You may click here to the see the original article: ‘What the Church Refuses to Teach About Christianity,’
You will particularly notice that the question about Jabez’s prayer was not fully answered due to the call-in interspersion; besides it is a loaded one and require time. I therefore take time to answer it here as follows; the question was…
You mentioned praying for greatness as an error, but consider Jabez in 1 Chronicles 4:10, his prayer was not an error; how is that?
You may scroll down for my full respone…
Outline of the Transcript
A summary of the article
The article has six main sections.
In section one, I raise one key issue that confronts us as a country (and indeed as a continent); it is that, in Ghana, Christians alone constitute over 70 percent of the population – according to the 2014 Ghana Demographics Profile* – besides Muslims and Traditional Religion adherents. Ghanaians (and indeed, Africans) are very religious, and have been praying fervently and consistently. Besides, the Universities, Polytechnics, Training Colleges, and Technical Schools produce numerous intellectuals – Professors, Doctorate Holders, Masters Holders, Diploma Holders, and a whole lot of people with serious academic credentials; some from very reputable universities across the globe; yet the country / continent is bedeviled with age-old developmental problems such as indiscriminate littering, ignorance, illiteracy, diseases, unemployment, stack poverty and general underdevelopment – even though the country / continent is blessed with such abundant stream of natural resources. Why is this so? And what is the solution or remedy? And I provide leads in the rest of the sections.
In the second section, I talk about The Role of What the Church Teaches, and highlight some of the teachings that might be having a reverse effect; and draw attention to the low productivity among Christians as a result. I emphasise that there is too much activity without productivity.
In section three, I define what we should be seen to be doing in order to be productive; and the emphasis was on the need to think creatively, rather than work mechanically. And I quote the famous acclamation by Pastor Mensa Otabil, that: “We have prayed a lot! We have gone to church a lot! We have sung a lot! We have danced a lot! Now it is time to ‘think’ a lot!” I particularly make the point that, whereas the main emphasis of the church today may sound ‘christian‘ and nice, they do not constitute the full message, and therefore not fully potent to yield the needed results; that is mainly why our developmental challenges seem to persist for such a long time!
I also make the notable point that, Christians are supposedly the salt of the earth, and the light of the world, (Matthew 5:13-14) and that places a lot more responsibility on the church. And so having such a large membership, and the opportunity to influence this large numbers over almost their entire span of life of earth (a rare opportunity that is not available to schools; schools have the opportunity to directly influence attendees only for very short or limited periods) the church remains the best hope for influencing people to positively affect the country / continent tangibly, and such an opportunity should not be underutilised or abused!
In section four, I outline What the Church should teach; and there are 13 themes I propose that the church should be teaching on. You may click here to see them; but the point is that, it’s not enough to profess that God has made us somebody and people shout a big Amen, and still 97% live underestimating their capabilities and therefore use so little of their true or hidden potential, and consequently accomplish so little. And Galatians 6:3 says: “For if anyone thinks himself to be something, when he is nothing, he deceives himself.“
In the fifth section, I draw attention to the fact that, most of the issues that confront us in life are not spiritual. Indeed, there are 7 sources or causes of problems or difficulties and out of the 7, only one could be attributed to the devil or demons; so we should Deny the Devil the Undue Credit we have been giving to him. And also we should not Blame God for any of our problems!
In the last section, I invite all of us to take a ‘Selfie’ as a church; that is, the church should do serious self-evaluation, because, from where I sit, the portrait I am seeing of the church in Ghana (and Africa) is not the best!
To put all that in a single sentence, I will say that the church is refusing to teach members two important things: 1 ‘How to rightly interpret and apply Scriptures in their proper context; that is how to rightly divide the word of truth as 2 Tim 2:15 recommends,’ and 2. ‘How to harness their true or hidden potential; so as to live highly productive and truly fulfilling lives that can bring about accelerated tangible development to Ghana (and Africa).’
How that praying for greatness might be an error
First of all, if you check the article well, I indicate that, “God has already made us great, and so to pray to God ‘to make us great’ might be an ‘error;’ we just have to live out that greatness – if we know how!” You will also notice that I put the word error in inverted commas. Let me elaborate… (That reminds of the kpa kpa kpa man; he said “then you elaborate yourself!”) That was just by the way! So let me elaborate…
Yes, we just have to live out that greatness – if we know how! I am talking about you and I who, beyond being created in the image and likeness of God and given the most powerful biological machine called a brain, have also been born of water and the spirit; redeemed by the blood of Christ and justified by faith. So the Holy Spirit (the spirit of truth who is not given by measure, who also will even tell us of things to come; according to 3:34 and John 16:13 respectively) is in you, and you don’t see yourself as already great, and you are praying and asking God to make you great, then it might certainly be an error!
I like how Zig Ziglar puts it; he says: “Man was designed for accomplishment, engineered for success, and endowed with the seeds of greatness.” And this applies to even the unsaved, let alone you who have been saved.
I also like how Marrianne Williamson puts it; I will quote just portions; that: “Our deepest fear is that we are powerful beyond measure. We ask ourselves, Who am I to be brilliant, gorgeous, talented, and fabulous? Actually, who are you not to be? You are a child of God. Your playing small does not serve the world. We are all meant to shine, as children do. We were born to make manifest the glory of God that is within us. It is not just in some of us; it is in everyone.”
Apostle Peter emphasised this point in 2 Peter 1:3, which teaches us that God’s divine power has given to us all things that pertain to life and godliness. So when you pray that ‘God make me great,’ what do you really mean? Make you like Jesus? Well, 1 John 4:17 says that “Love has been perfected among us in this: that we may have boldness in the day of judgment; because as He is, so are we in this world;” and fortunately Sinach has popularised it for us; so most Christians cannot say that, truthfully, they are not aware. Or you want to be like Thomas Edison (the science genius who is regarded as the greatest inventor ever)? He himself says that, “Genius is 1 percent inspiration and 99 percent perspiration.” Or like King Solomon, or even Bill Gates (The longest reigning richest man in the world; in contemporary times)? Well, King Solomon said in Proverbs 10:4 that, “He who has a slack hand becomes poor, but the hand of the diligent makes rich.” And the formular has not changed! And note that King Solomon is noted for his wisdom, and he is also regarded as the richest man in history; what he admonishes is very important! Of course, God gives us the power to make wealth (Deuteronomy 8:18) and indeed, He has already given to each of us that power, but it is up to the individual to use the power He gives, to make the wealth; He will not make the wealth for anybody. The plain truth is that, no matter how religious you are, if you don’t work hard you’ll be poor. It is said that, “God gives the nuts, but He does not crack them;” you have to do the cracking yourself! Bill Gates wisely decided to apply his love for programming computers, to solving prevailing problems and meeting emerging needs at a very tender age, spent countless hours learning, made mistakes and all; but worked consistently and persistently. Note: ‘DECISION!’ And it is said that, “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
In any case, take Jabez’s prayer…
Analysis of Jabez’s prayer
It is always important that we put scripture into context, especially since the original Bible was not written with verses but rather unified passages, so let’s go back just one verse if not more. Verse 9 of 1 Chronicle 4 says: “Now Jabez was more honorable than his brothers, and his mother called his name Jabez, saying, “Because I bore him in pain.” It is important to note that the word translated as more honourable is the Hebrew Word ‘kabad’ (kaw-bad’) which means more weighty, numerous, rich or honourable. Secondly the Bible does not say that he was causing pain; no! His mother called him Jabez because she (the mother) bore him in pain; now that’s the mother’s problem not his. So it was not as if Jabez was some cast-away; we have to note that.
John 21:25 says that “And there are also many other things that Jesus did, which if they were written one by one, I suppose that even the world itself could not contain the books that would be written.” It is the nature of the Bible that it does not contain every detail of what people did; so rather not surpringly, the bible did not detail out the practical steps Jabez took to bring about the enlargement of his territory, you cannot say with certainty that Jabez did not work or put in effort, and that it happened miraculously; what noble man would not work; he worked and I believe he worked diligently to give life to his faith initiated in prayer.
Now, what really was his prayer? “Oh, that You would 1. bless me indeed, 2. and enlarge my territory, 3. that Your hand would be with me, 4. and that You would keep me from evil, that I may not cause pain!” Check this against the ‘Lord’s Prayer’ in Matthew 6:9-13 and Luke 11:2-4; they are very similar! So God granted him what he requested; especially because none of these requests was really to be answered physically without self comportment and diligence; essentially, hardwork. It is just like praying and saying: “Give us this day our daily bread,” as per the Lord’s Prayer; does God bring you physical bread miraculously? Ordinarily, No! (There was a time when I found in my pigeon hole, an envelope bearing a handsome amount; all that it had was my name, and inside the envelope flap was written: “Dave, God bless you!” And till date I don’t know where the envelope came from or who had put it there; it was during a very tight time on campus; most people were ‘broke’ like myself at the time. I know God commanded the ravens and they fed Elijah, and there was once manna, and also quail. Jesus fed the multitudes by multiplying fish and bread; etc. But such incidences were the exception (you may call them ‘miracles’) rather than the norm.) Ordinarily, like everybody else, you put in the effort to get that daily bread. Of course, God is with you all the way!
In Matthew 6:7-8, when teaching on prayer, Jesus directed that: “And when you pray, do not use vain repetitions as the heathen do. For they think that they will be heard for their many words. “Therefore do not be like them. For your Father knows the things you have need of before you ask Him.” And then he gave out what we have come to term ‘The Lord’s Prayer.’ Compare that with, Isaiah 65:24 which says that: “It shall come to pass That before they call, I will answer; And while they are still speaking, I will hear;” you will notice that they are similar! Great!! And you know Ephesians 3:20 also teaches that the Lord is able to do exceedingly abundantly above all that we ask or think, according to the power that works in us;’ emphasis on 1. Ask, and 2. Think. Now compare especially the ‘think’ part with Isaiah 65:24 which says that “before they call I will answer,” it’s just like saying: ‘when they think I will answer;’ because you must think before you can call or ask; for that matter. Halleluyah!!! I seek to empahsise that, the thinking part is the activator, or initiator; the first potent power before the asking comes in.
And, what is that power at work in us that Ephesians 3:20 refers to, by which the Lord does all those great things? It is the Holy Spirit’s power as we know it, and more! All these go to confirm that it might be an error to pray for greatness, because once you think greatness; God says: “Done!”
In part one of the Zing4Life! Series, in addition to a whole lot of insights, we help people to appreciate this enormous power at work in us as indicated in Ephesians 3:20 by helping participants to understand how the nervous system, the endocrine system, genetic components, the soul and the spirit all interact through our thinking, in order to draw ideas, directions or inspired thoughts from God; the source of infinite intelligence. It’s amazing! They are all seen in the 8-Step Creative Thinking Process.
You know Microsoft; they have a wish list where people are supposed to post what they wish the softwares that they’ve already released, like Word, Excel, etc., could do. And when they analyse, they realise that about 80% of what people request for, are things they have already implemented in their softwares; except that people just don’t know that they are already there in the softwares they already own; largely because people don’t take time to study the softwares. It’s a similar thing; you will ask God to make you great only when you are not aware of your true status. So you just have to unearth your true/hidden potential; God has placed greatness inside of us already. We have to live it out, and the Zing4Life! principles and practices help one to do that; in addition to all that the Church and Schools are already teaching and helping us to do; variously. If you pray that ‘God make me great’ prayer to strengthen your faith and to receive directions – knowing that you will take the necessary and appropriate practical action – then fine; otherwise it will be an error.
Let me use a personal experience to wrap up on this issue…
Practical examples from personal life
At the University, I prayed a lot, led prayer meetings and all, and also did a lot of door-to-door evangelism; especially following up on new members of the main Christian Fellowship. One day, a lady friend of mine told me that back at her hall, one of our junior course mates was giving a testimonial about me, that I was doing well in my course because I had devoted so much time to ‘working for God.’ As much as I gave the glory to God, I also laughed in my head; because that was not the full picture.
I am certain that if this junior course mate was to be called upon to write an inspirational account of my life, on this particular issue, she would just write that: “And Dave devoted his time to prayer, and doing the work of God on campus so God blessed him and therefore he did well in his Academics.” She didn’t know that in my secondary school, I had read three books that contained Zing4Life! principles on ‘How to study, and how to write and pass exams;’ and I was applying them. She didn’t know that at that secondary level I had also read a book that had Zing4Life! principles on ‘How to read very fast and still get deep meanings from the content,’ and I was applying the principles to my studies. Also, she was not aware of the many hours I was sitting up to read and to work. For most years in my life I have slept for 4 hours a day; and even anytime I was leaving for school, my dad would never tell me to study hard; he would rather say: “Make sure you are the best or among the best; and find time to sleep.” This junior course mate also didn’t know that because my Dad was an art master, most of the instruments we used in the Department of Architecture of the university, I had already encountered them and had used the same types of instruments right from age 5. And so on. All these details would have been missing, so the picture they would paint, would not have been complete. This is very common in Christianity; we tend to give ‘short-cut’ messages and ‘short-cut’ accounts. The Bible is compressed, and thus, sometimes misinterpreted; according to John 21:25 and 2 Peter 3:15-17 respectively.
I believe that God answers prayer (Mark 11:24); especially when we ask in the name of Jesus (John 9:4), and in accordance with his will (1 John 5:14). He always hears us and does his part (1 John 5:14-15; Matthew 7:7-11), and sometimes before we pray or finish praying he has already done his part (Isaiah 65:24). Where we miss it is when we have to do our part by taking the appropriate practical action, and yet we are not and are still making long prayers, or even vain babblings.
Ordinarily, or except by a miracle, God cannot give you a physical or earthly thing; He will answer you with ideas, opportunities and/or directions. As to how you turn them into the physical or earthly things you desire, it takes a lot of diligence; hardwork! Even those who would give testimonies of how God has been good to them, and blessed them with good jobs, promotions, cars, houses, and all that; follow them closely, and you will see how hard they work; they are very busy people. (By the way, those things may not necessarily imply the blessings of God) In any case, as Christians, we should target testimonies that will hit the global scale, beyond those limited to our individual needs. What must be emphasise here is that, you cannot make long prayers, and after that make the last part of Psalm 127:2 your favourite verse in the Bible (He gives His beloved sleep; taken out of context anyway) and expect things to happen for you just the way things happen for those who are working hard; with diligent hands. But let’s remember that, “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it;” as Henry Ford puts it, and as Thomas Edison has observed: “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
Situations that demand ‘prayer only’
Don’t you think some situations are specifically dealt with only by prayer as Jesus said?
Yes, as long as the issue is a spiritual one, and as long as the situation has only a spiritual cause; and Jesus indicated that some of the spiritual problems you have to add fasting to the prayers. However most of the situations that face us in our daily lives are not spiritual at all, and so in most cases wisdom, or appropriate practical action is required rather than prayer, and sometimes in addition to prayer; that is, a combination of both prayer and appropriate practical action (or wisdom)
Having mentioned wisdom, let me clarify that James 1:5 says that IF ANYONE LACKS WISDOM he should ask God (Emphasis is ‘IF ANYONE’); he did not say that everyone should ask for wisdom as a generic command. It is for only those who truly lack wisdom, that is why James said ‘IF ANYONE.’ Because lack of wisdom is a very rare problem; it is not common. What we mostly find, that could be misinterpreted as lack of wisdom, is actually lack of action, drive, enthusiasm, zeal, or simply lack of zing for life! And that one it’s easy to deal with, and that’s what my organisation – Seers Foundation – has been dealing with.
More light on the pseudo ‘lack of wisdom’
You have just indicated that “what we mostly find, that could be misinterpreted as lack of wisdom, is actually lack of action, drive, enthusiasm, zeal, or simply lack of zing for life! And that one it’s easy to deal with, and that’s what your organisation – Seers Foundation – has been dealing with. Can you throw more light on that?
Well, Thank you! Seers Foundation is an Extreme Human Resource Development Non-Governmental Organisation that is committed to grooming humanity for excellence, and raising exceptional achievers. We do research, we do training, and together with our partners, we support people with advise, funds and logistics.
Since 2006, we of Seers Foundation have made it our obligation to understand the difficulties or challenges people face, and the reasons behind these difficulties or challenges. Most importantly, we have taken up the duty to mitigate or solve these difficulties or challenges, and we do so by helping people to know and apply Zing4Life! principles, techniques and strategies. This is in a bid to complement or support what the Churches, Schools and other Organisations are doing. And we are excited about how our effort is seriously helping people. Thus, I take the opportunity to thank those who have supported us up to this time, and invite more individuals, agencies, companies and other organisations to come on board. You may click here to support us.
What Zing4Life! really is
That’s interesting! So your organisation helps people to know and apply Zing4Life! principles, techniques and strategies. And what really is Zing4Life!?
Fundamentally, Zing4Life! is… special educing body of information or knowledge; made up of simple and very insightful principles, techniques and strategies that will bring out your true or hidden potential and that of your people and get you to become… Exceptionally Brilliant, Exceptionally Creative or Innovative, Exceptionally Productive or Wealthy, Exceptionally Healthy, Exceptionally Free or Happy, and so much more | …for a truly fulfilling life!
What Zing4Life! has been able to achieve
What has Zing4Life! been able to achieve?
So much!!! Even before I give some specifics, let me say that, if you know of any great achiever in this world, or any person who is living a truly fulfilling life, chances are that the person is applying some Zing4Life! principles and practices. Indeed, countries that have developed have a critical mass of their people applying some Zing4Life! principles and practices. That is why we are advocating that Ghana (or even Africa) should adopt and implement it on a massive scale. To that effect, as an organisation, we have done pilots, and are now scaling it up.
Let me give you some testimonials; first, a personal one…
Let me add just one from the others…
Through our effort, one university student, who hitherto had financial challenges, successfully combined his academic work with a business venture he was inspired, empowered and liberated to undertake even while in school. He became financially stable, did even much better in his academics, and generally happier than ever! Before he graduated, he already had a very viable business going for him. Such a person would not add to the stream of unemployed graduates; he would rather be offering employment to other people and contributing more meaningfully towards national development.
I could go on and on but I think this should give a fair idea of the potency of Zing4Life!
When and how to balance thinking and prayer
So when it comes to thinking and prayer, when does the balance come in?
Interesting question! It reminds me of the two friends who encountered a storm in the middle of a lake; one turned to the other and asked: “Should we pray, or should we row? In other words, should we pray, or should we keep paddling?” His wise friend answered: “Let’s do both!” The two should always be in balance; but let me quickly add that thinking alone is not enough, taking action is a very necessary part. Indeed, if you are not going to take action, then thinking may even be utterly useless! As a matter of fact, prayer is one of the components in the 8-Step Creative Thinking Process that we have been teaching. And by the way, all the good things we enjoy in life have been as a result of creative thinking.
We should pray 100% and also think and take the appropriate action 100% so that the average potency will always be 100% to give us perfect results.
To emphasise, Jesus spoke a parable in Luke 18:1, that men always ought to pray and not lose heart, and 1 Thess 5:17 says that we should “Pray without ceasing;” so we have to pray always. But they never suggested (not even for a moment) that when we are praying we should not think and act. Indeed, James puts it plainly that, “Faith without works, is dead!” (James 2:14-26) And dead faith cannot produce desired results. I like how Abeku Adams puts it; that: “Prayer changes (builds) only the one praying. All other things must be changed by the one praying!” Though not absolutely, it holds true in most cases.
Even though the real essence of prayer is to deal with spiritual issues, most often through prayer we mainly receive opportunities; or our minds are opened to opportunities, so that we can take action in order to take advantage of the opportunities. Likewise, through prayer we receive directions through our thinking processes (inferring from Romans 9:1), and these directions are to help us to improve upon our actions so we can harness opportunities to our advantage even better. Ordinarily, prayer alone will not deliver any earthly or physical substance of value to you; miraculously.
The problem with the spiritual Christian
What then is the problem with the spiritual Christian?
There is no problem with the spiritual Christian who takes appropriate practical action in addition to prayer. But it is a big error to only pray and expect manner to fall from heaven, or to expect Angels to do everything for you. It does not work that way; except in miraculous situations. But note that miracles are the exception rather than the norm; they are not the normal or regular course of life, that’s why they are called miracles.
What ‘over-spirituality’ is and what brought it about
Is there any such thing as ‘over-spirituality’? If so, what brought it about?
What brought it about? A combination of three (3) main factors; I deduce…
One, our realisation that the God we serve is the all powerful God; the creator of heaven and earth and all that is in them, and able to do all things; of course, there is nothing too hard for the God of all flesh (In answer to Jeremiah 32:27) but that does not mean He will do everything for us.
The second factor is “Partial application of scriptures,” and sometimes complete misapplication of scriptures; what I call ‘The Second Crucifixion.’ And, I have a complete article on this issue; very interesting.
Take Proverbs 10:22 for instance, it says: “The blessing of the Lord makes one rich, And He adds no sorrow with it;” (NKJV) or “The blessing of the LORD, it maketh rich, and he addeth no sorrow with it.” (KJV) I noticed something very curious about the translation or rendition in the Akan and Ga Bibles; when translated into English, each of the verse 22 in the local translation mean: ‘It is only the blessing of the Lord that can make one rich. Hardwork does not add anything!‘ But is that what the NKJV and KJV are saying? No! Something is definitely wrong here; either that the NKJV or KJV is wrong, or that the Akan and Ga translations are wrong; all of them cannot be correct at the same time, since they clearly are saying and/or mean different things!
The third factor, rather painfully, is: Our inherent laziness; which is even made worse by the second factor I just described. As I explain in the article, studies have shown that, ‘Man is in constant motion towards anything that gives him or will give him pleasure and away from anything that gives him or will give him pain.’ And So when it comes to having to ‘think,‘ we do everything possible to try and avoid it, and that includes – essentially – leaving our earthly physical/practical responsibilities (supposedly) for ‘God’ to handle; by only ‘praying and observing other religious requirements’ and hardly taking the required practical action with ‘creative thinking.’ Indeed, it is more convenient to ‘overspiritualise’ things; i.e. pray and observe other selected religious prescriptions, than it is to ‘think and take appropriate action, or apply wisdom!
Let me elaborate further because one is very likely to get uncomfortable about this ‘laziness’ issue, if you consider that a lot of Ghanaians (and indeed Africans) throng to their work places on a daily basis; some jostling and sweating. It is very tempting to think/presume that they are working hard; No!
The best working definition of the kind of ‘hardwork‘ I am expecting to see in our lives is captured in a profound quotable-quote by Sir Joshua Reynolds; he says that: “There is no expedient to which a man will not resort to avoid the real labour of thinking;” or as Henry Ford puts it: “Thinking is the hardest work there is, which is probably the reason why so few engage in it.” In other words, when it comes to situations when people have to think, they are likely to do anything and everything that will help them to avoid having to think. And ‘thinking‘ here refers to ‘Creative Thinking;’ not ‘Worrying,’ and as Thomas Edison observed: “Five percent of the people think; ten percent of the people think they think; and the other eighty-five percent would rather die than think.”
Whether Africans’ setback can be attributed to the curse of Ham in Genesis
Can the Africans’ setback be attributed to the curse of Ham as mentioned in Genesis, or is it something to explain the laziness in the African or the shifting of blame on others?
First of all Africans are not under any curse! Africans’ setback is plainly the result of the lack of adequate zing for life! It should never be attributed to the curse of Ham in Genesis; unless we want to use it to explain away our laziness or blame others as you have suggested. In any case, it was Ham’s son Canaan that was cursed. But what does Ezekiel 18:19-23, say? Especially verse 20… that: “The son shall not bear the guilt of the father, nor the father bear the guilt of the son. The righteousness of the righteous shall be upon himself, and the wickedness of the wicked shall be upon himself.” Deuteronomy 24:16 also says something similar. And especially for those of us in Christ, we can go to sleep; we are no longer under the law, but under grace; Romans 6:14. There is a good reason why there is a New Testament; or a new covenant. Hebrews 7:18-19 says: “For on the one hand there is an annulling of the former commandment because of its weakness and unprofitableness, for the law made nothing perfect; on the other hand, there is the bringing in of a better hope, through which we draw near to God;” Referring to faith in Christ. Galatians 3:22-25 says something similar; something to the same effect.
Christianity is supposed to liberate us, and not to keep us in bondage, and that requires the teaching of sound Christian principles and not necessarily old cultures that are no longer applicable to us; so Jesus Christ was emphatic in John 8:31-32 that “If you abide in My word, you are My disciples indeed. And you shall know the truth, and the truth shall make you free.” Christians, let us not abide in annulled laws and cultures, let us rather abide in the word of Jesus.
So, Africans are not under any curse! African’s setback is plainly the result of the lack of adequate zing for life! And we have the opportunity to turn things around for ourselves; that’s the crusade we of Seers are leading. We want to help as many people to get to understand the principles that govern life, especially in the light of what the Bible say, and help people to unearth their true or hidden potential, and get to achieve far more than the ordinary. And when the numbers are good enough, the fortunes of Africa will turn around for the better.
How that most problems are not caused by demons
In your article, you mentioned that there are 7 sources of problems and out of the 7, one could be attributed to demons. Can you elaborate on that?
Excellent! This will throw more light on the spiritual vs non-spiritual causes issue.
Obviously all problems have sources/causes, and no matter the problem, it can be from any of the seven sources/causes of problems; individually or a combination…
- Your inefficiency or lack of experience
- Your negligence
- Other people’s inefficiency or inexperience
- Other people’s negligence
- The uncertain future
- Fearful expectations
- Schemers or evil beings (or demons)
Since you particularly singled out the last one, let me dwell a little more on it…
In 1 John 5:19, John, speaking under divine inspiration declared, “We know that we are of God, and the whole world lies under the sway of the wicked one.” That wicked one is popularly called the devil; he also, is spirit and works in the spiritual realms, as well as in the physical realms through what we will call wicked or evil people (we’ll call them so just for the period they operate; because they can be saved into saints). Apostle Peter admonished in 1 Peter 5:8, “Be sober, be vigilant; because your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour.” Apostle Paul warned thus, “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places.” – Ephesians 6:12. The devil and his people would deliberately put problems or impediments in your way just to frustrate your efforts, and your being; even to the point of destruction. But the good news is that, Christ has won the victory for us, so in all these we are more than conquerors! (Romans 8:37) | For full elaboration on all the 7 sources of problems or difficulties, you may click here.
Whether there is a time to be spiritual and a time to be ‘un-spiritual’
Is there then a time for everything, as in a time to be spiritual and a time to be ‘un-spiritual’?
Certainly there is time for everything, as Ecclesiastes 3:1-15 teaches us; but not in the strict sense of a time to be spiritual, and a time to be nonspiritual. I say this because man is spirit; man is inherently a spiritual being that lives in a body so as long as we are thinking we are interacting with the supernatural; and the 8-Step Creative Thinking Process by which we can find answers to all of our developmental problems, involve both spiritual and nonspiritual activities. But like I have already indicated, most of the situations that confront us require practical action, or a combination of prayer and action. For instance, the filth that appears to be engulfing us requires practical action; not prayer. Angels will not come and clear our filth for us; no matter how hard we pray. We will never wake up one day to see that the problems that confront us have all suddenly disappeared; unless when we die; and even then judgment awaits us – that’s another problem! You can pray with all kinds of prayer – even with the tongues of angels – and this miracle may never happen! But you can pray that God should touch the heart of men to begin to realise the unfortunate state we are in and begin to be responsible, and heed to sound advise and warnings. Even beyond that, education must go on, and laws must be enforced; and those are all practical/nonspiritual actions.
When you want a job, it’s not all about prayer; you must be able to put together a winning CV, and a punchy cover letter. You must take the step of delivering these documents and then follow up as well; while praying. I believe, as per James 2:17&26, doing these add life to your faith to get you the desired results! That is not to say that a miracle cannot happen, but note that there is a reason why they are called miracles; it is because they are things that don’t normally happen.
How that Christ is the minimum standard
Yes, Christ is the standard; except that we are not truly emulating that standard. Besides, Jesus Christ gave his disciples the indication that they could do greater than he (Jesus) did; particularly because He was going to the father; John 14:12.
We should not lose sight of the fact that before his death and resurrection, Jesus himself lived a normal practical life; Christ walked about to do his work like anybody else; he did not fly or disappear and appear miraculously on a day to day basis. Couldn’t he have just commanded things to happen spiritually instead of walking and talking to the people and all that? Of course He walked on water at a point in time (when it was absolutely necessary) and did many miracles, and according to John 21:25, many other things that were not recorded in the Bible, but it was not the normal thing for him to be walking on water on a day-to-day basis that’s why Peter was so surprised at the sight of Jesus walking on water; because on a day to day basis Jesus used the canoe just as everybody else; and so on. However, in the course of this practical life he often drew strength and direction through prayer (many times by withdrawing to a solitary place; like Matthew 6:6 recommends) so that he could accomplish the practical task on hand, and where necessary, work a miracle; and we must take cue from that. Life is not about prayer or being all-spiritual, and it’s certainly also not all about thinking and taking appropriate action alone; for us as Christians. The two must always go hand-in-hand as Jesus demonstrated.
When and how the Church should teach the raised issues
So when and how should the church teach these things; after being born again? When exactly?
Salvation is very vital; and should be the ultimate focus of the church; but the people in the church have earthly needs that need to be met and for most of them, the earthly need is a lower need in terms of hierarchy so if it’s not met it could even hinder the higher need of salvation. And so alongside the salvation message, the people must be empowered with these Zing4Life! principles and practices; which by the way are all in keeping with sound biblical principles.
I believe it is for this cause that Hebrews 6:1&2 recommends that we should leave the discussion of the elementary principles of Christ, and go on to perfection, not laying again the foundation of repentance from dead works and of faith toward God, of the doctrine of baptisms, of laying on of hands, of resurrection of the dead, and of eternal judgment.
I recommend that when a person joins the church, he/she should be given a period of orientation during which he/she will be taken through salvation and the church’s standing orders. Immediately after that the concentration should be on truly empowering the members with these and other teachings. But whilst at it, there should be a follow up team to be following up on those who have gone through the orientation alright but have not received salvation.
Whether it is the duty of the pastor to be teaching the laws and principles
Is it the duty of the pastor to be teaching these laws and principles?
Not necessarily; if they can prepare themselves adequately to teach these principles that’s okay. In any case, it is the ultimate responsibility of pastors to ensure that their members are adequately empowered; but like Jethro advised Moses (Exodus 18:13-26), they should not do it all by themselves otherwise they will wear themselves out. They can delegate the teaching of these principles to others who should be adequately prepared through a ‘training-of-trainers’ programme. We can assist in such a ‘training-of-trainers’ programme. Alternatively they can contact us to train their members for them; that will be a quicker way to empower their members. Currently we have training seminars for schools, churches and interested organisations; we call it ‘Seers Empowerment Summit.’ Leaders who are interested in having their members trained through these seminars can contact us.
The final words
As recorded in Luke 5:1-6, one day Jesus was teaching the multitudes as he sat in a boat that belonged to Simon, a fisherman. After the teaching He said to Simon, “Launch out into the deep and let down your nets for a catch.” Notice that he gave Simon sound practical advise; in terms of where to move to, at the right timing. The all night work of Simon had yielded nothing; and to Simon once what he (Simon) knew by his experience had not worked, he had given up without trying the day time option. But once Simon obeyed, and took the required action per Jesus’s direction or guidance, you know what happened! They caught a great number of fish, and their net was breaking. Practical guidance makes a world of a difference! Pray without ceasing! Yes, fast when the situation requires it. But don’t neglect the place of appropriate practical guidance because most of the challenges we face require practical guidance. I’m saying: do the latter, without ignoring the former!
My dear brother, my dear sister listening to me (reading this) right now, yes you! The truth is that, you were born to be great! You can pursue and accomplish whatever great desires you set your heart on, but then, trust me, you underestimate your capabilities, and use very little of your true potential; far less than 10%; just because you have not been taught ‘How to interpret and apply Scriptures in context,’ and ‘How to harness your true or hidden potential.’ As a result, it is highly likely; 97 out of 100 chances, that you and your people may go through ‘avoidable’ struggles and regret(s) in life, if you don’t get the appropriate help?
I believe that you now realise that there is adequate and appropriate practical guidance to help you make your life and work exceptional and much easier! What are you going to do with all that you’ve heard this morning? And if you are a Student/pupil, Teacher, Parent or Guardian, Even media person, Policy Maker; or a leader of any kind, how about harnessing more of the true or hidden potential of your people! Imagine the good that this will bring to you. Take action! Remember, “A real decision is measured by the fact that you’ve taken a new action. If there’s no action, you haven’t truly decided.”
Have a joyous time, and I am confident that as you ponder over this discussion, you will have a renewed vigour for the weeks ahead; and you will make it a point to get in touch for us to help you to unearth your true/hidden potential and that of your people. You are a blessed, so stay blessed! Amen!!!