But he who dares not grasp the thorn should never crave the rose… Anne Bronte.
Romans 8:1 was my ‘saturation scripture’ for last week. Let me break it down. A saturation scripture (actually something that was coined by a preacher I once listened to on radio) is actually a verse of the Bible deliberately chosen, memorised and given serious meditations for a considerable period of time, say for at least a week. Well, I was on a guilt trip when this scripture first dropped into my spirit. I was actually finding it very hard to forgive myself for my past misdeeds. I guess it’s actually because I’m used to owning up and taking responsibilities for my actions, so you can imagine how I must have felt with the realization of how wrong I was at those particular times in my eventful history. There are times I even wished I could physically beat myself up as if that would do anything to rewrite the past.
Well, I guess I’m not the only one guilty of what today’s reflection is about. It’s about how many of us constantly replay mental images of past mistakes even though Jesus did pay the total price for all our sins and took all the punishment we deserve. Guilt can be overpowering, especially when we see the long term consequences of our selfish choices. Rather than struggle with shame, the words of Paul, the Apostle in his letter to the Philipians should always be our comfort. Philipians 3:13-14 states “one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead, I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus”. We need to learn to leave the past in the past and choose to believe God’s words instead of our feelings. We need to realize our spirit should never be subject to our flesh and so our fleshly feelings and desires should not govern our lives. Walking according to the spirit will enable us live without the fear of condemnation, for to be spiritually minded is life and peace and they that are governed by the flesh cannot please God.
We also need to understand that God’s timing is perfect especially as regards His overall purpose for our lives. He is a God of process. The Bible declares that “He has made everything beautiful in its time.”- Ecclesiastes 3:11. As much as those mistakes might seem to come with dire consequences, we need to accept them as part of His overall plan for our good. Like someone once said, “God specializes in making music out of broken chords”, so the next time you’re thinking your mistakes are too many and it is all over for you, remember there’s always Bethel— that place of reconciliation and restoration. God’s always in the business of taking back prodigal sons and daughters and restoring their lost glory. Just tell Him how sorry you are that you left His presence, truly repent of your ways and get back on the right track again, walking not after the flesh but after His spirit. Soak yourself in His eternal mercies and let the Holy Spirit guide and comfort you all the way!
I finally got down to doing a quick re-evaluation of me so far and really could confidently beat my chest and say “against all odds, I’m still street balling”. I mean I might not be where I’m supposed to be or even where I want to be but considering the odds and prevailing circumstances, I’m doing just fine. I have managed to garner even more street confidence as we’d say where I’m from. I’ve been through the worst of times as it seems. I’ve been betrayed, backstabbed, humiliated and even downright heartbroken. I’ve done some pretty terrible things too— stuffs I can never be proud of, but through it all, God’s mercy held me. Like the prodigal son, His grace had always led me back to Bethel— the place of reconciliation and restoration.
My university days came with such a bundle of life lessons especially on tolerance, leadership and people/relationship management. I realized at some point then that my decisions and commitments would in turn play major roles in shaping my future so I tried as much as I can to be mindful of whatever I do and also try to ensure I’m at peace in my dealings with everyone. I made loads of friends, many of whom I’ve benefited immensely from even till date and although I have come to accept them as necessary for my overall character development, I also have a few friends I sometimes wished I had never met (Well, I’m not saying I hate them!).
I’ve been a graduate for a while now (na today?), yet to get a job (I mean my kind of job o!) but somehow (make hunger no kill man!) been able to make a living from my ‘hustling’ (entrepreneur ‘things’) tendencies. My lifelong passion has always been for learning (guess it’s my ever curious mind at work) and my profound love for books eventually became my food basket. I actually did found a way to make money from my passion and it’s been God all the way. He’s been my help in ages past (especially when I wasn’t deserving) and is my sure hope for a fantastic future! In Him, I move, live and do have my being.
I’m getting better, wiser and my understanding of life and people becoming deeper by the day. I’m learning to be forgiving, gracious and just towards everyone. I’m learning to smile amidst pain and confusion, trust amidst fear and betrayal and continue fighting to fulfil destiny. Trusting God with all of my plans, I take each day at a time, savour the precious moments of each day, learn from my mistakes and strive towards leaving my world a better place!
If there’s one lesson life has taught me, it is responsibility! I always tell people to be responsible especially for their actions and decisions. I tell them every of their decision is a seed into their future irrespective of the circumstances or influences that contributed to such. You will definitely answer for yourself when life comes calling (“na my wife cause am, no dey there”). Ignorance is not even an excuse. Like my friend would say, you just have to work out your ‘big picture’ with fear and trembling. Looking on to God for the understanding of His perfect will and asking Him for wisdom to decipher the right direction per time. With God on your side, victory is so certain. And as much as I believe in dreaming big and working responsibly hard to make it a reality, I also know Romans 9:16 [So then it is not of him that wills, nor of him that runs, but of God that shows mercy.] is very true. God’s mercy is key to living the overcoming life especially because life has a way of surprising us with unexpected things. We must at all times be willing to relinquish our plans and desires at His throne of grace and watch Him make miracles of our lives!