READING: Genesis 12: 17; 1 Corinthians 16:9; 2 Thessalonians 3:1-2.
“For a great door and effectual is opened unto me, and there are many adversaries” – 1 Corinthians 16:9.
“Finally brethren pray for us, that the word of the Lord may have free course, and be glorified, even as it is with you.
“And that we may be delivered from unreasonable and wicked men: for all men have not faith” –
2 Thessalonians 3:1-2.
In continuation of our Conversation on The Journey, we will be taking a look at some of the challenges that actually confront BELIEVERS as they journey along. We will also survey the kits God has made available for us to overcome these challenges.
Indeed, if, perhaps Abraham knew that he needed holiness and sexual purity to please God, he would have behaved differently on the issue of Ishmael and the mother Hagar. Yes, that was why God left him alone for 13 years. And when He eventually reappeared unto him, He gave him a simple charge: walk before me and be thou perfect Genesis 17:1.
God demanded holiness from Abraham. Jesus and Apostle Paul also taught this concept to us as believers. You cannot journey with God bearing holy vessels in carnal earthen ware. God is holy and demands holiness from His servants. Matthew 5 13-16. Titus 2:11-13.
In the passages quoted above, it was clear that Apostle Paul was faced with some challenges, even though he was involved in missionary work. One would have thought that a man of Paul’s stature and who was doing that level of work for God, would have it easy as he journeyed. But that wasn’t the case. He was restrained from visiting some mission fields by evil and wicked men. He was humiliated by unreasonable and dangerous people in the course of his missionary journey. He was unlawfully imprisoned and beaten up – notwithstanding that he was the most outstanding of the apostles. He wasn’t on a different kind of Journey. Indeed, Paul was still engaged in a journey of fulfilling mandate and eternal destiny. No wonder he was bold to declare in 2 Timothy 4:7 that he had fought a good fight, with a strong finishing, having kept the faith also.
When you don’t get to the finish line with your faith intact, it will be difficult to make that kind of declaration Paul made. Paul finished strong. Consider his legacies and the impact that he made in the lives of Timothy and Titus who also became ministers after him.
Today, many believers are worried at the various things they are passing through, especially as they are sincerely involved in kingdom business.
How do you explain the case of a Minister of right standing with God having to grapple with infertility for years in marriage? How do you explain the senseless and brutal killings of BELIEVERS around us by those opposed to the gospel? Or what do you make of lack of breakthrough in life and ministry by some of those who are genuinely involved in the work of Ministry?
These questions are many and varied, but they all boil down to the fact that we are all in a journey. And in the journey of life, anything can happen as we have seen it in the life of Apostle Paul, Father Abraham and, of course our LORD Jesus Christ, who was abused, derided and killed by those He came to save. As the saying goes, nothing is new really under the sun! So brace up as a child of God as we journey along– no matter the challenges.
What should the Believer do in the face of these CHALLENGES?
When a man is prepared for the work he is called to do, he makes an IMPACT. In Job 1, the Bible gave an account of Job, who though, was an upright man, lost all that he had to death and destruction. What happened to Job clearly teaches us that some distractions or challenges we encounter in the course of our journey may not be a product of sin. Indeed, God testified of Job that he was an upright man, who eschewed evil. in 1: 1-3.
As BELIEVERS, we must not be downcast or be deceived to believe that the challenges we are facing or passing through in our Journey are due to sin. Nevertheless, we must ensure that we are in right standing with God as Job did. Job was fully prepared for the journey of life. That was why he was determined to follow God “though He slays me”.
The preparation for the journey is not just to be born again, but to also know Him. Many of us who claim to be born again do not really know the God we believe in. Paul said in Philippians 3:10, that I may know Him and the Power of His resurrection and the fellowship of His suffering, being made conformable unto His death. You must know God first hand through, by revelation, understanding of Him who has called you to preach Him to the perishing world. You must know Him through the Rhema of His word as revealed in the Scriptures.
The light of the word shined through the Scriptures, hence lightens the darkness impending our vision of God the Father. God is light and in Him is no darkness at all. Preparation brings us to the place of full resignation to the total will of God. This is especially so if we know that God owns us as He owns the earth and all its fullness. In Jeremiah 1, God told Jeremiah that He knew Him from the womb, from where He ordained him as priest to the people. You cannot undertake the Journey of life without divine partnership with the owner of the Journey and it’s attendant Life. So, part of the preparation of our journey is to go into partnership with God in prayers, in study of the Word and in thanksgiving and worship with a lifestyle that is consistent and pleasing unto the Lord.
The Bible challenges us to study to show ourselves approved of God. It’s only a prepared man that rightly divides the word of truth. It’s only a prepared believer that would affirm as Peter did in Acts 6:4 that we will give ourselves to PRAYER and to the ministry of the WORD. The point must be made that unprepared journey makers are distracted by greed and covetousness like Gehazi and Judas. They are rebellious like Korah and his gang. They love the profit of idolatry like Balam. Preparation brings a manner to the altar of complete surrender where vanity and self – centeredness are nailed to the cross. You cannot encounter the Jesus of Calvary and remain glued to your old nature.
The Bible says– if a man is in Christ Jesus, he is a new creature, and old things are passed away. If the Jesus of Calvary cannot transform a man who is prepared for w journey with Him, then He would have died in vain. May I ask you my dear reader: How prepared are you for the Journey,? Happy Sunday.( To be continued).
Pastor Okoro can be reached on 08051000462 and or email@example.com.