Christians are often sad and sorrowful, even when we have cause to rejoice.
Jesus was a man of purpose. He was fond of saying: “Thus it is written about me.” Therefore he set about doing everything written about him in the scriptures. He told his disciples: “All things must be fulfilled which were written in the Law of Moses and the Prophets and the Psalms concerning me.” (Luke 24:44). When he accomplished everything, he said: “It is finished.”
You cannot confuse a man of purpose. You cannot mislead a man who knows where he is going. We have to know where we are going. In order to to do this, we must search the scriptures. It is written.
According to the Word
Everything about the life of a believer must be according to the scriptures. Nothing should take place contrary to the scriptures. Thank God, the scriptures are now readily available. They are not hidden. They are no longer veiled. Believers have the Spirit of God so we can understand them.
Therefore, we don’t need to go to the Voodoo man anymore. We don’t need to read horoscopes anymore. What we need to do is to search the scriptures. All we need to know about life is there. All we need to know about the future is there.
I was ministering at a night vigil at Pentecostal Assembly in Lagos. I stood in front of a man in the first row, and the Lord told me he was covered from head to toe with “juju,” the African original of the voodoo. The Lord said: “Give the man the microphone, and ask him to tell the congregation what he has done and where he has been.”
The man admitted he had certain problems and anxieties. He had consulted a native doctor for protection. He took him through certain rituals and “covered” him with “juju.” The Lord told me to use my bare hands to remove the man’s invisible juju protection, and to warn him severely never to return again to the “juju” man: “For all who do these things are an abomination to the LORD.” (Deuteronomy 18:12).
God’s Will Be Done
Beloved, all we need is what is written in the scriptures. If it is written then it is not our will but God’s will. If it is written, then it is “father let your will be done.” Reject any and everything contrary to the will of God for your life. To have your own plan is to invite the devil into your life. But if only the plan of God is acceptable to you, then the devil cannot have a say in your life. The devil can do nothing without God’s permission.
When we are selective hearers and doers of the word, all sorts of things create spiritual crises in our lives. Even things that should be the source of profound spiritual joy become disturbing because we have no understanding of their true significance: “For whatever things were written before were written for our learning, that we through the patience and comfort of the Scriptures might have hope.” (Romans 15:4).
We are often sad and sorrowful because we refuse and are unable to receive the comfort being offered to us in the word of God. In the process, we develop immunity to the healing and transforming power of God.
In doing the will of God, John the Baptist ended up in jail. While there, despair set in, especially because Jesus did not seem inclined to do anything to effect his release. John then sent people to Jesus, asking: “Are you really the Messiah, or should we ask for another.”
Jesus asked John to use the scriptures and not his own expectations as the supreme terms of reference. “Are the things I am doing what the scriptures say the Messiah would do? If they are, then I must be the Messiah.”
The very source of the despair of the disciples on the way to Emmaus should have been the source of their joy. They were despairing because Jesus had been crucified. They were despairing because Jesus had died for them. They were despairing because their sins were forgiven them. They did not know, or chose not to believe, what the prophets had written about the Messiah in the scriptures.
Similarly, Christians are often sad and sorrowful, even when we have cause to rejoice. If only we would be more conversant with the scripture, and more in tune with the dynamics of the kingdom of God, we would not be subject to as many perplexities as we often are. The afflictions that often overwhelm us are actually proof that we are indeed sons of God.
Cleopas and his companion were selective believers. They believed the promises about the Messiah’s glory, but rejected the prophecies about his suffering. Jesus opened the scriptures to them. When he did, they saw the Messiah in the word, but they failed to see him in person. Jesus berated them: “O foolish ones, and slow of heart to believe in all that the prophets have spoken!” (Luke 24:25).
Unbelievers call believers fools for believing. Jesus calls believers fools for not believing. Fools are really people who are slow of heart to believe. Observe that Christ does not chide Cleopas and his companion for not believing the women and the angels. But he chided them for not believing the prophets. In short, he chided them for not believing the word of God.
Everything in life is as it is written in the scriptures. Nothing that happened to Jesus ever came as a surprise to him because everything happened to him as it is written. Jesus was so committed to what is written in the scriptures, he encouraged Judas to betray him because that act would fulfil the word of prophecy. Accordingly, Paul reminded the Thessalonians: “In fact, we told you before when we were with you that we would suffer tribulation, just as it happened, and you know.” (1 Thessalonians 3:4).
However, many Christians do not like what is written. Or we do not agree with what is written. Or, in some cases, we wish the word of God would not come to pass, at least as far as it concerns us. In this world, we are so used to making exceptions to the rule that we hope God would also make exceptions for us in his kingdom as a token of his love.
Is it possible that you are going through some spiritual crisis right now? Can you identify the basis of it? What answers do the scriptures provide? Alternatively, why is it that the gospel does not seem to provide a satisfactory answer to your problem?
When a man truly believes in God, it becomes impossible for his heart to be troubled. What is there to worry about when you know there is only one God and he will work everything together for your good in the end?
We only worry when we have a problem with the will of God. We only worry, when we are wrongly convinced the will of God is against our interests. Then we either wrestle with God in prayer, or we fight him in our hearts, determined to frustrate his will.