7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Sports

While the term sports is used, this gate is inherently about physical activity and wellbeing.

As Christians we can easily get so caught up discussing soul and spirit that we forget that we still have physical bodies that are a fundamental part of who we are. Physical bodies that we are supposed to wisely steward throughout the duration of our lives on earth.

 

How do we think about our bodies?

When you look at yourself in the mirror what do you see?

Can you look at yourself in the mirror?

What do you believe about your body?

Who/what shaped those beliefs?

For a people whose image and likeness comes from God, we pay far too much attention to what the world has to say over what God has to say.

The first lie ever told to humankind – that God withholds good things from us and we have to strive after them for ourselves – has woven its way into our perceptions of our bodies.

We rarely think of contentment in relation to the bodies God gave us. The height, skin tone, shape, size, gender, the sound of your laughter, you name it, are an intentional act of creation on God’s part. To think that He made a mistake with you is to think of something that is not as though it were.

The danger with that is that if you think a certain way long enough it becomes your reality – whether or not it was the truth to begin with.

What have you believed about your body?

Who/what shaped those beliefs?

What does God have to say about the body He gave you?

 

How do we speak to/about our bodies?

Out of the abundance of our hearts, our mouths speak. Internal monologue will always find an outward expression.

There are those of us who are great at complimenting others but are their own worst destructive critics.

There are those of us who are far too enamored with themselves to even take note of the value in others.

There are those of us – who never stopping to question the source of their beliefs – thrust them upon all and sundry with all the vitriol and self-righteousness they can muster.

There are those of us – who never believing in the power of their voice – won’t dare to speak life into those around them who need it.

It’s a slippery slope when we collapse our finite understanding of what is good and bad with the infinite wisdom of God.

Are you declaring life over your body? Over those close to you? Or have you been speaking death over it because you don’t see the value within you? Within those who are right in front of you?

 

How do we feed our bodies?

Do you have a healthy relationship with food?

“It’s not what you’re eating, it’s what’s eating you.”

– Janet Greeson

How much thought do you give what you put in your mouth?

The nuances of the food relationships that exist are diverse ranging from seemingly harmless comfort treats to extremes seen in starvation & malnutrition and disorders like anorexia and bulimia.

The politics of food is equally vast including everything from organic vs. GMO debates, famine relief efforts to food loss due to ineffective logistics between farm and fork.

Have you ever considered why food exists? It’s not like God couldn’t come up with alternatives to keep us alive. But here we are. A people who rely on food and water to live.

In a feeble attempt at simplicity, I chalk down the purpose of food to – a joyful fuel to sustain my body and enable me to live my God-given purpose.

Fuel because it does have a functional role to keep me healthy and strong.

Joyful because I think what we put in our bodies can and should give us joy. Especially if we consider it as a revelation of God. If all of creation bears the mark of its Maker, doesn’t that mean food – in its intrinsic nature – does too?

What labels have you given food and how have they affected your relationship with food? Where’s the point of departure from what God intended food to be to you?

 

How do we maintain our bodies?

Beyond nutrition, our bodies need to be maintained. It’s unfortunate just how many fitness conversations are centred more on looks rather than health and wellbeing. There’s nothing wrong with looking good but we were made for more than that. In any case, who’s defining what good looks are?

For all the service rendered to us by our bodies, many of us are downright unkind to them how we treat ourselves.

We’re literally living ourselves to the ground. And it shows. In the shorter life spans. In the lifestyle diseases. In the aches and pains we’ve rationalized as normal. Our bodies are screaming angrily at us but are we listening?

What changes do you need to make in becoming more intentional in taking care of your body?

 

How do we use our bodies?

When all is said and done, the point of stewarding our bodies well is so that we can use them.

But are we using them well?

We can have about as many definitions of this as there are people so let me be clear. The Potter knows what He makes His pots for.

Are we using our bodies based on our Potter’s blueprint for them?

Can we truly say that we have glorified God not just in spirit but even with our bodies – the most apparent and evident expression of our identity?

On one end, there is the danger of abuse and misuse of our bodies in our conduct and speech that in turn causes grievous harm to others…and to ourselves.

But on the other end, is the threat of a life so safely and comfortably lived that it accomplishes none of what it was designed for.

Are you glorifying God with your stewardship of your body? Allow the Holy Spirit to celebrate and encourage you in the areas where you’re doing great and to challenge and teach you how to do better in the areas that could use improvement.

This marks the end of my foray into the 7 Gates Of Society. Catch up on those you may have missed in the archives. 

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Life Givers

This gate is centered on those who deal with the business of life – both physical and spiritual. Many of them fall in the five-fold ministries (apostles, prophets, pastors, teachers & evangelists), the medical profession and those who play a critical supporting role to them.

“We’re travelers here,

Only passing through,

And every breath we breathe is coming back to you.

We’re strangers here,

I know it’s true,

That death is just a door that leads us home to You.”

– Steffany Gretzinger (All That Lives Forever)

I’ve been thinking about all the things concerning life I could write about.

About those who care for our spirits and souls through ministry and those who care for our souls and bodies through medicine.

And there’s much I could say about these things. It’s likely I will someday.

But the thing we rarely talk about concerning life – the thing we need to talk about – is death.

We don’t think about it unless some misfortune makes its way past our mental comfort barriers and brings it to our attention.

We don’t talk about it unless we awkwardly must.

We don’t deal with it unless we painfully must.

We actively avoid death and all its cohorts like our lives depend on it.

We avoid it perhaps because we’re terrified of it. But our avoidance of it only serves to increase our terror of it. Yet the one guarantee we have in life – is death. Though try we may, it’s inescapable.

For death isn’t the extreme opposite of life as we often think of it.

It’s an integral part of life, more so as believers.

Upon His resurrection, Jesus emerges victorious with two sets of keys – one set is the keys to hell. But the other – is the keys to death. Keys are symbolic of access, power and authority; whoever holds the key, has dominion.

Since Jesus has the keys to death – has dominion over death – we too, His beloved commissioned ones, have the keys and dominion over death.

So why do we still cower in fear of a shadow long defeated?

Shadows abound where light fails to shine bright.

We need to shine the light of truth on the shadow of death.

“From the fruit of a man’s mouth his stomach is satisfied; he is satisfied by the yield of his lips. Death and life are in the power of the tongue, and those who love it will eat its fruits.”

– Proverbs 18:20-21 ESV

We greatly underestimate the power of our speech and our silence when in truth we have power over life and death. Consider for a moment, the words you’ve spoken/written thus far today and the impact they’ve had on the people and/or situations that received them. Consider your moments of silence and the impact of the same. You wield more power in your tongue than you give yourself credit for. Remember – you’re made in the image of a Creator who spoke the world into existence.

The most common understanding of death is physical demise. Most of us have experienced this in some measure through the loss of a loved one. All of us will experience this someday when our time on earth is done.

Our view of life on earth lends to our view of death. Do we consider our lives on earth as the highlight reel of all we’ll ever get to experience as human beings or just one of many beautiful frames of our eternal existence? If we really do believe in eternal life aka life after death, then we must ask ourselves why we treat death as though it is the utter end and has the final say on our lives.

Just as birth is the door that leads us from eternity into time (on earth), death is the door that leads us out of time back into eternity. It is nothing more than a point of transition from one form of existence to another.

The other form of death is spiritual – lack of fruitfulness and vitality in an area of our lives. This can be caused by a variety of things in the present – ignorance, choices made by you, choices made by others that affect you, etc – or in the past – it’s not just the good stuff that is passed down generations. Decisions and decrees from somewhere along your lineage can bind you in the present day.

Spiritual death is like cancer. Though it begins in one area of your life, it doesn’t remain there. Unless contained and addressed, it spreads far and wide like a ravaging wild fire. So what may have started as an issue of bitterness and anger can end up as financial ruin.

“For those who live according to the flesh set their minds on the things of the flesh, but those who live according to the Spirit set their minds on the things of the Spirit. For to set the mind on the flesh is death, but to set the mind on the Spirit is life and peace….For if you live according to the flesh you will die, but if by the Spirit you put to death the deeds of the body, you will live.”

 –  Romans 8:5,6,13 ESV

Sometimes death is necessary.

There are things in us that need to die.

There are things in those we love that need to die.

There are things in those and that which God has placed in our stewardship that need to die.

There are things in our collective lives that need to die.

They need to die that we might live.

We need to let them die – decree death over them and bury them if we must – that we may live.

We can’t afford to have a place in our lives for anything that causes us to not live in the abundance God desires for us.

This is a difficult trade-off for many because the choice is often not between good and bad/evil but between good and God; between what you think will work for you and what God knows for sure will work better. It comes down to a question of whether you trust yourself or God more.

Understanding death in whatever measure – big or small – doesn’t take away the reality of loss and the need to grieve. That Jesus wept for Lazarus even knowing full well he would rise again should give us pause. We need to let people grieve. We need to let ourselves grieve. Whatever shape or form it takes in the presence of God, we need to go through the journey of loss and letting go.

We need to go through it, but we cannot afford to build a permanent dwelling place in it. For it would mean that we have given death permission to define our lives in a way it was never meant to. Our grief must always be undergirded by the truth of who God still is us and who we still are in Him even in death.

As with everything under the sun, death has its time and season. It has its place.

If we are in tune with the heart and mind of God, then we will know when it is time for life and when it is time for death. We will know when to speak life and when to decree death. We will know when to lay dry bones to rest and when to command them to live again. We will know when to disregard pronouncements of life full of good intention but devoid of God’s purpose for any promise of life outside His presence can only result in ultimate death devoid of purpose; and we will know when to stop death in its tracks when it is spoken over us by broken people who don’t know any better.

“Jesus called his twelve disciples to him and gave them authority to drive out impure spirits and to heal every disease and sickness….Heal the sick, raise the dead, cleanse those who have leprosy, drive out demons. Freely you have received; freely give.”

– Matthew 10: 1, 8 ESV

I believe this call is as relevant today as it was then. The same Jesus who called the twelve calls on us today. The same Spirit who found a dwelling place among men and women during the Pentecost and enabled them to do the work Christ had set for them dwells in us to help us do the same.

If you knew with every fibre of your being that you carried the power of life and death in you, how would you live your life?

Go live that way.

Because you do.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Finance, Commerce & Industry

Most of this post is going to flat-out be about money.

Because we have a major problem with our perceptions about money and wealth as believers. And if we can find freedom in God’s truth then all other related matters like industry and commerce will align.

First things first.

“But godliness with contentment is great gain. For we brought nothing into the world, and we can take nothing out of it. But if we have food and clothing, we will be content with that. Those who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge people into ruin and destruction.  For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil. Some people, eager for money, have wandered from the faith and pierced themselves with many griefs.”

1 Timothy 6:6-10 NIV

Money is NOT evil. Wealth is NOT evil.

It is when money is enthroned above God in a person’s heart, that it leads to “all kinds of evil”.

There is legitimacy in the prosperity gospel – not in how it’s commonly made reference to and exemplified but in how God intended prosperity to be.

“But seek first the kingdom of God and his righteousness, and all these things will be added to you.”

– Matthew 6:33 ESV

I listened to a sermon once where the preacher asked in reference to this verse – do we not expect God to hold up His end of the bargain? If we seek God first and surrender our lives to Him wholly to be in right standing with Him, do we not expect Him to add all these things to us – including prosperity?

Do we think God’s promise to be so fickle that we are relegated to strive to meet our end of the bargain while He denies us His goodness?

Isn’t that the root of the first lie mankind believed in Eden? That God wants to withhold good things from us and we have to strive for them to get them by our own means.

Here’s the kicker of Matthew 6:33. The verses that precede it are literally about material needs and material provision.

“Therefore I tell you, do not be anxious about your life, what you will eat or what you will drink, nor about your body, what you will put on. Is not life more than food, and the body more than clothing? Look at the birds of the air: they neither sow nor reap nor gather into barns, and yet your heavenly Father feeds them. Are you not of more value than they? And which of you by being anxious can add a single hour to his span of life? And why are you anxious about clothing? Consider the lilies of the field, how they grow: they neither toil nor spin, yet I tell you, even Solomon in all his glory was not arrayed like one of these.  But if God so clothes the grass of the field, which today is alive and tomorrow is thrown into the oven, will he not much more clothe you, O you of little faith? Therefore do not be anxious, saying, ‘What shall we eat?’ or ‘What shall we drink?’ or ‘What shall we wear?’ For the Gentiles seek after all these things, and your heavenly Father knows that you need them all.”

– Matthew 6:25-32 ESV

Those are the “these things” Jesus is talking about. Because God is practical like that.

Yet our posture as believers towards our fellow brothers and sisters and Christ concerning wealth is often skewed to impractical proportions.

If you’re experiencing hardship and poverty (literal or figurative), the Lord has abandoned you. (And you must have done something to make Him do so.)

If you’re experiencing prosperity and have abundance of wealth (literal or figurative), you have abandoned God in order to get it.

One would think the middle ground to be a safe bet but – who exactly determines what the right balance of poverty and wealth is? There seem to be as many ideals as there are opinions on the matter.

We condemn people in their poverty and further condemn them in their prosperity. There’s just no winning.

Nani alituroga? Who bewitched us?

Seriously though, it’s probably because much of our thinking and beliefs about money is based on lies and human wisdom that yields confusion and division not the constant truth of God’s heart and mind that brings forth oneness and clarity through divine wisdom.

So how much money/wealth is too much for a believer to have?

The most profound answer I’ve come across about this came from Bill Johnson who simply stated (paraphrased): If 1000 shillings is what will cause you to stray from God, then you should always ensure you never have more than 999 shillings. If 10,000 shillings will make you forget God, then never hold onto more than 9,999 shillings.

It’s that simple.

And please, if you can only handle 999 shillings and someone else has the grace for 999,999 shillings celebrate that you both have grace that abounds. Don’t get mad at them for having something you don’t and try and make your limitations theirs. Seek God to find the revelation in your one talent and you may be surprised that it is just as valuable as five talents. And that if you are faithful with the one, you will grow in capacity to handle the many. For all you know, the one with the five started with one just like you.

Money is a problem if it’s taking you away from God; not if it’s one of the things that He’s added to your life as a result of your pursuit of Him. Not if He’s using that money to build His kingdom through you. Not if He’s using that money to sustain your family as per His blueprint, because family is the basic unit of kingdom.

There are revelations about God to be found in prosperity that the Body of Christ and the world need. Divine wealth and prosperity is a spiritual reality and to be frank, for all the exaltation we give it, money is at the very bottom of that ladder.

There are things that all the money in the world cannot buy you. Righteousness. Peace. Joy. Faith. Hope. Contentment. Health. The list goes on.

Money may get you a semblance of these things but they’ll never seem to be enough – you’re left constantly wanting for more while desperately holding onto what’s already in your hand. You’re left emptier than you were found.

That’s why I believe God would have us seek Him FIRST above any other thing – because He is a constant source of what we need and what we desire. He is the well that doesn’t run dry. And while money can be a good thing, it’s not the best thing He has to offer us. There’s so much more to Him that we have access to in Him.

Another key factor many of us as believers are unaware of is the spiritual parallels that mirror the physical realities of money. In fact, it is the spiritual reality of money that determines what is physically manifested concerning it.

Money in and of itself is an object; a vessel. It inherently doesn’t have the power give life or to corrupt it but it does carry the spiritual nature of the one who bears it. Legal right in the spirit extends to money and other forms of wealth.

That’s why it’s not enough to just physically give money/wealth in kind in a church. It’s far more a spiritual transaction than it is a physical one. If you don’t have spiritual awareness of what you’re doing, if you’re spiritually not open to making that transaction, then your transaction will be amiss. Think of it like trying to swipe a card to make a payment but the card gets declined because there isn’t enough money on the card account. If your spiritual bank account is devoid of revelation, you can’t make transfers from it.

The same goes for transactions outside of church. Personal transactions. Business transactions (commerce). Governmental transactions made by leaders on behalf of governments.

When that money is used to build institutions – families, schools, businesses, nations (industry) – the nature it carries will get transferred to the things being built with it.

Why do we think that money only matters when we’re giving it to God but is of no consequence when we’re dealing with people/businesses?

There are believers struggling with spiritual and financial impoverishment because of the ignorance with which they’ve made wealth transactions in the present and in the past. And no, I’m not going to give you a number to send money so I can make a prayer to wish all your problems away. Definitely not how this works.

God is keen to check on your awareness and wants to give you revelation of what you’re getting into. The devil, however, is more than happy to capitalize on your ignorance and will even invest in maintaining your foolishness.

“Bread is made for laughter, and wine gladdens life, and money answers everything.”

– Ecclesiastes 10:19 ESV

Money does not solve problems. It gives answers not solutions. Sounds paradoxical but let me explain. If a beggar comes to me today and asks me for money for lunch, and I give them money, it has provided an answer to their immediate predicament – they now have the ability to buy lunch. But what happens tomorrow? The answer I have given using money is temporal. What is needed is a permanent solution – one that addresses the root of the problem not just the symptoms. Say, if I were to find out their skill set and help them find a job, then they have a way to not just buy today’s lunch, but to sustain their entire livelihood. The solution I have provided through wisdom is far-reaching.

We like to throw money at problems. Even as believers. But never will it yield the solutions we need to fully address the problems facing us as individuals, families, businesses and nations. It will not give us the maturity we need to be the sons and daughters creation is groaning out for.

We need God. We need the divine wealth He has to offer that transcends money and the answers it could provide.

And that brings us back to where we began.

Seek first the Kingdom of God and His righteousness, and all these things shall be added unto you.

Whatever that looks like to you.

Whatever it means giving up and letting go of.

Whatever it means embracing wholly.

Seek God first.

Full of expectation that every other thing will be given to you, in time and season.

 

P.S.

I didn’t delve much into offerings, tithes, first fruits, etc but they’re a fundamental part of any Christian transaction concerning money. Don’t just throw your money into the offering basket without revelation. My spiritual father covered the topic beautifully and wholesomely some years ago in a 6-part series linked below:

http://infemi.org/search/?q=the+prelude+and+object+of+giving

P.P.S.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Media, Arts & Entertainment

“Above all, do not fear your strength. Glorify God with it.”

– Lisa Bevere

If ever there has been a gate that has been outrightly dismissed as ungodly and unsalvageable, it’s this one. Perhaps it’s second only to the Gate of Government given the opinions people hold about politics.

I get it. When Satan was still Lucifer – an Angel of Light – this was his domain.

And as creatives, our greatest Achilles’ heel is wanting others to worship us (our gift). Exalt us (our gift) above others. It’s what led to Lucifer’s downfall and it’s has similarly led to many a wrecked artist life.

However, the possible danger of downfall doesn’t qualify us to altogether abandon our nature and our mission. It’s a call for us to be all the more dependent on the One who has called us. Because the power of the Holy Spirit in us, is far greater than the power of the devil working in the world around us. If Jesus’ death and resurrection was powerful enough to break the chains of death, you want to tell me rock music as a genre is somehow beyond His reach and power?

C’mon now.

Media

Power belongs to the one who controls the flow of information and the narrative of the same.

We live in a world where that power has been somewhat cascaded down to individuals with all the advancements made in the digital sphere. With a social media account, you can voice your opinion about pretty much anything in the world.

With power and influence, comes responsibility.

Sadly, I don’t think our sense of responsibility has grown as quickly as we have been to hop onto the social media bandwagon. There’s plenty of material out there with a lot of thoughtful Christian commentary about this that I don’t want to get into right now.

But I will say this – if your use of social media glorifies self, others or things, more than God, then you may need to rethink why you’re there. It’s not as straightforward as many may think. And it doesn’t mean that you can’t have fun and glorify God at the same time.

Arts

The arts are a gateway used to express the beauty that is in the world. And in a world where so much seems to go wrong, and stay wrong, on a daily basis, being reminded of the beautiful, wonderful things that still do exist is a powerful thing.

Christian talk majors a lot on faith and rightfully so. But often, hope ends up by the wayside despite it being the anchor that keeps faith steady. Think about it. Faith is evidence in the unseen. You have to believe in and look forward to the possibility of something different from what already is, for you to have faith.  And as Jenn Johnson puts it: “hope is the joyful expectation of good”. You can’t have faith without hope.

And if there’s one power art has – it’s the ability to give hope.

It’s a double-edged sword though, because it equally has the ability to crush hope.

The difference comes in who art tells you to have hope in.

Hope in a person, humanity, in man-made solutions, in the world, in anything exalted above God is sinking sand. None of those things are constant. As human beings, we can be as fickle as we can be resolute; a shift that can occur within moments.

Hope that enthrones God as Lord over all, is the steady rock our lives need to be built on. Because God is constant. His nature doesn’t waver and hope that is placed in Him will not put us to shame.

That’s why creators need continual revelation of the Creator. The One who started it all. That in all our diverse expressions of art we would exalt the One who is worthy of glory. That our art would be first and foremost a response of worship to our Maker. For out of that posture, will flow life-giving hope.

Entertainment

Those close to me will tell you that one of my biggest pet peeves is Christian entertainment or I should say, lack of good, excellent Christian entertainment.

I’m not talking about the gospel – the let me tell you/testify about Jesus stuff.

I’m talking about entertainment – the let’s have fun, thoughtful, impactful moments of relaxation in God’s presence.

*This differentiation is for the purpose of this post. People categorize these things in varying ways.*

I get amused by the argument that all Christian musicians should only sing gospel songs; I have to restrain myself from pointing out the existence of Song of Songs in the Bible just to see what they’ll say about that. Especially considering there are one too many “gospel” songs out there that while they have several mentions of Jesus are absolutely devoid of revelation, power and authority. They’re just clanging cymbals, to borrow the words of Paul.

Christians need wholesome entertainment too. At least, I know, I do. And I consider Christian entertainment done right as an expression of Sabbath – the rest of God.

A lot of the stuff I’ve encountered in the name of Christian entertainment, is quite frankly, somewhat doctrinally correct, but almost always stiff and boring. It’s painful to watch/read/listen to. And that’s when it exists. Because half the time it’s not even there. Case in point, Christian entertainment from an African perspective and context.

I think we struggle with creating great Christian entertainment because entertainment is something that we often consciously and unconsciously ascribe to the devil. Somehow we decided that the devil gets all the fun exciting stuff and we get the boring straight-laced stuff. Not sure how that works out considering our God is the author of joy not the devil. When did we make the pursuit of divine joy sinful?

I long to hear love songs composed by believers who have the revelation of love AND SEX – from God’s perspective; that speak of commitment and faithfulness as God intended it to be; that depict man and woman as healthy sexual beings and marriage and family as divinely inspired institutions.

I long to read/watch great love stories that actually portray how human beings function – how romance can and should look like when it’s overshadowed by God. Not these let’s-keep-the-Holy-Spirit-distance-from-each-other type things out there. I look at how Christian characters are portrayed in some Christian books and movies and I find myself wondering – who lives like that, who reasons like that, who has it altogether perfectly like that – because I sure don’t.

I long to see mystery and fantasy, the world of angels and demons, broken down accurately in movies and books by believers who know the truth of that dimension. Because Hollywood is doing too good a job of making the bad guys look good and the good guys look bad.

I long to be able to relax with a good book or a good movie without having to filter through multiple subtle themes that are a misrepresentation of God’s heart and mind. If anything, even in that moment of rest and relaxation, they reveal God anew to me.

I want to be entertained and find rest in works that exalt God especially in their fun, exciting, breathtaking expression!

My heart aches for accurate representation of the Christian life that can be messy but is always worthwhile; for characters who aren’t always confident in themselves or even in God but who work their way through circumstance into truth; for real-life questions and issues to be tackled from God’s perspective.

I don’t expect Hollywood as a whole to produce Jesus-centric content when they don’t even know Him. They’ll reflect whoever is enthroned in their hearts.

It’s not enough for us to complain when something we don’t like/agree with comes out of Hollywood. Where are our truth-filled alternatives? I’m thankful for the believers God has planted in Hollywood who are actively working towards His purpose.  But we can’t leave it to the proverbial two or three gathered there. As Christians, we all have a mandate to be witnesses of who God is and what God does to the world; we have a mandate to be accurate representations of God to the world around us.

I know there’s some good, solid, excellent Christian entertainment out there. But the options are few and far between. We need more labourers in the field. Labourers who are skilled by the Lord, who carry His wisdom to do the work and who are confident of the One they serve.

I have my marching orders for this field. And in the right time and season I’ll be all over the land of Christian fiction. In the meantime, I’m sowing my seeds and preparing for harvest.

If the strength God has put in you is in the areas of media, art and entertainment, above all else, do not fear your strength. Do not shirk it as a vice of the enemy when your Maker placed it in you and called it good. Glorify God with it. Allow Him to teach you and mould you in the way you should go. Allow Him to position you where you are best equipped to stand.

It is your relationship with and revelation of God that will keep you from going down the same road Lucifer did. If God was faithful to start a good work in you, He is equally faithful to keep you as you express it and bear witness to His heart and mind for all the world to see and know He is indeed God.

Do not fear your strength.

Glorify God with it.

“Any area of your life that is not infused with hope is under the influence of a lie.”

– Bill Johnson

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Education, Science & Technology – Part 2

“In my top 10 things to be done in Africa is to revolutionize the teaching of Mathematics! At High School I was so bad at maths, I did not even sit the “Mock Exam”. I was brilliant in the languages, and social subjects. Two years later I taught myself maths and went to engineering school. Never allow your child to accept that they are not good at something. More often than not it is the way a subject is taught. Rather try to help them with other teaching methods, and encouragement. Let’s help our African schools build up their capacity to teach maths.”

– Strive Masiyiwa (Founder & Executive Chairman of Econet Wireless Group)

 

 

[Last week, I tackled the field of Education at length in the Gate of Education, Science & Techonology -Part 1.]

If you know who Strive Masiyiwa is and what he’s been able to accomplish in the field of telecommunications, then you understand why the fact that he taught himself Maths is a big deal. (If you have no clue, make your way to his Facebook page and camp there for a while.)

There are battles we are born into, grow up in and are somehow expected to keep fighting. If you ask why the battle is, you’re simply told it’s how it’s always been and will always be so you better pick a side and fight.

Those are the kinds of battles where I put whatever weapon has been handed to me down, take a step back and starting asking even harder questions.

I’ve grown up in a society where sciences are taken seriously and arts are laughed out of the room. Sciences are to be done by those who excel academically while arts are to be left to those who are intellectually weak. Sciences are vital to the survival of man but arts are whimsical expressions to help us pass time. Sciences are the backbone of a nation’s economy but arts are evidence of the breakdown of society.

The sciences are often pitted against the arts in a battle of supremacy regarding which is more significant and worthy of esteem than the other.

It’s a nonsensical battle as far as I’m concerned.

The Kingdom of God needs both the arts and sciences expressed to the full extent of their God-given nature.

Our first introduction to the universe and to God in Scripture is the story of creation where we see God incorporating both science and art as He forms the earth and all in it. He is revealed to us as a Creator who is also a Scientist.

So as believers, why would we elevate one above the other, when both are a beautiful expression of our Maker? Are we trying to suggest that those who the God fearfully and wonderfully made as artists and called them good, are somehow less than those He also fearfully and wonderfully made as scientists?

Science needs a level of imagination and creative thinking if innovation is to happen. Art requires the finite disciplines of science to find expression. It is art that enables the language of science to be spoken with beauty that even a child can comprehend.

How we are taught and teach others to look at the relationship between the sciences and the arts needs to radically change. We need to start building bridges between the two fields instead of arrogant walls.

There was a TV Show called Numbers that was on air between 2005-2010 that made me wistfully long for a change in our education of the sciences. The show is centred on the lives of two brothers – one a detective, the other a maths prodigy who works as a professor – and how the latter helps the former solve his cases and catch criminals by applying relevant math theories.

Every time I’d watch an episode I couldn’t help but think that if I was taught Maths that way –with real life contexts – I probably would have enjoyed it more. Heck, I was sorely tempted to vavavoom myself into a mathematical genius who solves crimes in real life. It was abundantly clear why Maths mattered and how it could be important to my everyday life. Not so much, in our theory-filled, cramming-prone, exam-driven classes; (which I talked at length about in The Gate of Education, Science & Technology – Part 1).

Yet, all around me are intersections of art and science not as competitors of one another but as complementary comrades. As a creative, so many of the tools I use to express my art were invented using scientific principles and rely on science to function. So many of the technical aspects of those tools are made aesthetically pleasing using art. My everyday life as a human being is overflowing with the benefits of science and technology.

It doesn’t have to be one or the other. We can have and appreciate both.

Yes, even with the age old myth that art doesn’t pay. Nay. Art can pay. Plenty. But it requires a certain type of vision to run art as a successful business. But that’s a whole other post for another day. (Look out for the post on the Gate of Media, Arts & Entertainment next week.)

My prayer is that we would cease using science and art as weapons against each other and acknowledge the necessity of both in our lives. That we would learn that advocating for one shouldn’t have to be at the expense of the other. There is enough room for scientists and artists to co-exist in this world. If anything, when they thrive peacefully and honorably together, the miracle of creation happens all over again.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Education, Science & Technology – Part 1

“The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write, but those who cannot learn, unlearn, and relearn.”

– Alvin Toffler

I have mixed feelings about my years in the 8-4-4 system.

On the one hand, I had key experiences – good, bad, and ugly – that shaped who I am today. In hindsight, I can see all the ways God was preparing me even then for the purpose He has for me.

But on the other hand, some things just sucked. Big time.

Like the fallacy we were fed about how good grades are the (only) key to a successful and happy life. It’s no wonder so many graduates enter the marketplace holding up their shiny good grades and expecting the world to bow at their knees.

I get amused when the generations that precede us get mad at our entitlement. Thing is – we weren’t born with it. We grew into it over the years when you constantly told us that our good grades are what we needed to make it in life. Heck, some of the most common questions that get asked at family gatherings are about school and grades; not even basic wellbeing. We met our end of the deal and got the good grades. So where’s the fancy life you inadvertently promised us? If there was more to it than the grades, maybe perhaps you should have told us?

Good or bad, we are a product and reflection of the choices you made in our upbringing. Yes, certain grades do open certain doors to certain opportunities; but they don’t guarantee success. Many of us learned that the hard way when we found ourselves academically certified for the marketplace but sorely lacking in the life skills we need to survive there. Not to mention, ill-equipped to take a stand as believers.

I was good at passing exams.

At a very early age I discovered what worked for me and what didn’t. I wasn’t like one of those “geniuses” who could just sit in class, absorb and retain all the information. I learned and remembered best when I read stuff on my own.  Such that the classroom only served as a reinforcement of what I had studied for myself. And it worked. For me.

Yet there were far too many unfortunate instances when I became the comparison stick used by teachers and parents to beat down on my classmates, and worse still, my friends, in the name of encouragement. The assumption being that if they did whatever “magical” thing I was doing then they would get the same results I did. Not necessarily. How I wish that time had been spent figuring out what worked well for them so they could do well on their terms.

I was good at passing exams. But that didn’t always translate into being good at learning. Because when you’re in a certain grade bracket, an unrealistic expectation is thrust on you to always be at 100%. Anything less isn’t good enough. So you walk around being the “failure” who got 96%. Yet, nobody gets a perfect score all of the time. Talk about an epic fail in life lessons. *rolls eyes*

I know my teachers meant well. Really. But their good intentions were pretty rough on my pre-teen heart. I had to make the decision to set my own goals and standards of academic success because if I kept allowing others to do it, I was going to be the miserable “96% failure” for the rest of my life.

In the throes of a decade-early quarter-life crisis, I once asked an adult I respected why it was necessary for me to get certain grades. I was told to just get the good grades and the rest would work itself out later.

Yeah, right. Thanks for that magnificent non-answer.

I stopped asking. Out loud that is.

But internally my query continued. I didn’t know it then but what I was searching for was purpose. My purpose. Something to make the challenge and the effort worthwhile. Something beyond a flashy car, title and corner office to work towards. It took me a few more years but I eventually found my purpose and made peace with it.

When I look back at where I came from, where I am today and what I had to do and go through to get here, my heart breaks for those currently in the education system and those who made it out but still have no clue why they’re on this earth. One of the biggest challenges in the marketplace is the sheer number of people who don’t know who they are or what they’re capable of (and I don’t mean the good car, house et al, I’m talking about world changing stuff). More so, believers.

We’re labelling children stupid for not getting to a certain grade bracket. Sometimes it’s said out loud. Sometimes it’s said in silence, in actions and even inactions. In the nudges to one career path and not another. In the lack of faith and investment at the direction of their dreams.

 “Everybody is a genius. But if you judge a fish by its ability to climb a tree, it will live its whole life believing that it is stupid.”

– Albert Einstein (attribution is challenged online, but these days, what isn’t? *sigh*)

No one is stupid. God is both wise and knowledgeable. He created us in His image. As branches connected to the Vine, we become wise and knowledgeable too. We are uniquely created, however, and that is expressed even in our learning interests and abilities.

The nature of many education systems is that they have very specific learning templates that work for some and not for others. I can’t entirely find fault in this because one would be hard pressed to find a man-made system that works for everyone. Nonetheless, multiple learning models have identified different methods by which people learn best that inherently affect how they can best be taught. One of these models is the VARK model that identifies visual, auditory, reading/writing and kinesthetic learners. The issue here isn’t our willingness or ability to learn, it’s the method by which we go about it. A learner is thrown into the model available (especially economically) when in fact, in an ideal situation, the model should be tailored to work for the learner.

I know people who were average students in class but put them in the arts or in a sports field and they come alive. Sometimes it has to do with their interest and abilities. But sometimes, it’s also a question of the difference in how they’re taught in class and the hands on training they get in a drama/music class or in a sports field. Where the latter works better for them than the former.

There’s a new education system being phased in in Kenya and I’m reserving my comments about it because I haven’t experienced it as a student, teacher or parent and I’m still doing my research and prayer about it. I will say this. The answers for us as believers ultimately lie not in a system but in our God. If we exalt a system, whether this new one or even a Christian one, above Him, we are bound to fail. We need the wisdom of God to build aright. Especially when we’re raising people.

We choose (read: have them chosen for us) career paths based on grades not divine purpose. Based on my primary school grades, I was supposed to be a doctor. HA! Thank God, that got thrown out of the window quickly. Not because there’s anything wrong with the medical field, but because I’m not divinely configured for it, which means I have zero grace to fulfill God’s mandate in that field. Don’t get me started on this notion about “smart” people and “serious” careers. I’ve had my path questioned by people who thought I was letting my potential go to waste by going into the arts. Let’s talk in the next decade or so and see how wasted my potential is.

School doesn’t give us purpose. Neither do grades. God does. I believe learning is supposed to equip us for the purpose God has deposited inside each one of us. Learning needs to happen not just in school, but at home and everywhere else. Learning is the conscious effort to take in new knowledge, gain understanding of it and use wisdom to apply it to manifest our God-given purpose. It happens not in a few seasons of structured teaching but for the entirety of our lives.

I think we need to go beyond teaching information. We need to teach and be taught how to learn, unlearn and relearn. Not just in general terms but in a way that is relevant to us as individuals and to our respective kingdom assignments. It doesn’t surprise me that teaching is one of the offices Jesus gifted the Body of Christ. (Note: There’s a difference between classroom teaching and kingdom teaching; and not everyone who teaches in the classroom is called to the office of teaching.) If you think about what that entails, it’s a lot. And it really does take a kingdom community to raise up a child of God in this manner.

So where does that leave us?

Education and learning can no longer be assumed to be the sole mandate of teachers and parents. Everyone in the Body of Christ has a role to play.

Teachers, my heart goes out to you. I come from a family with a pretty good number of teachers in it. So does my husband. I’ve caught a glimpse of life on the other side of that desk and I know the challenges are immense. As a believer, you have the divine ability to speak life not just over the students in your care, but their families as well. Your role is critical because children spend so much of their childhood and early adulthood with you. You can create an ecosystem that allows them to thrive despite the prevailing circumstances you and your students are in. The Holy Spirit can do what your institution, union and the government cannot and/or will not do. He can reveal to you who each of your students is in the realms of the spirit. He can pour out His presence and wisdom and cause there to be wholesome equipping. Is it easy? No. Will it cost you? Yes. Is it worth it? Absolutely.

Parents, even with learning and education, the buck stops with you, not with teachers. It saddens me when I see a level of volley balling happening between some parents and teachers concerning who is responsible for certain levels of learning concerning their children. At some point, my mother realized that the path God had me on was beyond her knowledge and experience. I had questions she honestly just didn’t have answers to. But she didn’t just raise her hands up and shrug. She didn’t point fingers at my teachers. She called on heaven to lead and guide me. She spoke life and wisdom into me like my life depended on it, and it did. The spiritual power and authority that parents have over children is unrivalled. Don’t allow the devil to have a field day with your child (ren) because he knows their purpose better than you do and he’s more active in their lives than you are. They really do need your active presence more than an X figure pay check. I’m yet to meet one child who would pick money (and the things that come with it) over time with their parent (s). There’s an impartation that only you can give them as their parents and you need to be present to actively do so.

To the believer in the marketplace and at whichever one of the seven gates who has a few cocky graduates and/or seeking (purpose) workmates in their sphere of influence, ask God for wisdom on how to handle them. You don’t need to shove Jesus down anyone’s throat. There are better ways to bear witness. For kingdom learning to happen in the marketplace, we need believers who are ready to take people under their wings and journey with them. We need fathers and mothers in the marketplace to raise sons and daughters who can take a stand for the kingdom at their gates and who are able to steward their inheritance with strength and wisdom.

To you who made it through whatever education system you were in and feel a little lost and short changed as you try and navigate through the marketplace, it’s not too late. The graciousness with God is that He finds us where we are but doesn’t leave us there. There are resources available to help you. The greatest of whom is the Holy Spirit. He is your Helper. Spend time with Him.

To you, who’s reading this and is still in the education system, take heart. God’s purpose for your life won’t be derailed because the system you’re in isn’t perfect. In His presence, you will find the knowledge, wisdom and understanding that you need to make the system work for you. Take time to continually seek Him. Seek first the kingdom of God and His righteousness and all things pertaining to your purpose will be added into your life. I’ve seen this principle work in my life over the years.

To all of us, as believers in One Body, we need to arise. We need to stand with the members of our Body who are in the gate of education because theirs is a battle and a half. For instance, how often, as parents, do we pray for the teachers of our children and vice versa? Complaining and worrying has never dethroned a principality or transformed a life. We need take ownership of the generations coming after us and pray for them and for ourselves as we raise them. We need to take an active spiritual role in the direction our education system leans towards.

The devil fights and distorts our learning because he knows when we get the right knowledge i.e. truth, we are fully equipped to defeat him.  Our minds must be renewed with the truth of God before any transformation can occur in our lives or in our homes, schools and workplaces. May we all be found in the secret place where the Lord renews our minds with truth and transforms our hearts with His love.

I had to do two posts for this gate because education is a big one for me. Read Part 2, where I dive into Science & Technology and why I think the invisible wall between the arts and sciences needs to be reduced to rubble and a bridge created in its place.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is the genesis of the categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them.  I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Family

The Kairos Consultancy journey started way before it even had a name to it. I wrote a couple of posts on my personal blog while I was still in formal employment that I’m sharing here over the next few weeks because they’re still as relevant as ever. 

I notice simple but peculiar things when I read the Bible. Things like how God tells people about their future spouses and/or children long before they materialize. Then I start asking questions. Like does stuff like that happen any more?

A few years ago, I was asking a whole different set of questions when God decided to start talking to me about marriage and family. In my mind it couldn’t have been more inopportune time. I wasn’t dating or even thinking about it and I felt far too young to be talking about a lifetime commitment.

But I think God gets a kick out of throwing curve balls at me lol…and so I found my 22-year-old self having serious life conversations with my Friend.

The Blueprint

He started to share His vision for what family is supposed to be. And that’s the first thing that many of us miss out on. God doesn’t randomly put people together. You’d be surprised how much divine orchestration goes on for seemingly random couples to happen. There is a purpose and a blueprint for each and every family. Right from the man and woman who will get married and constitute that family.

Yes, I said man and woman. I won’t get into the LGBTQ debate because that’s not really the point of this post. I will say this. God never puts all His eggs in the same basket. Beyond the natural/physical, there are spiritual components God places in a man that a woman does not have. There is that which He will place in a woman that no man has. When the components in man and those in woman come together in holy matrimony, there is a divine union in the spirit that activates a crazy depth and number of spiritual transactions to happen henceforth. Sex is a physical manifestation of this spiritual union.

Now a man-man or woman-woman relationship can and does yield spiritual transactions. Just not the kind that lead to the fulfilment of God’s perfect will. It is not that the union of two gay men or two lesbian women wouldn’t make for a happy family. Let’s be real here. If the gauge is mere happiness, then there are certainly LGBTQ relationships out there that meet that measure and surpass it. To balance this out, the same goes for any heterosexual relationship that isn’t submitted to God. Regardless of your sexual orientation, you can’t achieve the will of God if you’re not in it to begin with. No matter how Christian or straight you are.

The foremost purpose of any relationship we have with others is to make us holy not happy. This whole story of relationships being solely for our happiness is a beautifully weaved lie that’s all over the world. However wonderful it may sound and that so many believe in it – even Christians – doesn’t make it any less of a lie.

If you’re looking for happiness devoid of holiness you’ll believe you can find it in anything and anyone you’re determined to pursue. If you’re looking for holiness and the eternal joy that comes with it, God’s already laid out a blueprint for it. He is determined for us to have holiness because through holiness we get the eternal version of far more than we could dream of for ourselves – including the very happiness we’re quick to look for outside of God. An eternal version that is not subject to the limitations of man and this world but is fully open to the expanse of His Kingdom.

The first lie of the enemy – one that he still uses to date – was that God is holding out on us, that He makes mistakes with us. Yet He looked at everything He made and called it good.

Nakedness

The first family – Adam and Eve – were naked before God, which means they were also naked before each other – without shame.

When you just know a person in the general sense, you only have access to information that is limited by experience, time, observation and disclosure. When you have a revelation of them, God shows you who they are – past, present and even future.

A person can only give you knowledge, even of themselves. Only the Holy Spirit can reveal spirit to spirit, much like how He reveals the Spirit of God to our spirit as men. There is a depth of intimacy that can only come from revelation.

If you’re in a divine relationship (whether dating, friendship or family), it’s not enough for you to merely know someone. It takes revelation to love them the way God wants us to. It takes revelation to fulfill the purpose for which God has put you in their lives and them in yours.

The One

But just how do you go about finding “the one”? Scripture is wonderfully vague about this and I say wonderfully because as human beings we have a thing for trying to fit everything into templates. Love stories are far too grand and unique for one common template. I’ve written more about this in Marrying The Perfect Guy.

I don’t believe there is only one set person –  a soul mate – for every individual. One, there is no mandatory clause on relationships. There are those who prefer a life of singlehood and so long as that’s in accordance to the will of God in their lives (and not in reaction to past relationship drama and/or trauma) there’s nothing wrong with that.

Second, we live in an imperfect world. Life happens. Death and divorce. Relationships that don’t last for one reason or another. My spiritual father always says that the purpose of God will never be held hostage by man. In the same way God can pick one human vessel for His purpose, He can take that purpose and put it in another vessel if need be.

The purpose of God in our lives is a constant, the people with and through whom it is accomplished may change.

That said, my own experience has been that God can reveal to you the purpose He has for your relationship, marriage and even family as well as the kind of human vessel. Sometimes, He’ll go a step further and reveal a specific person or very specific details about them.

Because some of the people out there claiming God has spoken to them about marrying certain people are jokers (God’s name is played with way too much), I need to make it clear that while God may speak to one person earlier than He does the other, He will ultimately speak to both parties. I know of a good number of relationships including my own where this has been the case.

Before my husband and I met, almost a decade prior, God had given him a specific list of details about his future wife and the role she would play in his life. My husband knew about us – and me – before I did. And rather than getting all up in my business about it, he wisely and patiently waited for God to speak to me as well. So by the time we were having that initial conversation about us, there was no question about whether God spoke. We both knew He did because He had spoken to each of us and to others as well.

God is not the author of confusion. There is no prophetic word He will ever give to an individual without bearing witness of that same word to another.

Happy Holy Every After

So much focus and emphasis has been placed on the wedding day both in the world and in church that I need to say this: there is life after the wedding. Y’all won’t be transfigured into eternity after the reception so you best be ready for the rest of your lives.

The primary sustenance for marriages and families is the word of God – His daily bread not a once-in-a-while snack that will barely get you through the smallest of challenges.

The Lord regularly speaks about my marriage and family (including my in-loves) through prophetic words we receive individually, together as a couple and indirectly through spiritual people in our lives and those He brings our way.

My husband and I are in a constant state of discovery about each other through knowledge and revelation that births even deeper intimacy between us. God has spoken of the kingdom assignments He has for us as individuals and as a couple; given specific direction for when we need to do what, with whom and how to go about it. For everything He requires us to do and be, there is corresponding grace and wisdom.

We know the ministries each of our children will carry. We have an inkling or two about the grandchildren. And so as early as now, long before any of them are physically conceived and birthed, we are able to prepare for them spiritually, mentally and emotionally. When they come, we won’t be surprised when they lean towards certain interests. If anything, with the foreknowledge we have, we’ll be able to create an environment for those interests to organically thrive. God is as practical as it gets when it comes to every day life.

The reason I share all this is because ignorance causes death. And there are far worse forms of death than physically not breathing. There is so much – so much – that we have access to as children of God but many of us have no clue. So we’re living hit and miss lives and inadvertently putting our relationships and families on the line.

The Lord Himself repeatedly says in Scripture that they who seek Him in earnest, will find Him. It’s not a question of if they find Him, but when and how.

Whether you’re single, in a relationship, married or parenting, know that God has a plan and a purpose for you and your family. For your parent(s), sibling(s), partner, spouse, child (ren).

If you’re called to the gate of family professionally – as a counsellor, service provider e.g. wedding crews (planners, caterers, video/photographers), etc – the same thing goes for those the Lord brings your way. What you offer and what the world has to offer cannot and should not be the same when you have access to the divine blueprint and understanding of those you are serving.

Seek Him and you shall find Him. And He’ll blow your mind with all the incredible things He has in store for you and those He has brought your way for you to serve and care for.

P.S. I write more on family in this Wednesday’s post – Entitlement & Grace: Homes.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is where I got my categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂 

7 Nations, Christian Business

The Gate Of Government

The Kairos Consultancy journey started way before it even had a name to it. I wrote a couple of posts on my personal blog while I was still in formal employment that I’m sharing here over the next few weeks because they’re still as relevant as ever. 

“The worst illiterate is the political illiterate, he doesn’t hear, doesn’t speak, nor participates in the political events. He doesn’t know the cost of life, the price of the bean, of the fish, of the flour, of the rent, of the shoes and of the medicine, all depends on political decisions. The political illiterate is so stupid that he is proud and swells his chest saying that he hates politics. The imbecile doesn’t know that, from his political ignorance is born the prostitute, the abandoned child, and the worst thieves of all, the bad politician, corrupted and flunky of the national and multinational companies.”

― Bertolt Brecht

It’s way too dirty a game.

That’s the excuse I would often use when proudly stating how little I knew about the politics of the day; and how I would go out of my way to see nothing, hear nothing, say nothing and know nothing.

Oh, how proud I was of my ignorance. My sane, sanctified self.

Then a few things stopped me in my tracks.

I met a handful of people who are truly passionate about politics & government. Theirs is a heartfelt unction to serve the people. I had no idea how they would take on the dirty monstrosity that is politics and remain in one piece. But they were willing to try. And their zeal gave me hope that someone somewhere was willing to fight for what’s right.

I started reading The 7 Professional Nations where Niyi Morakinyo paints a picture of the spiritual and natural dimensions of the world we live in with so much insight – where we came from, where we are and where we need to get to as believers.

Increasingly I became aware of very direct effect, government and politics has on my life as an individual. From the increased fare I paid any time there was the smell of rain in the air to craftily engineered shortages that drove up the cost of basic foodstuff.

Coming across the Brecht quote above in a friend’s blog post was the proverbial nail on the coffin of my ignorance.

I desperately wanted to look the other way but I knew too much now. I couldn’t unsee, unhear, unspeak and unknow any of it.

Shoot.

Why does God always get me into these situations?

But here we were.

I began to entertain the notion that good stood a chance and that someone somewhere may just do the impossible and make things right.

That was more than enough, right?

To believe on behalf of another and to commit them prayer.

But as the case often is, God seems to have way too much faith in me.

Every time I would pray for this unknown other, every time I would see an injustice and grieve before God, He would ask me: Who will I send to fix this? Are you willing to go? Are you willing to do your part? 

No, Lord, I don’t want to go. I’m fine where I am. I’m not even passionate about government so I can do something else. But someone needs to go. 

Why would you expect someone else to do what you’re not willing to? Why should they?

*Cue incoherent muttering which is pointless because He can still hear it.*

I wasn’t going to get away as easily as I wanted to.

In wrestling with the challenge and responsibility God was drawing me into, I came to a startling conclusion.

It’s all an illusion. We’ve been tricked into believing that the problem is far too big and strong for anyone to even dare face it. So reminiscent of a tough-looking, taunt-throwing giant named Goliath.

And here we are, scruffy and small, with nothing more than a sling and 5 stones.

God help us.

Where do we even begin?

Where we are with what we have.

Here’s what the news will never tell you.

How many men and women are running their households with kindness and love.

How many men and women have created families for those who have none.

How many ordinary citizens go out of their way to make a difference for everyone who comes their way each day.

How many raise their voice in defence of they that are weaker than they are.

How many bosses go beyond their titles and accolades and become friends to those work alongside them. Friend in need and in deed.

How many people in high places are quietly reaching out to people in low places and giving them the leg up they need.

How many people refuse to give in to wrong, even when it means losing a big deal or a powerful connection.

If you only open your eyes, you’ll realize that there’s someone somewhere governing with love and truth.

All is NOT lost.

Many of us may never hold a natural government position. We don’t need to. Not when we have all been assigned areas of spiritual governance in the 7 gates. Not when the battles are fought and won/lost in the spirit before anything manifests in the natural.

We’re losing because we’re playing on the wrong field. Or more accurately in the wrong dimension. There are enough sad tales of people who get into government with the best intentions but end up joining the status quo of injustice either through active participation or passive silence.

You can’t fight spiritual battles with good intentions or even good actions. It takes divine insight and power to wage war against the principalities who reign roughshod in government, which in turn influences every single area of lives. The spiritual atmosphere needs to shift before gains can be made in the natural. In the grand scheme of things, replacing people in the natural means little if the same principalities remain in charge in the spirit.

There is a cost to be paid. Of that, we really have no say. Whether we pay the cost of comfort and letting things go wrong or the cost of standing for what’s right…now, that’s the choice we need to make.

I wondered why out of all the 7 nations God would have me start with Government. But in writing this, I got it. Every single nation including, that of government, requires the sons (this generic term includes all the lovely ladies too) of God to arise and govern.

If we walk around thinking we’re helpless as far as the general government (of our countries) is concerned, we’re not going to do much in any form of government. Be it at home, school, work, church or wherever else the Lord leads. That seed of defeat multiplies and bears destructive fruit like a cancer.

But, if like David, we contend with Goliath, not in our own ability and might, but in the name of the Lord, miracles happen.

There are those who like David and Deborah have been called to hold actual government positions – elected and/or appointed.

There are those who like Esther, Joseph, Daniel and Nehemiah the king’s cup bearer have been called to hold positions of influence within government circles.

There are those who need to take charge in the other 6 nations that I’ll be writing about in the weeks to come.

Wherever you lie, Godspeed.

As you slay Goliath, don’t forget that he has brothers, sons and kinsmen. But that’s a story for another day.

Niyi Morakinyo’s book – The 7 Professional Nations: Reconciling Them Back To God – is where I got my categorization of the 7 gates as I’m writing about them. I highly recommend it for anyone looking to be fruitful for the Kingdom of God. You can download it from the Joshua Generation Trust website as a free resource. Just click here. 🙂