Many Christians, by their activities have turned themselves to a stumbling block to the propagation of the gospel of Jesus. Their activities rather than draw people to Christ have pushed the unsaved from coming to know the Lord. People are religiously notorious. Aside from going out to evangelize as commanded by God, our lives do more evangelism that we can think of. Our lives should be a signpost that leads others to Christ. Others should observe us and say “This is Jesus at work in his or her life”. We should allow the fragrance of Jesus go through us. That way it will be easy to tell others about him.
In Mark 14:55-64, Israel’s political and religious leaders were determined to convict Jesus at all cost. They tried to convict Jesus of a crime for which they lacked evidence. They failed because Jesus lived his life in plain sight. For every false accusation, there were lots of examples of his love and moral perfection as recorded by the bible. Despite recruiting a member of his inner caucus (Judas) to try and nail him, evidence was still lacking.
“ It appears that too many Christians want to enjoy the thrill of feeling right but are not willing to endure the inconvenience of being right”. – A.W Tozer
Many Christians align themselves to one church or the other, where they receive God’s word in faith. However, the difference between them and people of the world is yet to be seen. In Nigeria especially down South, There are churches on almost every street. Yet, Christians are yet to positively impact the nation. It is either they are not receiving the right word from the throne of Grace (the truth is not being preached there) or they have hardened their heart.
With a tag of your Church poster hanging down your neck, you are selling with a false scale or measurement in the market place all in a bid to maximise profit. Your conscious is not pricked. When your customers realise that you have cheated them; they probably won’t return nor attend your program. “After all, we are in hard times and it calls for ‘desperate’ measures” You say to yourself. There is nothing wrong in fixing any price for your goods or services. However, cheating your customers in the name of making gain should not be found among you as a believer. You swear as the heathens do with your hands on your lips and then raise it to the sky and then say “Na so we buy am”. In your place of work, your co-workers find it easy to indulge you in their nefarious activities because they know your Christianity is superficial and you cannot see money and say NO! You freely receive and take bribes. People do not see anything awkward in doing wrong where you are. You are religiously notorious; you adore your church leaders above the God you should be exalting. A picture of your pastor hangs in your living room, (Nothing bad in that!) but you are publicly ashamed of the parents God said you should honour! The God who directed you to honour your father and mother did that for a reason- Longevity on earth (Exodus 20:12)! We rather neglect them and transfer what is due to them to other spiritual leaders. An ounce of a mother is worth a pound of clergy. Honour the men of God but do not worship them. You selectively worship and obey God as you deem fit (Fornication is ok by you as long as you are not married; after all, you just have one partner!); As a medical personnel, your attitude, rather than aid the recovery of your patients leaves them in perpetual fear. You are a terror in your neighbour but on a Sunday, you wear your cloak of righteousness. You give unbelievers the impression that Christianity is a just of those social groups you belong to. They are not convinced and they won’t be attracted to your God that way.
Filling stations owners with adjusted fuel pumps yet they go by the appellation “Amazing Grace Filling station”. The Amazing Grace of God does not cover such fraud. You are an advocate of “Na where I dey work, I go chop”, so diverting company funds or property is not a big deal. Many Politicians who steal public funds are also Christians. ‘Budget Padding’ is nothing to them as long as they pay their tithe and offerings regularly. A Reverend was once a governor in the Northern part of Nigeria. He was not different from his colleagues. The EFCC has a massive fraud case against him. We have countless examples of these things in our society.
What signs of authentic faith do people see when they scrutinize our lives? Is it enough evidence to prove that God is real and draw them to Christ? When people see the following in our lives, they can be attracted to God.
- We think with a transformed mind; Express genuine love and respect constituted authority. Romans 12:1-2
- We display the beatitudes as outlined by Jesus in the Sermon on the Mount. Matthew 5:3-16
- We display the God kind of love to all and sundry. 1 Corinthians 13
- The fruits of the spirit are manifest in our lives in its entire entirety. Galatians 5:22-26
- We are genuinely concerned about others and we imitate the humility of Christ Philippians 2:1-4 ; Job 42:10
- We carry out the works of Faith and compassion. We control our tongue and exhibit Wisdom James2:14-17
- We hold on to the truth about Jesus.2 John 4;3, John 3,4 and defend it Jude 3
- We pray without ceasing and give thanks in everything. 1 Thessalonians 5:16-18
Food for thought: Do others recognise the work of God in my life? Am I spreading the fragrance of Christ? Our offering to God is to be a perfume that goes out to those who are being saved and to those who are being lost. 2 Corinthians 2:15. A godly life is a fragrance that draws others to Christ.
Samuel Onimpa Alfred
This article was first published on the 7th of May, 2017