Jesus says in Mark 7:6-7 that ‘These people honour me with their lips, but their hearts are far from me. They worship in vain; their teachings are but the rules taught by men’, that statement represents spiritual indictment to all Christians who refuse to glorify God by reading his words. Our hunt for money has completely killed our reading culture. I have been to homes where lovely Christian books adorned the bookshelves only as a showcase and to prove how ‘committed’ they are to The Way. These books are never read and thus deny themselves the wisdom, knowledge and understanding to be gained in their Christian lives. We accentuate and prioritise the vain and the unimportant and at the end of the day there is no fulfilment. We dissipate our energy on things that would not edify God but dishonour his name. Christians are becoming expert analysts on ‘Nollywood’ movies.
These Nigerian movies are written, directed and produced by clever screen writers, who are part psychologists and entrepreneurs. As psychologists, they are feeding on our thirst and hunger for the profane and the vulgar. As entrepreneurs, they make money when we kill our time by watching their stuff. In as much as they titillate our base mind they equally turn us to morons on the long run. We have developed an insatiable appetite for films which depict fantasy and illusion while the real and living word of God has no place in our hearts. Sunday school teachers are becoming despondent by the paucity of knowledge during Bible study meetings. Often you could see real enthusiasm on the faces of those being taught but the moment the interactive session of question and answer begins, there goes memory loss on a massive scale.
How do we make heaven when we don’t read and know the word of God? If we are confronted on the way to heaven by a testing angel who ask questions on the word of God, what do we say, when we are mere containers of emptiness? Before the start of his ministry after he had spent 40 days of fasting and praying in the wilds, Jesus shamed Satan by the awesome arsenal of his fire power knowledge of the word. The devil left him after all his demonic interrogations to the thunderous applause of waiting angels who came to cloth him with power, glory and honour. You could read this testimonial of our Lord under the ‘Temptation of Jesus’ in Matthew 4: 1-11
Christians have no more excuse to use as alibi for ignorance of the word in a technologically dynamic world that is brimming with aids and adaptations of all kinds. The entire Bible can now be download to our mobile phones which could be read in the bus, train, ferry and plane. Our God is worth all the hassles of our time. We have to be like a ‘workman who does not need to be ashamed and who correctly handles the word of truth’, 2Tim2:15 Gone were the days when the 66 books of the Bible were seen as cumbersome to be carried about.
Modern technology has benefitted us immensely and at the touch of the button, you could now receive the word of the Bible wherever you go. It is now ‘everywhere you go’ to borrow the advertising jingle of MTN, a telecommunication company in Nigeria. We are becoming more aware of the end time. Why? The world in its present form offers neither joy nor happiness. We are all bundle of baggage which weighs us down daily. At one time we may have to grapple with fear, unemployment, diseases, debt, divorce, unfulfilled ambitions, loss of hope, spiritual emptiness, juvenile delinquency, disappointment from friends and loved ones, political restrictions and even fear of death. We then pin our hope on heaven and how to join the select few that will see Jesus.
To encourage ourselves, we affirm in our hearts that we are going to make a difference in our present generation and surely, through his help, be part of those who will hitch a ride on the rapture-chariot shuttling to heaven. Warm dreams but where is the action? One encourager sent an email to me recently and her closing remark was ‘remain rapturable’. How do we remain ‘rapturable’ when we have failed the test before the real exam? How would I be ‘Elijahed’ in a chariot to heaven when I have no time to read my Father’s word? Fine, we know that by His permissive grace we are his children but as children we have to live by His words before we could be counted as worthy candidates for eternal life. Jesus said in Matthews 8:31-32 that “If you hold to my teaching, you are really my disciples. Then you will know the truth and the truth will set you free.”
Here, we see the father of light telling us to hold on to the Word of God because it contains the truth that will set us free and make us worthy. There is equally a reminder of Apostle Paul’s word to the Galatians church, “It is for freedom that Christ has set us free,” Galatians 5:1 But no, we waste our time in the wilderness of bitterness, unforgiveness, laziness, orgy, gossip, slander, material acquisition, fornication, adultery, vanity, pride, arrogance, prayerlessness and anger.
A Christian who dabbles into any of the sins listed is a deadwood for the devil to take for a ride. When we ignore the Bible, we open ourselves up to deception. But the surest way to be shepherded into the realm of truth and blessing is to read the Bible, meditate on it and allow Jesus to be the centre of your universe. Start today and change your guessing to blessing!
. Pray and ask the Holy Spirit to show you where your energy is being wasted.
. Make a vow to God to read his Word daily together with a devotional.
. Sacrifice sleep to please God. He will reward you. He rewards all diligent seekers
. Set your alarm and wake 30 minutes earlier than normal
. Name the morning ‘Good Morning Jesus’ and read His Word.
Come back in six months and let us read your transforming and encouraging testimony. Have a blessed Sunday.
. Deacon Oladeji writes from [email protected]