I don’t enjoy answering questions about how I became a Born-Again Christian! I particularly don’t like it if the question is posed by a Christian organisation (e.g Christian Aid, Tear Fund, Compassione.t.c.). The reason I don’t enjoy answering such question stems from the fact that I do not have a WOW Jesus- rescued-me-from-the-pit-of-hell kinda story to share. Those stories about being a terrible human being by virtue of the atrocities committed in time past before Jesus finally walked into one’s life and knocked on the door to one’s heart are stories I hear in church, or better still the 700 Club television show. Unfortunately, this is not my salvation story.
The truth is, I was about 10 years old when I picked up the bible. Little did I know then the priceless gift of eternal life that I had stumbled upon. Having been born into a Muslim family, my parents were not your typical Muslim people. They barely went to mosque to pray. Also, I had never seen the inside walls of a mosque before despite the fact that I was named according to Muslim rites and also have a strong Muslim surname. The only form of religion I knew as a child was me getting new dresses and presents during every religious festivals (Christian and Muslim alike). However, occasionally, my maternal grandmother would take me to church anytime my family went visiting my maternal grandparents.
Hence, coming from such a liberal family, I was saddled with the option of either learning the Quran all by myself or picking up the Bible, which luckily for me was written in English – a language I was mastering very well at the time. Off course, as a little girl of 10, I choose the one that came easy to me – The Holy Bible – and I have never had the chance to look back since then.
Sometimes last week, I began pondering about what still drives my faith. Sometimes, I think it is very refreshing to take an inward look at ones’ self to determine if your motivations and actions are still in line with the person you desire to be in life. My soul searching consisted of asking myself questions like: why do I still pray, fast, tithe, volunteer my time in church and generally maintain those outward religious rituals or the way of life that is expected of every true believer? Then I realised a whole lot of reasons could drive ones faith. If we are not careful, we may lose sight of that which truly matters – the Kingdom of God!
So I decided to share with you the four things I have come to realise that can drive our Christianity;
1. NEED: has it ever dawned on you that people are often drawn to Jesus first because of a Need – something that needs fixing or sorting out? Yes there are people born into a Christian home and nourished with the Word of God while they were still in their mother’s womb. But then, there are also people like myself (and some of you reading this) who decided to heed the call of Jesus because there was a void in our lives that needed to be filled; or a brokenness that only Jesus could rehabilitate; or a life and death situation; or a jaw-breaking encounter with Jesus that saved a life which otherwise could have been lost. For me, it was a religious void I felt I needed to fill and I simply walked into Jesus’ well laid out plan for me in a home where religion wasn’t such a ‘big thing’.
Coming to Jesus because of a Need is not bad in itself. Even Peter recognised this when he said
Like new born babies, crave pure spiritual milk, so that by it you may grow up in your salvation, now that you have tasted that the Lord is good (1 Peter 2:2).
But this shouldn’t be the ultimate goal of Christians, but rather an entry point into Salvation and all that God intends for us who believe and trust In Him. Consequently, having tasted that the Lord is Good, we ought to desire to move to higher dimensions in our walk with God. The writer of the Book of Hebrews corroborates this when he advised early Christians on the dangers of being ‘a Baby Christian’ and writes:
Anyone who lives on milk, being still infant , is not acquainted with the teachings about righteousness. But solid food is for the mature, who by constant use have trained themselves to distinguish good for evil (Hebrews 5:13-14 NKJV).
2. SOCIAL CONDITIONING: Christianity (and any religion for that matter) can be driven by social conditioning. I mean, growing up in a Christian home or living in a Christian community often make us Christians, no questions asked! So we go to church because it is what people do on Sundays and we also observe yearly Christian events like Christmas, Easter and we do all we can to be in church before the stroke of midnight every December 31st.
Being driven by social conditioning is the reason why we can choose to do church at home, because getting out of bed on some Sunday mornings can be a chore rather than an anticipated encounter with the King of Kings. For most people driven by social conditioning, Christianity could very well become a ritual and while attendance in church is marked (frequently or not), it doesn’t change the condition of their heart and neither are they able to withstand the desires of the flesh – hatred, lying, fornication, lust, addiction, jealousy e.t.c. (Galatians 5: 19-21).
Such Christians are the perfect example of the people Paul referred as ‘having a form of godlinesss, but denying its power thereof: from such turn away…ever learning, and never able to come to the knowledge of the truth ’ (2 Timothy 3:5-7 KJV)
3. POWER/MONEY: Power and money are two attributes I have watched play out in the lives of Christians. Yes, we so-called spirit-filled, tongue-speaking, demon-chasing children of God sometimes become driven by these attributes too. I have seen how money and power-play in church have led to strife and division within the house of God, and the ugliest part is when it leads to a complete break away from church.
These attributes stems from wanting accolades, respect and value for the supposed time, year of service or resources invested into a ministry. We forget that
God is the rewarder of those who diligently seek Him (Hebrew 11:6 NKJV).
Hence, we place a value on the resources, talents and skills that otherwise could be used to glorify God and draw men unto Him. Like the prodigal son, we are quick to ask for our inheritance (i.e. what is in it for me?). Overcome by the spirit of entitlement, we begin to demand recognition or ask to stand on the altar of God just so that we can be seen as an authority figure – respected, revered and envied.
When we don’t get our way, we blame the church leadership, whilst forgetting that there is a place in the scheme of God where it is best to be in obscurity while serving (like David) until God’s appointed time when we are meant to step into God’s inheritance for us on earth. Even Jesus, the author and finisher of our faith went through the obscurity phase before he started His ministry.
4. KINGDOM – To be driven by the Kingdom is to be Kingdom-minded. To be Kingdom-minded is to purse God not for Need, Social Conditioning, Power or Money but because it is our first act of worship.
We ought to truly desire that our actions or motives for being a Christian and outwardly performing our duties (praying, fasting, tithing, meditating on the word, and serving in church) is not fuelled by the insignificant desires of the flesh. But instead, let it be said that we are Christians driven by the desire to do God’s will and see His will manifested on the face of the earth.
Let us be driven by the desire to stand in our faith (even when it is not popular) and boldly declare the gift of God’s salvation to any man, woman, boy or girl who believes and confesses that Jesus is Lord. By the grace and the sure mercies of God, we can be driven by all these things through the Holy Spirit that has been deposited in us.
Do you desire this and all that God has called us to be? Then why not join us today and begin to live deliberately and intentionally as the Child of God that you are, driven solely by the Kingdom Culture of sharing the Love, Light and Life of Jesus with the world!
Have a blessed week.