Someone has said that success in life, in any endeavor for that matter, is determined by the ability to ask questions; the right questions. That is a deep spiritual truth. We receive not because we ask not: ask and it shall be given to you, says the Master. For those who are burdened like me, about the African and Black dilemma, there are 3 critical questions we must ask; why, what and how. The where and when are usually supplementary, and may well have been answered by the what and how.
I recently read Simon Sinek’s book, Always Start with Why, and I cannot recall reading any other book that has resonated so much with my spirit, in a very long time. It was spot on for my musings on the dilemma of Africa. So, we shall start with why; the Premier Question. (By the way, I strongly recommend that book)
Why do we seek a change?
Why do we seek a transformation in Africa? Why not the status quo? The obvious answer is that we are dissatisfied and ashamed with our lot and want a change. Specifically, we do not like what we see and feel about our race because we know we should be better than this. So we resent ourselves.
We ‘know’ we are not ‘less than’ other races but can’t seem to shake off that feeling anyway. ‘I’m Black and proud’ is but a façade; we really are not. At least it doesn’t reflect in our every day realities. The signs and symptoms are glaring: Black on Black oppression, opulence in the midst of squalor in our communities, poverty in the midst of plenty in our nations; making many rich with our abundant natural resources yet remaining poor. We produce little but consume much. We do not even trade with ourselves! According to statistics, the Jew’s money will circulate at least 17 times within their community before it trades elsewhere. Whites, about 11 times, Chinese, about 8-9 times etc. For Blacks, it is once, if at all. Our princes (leaders in every sphere of influence) do not eat in due season, for strength,but for drunkenness! Our models routinely go from boom to bust; they are way too inclined to the forms rather than the substance of life. Two words perhaps sum it all up:
- Indecency and disorder.
Half a century and more after independence, sub Sahara Africa is far from what some, such as Taiwan, Singapore and South Korea, have achieved in a generation. Rather, Africa is being depleted of our most vital resource: the burden of underdevelopment in Africa led to the ‘Brain Drain’ of the last 30-40 years. And now the ‘Brawn Drain’ of the last decade or so!
To understand what went wrong, pathology, we need to understand what is normal. What should we be like by now? The history of mankind is replete with the rise and fall of civilizations, including here in Africa. No one nation is a prototype, so we need to look farther and deeper, for different nations have different stories to tell at different times; some good, some not so good and still some out rightly dismal?
We cannot answer the question of ‘normal’ without recourse to the beginning of beginnings:
In the beginning God… created… man in his own image…
Man was created in the image and likeness of God, in the same class of being as the Most High!! The purpose for creating man was for ruler ship on earth: for dominion.
The heaven, even the heavens, are the LORD’S: but the earth hath he given to the children of men.
If we are made in the image of a perfect creator whose works declare His praise, then something has gone definitely and terribly wrong with us all. We do not see perfection in the world or in ourselves. Indeed so, for we are told that Adam, the first man erred and he, the ‘god’ of this earth became a slave; ‘afraid, naked; and…hid.’ Furthermore, we read ‘the LORD God sent him forth from the garden of Eden’ (the land of pleasure and ease), to a land ‘cursed…for thy sake.. in sorrow’ to eat all the days of his life. Fear from the guilt of disobedience took over. Shame from the loss of self esteem (ichabod: the glory of God had departed from man) and want, from the sorrow of now having to earn his keep, also came upon him!
Every man, and nation, still grapples, to a greater or lesser extent, with Adam’s fears of guilt, shame and want; the consequences of disobedience. Man’s disobedience to God’s rule is the cause of the problem.
What do we seek?
We seek healing. The good news, gospel in Greek, is that Jesus, God’s Chosen Savior, has restored to mankind the favor with God which Adam lost through disobedience. This grace is available to all; as many as are willing to receive it. We have seen man, and nations, progress and eliminate some of the banal stuff we still grapple with in Africa. So what is the matter with Africa and the Black race? Beyond the general fall of man, some have alluded to the curse of ‘a servant of servants’ placed on Ham’s lineage by his father, Noah; for Ham dishonored him. Even so, Grace covers that too!
Truth is, Africa has done well in redressing the matter of guilt. Many have come to the knowledge of the righteousness that comes by faith in Christ Jesus, or have they really? For we still toil to eliminate the shame and want. We may have unwittingly settled for deliverance from the power of satan, but neglected the delivery into the power of God; to reign again as gods on earth through Jesus Christ. Salvation means just that; restoration to wholeness. To enjoy the fullness of the ‘blessings’ of our great faith, we must address the fears of shame and want. For fear is nothing really but the ignorance of the love of God. There is only one way to banish fear; we need to know the love of God. This knowing is beyond mere mental assent, it is a heartfelt knowing that you know. It is also the way to be filled with all the fullness of God: the restoration of the glory of God in man again. When we do, we begin to see self and others as God sees us in Christ: perfect in and by His love. Then do we regain our sense of value and begin to value one another again.
How do we enter into this blessing that belongs to us?
To enter into every blessing that is ours in Christ we must follow the due order.
The phenomenal growth of Christianity in Africa, sadly, has been more in the clichés; the forms rather than the substance. Too many, it seems, are seeking first the blessings rather than the substance of our faith, the kingdom of God. Some Churches even boast about their God that delivers visas to desperate folks! Apparently their promotion comes from the West, and now increasingly from the East. To go about our transformation, we must seek the one who alone promotes and we must do it decently and in ‘the due order’. This is God’s instruction:
“Remember your leaders, men who spoke to you the word of God, and considering the results of their conduct, imitate their faith.”
King David is one such leader to emulate. David started out alone in his leadership journey as a shepherd boy. In time, he was joined by a band of rejects. His success in transforming these ‘dregs of society’ and thereafter Israel, into a great nation is worthy of emulation. David, not Solomon, the wisest of the kings of Israel, is considered by the Jews as their greatest king. How did David achieve greatness?
David led Israel ‘according to the integrity of his heart; and guided them by the skilfulness of his hands.’ Psalm 78:72
David’s secret has been summarized for us as:
- Integrity of his heart and skillfulness of his hands.
Please observe that the first ‘secret’ is integrity of heart: it is a spiritual requirement. The due order is ‘first within, then without’, Sam Adeyemi. The heart of man is the core of man (kardia in Greek) but it really refers to his spirit, not the organ.
- Man is a spirit!!
If man must be transformed, then he must start with his spirit, the core, made in the ‘image and likeness’ of his maker. God, a Spirit and the Father of spirits is Love. He demands that we put love first in our hearts:
- But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.
God’s kingdom is His ruler ship over our lives. If we must operate in God’s kingdom, then must we also know the laws of the kingdom, at the least; and obey them. No going around it. But, ‘the law is spiritual…’!!! We may have missed it right there. We have gone about it in a physical, canal way.
Be ye therefore imitators of God, as beloved children.
The preeminent way task of man is to subject Hhis will to God and imitate His ways. God’s Laws (Hebrew torah more accurately implies instructions) are but His eternal truths, designed for our prosperity. If we reverence our earthly fathers and seek to honour and emulate them, shall we not much rather be in subjection unto the Father of spirits, and live?
The Father has blessed the righteous with every spiritual blessing but we must follow the due order to enjoy them. Here is the secret: truth is righteousness, as in the verse below:
Thou lovest evil more than good; and lying rather than to speak righteousness.
- To believe God’s Truth makes us righteous.
That is the first step to enjoying the privileges of the kingdom of God, and is simple enough. What many grapple with is the next step: our words birth the manifestation of the blessings in our lives.
- With the mouth, confession is made unto salvation.
To confess is to ‘say the same thing as’. The key attribute here is integrity. The heart and mouth must be one! Integrity comes from Latin integer, meaning one whole.
We having the same spirit of faith, according as it is written, I believed, and therefore have I spoken; we also believe, and therefore speak.
Mankind, so full of his own ‘wisdom and strength’ would tell you that integrity means YOU must be perfectly upright; You must say and do what YOU mean, always. That is a carnal understanding! What YOU say or mean is ultimately no good if your source; the vocabulary (tongue is how the Bible puts it) is wrong. The best we get from our ‘integrity’ is a perpetuation of temporal reality; the things that we see!
There are two sources of spiritual authority, and consequently eternal reality; God and satan. Both operate by words. Man is not the source of authority. He is subject, by choice or default, to a higher authority: to God, the ultimate authority or to satan, the deceiver and usurper of authority.
- Man has a will; the God given power of choice.
It is the greatest gift from God to you. It can also be your albatross. For man has not the privilege over the consequences of his choices: whatsoever a man sows, that shall he reap.
- To believe is to make a choice of whom to serve; trust in and obey.
Belief, pisteuo in Greek, means just that: ‘trust in, rely on or to obey’. Man’s will is powerful but it cannot take him far in the battle of life. He has to believe one way or the other; to walk in the way of life or the way of death.
And unto this people thou shall say, Thus says the LORD; Behold, I set before you the way of life, and the way of death.
You can and must choose.
- All things are possible to him who believes
Possible infers a potential and not reality. To enter into the reality, one must do the needful; make word confessions in line with what you believe until the ‘substance’ of faith manifests. We do not know when or how that happens but we know that it does; in due season. The power that births manifestation is in the word itself, for the word is a spiritual seed. In the natural, the farmer does not fret about the process of sowing and reaping. He is persuaded from experience that the seed will bring forth its fruit after its kind; in due time!!
- Faith is rest, in full persuasion that what we believe will manifest in time.
But the farmer also knows that his seeds will never bring forth life unless and until he sows them. Even so must we sow by speaking words of faith/belief from our Father, our Source, into our human spirit, the spiritual soil for:
- Faith comes by hearing…
Faith, a powerful spiritual force, is not of us, for we know not how it works, but by us; by the power of our will to choose! When we choose to believe God and speak His words accordingly. The Bible calls it faith, for that is the Bible’s goal. In reality, when we choose to believe our temporal circumstances, we are also exercising faith, only this time in satan, what the Bible calls fear. Faith and fear are simply opposites of the same spiritual law. Faith results from obedience to the ultimate Source, the Father of the spirits of all flesh, God Almighty. Fear, on the other hand, results from obedience, by choice or default, to satan, the deceiver, and the father of corruption.
- Biblical spiritual integrity therefore is simply to be at one with the will and intent of our Source, Father God as expressed in His Word.
We do not need to quote verbatim any verse of scripture but simply align our words with God’s truth. We agree with and meditate on the intent of His Word to birth spiritual (heart) desires. And this is the promise:
- The desire of the righteous (he who speaks according to God’s words) it shall be granted.
On the contrary, he who speaks contrary to God’s Word but in accordance with satan or temporal circumstances, shall birth fear and:
- ‘The fear of the wicked, it shall come upon him’ too!
Many misinterprete Psalm 37:4: Delight thyself also in the LORD; and he shall give thee the desires of thine heart; to mean that we can desire anything and get it even when it is contrary to God’s will. That is deception; a form of religion which denies the substance thereof. To one condition to receiving the desires of thine heart is to delight thyself also in the LORD. The question then is how do we delight ourselves in the LORD? The substance is in Is. 58: 13, 14.
If thou turn away thy foot from the Sabbath…not doing thine own ways, nor finding thine own pleasure, nor speaking thine own words:
Then shalt thou delight thyself in the LORD…
Any other desires are but the desires of the flesh and mind, of our former way of life, from which we have been delivered.
This is the will of God: our prosperity in the due order; spirit, body and materially. Our holistic prosperity brings glory to God.
For all the promises of God in him (Christ) are yea, and in him Amen, unto the glory of God by us. 2 Cor.: 20
We must agree with him therefore, over and above any and every contrary circumstance! That is the decent thing to do. Every circumstance contrary to God’s will; sin, sickness or poverty, is indecent. They breed nothing but the fears of guilt, shame and want.
Let all things be done decently and in order.
These are the days of the eternal Sabbath and those who mix these words with faith shall ‘enter into His rest’. They shall cease from their wisdom and strength and like Noah (Rest/Repose) find God’s favor. Then Grace; the wisdom and power of God, takes over and teaches (adds on) all things, including the skillfulness of the hands; the second requirement for success. As it is written: God ‘called by name Bezaleel the son of Uri…and… filled him with the spirit of God, in wisdom, and in understanding, and in knowledge, and in all manner of workmanship…’
God’s fullest blessings will not manifest because we ‘try’ faith confessions once or even a hundred times. We must be fully persuaded and persevere in our word confessions:
Jesus said ‘to those … which believed on him, If ye continue in my word…ye shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.’
To know, Ginosko in Greek, is to experience a reality.
That is the truth that King David discovered, and he led a desperate, forlorn and cowering people back into the glory of God. He was careful to pass on the heritage:
The Spirit of the LORD spake by me, and his word was in my tongue…
My dear brothers and sisters, permit God to speak by you today to the hearts of our people; for the tongue is like the pen of a skillful writer.
Our walk is a walk of faith and not of sight. Words stir hearts and minds to unimaginable achievements!
We must refuse to see the circumstances, the deceptions of satan. We cannot bless and curse our lot in the same breath. Rather, give thanks to God for Africa and all peoples of African descent. This is our season. Amen.
NEW YOU, NEW AFRICA.
Coming out soon: The Africa Challenge: Belief. YOUTH ARISE!