by Eresuyi Eguae
Growing up I remember how those people we respected as Christians used to dress, as well as their general outlook. It wasn’t the most endearing sight. The general perception was that if you chose to love God, it was because you had no choice really; the world would not accept you anyway, so why not? You had no sense of style, weren’t good- looking, you were feeble in demeanour, and had probably grown up getting bullied. You were what Americans call a ‘loser’. The saying “if you can’t go to the world, stay in the church,” described you perfectly.
Over time, this began to change. I remember being challenged in my teenage years by some kid – he was 16 at the time, a year older than I was. He used to teach at a fellowship I attended (mostly because of the girls, but that’s an aside).He wasn’t the typical Christian as described earlier. He was good looking, spoke well and most importantly he could get girls if he wanted . This got me thinking. For this boy to be this way, it must mean that he actually chose this path, and was not compelled by circumstances. What was it he saw in God that kept him from wanting babes? I made a mental note of this experience.
Eventually the tables began to turn, and it was becoming cool to love Jesus – amen somebody, hi-five! What I see today however is Christianity or (the institution) church has become a social symbol. We compete against each other for cool points. We do all we can to accommodate ‘our worldly’ tendencies, so others can believe that being a Christian is cool. We wouldn’t want to disappoint them now, would we?
The danger in this, however, is that we have forgotten the God of the Church and made it about the people. This doesn’t seem to make sense, as Church is essentially made up of ‘people’. Who else should it be about, right? WRONG. The original design is this: Christ at the head and we His people the body. The body heeds to the dictates of the head (where the brain is), and not the other way round. Nobody asks God what he wants anymore. We talk about the Holy Spirit all the time but we never inquire from Him. We have set up systems that work and run with them, never bothering to ask: ‘Holy Spirit howfa, what’s today saying?’
“The wind blows where it wishes and you hear the sound of it, but cannot tell where it comes from and where it goes. So is everyone who is born of the spirit.” Does that sound like us?
These days we have Sunday medicine in church attendance – we must not miss the weekly dose. Most churches are filled with young people today but large percentages do not understand why they are there or what they are doing. Yes, Christianity is no longer ‘uncool’, but is that why we are Christians? To be fresh for Christ? I heeded to so many alter calls, but that didn’t change me; I tried to be religious – that didn’t work either. When I became serious was when I knew in my heart it couldn’t work anyway else. I had come to the end of myself and so I made decisions to be and to live a certain way everyday of every week – no Sunday-Sunday tonic.
Self deceit or pretence doesn’t help either, “if you love me you will keep my commands,” the Bible says. If you don’t do what He asks, you don’t love Him. Even if you say you do one million times, it won’t change that fact. There’s something about true worship – it’s not singing some slow melodious song and lifting Holy hands. Worship comes from obedience. Here’s an example. If an Ifa worshipper is told to walk on the beach at night, stark naked, with a pot on his head, he does it without hesitation or question. Conversely, if a Christian that claims he loves God ignores everything he is told to do (by God) but lifts holy hands on Sunday to a sweet slow song, is that worship?
We need to re-evaluate the things we do ‘in the name of Jesus’ and find our way – not backwards, because there’s nothing to return to – but forward. We need to start living as He has promised we would. Stop playing Church and start loving God. Adios!