By Femi Aribisala

Have you ever been to an expensive wedding that was a no holds barred affair?  The champagne was ordered custom-made from France.  The wedding cake was a three-story building.  Forget about the wedding, but tell me, what happened to the marriage?

One year later, they got divorced.  What a waste of money.  All that expenditure went up in smoke.  You did not know at the time that the best man was also a divorce lawyer.

Have you not noticed that the rich tend to be more security conscious than others?  Why is that?  They have more to lose and therefore have more to protect.

What about you?  Do you have anything to protect?  Have you received anything that you need to guard jealously?  If indeed the thief has come to steal, to kill, and to destroy (John 10:10), do you have anything worth stealing?  What kind of security system do you have against the thief?

The songwriter says: “Let the weak say that I am strong because of what the Lord has done for him.” (Joel 3:10).

Despising God’s grace

Your uncle gave you an exclusive car.  It was the latest Lexus Jeep, custom-made.  It was one of a kind.  When they made it, they broke the mold.  Everybody came and admired it.  But what happened to the Lexus?

Within two weeks you had crashed it into the Carter Bridge.  They had to use a chain saw to remove you from the wreckage.  What happened to the car?  It was damaged beyond repair.  Whose fault was it?  Yours, because you despised, in effect, the gift of your uncle.

The bible tells the story of two women.  Both of them were sinners: harlots as a matter of fact.  Nevertheless, the merciful Lord who is not a respecter of persons, who makes the sun to shine on the good and the bad, blessed both with children.

But one was careless with her gift, so careless that she slept on her child and suffocated him to death.  Thereafter, she envied the other her living child and stole it.  Her game plan was simple.  Either I end up with the child, or neither of us would have a child.

When the matter was brought before the king, she readily accepted his verdict to cut the child into two.  She said: “Let it be neither yours nor mine.” (1 Kings 3:26).

Devil at work

 That woman was working for the thief.  The devil has lost out.  He lost his inheritance and was cast out of heaven.  But he is determined that you should not come into your inheritance as well.  It all depends on whether we know the value of what we received.  It is only a birthright, so why is Jacob so determined to get it from Esau?

Salvation is free. Jesus says: “Freely have you received.”  The kingdom of God is free.  But although it is freely given and freely received, we still have to work it out.

Solomon says: “Build a wall, invite a burglar.” (Proverbs 17:19).

Salvation is such a big gift that it makes us prime candidates for armed robbery. Our salvation was announced on the airwaves, and the prince of the power of the air heard it.  The men of the underworld were all waiting outside during the award ceremony.

So, although the gift was freely given, although we did no work to receive it, nevertheless, we are going to have to do a lot to keep it and to enjoy it.

Who are these armed robbers and where are they exactly?  Listen and understand.  The worst armed robbers of all are in the churches. “Then (Jesus) taught, saying to them, “Is it not written, ‘My house shall be called a house of prayer for all nations’? But you have made it a ‘den of thieves.’” (Mark 11:17).

You have just collected a lorry-load of cold hard cash from the Lord. But the problem is that the whole thing was carried in the newspapers and on television. Jesus says the whole place is full of armed robbers. They have come to steal, to kill, and to destroy. The whole neighbourhood gathered when the trailer came bringing in everything.

How are you going to enjoy the abundant life that Jesus promised in that neighbourhood?  Will you save your life by returning the gift so that you can at least live in peace?  Or will you receive the gift and get ready to fight for your rights?

Pay the price

 Jesus says: “From the days of John the Baptist until now the kingdom of heaven suffers violence, and the violent take it by force.” (Matthew 11:12).

The outfit was so beautiful, so lovely.  You just had to have it.  That is until you found out the price. Then you lost interest. Suddenly, it is not that good an outfit after all.  What if someone were to buy it for you?  Oh yes, please.  But you said you do not like it anymore.  Well, I could not afford it.  Not exactly, you were just not prepared to pay the price.

For how long are we going to look for charlatans to lay hands on us?  For how long are we going to look for snake-oil salesmen to pray for us? It is time to grow up.

The salvation of the soul is perfected: “In weariness and painfulness, in watchings often, in hunger and thirst, in fastings often, in cold and nakedness. (2 Corinthians 11:27).

Jesus paid the price.  Even though he is God, nevertheless He paid the price. “Though He was a Son, yet He learned obedience by the things which He suffered. (Hebrews 5:8).

The salvation of the soul will not take place without an effort on our part.  Health and life will not take place without our exertion.  Jesus says” “My father is always working.” (John 5:17). If God works, then we must work.  A servant is not greater than his master.

Work it out

We must work out what God has worked in. Paul says: “Work out your own salvation with fear and trembling; for it is God who works in you both to will and to do for His good pleasure.” (Philippians 2:12-13).

“The children of Ephraim, being armed, and carrying bows, turned back in the day of battle.” (Psalm 78:9). God armed them, nevertheless, they failed to realise that they still needed to fight for their deliverance.

Jesus healed a paralytic with the command: “Rise, take up your bed and walk.” (John 5:8-9). Even though he was healed, he still had to rise, take up his bed, and walk. Without doing that, his obedience would not be complete, and his healing would not be perfected.

There is no shortcut.  There are no five easy steps to the anointing that breaks every yoke.

Therefore, “Be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might.” (Ephesians 6:10). “Stir up the gift of God which is in you.” (2 Timothy 1:6). “Wage the good warfare. (1 Timothy 1:18). “Fight the good fight of faith, lay hold on eternal life.” (1 Timothy 6:12). “Contend earnestly for the faith which was once for all delivered to the saints.” (Jude 1:3).

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