity building among the growing population if a reserve of ethical and integrity guided leaders is to be maintained.

As at today, Kenya has experienced the longest ever strikes in the history of the nation. Just to have a recap, a doctor’s strike towards the end of 2016 that lasted close to 100 days, followed by a lecturers and university workers strike that paralyzed all public institutions of higher learning for 54 days. The university staff and lecturer’s strike only came to an end after promises to the workers unions that were never honored. The failure to honor the promises consequentially resulted in another strike of two weeks barely two months later. As at October 2017, a nurse’s strike had been ongoing for more than 120 days. No efforts to bring the nurses’’ to an end and address the complaints of the health workers had been adopted yet. The leadership of the nation remained mute as though the strike mattered not to them. Not so long before, primary and secondary school teachers had been on strike demanding a pay rise. While the economy got harder for the citizens each day and the tax rates escalated, the public servants’ salaries remained stagnant. The workers, therefore had to go to the roads and demand that their salaries grow at the same rate as the cost of living was rising. Issues of low pay and poor working environments for public servants seemed not to be an issue to the government in Kenya.

In every political rally, bragging of the few achievements made so far had become the order of the day and the fundamentals neglected. Many nations in the world have developed and grown so rich but have not stopped there. They still strived to be better and better every time. It’s a big shame that Singapore and Kenya had their independence in the same year but today Singapore cannot even be compared with Kenya. The two countries are just too far from each other. While Singapore brags of massive developments in many sectors of their economy, Kenyan leaders still have time to boast of things that are not even to be mentioned in public. In every rally done by the ruling party then, the Standard gauge railway (SGR) had always been mentioned as a major achievement. It is true that the SGR is a major achievement made out of a debt that the nation’s grandchildren and great grandchildren will have to pay. Well, but the same thing is still under about 60 percent control of foreigners. The citizens talk of the oil mines in Turkana which are currently 100 percent under foreign control. The control of resources in the country needs to be revived.

Public dept has become, in the recent years, the main funding for all projects in the country. It appears as though every development that is to be initiated should be out of borrowed money. In the recent years, Kenya’s debt has increased tremendously from just a few billions to about six trillion as at March 2018. That is the perception of leadership that exists in the mindset of Kenyans. That every development must be out of borrowed money. Leaders who cannot even consider an iota of economics in their spending decisions. The implication is that all that the citizens pay as tax goes into people’s pockets, and more so to them that sit in the parliament.

The levels of extra-judicial killings have been on the increase since 2010.  Even 55 years since independence Kenya has not yet developed a comprehensive way of investigating such killings and bringing to book the involved parties. With CCTV surveillance in all major cities and even towns, mysterious disappearance of prominent people still stands. Of what need is it to use taxpayer’s money to install devices that are not of any help to the nations interests and the wellbeing of the people? Well, does it always turn out naturally that after a prominent person has been “eliminated” that all CCTV footages disappear?

This is what Kenyans have defined as leadership. That while the citizens suffer and die of illnesses in the absence of healthcare, the leaders run to London and India for medical care? That while the sons and daughters of the soil rot in poor education systems, poor schools, dusty classrooms et cetera, the so called royal families take their kids to great international schools so that they receive quality education which they themselves have failed to deliver locally even with the citizens’ own money?

Kenya has gotten to a very critical point that even the way leaders are elected has been corrupted by the very same leaders. People keep crying and shouting everywhere of wanting free, fair and credible elections but are the same people putting too much pressure on the Independent electoral and boundaries commission and lecturing them publicly, and even at times forcing them to announce election results the way they want them and not give the true reflection of the people’s verdict. Of what essence is it to create an independent commission only to deny it the constitutionally defined independence? Of what importance is it to talk in the name of employing technology in election only to come and have it manipulated to favor a few people?

Kenyans keep mourning over corruption. On the streets and in front of the cameras but deep within the people is the devil of corruption itself. A dangerous beast clothed in a sheep’s’ skin! To be honest, all the so-called leaders in the nation have been spotted once or twice on the media talking of how evil and back wayward corruption is. But are they not the very same people involved in it? They are actually a perfect manifestation of a two in one person. The ethics and anticorruption commission, an independent body charged with the responsibility of standing against unethical actions, hate speeches and corruption cases has been turned to a committee that acquaints the people involved in these and clearing their names in the name of no evidence even when it is very clear. Is there need to keep doing investigations even when one is caught red handed? It surprises what exactly the ‘investigation’ is.

If going to London for medication, driving expensive cars, living in the posh estates in great mansions and getting a 6-figure or maybe a 7- figure salary is what is called leadership, then there is a necessity to clarify that Kenya does not have leaders. What the country has are misleaders – to call them who they really are. Leadership is to be defined by how much one sacrifices for the society and not what they reserve for themselves.

It pains to speak in public that even in a country termed to be eighty percent Christian, such social evils still thrive. And the probability stands so high that the very same people involved in these evils are the ones making the percentage so high. Have all Christians not been called to stand boldly against all forms of evil? Of course, yes. If so then why aren’t they doing so? Are they trying to run away from their responsibility? Have Christians not been set aside as a royal priesthood and a chosen generation called to proclaim Gods will among the nations and to them that do not know God so that they may be led to living a life pleasing to God and socially acceptable? Even if Christianity was removed from the equation, It is pretty sure that such ills would still be unacceptable in the society. It would still be necessary to have socially acceptable behavior.

What exactly is leadership?

Leadership is one field that has attracted a lot of studies and research aiming to understand the meanings that different people and societies attach to the term. It encompasses the skills and ability of an individual or organization to guide other individuals or organizations. literature reveals different points of view, differentiating the American and European viewpoints. Whereas the American viewpoint defines leadership as a process of social influence where a person can enlist the aid and support of others in the accomplishment of a common task, the European view paints the picture of a leader as someone who is moved not only by goals but also by the search for personal power. Leadership has been explained by different people on the basis of traits, interaction, function, behavior, power, vision, values and intelligence.

A simplified definition would be: leadership denotes the art of encouraging a team of people towards the achievement of a mutual goal. Therefore, it is of utmost vitality that the so-called leader should have the essential qualities and abilities to inspire the team, and more so be willing and ready to do so.  The leader stands not outside the process of achievement of the aims but should actually be part and parcel of the whole process.

Effective leadership is erected on the foundation of ideas, whether borrowed or original but never gets to be realized unless the ideas are communicated to the group in a manner that engages them sufficiently to act in the direction the leader wants them to. The effectivity of a leader is not on how strong and bold they can give dictations to the subjects but rather on how much they mind the wellbeing of their subjects. It is founded on democracy and not dictatorship. There is an urgent need always, that the leader seeks to involve the subjects in decision-making rather than imposing on them decisions which they must follow. An effective leader creates an inspiring vision of the future, offers incentives for people to be part of the vision, manages the delivery of the vision and coaches and builds the team to be more effective in achieving the goal.

Dwight Eisenhower defines leadership as getting someone else to do something because they want to do it. The definition therefore implies that the primary focus is not the demand of the leader to have the objective attained but instead the willingness of the subject to do it. The leader therefore has to see to it that they cultivate the willingness in the subjects so as to drive objectives towards achievement. It is amazing how much correct and ethical leadership stresses on the willingness of the subjects.

Adeoye Mayowa, a leadership manager in Nigeria on the other hand defines leadership as the ability to evaluate and forecast a long-term plan or policy and influence followers towards the achievement of the said strategy. The definition, besides explaining that a leader needs to motivate followers towards the attainment of the set goals, needs to be a long-term planner. The leader must at all times put into consideration the short and long-term consequences of any decision made if sustainable success is to be obtained. The leader should never be an ignorant and arrogant person.

A close examination of the definitions laid herein, it is overt that leadership is actually more about the subject rather than the leader. It is a process of motivating the followers and making them act in their will to attain the common goal. This is the clear and precise denotation of the term leadership.

Qualities of a good leader

Saurabh Gupta (2015) in the paper “The Strategies of Creating a Leader in an organization context in India” explains in depth the characteristics and traits that a leader must possess for effective leadership. Though the article highlights only the fundamental qualities, there are many other traits, all of which must be consistent with the ethical principles of the society. The Bible too exposes the subject of leadership in depth, outlining the essential traits that a leader must posess. The qualities include:

Honesty and integrity

Honesty is marked as being free from deceit or untruthfulness, being sincere. The leader is required first of all to be true to one’s self and in so doing to be an honest individual. Abraham Lincoln earned the tittle honest Abe because of the inherent honesty that was in him. It is of essence therefore that there be not even a single spot of lying in a leader.

The bible addresses honesty very seriously.  Sincerity is very important to any person for maintenance of relationships in all levels of interaction be it at one’s home, business or workplace. Paul in the book of 1 Corinthians 8:21 asserts, “For we are taking pains to do what is right, not only in the eyes of the Lord but also in the eyes of man.” Colossians 3:9 talks of lying and deceitfulness as being of the old nature which Christ has been taken off while Ephesians 4:25 talks of the person in pursuit of Godliness as being the one who puts off all falsehood and speaks the truth.

The integrity of the upright man guides them but the unfaithful are destroyed by their duplicity. (Proverbs 11:13) it is of utmost essence that a leader be a person of unquestionable integrity and honesty in all aspects. A leader has to believe in the truth and seek to walk in the path of truth always. It is only then that it becomes real to have effective leadership. When integrity and honesty are brought into the picture, lies including corruption, cease to be a challenge. Leaders who seek the truth lead their subjects to a path of development and unity

Confidence and boldness.

When a person is of confidence, things work logically. Confidence and a daring spirit has been known historically to drive organizations to places and levels where doubt and fear would never lead. With confidence, leaders are crowned as winners. Psalm 86:7 in the Message Bible says: “Every time I’m in trouble I call on you, confident that you’ll answer.” Psalm 53:6 in the Amplified Bible says: “What time I am afraid, I will have confidence in and put my trust and reliance in You.”

The word confidence appears not once in the bible. It is used in a myriad of context, referring to people, circumstances or even God. The bible encourages us to be confident, not in ourselves but in the strength and might of God. In Philippians 3:3, Paul the apostle admonishes the Christians at Philippi not to put their confidence in the flesh. Success is not based on a person’s heredity, skills or devotion. A successful leader is therefore the one who trusts in the power and enablement that comes from above. God respects not persons and therefore our resumes, and genealogies are not something to be grasped by him. Psalms 118: 8-9 articulates with clarity that, “it is better to trust in the Lord than to put confidence in man.” Leaders who put their trust in money, government stability and the people they work with will most assuredly be disappointed in the end.

Commitment and Passion

The subjects look up to the leader. The leader therefore needs to be a person passionate and committed to the achievement of the team’s goal. It is obvious that when the subjects see the leader doing the real things and getting their hands dirty, they will too shoot up the best they can offer just because the leader is doing it. There is need therefore that besides the commitment and the passion, the team leader should lead by showing an example. One of the definitions of leadership is to go ahead of the followers in performing.

Colossians 3:23-24 says, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men, knowing that from the Lord you will receive the inheritance as your reward. You are serving the Lord Christ.” Solomon says in Ecclesiastes 9:10 that, “Whatever your hand finds to do, do it with your might, for there is no work or thought or knowledge or wisdom in Sheol, to which you are going. The apostle Paul says in Colossians 3:23 that, “Whatever you do, work heartily, as for the Lord and not for men.”

Patience

A leader needs patience, not so that they may tolerate even the lazy individuals, but that they may lead with forbearance and forgiveness as Christ has set the example. Though often overlooked as a vital leadership quality, patience is vital than one may think. Though many people take patient leaders as weak leaders, anyone that believes in such misconceptions deserves not to lead if effective leadership is expected. Patient leaders understand that having a purpose—and sticking to it—is essential if you want meaningful change. Patient leaders are open to change and understand the value in being accessible. Tolerant leaders know that intolerance stunts growth, while tolerance powers it. Patient leaders are independent and straightforward, and in some cases even defiant. Being empathetic is a sign of maturity and confidence. David, having received the leadership anointing at a very tender age, still had to wait for years to claim his position, and in all that he was still patient (1 Samuel 5:4-5)

Advertisements

Why Study the Word of God?

A couple of weeks ago the thought of how I was not doing my best as far as consistency in bible study was concerned. This however was not the first time such a thought had crisscrossed my conscience and made me think so deeply about my lack of commitment (at times) in reading (studying and applying) the Word of God. It had happened to me many times in the past that I would set goals to read the bible from cover to cover and embark on it with much zeal only to lose the battle on the way.

I remember one-time starting off the journey with immeasurable enthusiasm. I wanted to do it, I wanted to get to know Gods greatness in the progression of time as I had always heard my pastor say. I had always recalled the way he would say about this God, and moreso, the savior – Jesus- that he is him that was from the beginning of time and still is even in the current times, and that he will still reign far past the end of time. I yearned to get an understanding of these and many other facts about this amazing God. The doctrine of the trinity, mores, fascinated and evoked my curiosity the more. I needed to get a grip of these, I had to read the bible. and so, I started the journey. It took me not long and the zeal was gone, the fascination was nowhere. It no longer was exciting as it initially was and so I stopped it. This happened to me severally.

And so, over the few past weeks, my mind was redirected. I found myself thinking in a different direction. Why should I read the Bible? As a young a Christian, of what essence is this so-called Word of God to me?

The bible wasn’t written that it may expand our knowledge. Rather, it was written that it might inspire us and lead us towards understanding of our creator’s great love, and the mystery of his immense grace and mercy. This, amongst other reasons should motivate all Christians to study the word of God.

Firstly, this Word is infallible. It comes with absolutely no error whatsoever.  Proverbs 30:5-6, “Every word of God is pure; He is a shield to those who put their trust in Him. Do not add to His words, Lest He rebuke you, and you be found a liar.” Clearly, therefore, the Word of God is the only perfect word ever spoken to humanity and thus, we should study it. Secondly, it is a complete word, given to us to fully guide our Christian walk. 2 Timothy 3:16 says, “All Scripture is inspired by God and is useful to teach us what is true and to make us realize what is wrong in our lives. It corrects us when we are wrong and teaches us to do what is right.” Therefore, I (we) must study it because it contains the full instructions for our living. It totally suffices our needs. Thirdly, the Word of God is sure, and will always accomplish its purpose. In Isaiah 55:11 it says, “So shall My word be that goes forth from My mouth; It shall not return to Me void, But it shall accomplish what I please, And it shall prosper in the thing for which I sent it.” This simply implies that this word carries in it the blessings of being Christian in the promises that God makes all through and then assures us that these will come to pass according to the will of God.

This understanding motivated me to be serious about studying the Bible because in there has he hidden the promise of eternity. It is in the lines of the bible that the promises of God and the assurance that He gives to His followers are found. I will study it with consistency.

 

 

The Power of God’s Word

…So is my word that goes out from my mouth: It will not return to me empty, but will accomplish what I desire and achieve the purpose for which I sent it.” (Isaiah 55:11 NIV)

No wonder the Scripture says, “Man does not live on bread alone but on every word that comes from the mouth of the Lord” (Deuteronomy 8:3, NIV).

God’s Word is powerful. Active. It accomplishes. Wherever it is sent, it prospers.

To fulfill God’s purposes, we need more than material things. We need to absorb God’s Word. As we do so, we learn more about the mind of God and open ourselves to receive revelations he wants us to know and enjoy.

Jesus says, “It is the Spirit who gives life; the flesh profits nothing. The words that I speak to you are spirit, and they are life” (John 6:63, NKJV).

By his Word we are renewed inwardly. His Word is like discovering the treasure of treasures. “For whoever finds me finds life, and obtains favor from the Lord” (Proverbs 8:35, NKJV).

This treasure is much better than the mirage reportedly pursued by the conquistador, Ponce de Leon, who searched for the fabled fountain of youth. Paul said, “Therefore we do not lose heart. Though outwardly we are wasting away, yet inwardly we are being renewed day by day” (2 Corinthians 4:16, NIV).

The Psalmist said, “For with you is the fountain of life; in your light we see light” (Psalm 36:9, NIV).

Only the Word of God can renew us. All other pursuits are in vain if they are being used to substitute the place the Word of God merits in our life.

Peter confirms this, saying, “We also have the prophetic message as something completely reliable, and you will do well to pay attention to it, as to a light shining in a dark place, until the day dawns and the morning star rises in your hearts” (2 Peter 1:19, NIV).

Job said that he treasured God’s Word more than his necessary food. David said God’s Word was more valuable to him than thousands of pieces of gold and silver. Jeremiah said when he found God’s Words, he ate them, and they became his heart’s delight! I think there is a message here for you and me to take to heart

SEX DOLLS: A CHRISTIAN VIEW

I first heard of this sex doll Samantha just few days ago and I won’t deny it that the whole idea of pleasure robots is taking our generation by storm. While some speak of embracing it, others are boldly against it, but in all this confusion, people are using them! Statistics have it that among them that are okay with it, a greater percentage are men, while the opposition has been dominated by the women. It surprises me that the division is not even on a point of Christian or non-Christian.

Today I happened to meet a post on some blog on this topic. It caught my eye: “Anyway, as a woman, when I first heard and researched about the sex robots, I felt threatened. I felt degraded as a woman but again, as much as we bile out and curse, it’s a done deal. The sex robots are here to stay. How about then we learn to embrace them as early as now. After all, there are two sides of every coin. Here are some reasons we should welcome Samantha” This just represents the view in many of us – those of us who want to employ intellectualism and relativism on a topic for which our view should be so absolute.

The reasons quoted by those who are for the idea represent a thinking that is myopic, naïve and out of fear – for lack of a better word to use. “No more co-wives and side-chicks, an option for the nights you don’t feel like, and a way to fulfil our private sexual fantasies like lesbianism and gaysm without people knowing it.” ‘Oh, workers of iniquity…,’ Jesus would call it.

To be real, God designed sex himself and to it He attached a purpose and gave the manual of how it should be done. He wasn’t silly when He prescribed that sex be done between a man and a woman.  Science has it that during coitus, human hormones produced aid in social bonding and leading to a sense of attachment to each other. It is this specific thing that leads to a better sense of companionship between two married individuals.  Well, the same happens with these toys, leading one to attachment to inanimate things – I call them things coz they indeed are!  I read of a British couple who owns about 200 sex dolls but still complains of not having enough of it. Why? Because no satisfaction can come from a fake thing. We always need the very original product that was meant specifically for that function and not a clone of it!

Secondly, a great proportion of the users are actually coward people who find it hard to approach the opposite gender and seek to build relationships. They instead resort to cheap alternatives. God did not give as a spirit of timidity or fear whatsoever, but He gave us one of courage and of sound mind. Why then should we be cowardice? Style up fellow men! A man who uses sex toys is a coward!

Sex dolls are not worthy at all! They are an abomination to God just like any other act of immorality. Paul in Galatians 5: 19-21 says “Now the works of the flesh are manifest, which are these; Adultery, fornication, uncleanness, lasciviousness, Idolatry, witchcraft, hatred, variance, emulations, wrath, strife, seditions, heresies, Envyings, murders, drunkenness, revellings, and such like: of the which I tell you before, as I have also told you in time past, that they which do such things shall not inherit the kingdom of God.” – The use of sex dolls is ungodly, and no one should embrace it whatsoever, lest you sin against your creator.SAMAN

FOCUS ON CHRIST

To focus is to direct one’s attention or concentrate on something. The word in itself brings a thought of a person struggling to keep his/her eyes fixed on something yet around him/her there are so many distractions seeking his/her attention as well.

The world around us is naturally attention grabbing. At all times it will seek to divert us from the sole attention of our lives as people called after the name of the Lord- the worship and love of God. And He replied to him, you shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind (intellect). This is the great (most important, principal) and first commandment. (Matthew 22:37-38) The bible tells us to lay aside every weight (distraction) and keep our eyes fixed on Jesus as we run our race. He is the author and perfecter of our faith (Hebrews 12:1-2) “He is the head of the body, the church; he is the beginning and the firstborn from among the dead, so that in everything he might have the supremacy” (Colossians 1:18). By rights, He should be our focus.

Hebrews 2 lists some of the things that Christ has done or is doing for us: He shared our humanity (verse 14), He breaks the power of the devil (verse 14), He frees us (verse 15)-You shall know the truth and the truth shall set you free (John 8:32) whom the son sets free is free indeed (vs 36), the power of the holy spirit that we have received through Christ sets us free from all sin and death (Rom 8:2) He is our “merciful and faithful high priest” (verse 17), He suffered for us (verse 18), and He helps those who are tempted in this world (verse 18). Because of all this, Hebrews 3:1, says, “Therefore, holy brothers and sisters, who share in the heavenly calling, fix your thoughts on Jesus, whom we acknowledge as our apostle and high priest.”  

In Mathew 14:25-30, Peter could only walk on water as long as he kept his eyes fixed on Jesus. When he looked aside and saw the waves and the wind and began to doubt, then he began to sink. Focus on Christ alone is enough to keep us going. We have to stop worrying about our needs and circumstances and fix our eyes on Him. Now all glory to Him who is able to do infinitely more than we can think or ask, according to the mighty power at work within us. (Ephesians 3:20)
What are some of the distractions that come our way?

 

  1. We’re human, and we tend to be very self-focused. It’s easy for us to get lost in our problems and ourselves to a point where we lose sight of God. When we become too focused on ourselves, we are no longer focusing on God. So much of our time even in prayer is spent on me, I and myself prayers such that we even forget to just sit at the feet of Jesus to listen to what God has to say over our lives. How many times have you taken time to just worship and give thanks to God? Jesus himself is a perfect example of considering others better than even ourselves. Even though he was God, he did not consider this as something to cling to. He instead accepted to give himself fully for me and you, even enduring suffering and a shameful criminal death on the cross so that we might receive salvation. And as a result, this he was exalted above all, and given the name above all names, that at the mention of that name every knee should bow in heaven and on earth, and every tongue confess that He indeed is Lord. (Philippians 2:4-11)
  1. Lust and love. We often find ourselves thinking of a crush before we think of God. We find ourselves lost in romantic fantasy or distracted by our partners. We can even get lost in our partner to where we no longer focus on our faith, and we only focus on the other person. Breakups can also be a huge distraction as we immerse ourselves in sadness. Christians are very marriage focused, and the desire to get married can also be a huge distraction from God and His purpose for our life.
  2. Television, movies, books…they all provide escape from our daily lives. There is nothing that says we cannot provide ourselves a little break from reality by being entertained, but when that entertainment gets in the way of our faith, it becomes a spiritual distraction. We need to cultivate a balance. Our affections should not be misplaced. Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him. (1 John 2:15)
  1. Material things. Every day, every week we wake up to new gadgets, new stuff. All we need to do is to draw a difference between what we want and what we need. No single day shall we fail to get updated stuff in the market but God has been there, he is there and will forever be there. He is eternal. The bible says that He is God yesterday, today and he will be God even tomorrow. For the love of money is a root of all sorts of evil, and some by longing for it have wandered away from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs. (1 Tim 6:10)                                                               
  1. Academics and work. We all need to go to school and many people need to work. They are an essential part of our lives, but we also need to be careful not to let them distract us from our faith. Now, faith does not give us an excuse to ditch school or not study. To avoid the distractions that school and work can cause, we must be better at managing our time. An out of control schedule is one thing we must save ourselves from. We have to, we must prune our activities. Redeeming the time, because the days are evil. (Eph 5:16)                                                                               
  2. Works of service. Even serving God can provide a spiritual distraction. Sure, we may be working for Him, but sometimes we lose sight of God in our struggle of being better and better servants every day.

How then do we maintain a focus on Christ?

True fellowship requires us to put to death all that is earthly (fornication, impurity, evil passions, covetousness- adultery) and bring to life the heavenly (compassion, kindness, lowliness, meekness and patience). Striving daily to die to self and be alive in the spirit can be really helpful. “Since, then, you have been raised with Christ, set your hearts on things above, where Christ is, seated at the right hand of God. Set your minds on things above, not on earthly things. For you died, and your life is now hidden with Christ in God. When Christ, who is your life, appears, then you also will appear with him in glory.” (col 3:1-4)

We can only be focused on Christ when our private lives are in order. Developing and constantly observing the basic spiritual disciplines of bible study, meditation on the word, daily quiet time, a never ceasing prayer cycle and a petrous hard faith can be of great help:

Here are some practical ways for a born-again believer to stay focused on Christ:

  1. Commit to reading the Bible. It is impossible for a believer to be consistently in the Word without having his attention drawn again and again to Christ: “The Scriptures point to me!” Jesus said (John 5:39, NLT) Then He said to them, this is what I told you while I was still with you: everything which is written concerning Me in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms must be fulfilled. Then He [thoroughly] opened up their minds to understand the Scriptures, and said to them, Thus it is written that the Christ (the Messiah) should suffer and on the third day rise from (among) the dead, (Luke 24:44) (Hebrews 10:7). To focus on the Word of God is to have the Son of God brought more into focus. Note that when Jesus was tempted by the devil who sought to divert His focus on God, he used the scripture to overcome him. So, reading and memorizing scripture is very key for our focus. We get more focused on God when we meditate upon the scriptures day and night (Joshua 1:8)
  2. Develop your prayer life. Prayer is a communication with our heavenly father. When we communicate to Him in prayer, we definitely focus on Him. If you want to know how to pray, read Jesus’ instructions to His disciples in Luke 11:1–13. As you speak to the Lord throughout your day, you will naturally be more focused on Him. Little things, big things—we can come to the Lord with any and all of our cares. The command is to “pray continually” (1 Thessalonians 5:17), to always be in an attitude and atmosphere of instant prayer.
  3. Trust the Lord as your only protector: “My eyes are ever on the LORD, for only he will release my feet from the snare” (Psalm 25:15). Once we understand the spiritual dangers we face every day, we will focus more on Christ, our one and only Savior, who alone has the power of deliverance.
  4. Recognize your constant need of the Lord as the source of all good things: “Behold, as the eyes of servants look to the hand of their master, as the eyes of a maidservant to the hand of her mistress, so our eyes look to the LORD our God, till he has mercy upon us” (Psalm 123:2, ESV). The world offers various means of obtaining love, joy, and peace, but they are destined to disappoint. The believer should understand that love, joy, and peace (and a many other fine gifts) are the direct result of his relationship with Christ (Galatians 5:22–23). As some put their trust in horses, chariots and their own might, we put ours in the Lord. (Psalms 20:7)
  5. See the world for what it is: a sin-filled place of desperate need. The darker the world is to us, the more clearly the light of Christ will stand out. It’s not hard to focus on a light in a darkened room. And we have the prophetic word [made] firmer still. You will do well to pay close attention to it as to a lamp shining in a dismal (squalid and dark) place, until the day breaks through [the gloom] and the Morning Star rises (comes into being) in your hearts. (2 Peter 1:19). Those who stay focused on Christ will find their perspective on worldly things changing…And the things of earth will grow strangely dim in the light of His glory and grace.”
  6. A daily quiet time with expectancy, reverence, alertness and willingness to obey. “O God, you are my God. I earnestly seek you.” (Ps 63:1) Mark 1:35- Early in the morning Jesus separates himself to a quiet place to have a focused time with His father. Acts 2:1-2 peter and John went to the temple to have a time in prayer. Don’t try to serve God with your leftover time. Have a time specifically set for Him.

OF WHAT BENEFIT IS THIS SALVATION?

Why should I get born again? Why should I receive Christ and give Him my life instead of I myself keeping it? You too might be wondering why everywhere you go evangelists are always persuading you to get born again.

There are many benefits to serving God. David lists some of them in Psalm 103:1-6. These are God’s paycheck with a bonus for being a blood washed, born-again child of God. Oh yea, the world and the Devil offer benefits as well, but the paycheck is woe, misery, sickness, depression, death, and, oh yes, don’t forget about the bonus — an eternal hell fire. Satan and the world will whine and claim that there is nothing to this, but God has given us a wonderful salvation for all to see and it is free of charge to anyone that is willing to come and humble themselves before a holy and righteous God.

 

The benefits of serving our wonderful God include, but are not limited to:

  1. He forgives all our iniquities. If we confess that we have sinned he is faithful enough to forgive us. (1 John 1:7-9) When our sins are forgiven, we are able to approach His throne of grace in our times of need and ask for help. When we are full of sin, this favor is denied. We know that God does not listen to sinners, but if anyone is a worshiper of God and does his will, God listens to him. (John 9:31). The LORD is far from the wicked, but he hears the prayer of the righteous. (Proverbs 15:29)
  2. He heals all our diseases and we enjoy good health. How can a child of the Most High suffer these common ailments? Never, for He will rescue you from every trap and protect you from the deadly disease. (Psalms 91:3) By the stripes of Jesus we are not only saved but we have access to divine healing. Nevertheless, I will bring health and healing to it; I will heal my people and will let them enjoy abundant peace and security. (Jeremiah 33:6).
  3. Our lives are redeemed from eternal destruction. Now every redeemed soul can sing with confidence, “O death, where is thy sting? O grave, where is thy victory?” (1 Corinthians 15:55). We are saved from the death and destruction that we deserved.
  4. He crowns us with loving kindness and tender mercies. God is love and we as His children get to enjoy the full measure of His love to the point that on the day of judgement we shall be confident to stand before Him. His perfect love that casts out fear. For we are not given a spirit of timidity, but of power, love and sound mind. (2 Timothy 1:7)
  5. He renews our youth like the eagles. But they that wait upon the Lord shall renew their strength; they shall mount up with wings as eagles; they shall run, and not be weary; and they shall walk, and not faint. (Isaiah 40:31)
  6. The LORD executes righteousness and judgment for all that are oppressed. When the enemy (Satan and the world) comes in like a flood God answers the cries and prayers of those that call upon Him because of the oppressor. He is too righteous and just to close His ears to their cry. When you become a child of God. He quiets the oppressor so that he is never heard of again.
  7. He satisfies us with good things. If ye then, being evil, know how to give good gifts unto your children, how much more shall your Father which is in heaven give good things to them that ask him? (Matthew 7:11). Be it financial provision, be it peace of mind, He is able to do exceedingly, abundantly above all we can think of or imagine. (Ephesians 3:20)

What are you waiting for? Receive Christ today as your savior and begin a journey of personal faith in Him. For sure you will never be disappointed.

Say this prayer and believe if you wanna be born again:

Heavenly God, with understanding I confess that I have not lived to the mark. I have been lost in sin and worldly ways. Today I pray that you may forgive my sins. Search me Lord, and see my anxious thoughts, lead me to your way everlasting. Thank you for giving your son to die for me and my sins. I give myself to you. Take me and reside in me. In Jesus’ Name. Amen

HOW CAN WE RECEIVE SALVATION?

Mankind, as recorded in the Bible, is born in a state of sin because of the original sin of Adam and Eve. We are therefore not just sinners because we sin but instead, we sin because we are sinners by nature. While we may have the freedom to choose our course of conduct, we still lack the freedom to fully avoid sin. Sin is inherent in each choice we make. It is only God’s choice to extend His grace to us that salvation is possible.

John 3:16 -17: “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believes in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life. For God did not send His Son into the world to condemn the world; but that the world through Him might be saved. “Then as one man’s trespass led to the condemnation of all men, so one man’s (Jesus) act of righteousness leads to acquittal and life for all men. For as by one man’s disobedience many were made sinners, so by one man’s obedience many will be made righteous.” (Romans 5:18-19)

Salvation comes first by us confessing that indeed Christ died as a sacrifice for our sins and that He rose again from the dead and is now alive seated at the right Hand of the Father. If you confess with your mouth that Jesus is Lord and believe in your heart that God raised him from the dead, you will be saved. For with the heart one believes and is justified, and with the mouth, one confesses and is saved. (Romans 10:9-10). When we confess Jesus Christ as Lord, we place ourselves at the foot of the cross in absolute surrender to God who, through the Lord Jesus Christ, has made it possible for sinful man to be reconciled to a holy and righteous God.

Secondly, we have to believe and prove our faith by total submission to God. We should surrender our wills to the Lord Jesus Christ and trust in Him as the only hope of our salvation. By grace, we are saved through faith. (Ephesians 2:8)

Grace gives us the justification, but faith gives us acceptance before God. And without faith, it is impossible to please God, because anyone who comes to him must believe that he exists and that he rewards those who earnestly seek him. (Hebrews 11:6) the bile puts it so clear that when Abraham believed, his faith was credited to him as righteousness.

Salvation, however free it is, comes with strings attached. After you are born again, your old lifestyle has to go with all its sinful behaviors and tendencies. “You then take up a new Christlike self. Therefore, if anyone is in Christ, the new creation has come: The old has gone, the new is here! All this is from God, who reconciled us to himself through Christ and gave us the ministry of reconciliation:  that God was reconciling the world to himself in Christ, not counting people’s sins against them. And he has committed to us the message of reconciliation. We are therefore Christ’s ambassadors, as though God were making his appeal through us.” (2 Corinthians 5:17-20)

WHY DO WE NEED SALVATION?

In the beginning God created the heavens and the earth. He also created man in his own image and likeness. (Gen 1:26-30) He then gave man dominion over all His creation and allowed him to eat from all the trees in the garden except only one tree-the tree of knowledge of good and evil. (Gen 2:16) Then, man enjoyed unlimited fellowship with God. The Lord God would visit Adam and Eve in the garden just to see how they were faring on. (Gen 3:8)

Then comes the serpent who deceives Eve to eat the fruit from the tree that the Lord had forbidden. Instead of remembering the lord’s instruction and refusing to be deceived, Eve gave in to the deception and ate the fruit. She even gave some to her husband who eats as well. All of a sudden, they discover that they were naked. And so, sin came into the world as a result of Adam and Eve failing to meet the standard that God had set for them. They missed the mark! (Sin means to miss a mark.)

Now man is kicked out of the garden of Eden where he used to enjoy Gods presence. As a result of sin, man and God are separated.  With the following generations, man grew to be more evil to the extent that God decided to wipe the whole human population with a flood. (Gen 7)

Later on, man tries getting back to God through Human interventions. They offer animal sacrifices for the atonement of sins but it just couldn’t work. Animal blood could only last a short time and they therefore had to offer such sacrifices periodically for them to receive forgiveness of sin from God and for peace (Lev 7:1-3, 11-13). Offering animal blood was like sacrificing that animal’s life for them to receive forgiveness of sin. Blood represents life. (Lev 17:14) Only Jesus’ blood was able to grant eternal forgiveness.

No one is righteous. “Therefore, just as sin entered the world through one man and death through sin, and in this way death came to all men, because all sinned.” (Romans 5:12) “For all have sinned and come short of the glory of God.” (Romans 3:23) “There is none righteous, not even one.” (Romans 3:10).

Even our best deeds are tainted before Him. So, there is no way we can attain salvation, forgiveness of sin and reunion with God by our own deeds. Many people try to earn a place in heaven by performing good deeds such as attending church, giving money to the poor, being a good person, or by getting baptized or christened. The truth is many good and generous people will live in hell, being eternally separated from God because the penalty for their sin must be paid. It is impossible to earn entrance into heaven or to earn salvation. In Matthew 7:22-23, Jesus said, “Many will say to me on that day, Lord, Lord, have we not prophesied in thy name? And in thy name cast out devils? And in thy name done many wonderful works? And then I will profess to them, I never knew you: depart from me, ye that work iniquity.”

Because of our sin, we all deserve death. The bible states, “The wages of sin is death.” (Romans 6:23). While the physical consequence of sin is physical death, that is not the only kind of death that results from sin. All sin is ultimately committed against an eternal and infinite God (Psalm 51:4). Because of that, the just penalty for our sin is also eternal and infinite. What we need to be saved from is eternal destruction (Matthew 25:46, Revelations,20:15)

New Life at Work

“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me.” (Galatians 2:20, NIV)

“In the same way, count yourselves dead to sin but alive to God in Christ Jesus.” (Romans 6:11, NIV)

Christ can live and continue his ministry through us while we are still in this world. These two verses encapsulate these “secrets” of the kingdom to us. If we grasp these truths, in faith, our lives will be in for radical change. We can become “overcomers,” no longer helpless victims enslaved to sin.

We must be crucified with Christ, counting ourselves dead to sin. Yes, sin lurks inside of us, always trying to reassert itself. But the good news is we no longer have to surrender to its control. The following verses verify this spiritual truth:

  • “Therefore, brothers and sisters, we have an obligation—but it is not to the flesh, to live according to it.” (Romans 8:12, NIV)
  • “For we know that our old self was crucified with him so that the body ruled by sin might be done away with, that we should no longer be slaves to sin.” (Romans 6:6, NIV)
  • “For if you live according to the flesh, you will die; but if by the Spirit you put to death the misdeeds of the body, you will live.” (Romans 8:13, NIV)
  • “So I say, walk by the Spirit, and you will not gratify the desires of the flesh.” (Galatians 5:16, NIV)

Can we accept this truth in faith, believing it is true? We must do so if we are to experience the new life in Christ. As far as Paul was concerned, the old Paul was dead. He no longer lived, but Christ lived in him by faith! We are to have the same belief and faith.

These are verses for us to meditate on and memorize. Practice saying the following to yourself:

  1. I am crucified with Christ. The old________ (your name) is dead.
  2. Christ lives in me! He has taken up residence in my heart, and He is now in control.
  3. The life I live now in my body is by faith in Christ.

When we mess up from time to time, we then confess, for “if we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.” (1 John 1:9, ESV)

CALL TO SEXUAL PURITY

On this Sunday evening, I was just relaxing in my room after church thinking of how I would spend my week. The sermon on that day about sexual purity was just dope, and I couldn’t wait to start putting it to practice soonest possible.

I had erred on several occasions as pertains to the topic and therefore the session was just an eye-opening experience for me.

Sexual purity is not just about being able to withhold that urge to have sex till one is married. It involves mental and emotional purity as well.” This sentence kept ringing in my mind.  It made me think of the many ways I had failed to please God in the area of sexual purity. For sure I have never had sex with any woman whatsoever but my thoughts and emotions concerning this are among the few things I cannot dare scatter in public. They are just very immoral, for lack of a softer word to use.

Pornography, masturbation and premarital sex are among the things that are taking the current generation by storm. So many youths are falling into this, so many are being deceived, so many young girls are losing their futures, so many children are being born in questionable circumstances, so many children are being raised up by single parents yet some are being raised even by elderly grandparents. And as if this is not enough, so many youth and even elderly people are failing to please the Lord and are falling into this trap of immorality. We have given the evil one a loophole into our lives, we are allowing him to destroy our generations and separate us from our Savior. Families are breaking up and so many parents displeasing God because they haven’t understood what God wants-sexual purity. God himself created sex and scheduled it for a specific time in one’s life. Sex is meant for marriage!

One blogger once wrote on her blog,” I am addressing an issue of great importance. I believe that we have abandoned biblical standards of sexual behavior, to our great harm and detriment. Our Christian mind has been invaded by the moral degradation of the world around us that we have become indoctrinated with pop culture rather than indoctrinated with God’s truth.”

Just because every other person is doing sin that doesn’t justify you to engage in the same; just because everyone around you has tasted that which God designed for marriage even before its time, this doesn’t mean you too should try it out. It is not fun at all to sin. It displeases Him. Peer pressure should never drive you. Be different. Do not blend, stand out instead. God isn’t looking for a crowd, he just needs that one person who will love him and keep his commands. He wants you to keep yourself holy for his use.

The Bible in Romans 12:1-2 states it very clearly, “I appeal to you therefore brethren, by the mercies of God to present your bodies as a living sacrifice holy and acceptable to God. Do not copy the behavior and customs of this world but let God transform you into a new person by changing the way you think. Then you will learn to know God’s will for you which is good, pleasing and perfect.” (NLT)

Just the other day I met this young man who happened to share with me his sexual life history. He wasn’t actually seeking advice from me but was instead trying to make me see how man enough he was. Well, he confidently and shamelessly told me that he had had sex with nine ladies…and the list was still growing longer maybe. He actually could mention the names of each and even remember the dates as if this was something very prestigious that everyone should know. Since when has manhood been measured by how many ladies we sleep with? Is this not just a consequence of some of our back-wayward cultures and beliefs that we must disconnect from so as to please God? I know it clearly that real men don’t take ladies to bed, they instead take them to Christ.

Well, is sexual purity just for the chosen few? Is it for priests or pastors? Obviously, no. It is for us all since we are all God’s creation created to represent Him both in our thoughts, speech and actions.

Do you not know that your body is a temple of the Holy spirit within you which you have from God? You are not your own. You were bought for a price so glorify God in your body. (1 Corinthians 6:12-20). All other sins are committed outside the body but sexual sins are committed against the body itself which is the dwelling place of the Holy spirit of God. So, whenever we commit sexual sin we too drag the Holy spirit through that ordeal and this degrades Gods spirit within us.

 

Deterioration of moral standard in our societies has been speeded up by:

  1. Sexual revolutions have come to be accepted as normal whereby sex is not attached to any responsibilities whatsoever. These revolutions were too against biblical laws regarding sex. A Christian ought not to subscribe to these. Sex biblically binds too people permanently as husband and wife in the spiritual realm. That’s why the bible in 1 Corinthians 6:15 states that he who unites himself are one and the same thing. We should not be united with anyone before Gods appointed time.

I have been trying to imagine; if sex binds two people together permanently and here with me is one young man barely 19 years old who has already had sex with nine ladies or maybe a 17-year-old girl who has already engaged in the act with 5 men, how do these two look in the spiritual realm? Aren’t they shapeless? Or maybe they are just in a chain reaction. While they are physically single, they are already polygamous in the spiritual world!

  1. The media carries this message blatantly and subtly. Sexually arousing media are everywhere all the way from the news presenters on TV to the websites we visit. The movies we watch and the music we listen to all suggest sexual immorality. We have to avoid any sexually suggestive media by all means for it is out of the abundance of the heart that the mouth speaks. What we feed ourselves with is what expresses exteriorly. (Matthew 12:34). Isaiah 5:20 says, “woe to those who call evil good and good evil; who put darkness for light and light for darkness…”
  2. The death of shame. People in current world just don’t have any sense of shame at all. We have to be different. We are sons and daughters of the light and the light in us should shine to the whole world. To raise a child without shame is like to raise one with no immune system against evil.

 

What does the bible say concerning sex and sexual purity?

The seventh commandment states that thou shall not commit adultery. Any sex outside marriage is a sin. The Bible does not approve of this.

Sexual immorality in the bible refers to premarital sex(fornication), sex outside marriage(adultery) and all the other sexual misbehaviors as described in Leviticus 18 – sex with a relative, gaysm, lesbianism, homosexuality.

It also includes obscenity on movies and on TV and even foolish talks and silly jokes about sex. These should never be mentioned about the people of God-the chosen generation and royal priesthood of the Most High.

“Let there be no sexual immorality or impurity or greed among you. Such sins have no place among God’s people.”                                                                                  – Ephesians 5:3

 

Benefits of living sexually pure are:

As Christians and even every other person, we all believe in existence of a supreme being-God, be it the Hindus, Muslim or even all other religions. The supreme beings here will always have conditions which we must obey so as to be in line with them.

God loves us all and expects us to love Him back. But then we cannot love God when we do not obey His commands. Sexually purity stands as one of the areas we have to please God in.

Apart from pleasing God and fueling our relationship with Him, sexual purity will protect you from diseases, it will prevent you from being overcome by the guilt and shame that follows sexual sin. Gives you credibility both now and in future- we’ll all want to have daughters and sons who are morally upright and not that loose girl or gent. Keeping ourselves pure now will make our advice to them credible when that time comes.

Consequences of sexual immorality are:

  1. You can never imagine this: sexual immorality makes you lose the glory of God in you. Tamar after being raped by her brother lost her glory. She mourned and tore apart her precious clothes. She was no longer of worth.
  2. As if this is not enough, our fellowship with God is too obstructed. The freedom from guilt and our holiness before God usually present us with some confidence before Him. Whenever this purity is lost, guilt comes in and we find it hard to fellowship with God again. After Adam and Eve had sinned they were chased from God’s presence-the garden of Eden.
  3. It also brings us bad memories and regrets which may not go even after we have repented and have been forgiven by God. By this, premarital sex always has a bearing on problems that occur during marriage. Why destroy your future happy marriage that God has prepared for you by tasting a fruit that isn’t mature yet? Unripe mangoes are bitter, you too can testify this. Be patient.

What then for you who has fallen to this already?

Our God is a God who gives a second chance to all of us as long as we get back to him with a broken heart. He promises us in 1 John 1:9 that if we confess our sins before Him then He is faithful and will forgive us but if we say we have not sinned we make Him a liar and therefore the Holy Spirit is not in us. This means that if we feel the regret about what we might have done and seek His forgiveness then He hears and will forgive us. If we become arrogant then he has no business with us.

You can put God’s principles to effect in your life wherever you are just today wherever you are. You can start over again and live a sexually pure life if you want to:

  • If you are in that illicit relationship, don’t think twice, don’t seek advice, just break it today.
  • If your relationship is heading in that direction just end it today.
  • If you aren’t in a relationship and want to have one someday than set for yourself high standards of conducting yourself and write then down.
  • Keep off all those sexually arousing movies you have been watching and the music you have been listening to.
  • Stop that TV channel that doesn’t honour God.
  • Avoid all joking and coarse talks about sex.
  • Stop those sex-chats you have engaged in and in fact delete the messages plus the contacts altogether.
  • Keep off all bad company-in this case all people who do not subscribe to biblical principles and who do not have high standards as yours.
  • Make a covenant with God to start where you are and walk by His principles. Pray daily so that God gives you strength to do this. It is not impossible, it is in fact the doorway to freedom, joy and happy life.

 

 

 

©Kavulavu Brighton 2017