I remember being in secondary school and hating homework (assignments), it was always a chore for me. I was not one of those kids who liked challenges or was really keen on learning, I was extremely lazy and things like homework was just not for me. So instead of spending time doing my homework, I would ignore it and then hope I could find somebody to copy from when it was time to submit. I mean why bother doing the work myself when smarter people can just tell me the answer right? I carried that attitude with me all through secondary school and I was never the best student. No matter how much I cheated and copied, I never did as well as the people I copied from. The truth is when it was time for exams, cheating was almost impossible and I then had no choice but to rely on my own work (which I never did) and because I didn’t do enough, I never excelled. I actually got a U (ungradeable), which is worse than a Fail in IGCSE Maths, just to put things in perspective.
Then I went for A levels and something changed. I didn’t have that many friends and so I had no one to copy from. In order to pass, I had to study, seriously study. I ended up getting all A’s in my A levels. The same girl that almost repeated a class in secondary school, the same girl that failed Maths IGCSEs so badly that she wasn’t even gradable. I also got a B in maths IGCSEs when I re took the exams. In fact the only reason I got a B instead of an A was because I chose to do the intermediate level and the highest grade possible for that was a B but I got almost a 100%. I remember everyone being so shocked because left to them I was a dullard and people even asked how I did it. The answer was simple: I studied and worked hard. Which is the point of this post.
As Christians, we often don’t want to do the work of developing our own relationship with God. We don’t want to go through the process of studying and meditating on the word of God in order to grow in the knowledge that builds up our faith. We go to church on Sundays and expect that it’s enough. I even think some of us think we are doing God a favour by going to church on Sunday and He should be thanking us for making that effort. Some of us even read our bibles but often as a ritual. We read the verse and move on with no plans on applying it to our actual lives and living according to God’s word. Jesus often said that we obeyed his commandments out of love but do we even know what those commandments are?
Kenneth Hagin said in the book I am currently reading (“the prayer course”) that some people rely on the faith of their pastors to lift up their faith and when they face trials in the absence of their pastors, they just crumble and fall apart. They begin to question God and his promises simply because they were not willing to do the work of building their own faith themselves. We don’t seem to realise that the pastors we look up to and we learn from are still just men and women like us. The difference is that they do their own homework, they study God’s word with a passion and not just study, they BELIEVE IT and OBEY God’s commandments. And like Jesus said: “If anyone loves Me, he will keep My word; and My Father will love him, and We will come to him and make Our home with him.” (John 14:23). So pastors and preachers seem to experience God’s power in their lives because they put in the work they are supposed to. Can you really say you do the same?
I know there was a “youth sorting out” program last weekend (I have written about this program a few times) and when people go for this program, they come out feeling NEW, knowing who they are in Christ and feeling powerful. Unfortunately in a couple of weeks, life goes back to normal and it is like sorting out never happened. This is because people expect that it is the faith and power of Rev. Joe and the pastors that will sustain them, they don’t realise that what really sustains them is THEIR OWN FAITH. And if you are not willing to do the work of studying God’s word, believing his word and obeying his commandments, then you can’t sustain what you received.
Someone recently messaged me saying she was confused about a certain situation that involved her having a disagreement with other people in her church and she wanted me to tell her what to do. I told her I really couldn’t do that because I am not the one involved and I don’t even know the other parties involved. I then said to her: “but you are a Christian, what does your bible say regarding this situation?” and she really couldn’t answer. I suggested to her that, maybe she should look to God for the solution instead of waiting for me to tell her what to do. At the time I felt harsh but this is was my approach. She told me she had read the prayer study course and she had prayed and I was confused. I am still reading the book and somehow she thought I could tell her what to do? She eventually came back to me and said I was right. The minute she began to ask God for answers and study his word, He began to show her the solution.
If you have not asked God for directions and answers, then you have no business coming to me. All the answers are in God’s word but we don’t want to do the work of going to God and studying or meditating on his word so we start perambulating, going up and down, looking for someone to tell us the solutions when God’s word is our expo (cheat sheet). That is why some people become victims of false prophets because they don’t know the word of God for themselves and if you don’t know God’s word, you won’t know Him or His promises so someone can easily bamboozle you and next thing you are saying is that God is not real. It reminds me of an email I got the other day where someone said that the reason his life is a mess is because of so called prophets who lied to him and he believed them. I replied and said I was sorry to hear that but maybe he should have focused on believing God instead of believing a prophet. Pastor Sam Adeyemi put it brilliantly, he said: “if the only time you open your bible is when a pastor tells you to, then you can a candidate for deception”.
I am not saying we can’t listen to pastors and ask for direction but it is important to also ensure you are spending time in God’s word too. I love to listen to incredible men teach on God’s word: T.d Jakes, Creflo Dollar, Rev. Joe Olaiya, Pastor Agu Irukwu are some of my favourites but they always make me HUNGRY to know God more. So as I learn from them, I always go back to the source (God’s word) and do my own HOMEWORK. They did theirs and even if they can teach me some things, they can’t teach me everything so it is left to me to pick up my bible and ask the Holy Spirit to teach me so that I can also grow and learn. What about you? Are you willing to do your own homework? Or are you waiting for that man of God to build your faith for you. These men BELIEVE God’s word and they live it and I started to understand that they spend a lot of time in study and meditation so they KNOW God and so they find it easy to believe him. That is the level I am trying to get to and I know that I can’t get there if I am not willing to put in the effort required.
Didn’t they tell us in Joshua 1:8 “This Book of the Law shall not depart from your mouth, but you shall meditate in it day and night, that you may observe to do according to all that is written in it. For then you will make your way prosperous, and then you will have good success.” So how can you claim to have faith if you neglect the word? The bible tells us: “So then faith comes by hearing, and hearing by the word of God.” You can’t have faith if you don’t know God’s word and it is only through His word that our faith can grow. It is a process but you have to be willing to do your homework if you truly want to experience God’s power in your life.
This is still a process for me and there are days when I am just like: “I don’t feel like it” but most of the time I am hungry to learn. I am hungry to see God’s power in my life, I want to experience God in new ways beyond what a man can give me but I am now realising that it is left for me to do my own homework. I can’t cheat my way to faith, I have to put in the effort and it’s an exciting place to be. God is a rewarder of those who diligently seek him and I know that my faith will continue to grow as I spend time in fellowship with him. What about you? Are you willing to join me on this journey?