By Femi Aribisala
An old friend invited me to a special service at Victory Christian Church, Lagos. The preacher was the late Bishop Harford Anayo Iloputaife, and he preached about Adam and Eve.
I could not even understand what he was talking about. But at the end of his message, he asked those who wanted to “give their life to Jesus Christ” to come forward.
I honestly don’t remember exactly what happened. I just know something came over me and completely took control of me. Some supernatural force, literally carried me to the altar. It was all the more remarkable that my left leg was encased in plaster and I had to walk with crutches. But I suddenly found myself hobbling speedily down the aisle of the church as if my life depended on it.
I now know that, indeed, my life depended on it. I went to the front of the church and asked Jesus to be my Lord and Saviour. But by that time, he was already my Lord and Saviour. Jesus saved me physically from armed robbers in order that he might save me spiritually. He saved me physically that I might finally recognise him as “the Shepherd and Overseer” of my soul. (1 Peter 2:25).
A few days thereafter, I woke up one morning only to discover I was singing a new song. I had never sung this song before, but had apparently been singing it while asleep and now while awake.
I decided to consult a Pentecostal praise book. I found the song there. It says: “When the Spirit of the Lord is upon my soul, I will dance like David danced.”
I was flabbergasted. So God can teach a man a new song word-for-word? I spent the entire morning singing it; dancing all over the house. From the shower, to my dressing-room, to breakfast: I sang and hummed and danced. I was a complete nuisance.
My wife and son stared at me and looked at one another knowingly. It was a Sunday morning, so we were going to church. At the time, our preferred church was some thirty minutes away. So I continued singing in the car at the top of my voice. I left no one in doubt that the Spirit of the Lord was indeed upon my soul.
When we got to the church, something strange happened. My young son was the first to go in. What he saw was so amazing, he immediately rushed out to tell us. “Daddy, Daddy,” he shouted, a smile of incredulity on his lips: “They are singing the same song.”
We walked into the church to find it in something of a Holy Ghost uproar. People were jumping up and down. Some were clapping their hands with great fervour. Others had turned the church into a big discotheque and were dancing aggressively. Everyone was singing the same song that the Lord had just taught me: “When the Spirit of the Lord is upon my soul, I will dance like David danced.”
That was a divine confirmation that the Holy Spirit had arrived to take up residence in my heart.
There was also a second confirmation. After I answered the altar call at Victory Church, a church-worker took us outside and informed us it is the privilege of “born again” Christians to speak in unknown tongues. He mumbled a short prayer and told us to start speaking.
Suddenly, some people started making funny noises. I was convinced the church had planted these “jokers” among us. I said to myself: “Who do these people think they are fooling?”
A few weeks later, Pat Utomi invited me to a Full Gospel Businessmen’s Fellowship dinner. The preacher also asked new believers to come forward and prayed for them to receive the gift of tongues. Although I did not answer the altar-call again, I suddenly started speaking in tongues in my seat.
I did not like the sound of my new tongue. I was afraid it was demonic and refused to use it. I even sought the counsel of “deliverance ministers” on the matter. They all insisted the gift was of God. Nevertheless, I remained highly sceptical.
One day, the Lord woke me up early in the morning and said: “Femi, pray in tongues and don’t be afraid.” So I got up and started praying in my new tongue. I was surprised to find that no demon jumped at me or out of me. The more I prayed, the more I realised I had been deceived. Someone had given me the false impression that my new tongue was demonic.
Then I went further. If the devil did not want me to pray in tongues, it could only mean it is a potent weapon of spiritual warfare. So I went from one extreme to the other. I would pray in tongues at every possible opportunity. I would wake up at night, go to a window in my living-room and pray vigorously in tongues towards the sky, convinced that in so doing I was scattering the kingdom of darkness.
Then one morning, I decided to switch gears and go even further. I told the Lord naively: “I am going to kill off all the demons in this flat with my tongue.” I sat on my bed and prayed non-stop. By the third hour, the Lord opened my eyes and I started seeing demons. They were all dressed in the medieval uniform of Roman gladiators. They had swords and shields and body armour. And wait for it; there were literally hundreds and hundreds of them.
“This is what was spoken by the prophet Joel: ‘And it shall come to pass in the last days, says God, that I will pour out of my Spirit on all flesh; your sons and your daughters shall prophesy, your young men shall see visions’” (Acts 2:16-17).
One by one, the demons came out, marched towards me, collapsed into the ground and disappeared. I kept on praying for another two hours. After exactly five hours in total, they stopped coming out and I stopped praying.
A heavenly experience
Once I stopped praying, I noticed something astonishing. I lost virtually all previous sense of feeling. I could feel absolutely nothing in my body but love. My entire body became buttery-soft; suffused with the love of God. It is the most amazing feeling I have ever experienced. Simply indescribable!
Just then, the door opened and my wife walked in. I told her how much I love her. I waxed lyrical about how smitten I was when I first met her in Rome, Italy at the age of sixteen. Karen stood staring at me. She could not understand what prompted me to tell her that, but sensed something strange was going on.
However, the more I spoke, the more I regressed. It was as if I was going back into my own skin. It would appear the demons were regrouping, gradually coming back again. My “normal” feelings were coming back, until I was back again where I started.
I did not stop loving my wife. However, the overwhelming experience of feeling nothing but the love of God was no longer there.