WHAT DO YOU CARRY INSIDE OF YOU?
IN THE SECRET
Written by Banjo Isaiah
While I was serving my fatherland in faraway North-East Nigeria, Adamawa state to be precise, I was privileged to serve with the Nigeria Christian Corpers’ Fellowship as the State Evangelism Secretary in the year 2010/2011. On one of our visits to the Zones (Local Governments) to conduct an interview for the Zonal Executives, we got to a particular place and interviewed quite a large number of people.
A certain brother came in, we asked him several questions and this brother was ‘sound’ and answered most questions correctly. There were about five of us conducting the interview, but I did not ask a question from him because I had great trouble in my spirit with his person. He sounded so convincingly good. He was a perfect match for the office of the Zonal Coordinator and all my co-executive would have consented to him being the next Coordinator.
Finally, I felt led in my spirit to request for his phone. He reluctantly released it. I checked through the music store and was amazed at what I saw. Several worldly songs filled the lists. As if that was not enough, I checked through his pictures and saw some disturbing images and video of nude persons. And to crown it all, the pictures and videos were not downloaded but recorded live. This took us aback and we had to start another round of counselling, through which we discovered that he was just pretending to be born again. We led him to Christ, and of course, he did not get the position of the Zonal Coordinator. Afterwards, in our visitations to other places, it became our practice to check prospective executives’ phones to give us a clue of who they are. Some even use a password for their phones, picture gallery, WhatsApp and other social media because of the things they are hiding from the public gaze.
Your outward look and appearance may be deceiving, huge, gigantic, spiritual. The performance of acrobatic skills and gestures but the heart condition is just like a loaf of bread, tiny and inconsequential.
A man is perceived as being a real and substantive threat to his opposition not by noise making without substance, but by operating in an undeniable greater force and exhibiting a strong will even in a seemingly calm, quiet attitude.
A Yoruba proverb roughly translates to mean “a ram that retreats is not lazy. The retreat is to garner enough strength and energy for impactful damage to its opposition and contender in order to overcome”.
Likewise, it is with a man who goes on a retreat into his ‘personal space’ or war room to garner strength. He does this by going back to his source of strength which is God Almighty to recharge his battery level for optimal impact in the world he lives.
Many so-called Christians have replaced retreat for recreation and fitness exercise. The church has become a place where talents and skills are been showcased, whereas, their secret places are not been well utilized to recharge their batteries but only to embark upon illicit atrocities. There should be a re-evaluation.
Physical appearance – artificial looks, beauty, comeliness, shapes, contours, enlargements, cosmetic and dressing prowess should NEVER be the real definition of the true self of a man. A man should be defined by the content of his hearts and character towards God and towards mankind, just like Martin Luther King Jnr. said,
“I have a dream that my four little children will one day live in a nation where they will not be judged by the color of their skin, but by the content of their character”.
However, what men judge in this present time is mainly physical look and not the strength of character. Show me a man who loves God and I will show you a man who is truly handsome (inside out).
Imagine a sugar-coated, milky, crispy, chocolate icy cake with the inside is full of maggots and worms. So many believers ‘have a form of godliness but deny the power thereof’. Only God knows the state and condition of the heart of man. The heart is well hidden from sight. No man can see what the heart processes. Only God knows the intents of the heart. (Hebrews 4:12)
That is why it is easy to make the costly error of judging a man by his physical appearance. In fact, it is inherently human nature to judge through the physical appearance.
Can you imagine that even a prophet of God, Samuel, whom God always backed the words of his mouth to come to pass that none of his words ever fall to the ground (1 Samuel 3:19) was almost deceived by the physical when God asked him to go and anoint a king from the sons of Jesse after rejecting Saul.
First Samuel 3:19 said;
“And Samuel grew, and the Lord was with him, and did let none of his words falls to the ground”.
Such was the great portion of grace upon Samuel’s life. Yet, when Samuel got to Jesse’s house to anoint a king, Samuel said, “Surely, the Lord’s anointed is before Him” when he saw Eliab, the first son. Hmmnn! The great prophet Samuel was deceived by physical appearance. Eliab must have looked like a saint and probably a good replacement for King Saul. He might have smelled so nicely, have well-built body, looked energetic like a man of war, but God quickly intervened and said to Samuel, “Do not be deceived my dear son, don’t look at his physical size, appearance and look; his heart is in a dilapidated state (paraphrased)”. God sees the heart of every man. The condition of your heart speaks volume. From the abundance of the heart, the mouth speaks. The other seven sons still passed before Samuel and yet God rejected them all.
What amazes me most was the fact that, probably grace would have covered them and Samuel may have had to select who will be or not. Why? They have all just been sanctified.
1 Samuel 16:5-7,
5“And he said, Peaceably: I am come to sacrifice unto the Lord: sanctify yourselves, and come with me to the sacrifice. And he sanctified Jesse and his sons, and called them to sacrifice. 6And it came to pass, when they come, that he looked on Eliab, and said, Surely the Lord’s anointed is before Him. 7But the Lord said unto Samuel, Look not in his countenance, or on the height of his stature, because I have refused him; for the Lord seeth not as man seeth; for man looketh on the outward appearance, but the Lord looketh on the heart”.
It was Samuel (the great prophet) that conducted the sanctification exercise for these sons, they were cleaned and prepared to offer sacrifice to God and most importantly to select who among them will be anointed. But in spite of the sanctification, not one of them was qualified. All the seven sons passed by Samuel and he could not find any qualified. One can only imagine the kind of disappointment Samuel felt that day. With all of his anointing and the sanctification exercise, none of the sons still qualified for the position of kingship because God already has his own candidate who was “A Man After His Own Heart”.
Amazingly, David was not at home when the sanctification was conducted. Yet, when he came into where Samuel was, God told Samuel to arise and anoint him immediately.
David did not need “rush hour sanctification”. He was already sanctified. He already had a relationship with God. He had kept his heart pure. You do not commit leadership responsibilities to those who just did kwashiorkor or impromptu sanctification or just got born again. They misuse the power. They have not been tested yet. You do not take an untested rifle to the battlefield, you might lose your life. Likewise, you do not put a wounded soldier in charge of a battle.
In fact, the three eldest sons, Eliab, Abinadab, and Shammah were strong fighters; warriors who regularly followed Saul to battle (1 Samuel 17:13). They were committed to serving their country Israel. They were cheered by people, encouraged, praised whenever they returned back from war because they probably have the fitness and look for winning a battle. Whereas David did not have the look, men were looking for. David’s best job in the sight of people was to keep the sheep and run errands.
In 1 Samuel 17: 17 and 18, I discovered that one of David’s assignment was to take the meal to the three brothers at the battlefront and look at how they are faring. One special thing that caught my attention in verse 18 was “… and take their pledge”.
18“And carry these ten cheeses unto the captain of their thousand, and look how thy brethren fare, and take their pledge.”
“What! Take their pledge! You mean the Israelites have a pledge they observe, just like Nigeria which has a national anthem and a pledge?” This was my first reaction to that verse.
Although, looking at different parallel scriptures, the word “take their pledge” denotes “bring back a report on how they are doing – NLT; bring some token from them - ESV; bring back news of them – NASB; bring a confirmation from them – HCSB; bring something back from them – ISV; bring back their pledge that they received that they received the goods – Net Bible; Other versions like American Standard Version, American King James Version, Darby Bible Translation, English Revised Version, Webster’s Bible Translation, Young Literal Translation, all used the word ‘Pledge’ in their translation just like King James Version.
But at first, my mind went to the Nigerian Pledge and I could imagine the three brothers saying this (using the Nigerian Pledge as an example):
“I pledge to Israel my nation,To be faithful, loyal and honest,To serve Israel with all my strength,
To defend her unity,And uphold her honour and glory,So help me God (Amen).”
What a pledge, you say. But alas! Dedication, commitment, zeal and passion for God’s work does not equate to God’s approval and acceptance of being chosen for anointing. These three brothers were actively involved in defending their country, God’s own people from disunity, defeat, to uphold their honour and glory, serving it with all their might, strength and even their lives. However, in the secret place, they have been rejected by God. In the public, they received cheers and encomiums of the populace. They were macho men. But in the secret place, they were babies and toddlers, immature kids in adult body.
God had rejected them. Their zeal was just keeping them busy, but their reward was nothing. When a man shows zeal and passion for God’s work, people easily get carried away; praising him, giving him awards, rewarding him for his dedication. Yet God might be saying,
“I have rejected you, Mr. Man”.
If a man’s heart is not in tune with God, he might perform great signs, wonders and miracles, he might teach well and preach convincingly, and God might still say “Depart from me, I know you not”. May that not be our testimony in Jesus’ name.
How sad will it be for any man if after all his activities for God, he is tried and his works burnt in the lake of fire.
Everything still points back to the condition of our heart.
What is the reason, purpose and motive behind all these zeal and passion and generous giving? Your heart’s condition is what God is interested most in and not what you do outwardly. Even though your outward appearance should have been an expression of the inward content but alas, that is not the case.
Even the scripture attested to the fact that: “their mouths and lips praises me but their hearts is far away from me” (Isaiah 29:13, Matthew 15:8, Mark 7:6).
Your confession ought to be an expression of the belief in your heart. “With the heart, man believeth, with the mouth, confession is made unto salvation” (Romans 10:10).
Whatever you believe, you should confess unto salvation before many witnesses. Let people bear witness to the fact that you have surrendered your life to God. Accepting salvation should not be a secret act where people are told to close their eyes before those coming to the saving grace of Christ can do so. Let the friends and neighbours and church members see with their eyes open that you have publicly declared to live for Jesus and whenever you start doing otherwise, they will be the same people to draw your attention to the fact that they thought you have surrendered your life to Christ. They will then provide a check and balance for your character, deterring bad things from coming up again as you embark on the spiritual journey.
The need to be accountable to someone is key and pivotal to spiritual development. It aids spiritual growth and development.
God bless you for reading. For further enquiries and counselling, kindly contact me on +234 8136398694 and/or via email email@example.com.