Many Christians across the globe especially in the Charismatic and Pentecostal Churches gather at the end of every year for a message from their leader, which is supposedly a ‘message from God’ (although some really don’t believe in such gatherings). They gather together for a message that God wants to give about the coming New Year concerning them, their families, business and their country. These gatherings also have a New Year theme such as – the year of abundance, the year of acceleration, or the year of multiple blessings et al.
The cross-over service as it’s fondly called attracts almost all and sundry – people who haven’t been to church through the year find that time of the year very attractive because days like that are best celebrated in the Church. To the ones who haven’t been faithful in their relationship with God, it becomes a very good day to call a truce with their maker. To the faithful ones, God must surely have a word, a prophecy in particular for them and all they represent.
The leaders are not left out of this sensation because they are supposed to accept delivery of what “they say” God is about to do in the coming new year which is just some days, hours and minutes as they count down. Most of these leaders also want to be endorsed as the “man of the hour” having a corner on God and therefore would give prophecies, not about the congregation but about the government – presidents, governors and many more government officials knowing some of these prophecies will be reported by major tabloids, radio and TV stations. As you may know, when there is a negative prophecy (a not too good message), the said person who the prophecy was given to, would by one way or the other make contact with the “man-of-god”.
There has been more confusion in the church as regards these words and prophecies that when you compare what most leaders have said – one would eventually see a picture of a “god” who has or is giving various messages to different leaders. It’s like a father who has ten children and gives them ten different messages thus causing confusion. People from different churches will then start to say, “In our Church, it is the year of blessings”, and some will say, “It is a year of acceleration” and many more of such.
Is this the way the God of the Bible is? I beg to differ, surely God is not confused.
Usually this is the way it goes – the leaders tell the congregation to embark on a fast as a way of keeping the body and mind clean and away from sin because they are expecting some sort of blessings from God.
If I were asked to give a New Year’s message, this is what I will say: This is the will of God for any Christian not just on New Year’s Eve, but daily as we tread around in the checked pavement of our mortal existence. The Apostle advised that we should see our walk with God using the relationship between the servant and the master. The reason for being a servant is to always carryout the intentions of the master. Jesus said his purpose was to do what he has been sent to do.
In the same manner, the Apostle advised that we present our bodies holy and acceptable to God. This can be achieved by the renewing of our mind so that there is a transformation from the way we used to think into how God wants us to think, going forward.
To put this differently, we are advised not to become well-adjusted to our culture that we fit into it without even thinking. Instead we are supposed to fix our attention on the Word of God, recognizing what He wants from us and thereby causing a change from the inside out. Unlike the world and culture we exist in – always dragging us down to its level of immaturity, God brings out the best in us through the understanding of His Word, leading us to maturity.
It all starts with the understanding of the Word of God.
TO THE CHURCH, the Apostle advised that we should not think of ourselves more highly than we ought to because everyone in the body has been given a gift in measure, making everyone special and important before God. The understanding of the Word of God, delivers to each individual their part and meaning in the body. We therefore cannot think of our gifting as better than others with their different gifting’s. He compared the Church (or Body of Christ) to the body of a human being with different parts. Every part is very important to the body, be it the toe or the kidney. Imagine the toe is cut off the body; it amounts to nothing on its own. Every part has its peculiar role to play, knowing that each part gets it’s meaning from the body as a whole and not the other way round.
We are directed to go ahead and be what we were made to be, without enviously or pridefully comparing ourselves with each other or trying to be something we are not. If you preach, just preach God’s message and nothing else; if you help, just help and don’t take over; if you teach, just teach and stick to your teaching; if you encourage others, don’t get bossy about it; if you are put in charge, do not manipulate; if you are called to give aid to people in distress, keep your eyes open and be quick to respond without dissimulation and self-seeking; if you work with the disadvantaged, don’t get irritated with them or depressed by them, always keep a smile on your face. You are to love your fellow neighbor from the center of who you are as if your life depends on it.
We are also directed not to burnout and be alert servants of the master; we are encouraged not to quit in hard times (rejoicing in hope and patient in tribulation); we are commanded to bless our enemies and not curse; laugh with friends and when time of tears come, we are commanded to share in them; we are also advised to get along with each other and not insist on getting even; God is the judge of all. When we see our enemies hungry, we should feed them or give them water to drink when they are thirsty.
CONCERNING THE STATE, our rulers are not terrors when we do well but they are when we disobey. We are told to be good citizens knowing that all government are emissaries of God because they are supposed to maintain law and order. The man that commits an offence is seen as irresponsible to the state and indirectly irresponsible to God and God holds us responsible. Duly constituted authorities are only a threat if we are trying to get by with something; civilized citizens should have nothing to fear because when you are responsible, the state will always be fair to you. You should not live to avoid punishment but because it is the right way to live.
We are also advised to pay our taxes so that an orderly way of life can be maintained; fulfilling our obligations as a citizen – paying our bills and giving respect to our leaders. Make sure that you don’t get so absorbed and exhausted in taking care of all your day-by-day obligations that you lose track of the time and doze off, oblivious to God.
With these virtues operational and growing in your life, no grass will grow under your feet, no day will pass without its reward as you mature in your experience of our Master Jesus. Without these qualities you can’t see what’s right before you, oblivious that your old sinful life has been wiped off the books.
Welcome to 2015.