You Can't Clean Yourself

So let’s say you have a body, two legs, and no arms. Now tell me, are you able to clean yourself? I think not, but if so please immediately email us, so we can talk about the miracle that is you. Otherwise, this article is for you.

I have seen many people say things like “I want to wait until a certain point to bring myself to God” or “I am just not ready yet.” I just want to take this opportunity to let you know that God loves you the way you are and wants you to come to Him the way you are. It’s funny, there is no where in the bible where Jesus exactly says “come as you are,” so I can understand why we sometimes may feel the need to get “prepared” for Jesus. The thing is we need to realize there is nothing we can do to get “prepared” to accept Jesus. The bible shares a powerful verse in Romans chapter 5 verse 8, it says "But God demonstrates His own love toward us, in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us.” Signifying that He knew, He knew what He was getting into when He loved us. God does not want you to wait until you are ready to stop being in your mess, before you come to Him. He wants to take your mess and help you make it beautiful.

THIS IS WHY WE HAVE REPENTANCE


"Now repent of your sins and turn to God, so that your sins may be wiped away."

Acts 3:19


The bible is intentional when it places words where it places them. God does not just say anything, anywhere or anyhow, His words have purpose for their placement. Take a look at the verse again, it says “repent of your sins AND TURN to God…” Repentance is the Turning away from your mess also known as your sin, and redirecting your eyes and focus back onto Jesus. Recognize that when we make our messes, our eyes are not on Jesus. This is obvious because if they were, we would not have gone in the way we did but it’s alright. Repentance is your way of telling the Lord that you are sorry and that you want to get back on the track of His will and not your own. It is known that we make messes and wrong decisions.


"Don't be afraid, for I am with you. Don't be discouraged, for I am your God. I will strengthen you and help you. I will hold you up with my victorious hand"

Isaiah 41:10


We know our circumstances and everything we have been through. We are consistently aware of what we go through and what we desire and it is not always in line with what we see as who God is. We see God as wanting perfect people who are not dealing with any kind of struggles. Because of this, we stand clear and stay away until we don’t desire these things any more. Thoughts we have, things we say, and even things we find ourselves doing, sometimes, don’t seem to be what we believe God wants. We forget though, when Jesus roamed the Earth as a man, He spent most of his time around people with messed up situations. Those were the people who showed their real selves to Jesus, those were the individuals who were real with Him. So you think, while being around them, what did He do? He made their lives and situations better.

The Pharisees always tried to act as if they were perfect, not only around Jesus, but before others too. All Jesus did was make them question themselves, but out of bitterness, they did all they could to have Him persecuted and murdered. I don’t think we want to head down that route or even be remotely related to them, trying to look perfect before Jesus, when He knew them better than they knew themselves.

In John 4, there’s a woman at a well that Jesus encounters and speaks with. She found it surprising that He spoke to her, because she was a Samaritan woman and He was a Jew. Samaritans and Jews did not like each other and had long term tension. I believe this shows us that Jesus can relate to us, no matter how different from Him we believe we are. In some cases we feel like Jesus wouldn’t even come near us if He knew us.


"But God shows his love for us in that while we were still sinners, Christ died for us."

Romans 5:8


As Jesus spoke to her, He began telling her about herself and her history and difficulty with men. A history that could easily be seen as promiscuous. (I’ll use that word because its about the nicest one I can think to use at the moment.) It’s funny though, she did not exactly have the best track record, but Jesus still saw it necessary to encounter her. He didn’t have to. He could have kept to Himself or did other things. He chose to impact her life that day and He wants to impact yours. Just like He knew her dirty laundry well before conversing with her, He knows yours. Jesus brought up her sin and gave her the salvation that she needed. Pay attention to the fact that she did not run away from Him. She did question Him, but never ran away from the Lord. So why do we run when we feel dirty? The Lord pretty much took her dirt in His hands, showed it to her and washed it away. Realize He didn’t have her sort through it, He didn’t even ask her to explain herself. What Jesus did was offer her the Light she sought and needed. This is a small reminder that Jesus is offering you, Himself, even in knowing what you have to offer…….which is not much.

There's a verse that I love, it’s Isaiah 61:3:


"To all who mourn in Israel, he will give a crown of beauty for ashes, a joyous blessing instead of mourning, festive praise instead of despair. In their righteousness, they will be like great oaks that the Lord has planted for his own glory."

Isaiah 61:3


God wants to trade your mess for His light, His love, and all that He has. There’s really no way to clean yourself before Him, He made you and He knows all your flaws, yet He loves you more than you can ever imagine. What’s even better is that His arms are always open and He is always forgiving. Don’t believe me. Believe the actions of Christ, who took the beating and died just for us. So why would He now have you get yourself together before coming to Him? We can’t clean ourselves, so we have to always remember Jesus is here to help.

What The Church Should Know About Suicide

I still remember it like it was yesterday. Freshman year. Spring semester. Ordinary day. Until her body was discovered. A freshman student had jumped off of a building. She had no friends or roommates and she kept to herself. To this day, we don’t know what caused her to jump. Her body was discovered between our dorm and the youth church on campus. Seems like she was crying for help, that neither the church nor school could have provided.

It seems that across college campuses, many students are dealing with the burdens and weight of life. Gasping for air, they begin to believe that their only escape from it all is to end it all.

It's happening in alarming numbers, catching the attention of many, including those who work with young adults and on college campuses. Even catching the attention of Believers. The untimely deaths are impacting the lives of many and the pain is being felt all over. Many are pondering “What happened?” and “What could have been done?” The church needs to be active and learn how to help those who are dealing with suicide find freedom.

No one wants to die.

Oxymoron indeed. Yes, suicide is the act of taking one's own life, but those who have dealt with depression and/or suicidal thoughts didn’t want to die. They wanted to live. They didn’t know that the life that they desired and ached for was found in Christ. The pain they experienced was demanding to be felt. Screaming to be released. The world presents death, but the word presents life.

They wanted to be appreciated, loved and noticed, but they often felt discouraged, empty and abandoned. Their souls couldn’t find it wherever they turned and tried to find it. Many times, they turn to sin to help find what can only be found in Christ—peace and rest.


Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest..."

Matthew 11:28-30


For God so loved the world that he gave his one and only Son, that whoever believes in him shall not perish but have eternal life. For God did not send his Son into the world to condemn the world, but to save the world through him."

John 3:16-17


It stems from somewhere.

Whenever someone commits suicide, we hear loved ones utter, “I don’t know why?” or “I wonder what went wrong?” It hurts to lose a loved one, especially when the cause is a mystery. Understand, that no one wakes with the sudden urge to end their life. It all stems from somewhere. Whether it is rejection from friends, failing the semester, inability to get a job, lack of appreciation and affirmation, or family issues, there is a trigger moment that pushes one to do the act. Something that really backs them up into a corner and makes them look for an escape from their situations.

Believers can have suicidal thoughts and can battle depression

Many times, we look at salvation as a one stop fix it shop, but that's the problem—it's not. We tend to forget that the soul can be attacked by the enemy as well.


“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this age, against spiritual hosts of wickedness in the heavenly places.“
Ephesians 6:12 NIV

Like Prophet Elijah, many Christians, mature and new, can be depressed and have the urge to no longer continue life. Believers are not immune from being attacked by the enemy. Wasn’t it the same satan, who told Jesus to throw himself off the pinnacle of the temple?


We demolish arguments and every pretension that sets itself up against the knowledge of God, and we take captive every thought to make it obedient to Christ.”

2nd Corinthians 10:5


Committing suicide doesn't mean you are going to hell

We can’t assume the fate of others. That role belongs solely to God


Against You, You only, have I sinned,
And done this evil in Your sight—
That You may be found just when You speak,
And blameless when You judge.”
Psalm 51:4

Suicide is in fact murder, but just because that was their last act on earth, does not disqualify the life they lived prior. There isn’t scriptural evidence on it for us to have a final verdict on the matter. God is the one with the final say. We, as the body, shouldn’t try to determine the destination of the passed one.

The church should be awake during these times. Many souls are aching for the void in their hearts to be filled with the love of Christ. He died for them so that they can experience the life He should have lived and that life more abundantly.


Letting God be GOD

I get it. We all do it. You know, how we say ‘I don’t need anybody, I can do this on my own’ when we feel like it’s just us against the world. There's just this “rewarding” feeling you get when you are able to say you accomplished something without any help, right? But, did you really?

We are living in a time where the definition of being ‘independent’ has turned into a mask to cover up us not wanting to ask for help, which comes from the fear of us not wanting to lose our dignity. We do not want to be portrayed as weak individuals, even though we as humans simply cannot do everything on our own. We also want to be independent because we believe that humans will always fail us, and so we are better off avoiding disappointments and doing everything without the help of others.

Yet we fail to realize, we treat God the same way.

If being independent meant that you don’t need anybody for anything, and that you can single-handedly do everything on your own, each person would have his or her own planet. But we don’t, so you’re basically stuck with us, annoying and unhelpful humans, forever.

I grew up with a false perception of who God really is. Many of my experiences throughout my life have shaped the way I viewed God, and people, even after giving my life to Christ. For example, I had no male guidance for majority of my life. Because of that, seeing God as my Father was a scary thing for me, let alone understanding that He will provide my every need since I would rather do everything on my own. I did not understand, nor could I imagine how a God could be a Father since I have never had one around me.

I would rather do everything on my own because like I said earlier, I personally believed that people will always fail me or that I would be some type of burden to them. I also wanted that false rewarding feeling of being able to call myself independent, so that no one will ever be able to use my accomplishments against me.

My struggle with trusting people has also prevented me from seeing God as who He is and not as how we humans treat each other.

How do you let God be God? You do that by seeing Him for who He truly is, and accepting only that from Him. Some of you all may have grown up in a church and have seen some foul stuff go on, or have even witnessed people scream out from their rooftops how they are Jesus junkies, but their hidden lives prove otherwise. Yet, you unknowingly accept pieces of this false reality as if it were God’s true character. In order to see God for who He truly is, you need to be able to discern what actually comes from Him through people, and what comes from people that is not of Him. Once that happens, you will be able to see God for exactly who He says He is, and show others that same revelation.


“You will seek me and find me, when you seek me with all your heart.”

Jeremiah 29:13


I had to learn the hard way that I can’t possibly do anything on my own. Eventually, the tough girl facade had to fade away in order for my relationship with God to grow. The biggest challenge for me was being able to understand that I can no longer be the god in my life and that I had to let God be the Master over my life.

The process wasn’t easy of course, and I wish it were! But through it all, I learned that God actually wants to be the one you run to for help and guidance, that’s who He is! It’s not a sign of weakness because a Father is the head of the household. It’s a Father’s job to protect and provide for His children and also be there for them when they are in need and in danger. “Your Father knows what you need before you ask him” (Matthew 6:8). I know for a fact that He will not see you as a burden, or tell you that He cannot meet your needs. Allowing God to simply be God has been the most refreshing feeling since I gave my life to Christ. I even noticed that as my trust in Him grew, my trust and love in myself and others grew with time as well. I’m still learning every day about who He is, and each day brings an exciting and new revelation. I no longer have to fear how I will get through each day because that is not my job. That is not our job. Our job is to trust that our needs will be met, by letting God be God.


Trust in the Lord with all your heart, and lean not on your own understanding; in all your ways acknowledge Him, and He shall direct your paths

Proverbs 3:5-6 (NKJV)



Your Conviction Is My Conviction

I love people. I love people, a lot. But not enough to inform them that they may be a little off. Sometimes, not enough to share my convictions about a particular matter. And thus, I may compromise.

One of the first things I “learned”—heard, when I first came to Christ, was “your convictions are not my convictions,” and vice versa. It was a statement that I had heard so much, I almost even took it as scripture; you know, maybe Paul in one of the letters to Corinth or something, slipped in:


Thou foolish Corinthians, what has caused you to falter? Know ye not that, that which is burdened on me, is for me alone. And that which is burdened on you, is for you alone? Please, carry and mind your own.

3 Corinthians 1:1 NONE


Honestly, the statement might even have scriptural root (Romans 14:22), but not enough for it to stand as a biblical code preached, or taught. It seems as if it’s the Christian-synonymous statement to “don’t enforce your beliefs on me”. I can just imagine someone saying angrily, with a fist up, "Look you baby Christian/you too-saved Christian, don’t talk to me about how you feel about this—thing that I’m doing that doesn’t necessarily glorify God, but the bible doesn’t say it’s bad, so I’m going to continue to do it.” Wait...I’ve heard this before!

It’s a sad, sad case that one of the most regurgitated bible verse in modern Christendom is John 15:13No greater love exist than this, for one to lay down his life for a friend,” yet this act is almost only limited to driving up to upper, Upper-Marlboro to scoop a friend for a function; sharing a little of my chipotle bowl; and eventually taking a minute to pray for someone, who asked you to pray for them some time ago—eh, that’s besides my point. We’re a generation, along with the church in Galatians, that rests on what we do or have done. Don’t get me wrong, going out of my way to do something for a brother or sister in Christ is good, and should be done more often but so should honouring their walks.

Jesus preaches “there is no greater love than this, for a man to lay down his life for a friend,” and goes on to actively live it out. Jesus said to anyone who wanted to be his disciple: deny yourself, pick up your cross, and follow Him. Jesus was so Jesus that He never went without exemplifying, to the extreme, any of the things He taught. Jesus literally had to “deny” Himself [His will and God-being capabilities] (Luke 22:42), “pick up His Cross” (John 19:17), and well—He followed Holy Spirit (Matthew 4:1) and the Father (John 5:19), so He paved a path for us to follow. Yet, His desire wasn’t that we’d become martyrs, though that’s a big implication in this line of service (Matthew 24:9), but for us to simply “live our lives, as a pleasing sacrifice to His eyes” (Romans 12:1). This would require us to: live not for ourselves (John 17:11; Romans 14:17-18); to renew our minds (Romans 12:2; Philippians 2:5 ); and bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2).

One thing I did take in stride when I came to Christ—actually, this was my first favorite verse: Philippians 1:21For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.” Very early on in my Christian walk, I, like many other young believers, adopted an understanding of “dying to yourself.” It’s the expressive statement of what Jesus meant by “deny yourself.” It’s essentially putting away ALL of You for ALL of Him—and expressively, the next believer.

Acts 20:24 But none of these things move me, neither count I my life dear unto myself, so that I might finish my course with joy, and the ministry, which I have received of the Lord Jesus, to testify the gospel of the grace of God.


John 3:30 He must increase, but I must decrease.


Acts 4:32 “All the believers were one in heart and mind. No one claimed that any of their possessions was their own, but they shared everything they had.”


We are given this notion that, “It’s not about me anymore. It’s about Jesus, and my brothers and sisters in Him.” However, the notion doesn’t always remain in effect, as we passively make the statement, our hearts actively stray from it. We are often about “me, myself, and I...okay, sometimes you, Jesus...ehhh...and maybe once in a while, you too” (*points to you*); we do things that aren’t plainly defined as wrong, but don’t glorify God nor yield good fruit. If that be the case, we have to chop it off like gangrene. (cc: JGivens verse from “Same Team”) No, SERIOUSLY, cut off anything in your life that doesn’t produce good fruit, nor glorify God. (Matthew 7:19).


Matthew 16:25 For whoever wants to save their life will lose it, but whoever loses their life for Me will find it.


When you’ve made the choice to pause from you, and live for Him, you’ll soon realize, that Jesus gave us a very quintessential law in Mark 12:31: “love your neighbor as you love yourself;” His prayer was for us to be as one (John 17), and Paul teaches us that in being one, we must bear one another’s burdens (Galatians 6:2). So that leads me to believe that there remains a very elegant focus in the bible: unity amongst the brethren. But why is unity such an issue for us? Why is it such a problem for the world? My proposed answer: we’re not willing give goodly and godly compromise.

Ew. Compromise.

Yes. Compromise. You can perceive that’s almost all Jesus did on Earth; goodly and godly compromise. He compromised Him being God, the Creator of this Universe, to dwell amongst His creation, as one of them. He compromised Him being a righteous, blameless, perfect human being, to die on the cross for us unrighteous, sinful, and imperfect humans. Yep, Jesus compromised a great deal. Aren’t we to do the same? I mean, we do profess “I want to be like You, Jesus,” all day long.

Notice I’ve added goodly” and “godly” to compromise. Compromise is a word that has polarizing connotations:

Jummy compromised his integrity, as he joined his friends in smoking.

OR

Jummy compromised his pride, as he washed the feet of his friends.

I can, and likely will, bamboozle you with a plethora of scriptures, but you’ve seen enough so far. God desires that we would be one and together glorify Him in that one. But to do so, it requires for us to surrender—compromise—our self-fulfilling will and desires to God, and for the edification of the body. This will then allow us to bear one another’s burden, and fulfill the law of Christ.

It’s easy to point scripture declaring our freedom in Christ. But Paul tells us in 1 Corinthians 10:23-24All things are lawful,” but not all things are helpful. “All things are lawful,” but not all things build up. Let no one seek his own good, but the good of his neighbor. The convictions we receive from Holy Spirit are often tailored to ourselves personally but ultimately for growth within our spheres of influence. Bill Johnson once said, “Your breakthroughs are not just for yourself, but for the next person.” I believe that principle is the same concerning many of the convictions we have. I’ve personally been convicted of wearing too-skinny pants, listening to particular (most...if not all) secular music, drinking, smoking, partying, watching particular movies and TV shows, etc. Some of the stuff I’ve been convicted of, aren’t necessarily unlawful—but God beckons I follow these convictions.


Matthew 11:15 “Whoever has ears, let him hear.”


If I am to honour God, by following these convictions, I better live them so fully out...that they seem as if they’re written on my flesh. I better live these convictions so fully out, that when I’m offered a drink, in the midst of my Christian brethren, I deny. And if I remain in that company, I better so fully live out these convictions that I explain why. Many of us receive convictions because we’ve struggled with these things or perhaps once tasted and realized “God hasn’t called me into this.”

It might sound killjoy-ish, but sharing my stance on a matter is much better than me compromising what God has paved for me, where I’d stumble and fall short. To me, it’s compromising my cool versus compromising my divine impression from God. One might be the more appealing, but the other, of course, is the most beneficial. But it’s hard. It’s hard to stand for what you’re for and not about, in the company of other believers, who for the most part, are like-minded. I don’t have a definite answer as to how to do so, but I have a couple of friends who do a good job of “suggesting” their convictions, it’s almost rather annoying...but it works.

The opposite, or, corresponding side of that coin is receiving that conviction and honouring it. Swallow that pride! Swallow it! Swallow it! That’s almost all I can say, because it’s so hard! This is the very reason that this dauntingly dauntless piece was crafted: honour one another’s convictions, as if your own. A sister of mine once shared how whenever someone would share their burdens with her, she’d bare them so much, that she began to ache with empathy for that person. She’d adopt that burden, and lift it with that person. Given, all the person is likely looking for, is someone to pray for them. But like Christ, my sister takes it an inch further, and actually aches, mourns, and joys with the person as they together carry that burden.

Jesus, Himself, was so willing to submit, that He even honoured the customs of the Pharisees as shown in Mark 12:15 and Matthew 17:27, just so that they wouldn’t stumble. It’s seldom said, but God bless Simon of Cyrene, who aided our Lord Jesus Christ in carrying His cross (Matthew 27:32). Just as that Simon did, so also should we do: respect, honour, and aid one another’s struggles. God forbid a friend of mine tells me they’ve struggled with drinking before Christ, and I’m found, by them, even looking at liquor. God forbid someone tells me how much they struggle with pornography, and I sit with them to watch a movie that has any inch of sensuality or sexual immorality.


Matthew 18:6 If anyone causes one of these little ones--those who believe in me--to stumble, it would be better for them to have a large millstone hung around their neck and to be drowned in the depths of the sea.


This walk with, for, and after Christ is not easy, and often times isn’t fun. Often times, we are urged via convictions from God, and even from or for our brethren, to do or not do something—those convictions aren’t fun, and may even often seem repetitive and unfulfilling but, I, rather Paul, say this:


Romans 14:21 It is good not to eat meat or drink wine or do anything that causes your brother to stumble.


1 Corinthians 8:13 Therefore, if food makes my brother stumble, I will never eat meat, lest I make my brother stumble.


Recall that these convictions handed to us whether by God or a member of the body are not to hinder or limit us. Nor are they to disengage us from individuality. But rather to align us, in unison, with the standard that God has given us, which is Jesus Christ. If these convictions don’t help me conform into the image of Christ, than taking them on is pointless; but for those which do, how selfish and stupid would it be for me not to uphold them and share them with others? An awesome man of God, Kevin Muchiri says, “Although we are custom made, the things that do not please our Father are not custom but standard, and should be the same for every believer.” So I pray that God softens our hearts, and that we hearken our ears to Him and one another, to hear as the Spirit speaks, knowing that every Word from God is a gift, to be cherished and honoured, and not only heard, but done. In Jesus’s name, Amen.

 

Shalom,


(Jum 1:4)

Rebel: Resisting Transformation

When I first got saved, I was ecstatic and ready to embrace everything that came with salvation. Everything, but those “kumbaya singing corny Christians.”

Keep your distance. *Andy Mineo’s voice* Please. Thanks.

No offense. They were okay, but not cool. Something about them screamed ‘dry, wack, and weird.’ Like who cracks jokes using bible verses? Who rocks gear professing their love for Jesus?  They even spoke a language full of idioms called, ‘Christianese.’ Don’t even get me started on when they used irrelevant scriptures as captions to their pictures on Instagram, followed by a sea of hashtags.

I was determined to remain myself as much as possible--me minus the sinful life. And that is exactly where I stumbled. See, the people I did not want to be and was afraid to turn into, was actually exactly what I needed to be.


For the flesh desires what is contrary to the Spirit, and the Spirit what is contrary to the flesh. They are in conflict with each other, so that you are not to do whatever[a] you want.

Galatians 5:17


And no one pours new wine into old wineskins. Otherwise, the wine will burst the skins, and both the wine and the wineskins will be ruined. No, they pour new wine into new wineskins."
 

Mark 2:22


Old things have passed away. As in they are no more. They no longer exist.

Why? Because, something new has occupied that place. A living spirit replaces a dead spirit. Who we were and who we are contradict one another. But in efforts to remain who we were, we miss out on becoming who God has called us to be.

It is for freedom that Christ has set us free. Stand firm, then, and do not let yourselves be burdened again by a yoke of slavery.

Galatians 5:1


By fighting to keep our old identity, we are walking outside of  the path God has planned and paved for us. From our mother’s womb, He knew us--us being freed and us being vessels of honor and glory. Not us being of this world. So that means:

Those worldly friends you’ve been clinging to, may need to be replaced.

That unequally yoked relationship that you are in, may need to end.

The way you dress, may need to be altered to glorify God and cover your holy temple.

In the fight to keep our old identities, we are fighting to keep the yoke and fruit that stemmed from it.  The Bible says, “do not conform to the world.” Are you aware that your old identity, your old nature, your old ways were a manifestation of your worldly ways? So that means:

Those worldly friends, your unequally yoked relationship, and the way you dress could have stemmed from battles from within yourself, that have taken root in your life.

When trying to fight change and be resistant, you are actually being rebellious. You are refusing to submit to the plans of the Lord, for your life. When you said ‘yes’ to Jesus, you were saying ‘yes’ to having Him in all aspects of your life.

“Let your yes be yes and your no be no”

God wants to transform your life, and transform you “by the renewal of your mind.” By transforming your mind, He will ultimately transform your actions and behaviors. So let go of the identities that we easily cling to, and embrace the transformation waiting to happen. There is something you have been longing for, found in it: Freedom.

Freedom from the battles and insecurities you’re facing. Freedom to express yourself without feeling like you are becoming any less you.  Freedom to become the You of tomorrow without any worries of You of the past.

Can’t wait for the world to meet the real You.


 

Check out "Root of It All". It deals with insecurities that bear fruits in our lives. It's best to uproot it before it takes root. 



Olamide1Comment