Soul Food 4 U

It addresses itself to every day issues of life from a Christian perspective. You'll be challenged. You'll be rebuked. You'll be encouraged. You'll grow.

Thursday, October 19, 2006

WHO TOLD YOU?

October 13
Reflections:
Ø What we are today is an outcome of thoughts that we permitted to occupy
and dominate our minds yesterday.
Ø Following the path of least resistance makes rivers and men crooked
(Francis Gray).
Ø You are born an original do not die a copy (John Mason).
TEXT
Ezek 14:1 Some of the elders of Israel came to me and sat down in front
of me. 2 Then the word of the LORD came to me: 3 "Son of man, these men
have set up idols in their hearts and put wicked stumbling blocks before
their faces. Should I let them inquire of me at all? 4 Therefore speak to
them and tell them, 'This is what the Sovereign LORD says: When any
Israelite sets up idols in his heart and puts a wicked stumbling block
before his face and then goes to a prophet, I the LORD will answer him
myself in keeping with his great idolatry. NIV

Jeremiah 23:9-40 An important passage to reflect on as a leader whose
influence is impacting others.

A boy who had been sent to shop on an early morning found the trader
gloomy and dejected because thieves had robbed goods from his shop. The
boy was taken aback when in consoling the trader by telling him that God
would provide, the downcast merchant said that the thieves had stolen his
gods as well. How do you encourage a man whose source of strength is
taken away? What hope is there for one whose god, one’s source of
motivation and guidance, is stolen?
Whatever preoccupies our minds is a pointer to what we value and that is
what shapes the thoughts that direct our actions.
According to the creation story there are two basic sources of
information that incline our minds to the choices we make, that is either
God or the serpent. When man was asked by God where he was because he was
not where God had left him, the explanation was that fear on realisation
that he was naked had driven him into hiding. God asked man, “WHO TOLD
YOU THAT YOU WERE NAKED”? (Genesis 3: 11). The other source of
information that put doubt into what man knew marking him fearful and
insecure continues to plague humanity to this day. Idols and stumbling
blocks are the coverings that people seek to cover the nakedness that
result when we move from the place that God placed us. God is not
deceived by our actions that pretend that he is the only God while there
are idols that control the heart.

SOME CHOICES THAT ARISE FROM THE KNOWLDEGE WE HAVE OF GOD.
1. Trace the source of the knowledge on which you base any of the choices
that you make. “Who told you?” is a question that should be ingrained in
us as we make choices that lead to our growth in Christ or growth in the
worldly affairs. In order to grow people have to abandon some of the safe
areas of their lives and take some risks. There is security in what is
familiar and has been tried before even if it is a ‘hiding’ from the
fullness of life. Growth that is dependent on what God says is a risk to
one who has lost the secure place that God placed him or her. It is risky
to try to understand a different point of view for that may mean change of
beliefs that are familiar and act as idols around the heart. The truth is
that you take a greater risk when you go to seek God while holding on to
other sources of information. You risk the anger of God who knows the
source of motivation of your heart.

2. Do not resign your originality for a copy as you give courage to others
- Who told you that you cannot be the original that God created you to be?
‘I am a woman/man’, ‘I am poor or rich, ‘I am young or old’, etc are
messages that give us an image ourselves that determine how we view the
world. Some of the information that we have gotten has made us have a
marred image of God. An image of god that is faulty makes people go to
seek his counsel while they know deep within that they have other sources
of guidance. Courage that comes from ignorance can be very dangerous for
it makes people ‘fake’ before God who does enjoy our manipulative
strategies.
Do not give encouragement using information whose source you are
not sure of even though it sounds sensible. God is not pleased by
people who are not originals but just use words that they have
heard others say. "Therefore," declares the LORD, "I am against the
prophets who steal from one another words supposedly from me. 31
Yes," declares the LORD, "I am against the prophets who wag their
own tongues and yet declare, 'The LORD declares.' Jeremiah 23:30-32
NIV
To be the light of our world we need to take time to listen to the Lord
who is willing to talk to us. “But if they had stood in my council, they
would have proclaimed my words to my people” (Jeremiah 23:22). Do you use
phrases and statements that you have not reviewed their source? ‘Everybody
is doing it’ or ‘we have always done it this way’, is no excuse of failing
to listen and speak what is fresh and relevant from God.

3. External motivation makes you lose the sense of who you are.
Extrinsic motivation gives security that may appear firm but like gods
that can be stolen is temporary. Security that comes from rewards that
one gets when they comply or deliver something of value to others can be
deceptive. The reward may be in form of money, grades, promotion,
support, praise and acceptance. The reward tilts the mind to focus on
the reward; avoiding any possible risk. The joy of exploring the purpose
for which one was created is lost as the path of least resistance is
followed. Rewards that other people have set deflect attention from
allegiance to God as people submit to the ‘rewarder’. Authentic
motivation that arise from the presence of the Holy Spirit is killed and
people lose autonomy that comes from status of being a child of God
.When people miss out on the purpose they tend emphasise on rituals and
forget the reason for the ritual. Rituals can clog people from growth in
Christ and spend their energies refining their formal procedures that
become source of motivation. That is when the church as an organisation
becomes the ‘call’ and the mandate of Christ to go to the world becomes a
secondary issue.

As the light of Christ in our world today we must go back and trace our
source of information. Who told you? Are we speaking what God has told
us or are we echoing what others have said? Africa needs people who truly
listen, speak and do what God has said. There is a lot whitewashing and
visions as was in the time of Ezekiel when prophets said, ‘This is what
the Sovereign LORD says'-when the LORD has not spoken (22:29). God wants
to speak if we let go of idols and other sources of information that we
have and listen to him who has our life in his hands.


If you fail to listen to what God is saying regarding you and your mission
in this life, outside forces, and other people will take over the control
of your life whether you like it or not.