First of all, introduction! I am a Christian. I consider myself an educated Christian, and this classification is only for the fact that there are a horde of uneducated Christians out there. Educated in my opinion doesn’t mean I know it all, but I have knowledge, and practice the principles, in the process, i have gotten some result hence I strive to know more that I might walk in the full strength of what I believe. Now why is that introduction necessary? It is only because of the unnecessarily high emotional value people place on religion. Many have 1% knowledge of the system of God but 99% emotional knowledge and experience of God. But interestingly it seems we have embraced a form of Godliness but deny the power thereof.
A walk with God is clearly a journey of faith, it is a walk that has its roots defined in work ethic. Paul the apostle clearly posited that faith is revealed via works. Everyone must produce works but by your works, it will be made clear whether you are operating in faith or doubt. Doubt is the opposite of faith and doubt has its own works too. What works are we as a church in Nigeria engaged in? Understanding that the church isn’t the building nor the denomination; it is the people individually, and the people collectively. We have a duty as kingdom agents to show the real works of the kingdom of God. But what are we involved in? Many have said and rightly so, that if the church in Nigeria gets it right, Nigeria will get it right. I believe they weren’t talking about the population in the church going out to vote but the power of the church in birthing their God-given agenda. The bible clearly defines our place in the administration of love, peace, grace and civic duties in our communities. We have a spiritual essence but also a physical expression which must not be ignored. But evidently, the church has shied away from fulfilling their earthly responsibilities; rather they have run into the cocoon of ‘prayers’ and ‘spiritual gymnastics’, exhibiting a high level of laziness and irresponsibility towards our duties.
It seems to me that there are loads of people in church halls and gatherings who are there only because they have refused to face the challenge of their life’s work. We have refused to win our personal battles hence we do the simple next thing – ‘pray’! Out there on the streets is where the true church needs to be seen. We have a responsibility to work towards the destiny we have prayed to God for; it is the same laziness that makes people crowd out ‘prayer houses’ at 10am on a Tuesday or Thursday when they should be on the streets exchanging value for money. In case you do not know, the subliminal message this action sends, is that you can circumvent work but pray enough to secure the financial blessings of God. Isn’t it this gross laziness and ignorance the reason why charlatans, cheats and dupes in the name of men of god end up being the father in the lord to millions of Nigerian Christians? isn’t this gross laziness and ignorance the real reason why many have made 419ners into the super stars of present day Christianity? There is no doubt that this gross foolishness finds its way into every other activity of our daily life, thereby creating confusion and chaos instead of the peace of God that passes all human understanding.
There is so much that is downside up. Such as:
- God of men who tell you who to marry
- God of men who tell the wife when to attend church and she shows up five times a week without permission from her husband
- God of men who tell wives when to sleep with their husbands
- Husbands who are “inspired” or cajoled to ‘sow’ the children’s school fees and leave the kids at the mercy of their mother going out to borrow money
- God of men who tell you what to say, think or do; you don’t have a mind of your own any more
There is no confusion as to why we find ourselves in this terrible state today as people, families, communities and nation. The church which is meant to be the most potent force for love, justice, morality, rule of law, entrepreneurship, prosperity, etc has become less than a shadow of itself, this is a conversation I have had with loads of people – the church and the Nigerian leadership question. Imagine a church that is going to pray when they should be out on the streets sensitizing, mobilizing and campaigning? Imagine thousands gathering to pray for the nation yet expect God to come down, print posters, join parties, elect leaders and turn the nation around? See loads of highly educated Christians who run away from politics like it wasn’t God who invented it in the first place? Like I told a friend, the demons who have held this country to ransom use men, God uses men too. If they can kill people and bury human heads, then go out to hire thugs and print flyers, with loads of TV and radio adverts, how dare we think that just our prayers will work? I see the race to ‘pray’ when we should be doing otherwise as a strong case of spiritual and intellectual laziness; we know what to do but are scared and lazy; ‘prayer’ is just an escape route. It seems to be the easier option. Jesus could have kept praying, but he knew there was a time to pray and a time to face the cross. I am not surprised at the millions praying anyway, because if you can be praying to God for money instead of working your socks out to bring the answers to your prayers, then why wont you keep on praying instead of going out to vote?
Regarding wealth, there is a time to pray for it, next is to work for it. Because in the bible and as we pray, God has outlined instructions to take. Until the righteous do what needs to be done, no amount of prayer will change anything in their lives or in this nation. The religious mind shudders at the mention of prayers, and exalts the word above the experience. For those who do not think so, praying CAN be out of place. When you are supposed to be working and you are praying, praying is out of place. When you are supposed to be praying and you are working, working is out of place. Faith without work is useless. God clearly has told us what to do, if we don’t do it, no change will happen. “Give to Caesar what is Caesar’s and to God what is God’s”. I make bold to say with that God has already answered the prayers of Nigerians and he has been waiting for his chosen ones to do their part; but His people keep gathering and God keeps watching. The bible clearly states that by our works, we prove our faith. God also says “I wish above all things that thou mayest prosper even as thine soul prospers”. Even God is wishing. He can’t force prosperity, he can’t force democracy, God can’t force change in Nigeria. Until our soul prospers via knowledge, wisdom and the right actions to engage, we will keep engaging in actions of fear, doubt and laziness. We get up and make miracles happen in the physical because they have already happened in the spiritual; when we pray, it is the will of God we pray and after we pray, and actions in faith produce the results.
I once heard someone say “Nigeria is praying, Japan is working – see the difference”; this statement is so true. My friend, Christianity is not needed in heaven. God needs us to make things happen here on earth. He says, until the kingdoms of this world become the kingdoms of our God and of his Christ. These kingdoms include politics, finance, science and technology, governance, etc. If a Nigerian-born pastor could go to a 90% white country that speaks a different language and raise a church that championed change in the political leadership of that country, what did Sunday Adelaja in Ukraine, that we are not doing in Nigeria? The gap is simply a gap of knowledge. The church is not about running establishments called prayer houses where one man prays and the rest receives, nor is it about collecting offerings and creating branches all over the country, WE ARE THE SALT OF THE EARTH!
We are meant to judge ourselves as the church of God, so before you play that lame excuse move of a scripture, get the context and perspective. This is about me too, about you, about us! We need to wake up from our slumber and put in the right actions. Because if all our Christianity is to hide in church halls, ‘praying’, and Nigeria is still the way it is today, then maybe the church needs to stop ‘praying’ for Nigeria, we need a different modus operandi.
God bless you!