I’m glad to share this post by my friend and brother, Batarhe Foghi, son of God, husband to my friend/sister, father to a cutie bunny and student of life. 🙂
I’m a student of life, one who reflects on simple and ordinary things that others would probably just shrug their shoulders and move on without a thought. So what you are about to read is a product of one of those introspective moments.
So you were born in a Christian home, raised in Sunday school and with all of the fascinating pictures and stories in ‘My Book of Bible Stories’. You enjoyed the stories of creation and didn’t for a moment doubt the existence of a Living God who most definitely put this splendour called the Universe in place. If you belong in this category, then congratulations to you.
Some other people may have had the ‘misfortune’ of being born to Atheist or non God believing parents, never had the bible taught to them, never even attended a primary or secondary school where Bible Knowledge or Christian Religion Studies was a subject, so they grew up a certain way, totally ignorant of the way we have found to be true but grace has led them to knowing that one true God. Again congratulations to this class of people.
Some of us were born in church, know the bible 100%, we believe there is God, but it hasn’t stopped us from seeking answers and truth to the many questions that life throws away along the journey. Some of us have strayed off in our quest for that truth. Some did find their way back but others not so fortunate. Congratulations to those who have remained thirsty and still find in God the answer to the many questions we face on our path of life.
We’ve all had our different journeys and some times, we are wont to take for granted the experiences of others because they differ from ours. Now, we will attempt to walk in another’s shoes. Imagine being born a Muslim or an Animist and raised in an environment that enforces those beliefs. You have no problem believing there is a god and you worship same with all you are. Someday someone comes telling you that your god isn’t the true God and goes on to tell you indeed there’s only one way to the true God. Imagine how stupid he might sound to you. Infact, your response might be” how dare you say my whole life’s been one huge lie?“ (cos if you tell me my god is a lie, invariably my whole life has been one big lie). You see why someone who believes in another god could be antagonistic towards you with all your sanctimoniousness. Why should he believe you? Why shouldn’t he just put a knife to your throat? Now I understand why 1 Pet. 3:15 says “Always be ready to give a logical defense to anyone who asks you to account for the hope that is in you, but do it courteously and respectfully.”
During the week a few of us took a working trip down the creeks and spent a few days carrying out our work as a team. On the final day whilst we waited a couple of hours for a chopper to take us out of a location, we got talking about evil. Whilst a good number of us spoke from a Christian’s view point with the bible as our reference, one member of the team who happened to be consulting for our company pointedly informed us of his belief or is it non-belief now? ‘I’m Agnostic’ he said. The rest of us stopped for a moment in disbelief- like “did you just joke?” we asked him, but he was dead serious. Here’s a successful young man, running his own firm, good education, and yes he attends church when he can but he’s Agnostic. For the records an agnostic is one who claims neither faith in nor disbelief in God. Someone tried to point him to the river and vegetation right around where we were as proof of there being a God somewhere, but those were lost on him. An Agnostic thinks in terms of materialism and facts as he knows them.
One question I asked him was so what if after here you die and find out there really is a God? Which is better, going through life believing God exists and living right by him and after death finding out there wasn’t a God or going through life like he is and not following God’s ways and dying only to find out indeed there’s a God. He paused… And his response was poignant. And this is typical of unbelievers. Why should I restrict myself and live a certain way when I can be out and about enjoying my life and living it to a full? I laughed and shook my head simultaneously.
But then his response made me reflect. How are we (Christians) portraying the faith? So much so that others think it’s a curse or a bore and are not even curious about the life? I asked him what he considered enjoyment and why he thinks a Christian wouldn’t be able to enjoy those and still be one. That one is a Christian for instance doesn’t mean he can’t travel the world or get married and have sex with his spouse or wear good clothes or drive good cars or do anything that’s termed enjoyment in that sense. The irony of it all is that the sinful ‘fun’ a Christian is instructed to stay off by the instruction of God’s word, is actually for his own good. If I go chasing after my friend’s wife or a single girl besides my wife, it could end up complicating my life, it could lead to the death of me. If I indulge in excess alcohol it’s to my own detriment, it could lead to health problems and even death. So you see being a Christian isn’t boring. But that ain’t really why he doubts the existence of our God. However something he talked about made me choose to share.
You may say all the flowery words you know, quote the entire scripture to an unbeliever without result. You’d probably wonder why, have you ever wondered what message your life preaches? I’ll point you to an incident in Acts 16:30 you might back up to 25 to get the story. Paul and Silas didn’t as much as preach the word to the guard before he talked to them asking how he could be saved. They could have escaped when the prison gates opened but they didn’t, this was all the guard needed to believe there was something about these men and boom they got an opportunity to minister to him and bring him the message of the saving grace of Christ and he was saved. Now it must be remembered that an entire book in the bible was dedicated to the ACTS of the apostles and indeed we were first called Christians in Antioch not so much because they could preach the word and recite scripture but because they resembled Christ, they acted like Christ would. So key take from this is for me to live a life that will speak more volumes than my words would. You never know who is looking at your life, you never know who’s wondering that there is something special about you, in living a righteous life you will be drawing men unto God and his kingdom.
Paul emphasized this in 2 Cor. 3. In Verse 2 it says “You are our epistle written in our hearts, known and read by all men. Have you ever thought of yourself as a letter? Have you ever thought of yourself as a living communication? Somebody said that the only Bible that some folk will see is you. Man may refuse to listen to the gospel but they cannot ignore your testimony of a consecrated Christian life, it just shines and leaves them confused as to the actions you take because of God in you and like the guard, they have to ask you. It was a challenge to me as it is to every Christian. We must let our Christianity (the complete, purposeful, God driven life) be visible before the world.
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