By Femi Aribisala
I am 60 years old but have never ever bought a car for myself. It was not for lack of money. Before God made me close down all my businesses in one day in 2005, I made a lot of money. However, the Lord controlled the purse-strings and spent all the money for me. I did not get any permission to buy a car or even build a house for myself. Nevertheless, I was allowed to buy cars for others no less than six times.
This January 2013, I went on bended knee to the Lord. “Daddy, you know I don’t ask you for carnal things as a rule, but I need a car. I know the exercise is good for me, but I am tired of walking to work.”
The Lord answered my prayer in a most amazing manner. Within three days, my in-law went to Cotonou, bought a Toyota Highlander Jeep, and gave it to me. I pleaded with her that I could not receive the gift. I don’t like Jeeps. They are just way too big for me. I also did not want to increase my financial burden by having to pay too much for petrol. So I respectfully declined her offer.
I thought that was the end of the matter until I got a phone-call from a long-lost friend in Port Harcourt some eight days later. He left Lagos for Port Harcourt exactly six years ago. He said the Lord told him: “Femi Aribisala needs your car in Lagos. I want you to send it to him.” He told me he resisted the directive for eight days, until the Lord reminded him of it again during the Sunday service in church. “Sir,” he said, “I have no choice in the matter. I will get a driver to bring the car to you by the week-end.”
The next day, I got a phone-call from his wife. “Did my husband tell you God said he should give you his car?” she asked. “Yes,” I replied, sensing some trouble in the air. “Well,” she said, “it serves him right. He must give you that car.” “What is going on?” I asked the Lord. The woman continued: “My husband likes that car too much. Do you know that since he bought it, he has never allowed me to drive it? When he is travelling out of the country, he parks the car in his office, so I will not be able to reach it. Doctor, he must give that his car to you. It is the will of God.”
Imagine my surprise when I discovered the car in question is also a Toyota Jeep. But significantly, this one is a Toyota RAV4; a much smaller Jeep than the Toyota Highlander my in-law offered me. In short, when I rejected the bigger Jeep, God sent me a smaller one. He then reminded me that the RAV4 was the same size as the Land Rover Freelander I had wanted to buy several years earlier, which he had then vetoed.
The next Sunday, by 4 p.m., my new car arrived with a note from the sender which reads as follows: “Dear Pastor, On Sunday, January 13, 2013, God spoke to me clearly. Pastor Femi Aribisala has need for your one and only vehicle (2007 RAV4, Toyota SUV.) In obedience to God’s word after eight days of struggle, I hereby deliver this car to you for the use and to the Glory of God. To God be the Glory.”
I am the confirmation that God indeed spoke to this man because I told no one but God that I wanted a car this year. How was this man able to hear God speak? Why is it that so many Christians cannot hear God? Those who cannot hear God often persecute those who can and try to make us believe it is the devil speaking to us. That is kingdom dynamics. The Ishmaels persecute the Isaacs. Jesus says: “He who is of God hears God’s words; therefore you do not hear, because you are not of God.” (John 8:47).
A dubious Christian gentleman berated me because I don’t believe in Paul. He reminded me that I don’t believe Jesus is a sacrifice for sins. He highlighted the fact that I maintain the bible is not the word of God. Then he reached this wonderful conclusion: “How can you be a Christian if you don’t believe the fundamentals of Christianity?”
If those are the fundamentals of Christianity, then Christianity is a dead religion. I am not trying to be a Christian. I claim to be a son of God. The fundamentals of my faith lie in my daily relationship with God. It is not in reading the bible or in going to church, or in fooling myself that Jesus has taken away my sins. It is in walking before God, hearing his voice and obeying him. It is in doing the will of God and not in reading Paul and quoting him. It is in knowing God and in God knowing me by name. It is in loving God and in trusting him.
To those Christians who continue to berate those of us grounded enough to know that Jesus and not the bible is the word of God, Jesus says: “You search the Scriptures, for you believe they give you eternal life. And the Scriptures point to me! Yet you won’t come to me so that I can give you this life eternal! Your approval or disapproval means nothing to me, for as I know so well, you don’t have God’s love within you.” (John 5:39-41).
Friends of God
True Christianity is not a religion. True Christianity is a relationship. It is a relationship with God. The bible is important because it details some relationships that God had with men of old. But we are not meant to live vicariously by their experience. The bible confirms it is possible to walk with God, talk with God and obey his voice. It is then up to us to insist on establishing similar relationships with God.
There is little point in spending a lifetime boasting about what God said in private to Abraham. The question is what is God saying to you? Eternal life is the knowledge of God. The fundamental question, therefore, is not whether Jesus was born of a virgin or not. The fundamental question is does God know you by name? Does he talk to you? Is he your friend? Is Jesus your Good Shepherd? Do you hear his voice and follow him? Jesus says: “My sheep hear my voice, and I know them, and they follow me.” (John 10:27).
On Sunday, 31st March, 2013, I got a phone-call from the man who sent me his Jeep. “I am in Lagos,” he declared. “I have a testimony to give you.” He drove to my house in a virtually brand-new Toyota 4Runner, a much bigger Jeep than the one he had given me. “My former boss in Lagos sent for me. He got a better job in Canada and is leaving the country. Look! He gave me his new Jeep. Can you see how God works?”