Many years ago, as history would have us know, a man called Jesus Christ walked this earth. To some, He was a god, to others a prophet, and to the chosen ones, He was the embodiment of the very God who created the Heavens and the earth.
Over the years, however, things have changed; the Jesus the early church knew, has today become nothing more than a myth, a swear word and a person who is claimed by many, to have reincarnated as a cult leader known for instilling noxious doctrines into his partisans. He is also known as the founder of the largest religion in the world: Christianity. This, however, doesn’t matter to a lot of folk as the teachings and laws of the Christian religion do not resonate with their lives.
To many people, Jesus is for a bunch of people called Christians, and well, they can choose to believe in anything or anyone else. “It’s all about preference,” they say. “If the goal is Heaven, then we will all get there.” Almost every religion talks about a heavenly utopia: a place where people who have lived a good life on earth will end up; and Jesus and “His religion” have been branded as the group with the most rigid laws and rules that make it impossible for anyone to get to His heaven.
But is Jesus all about rigid religious laws, judgement and hatred for sinners? Is this who Jesus is, or is this the Jesus many people have been presented with?
If you should ask many people in the church if they know Jesus, they would give you the obviously-if-I-didn’t-know-Him-I-wouldn’t-be-in-church-look. But when you ask them whether they know the man, or the stories about the man, their answers will perturb you. You see, it’s one thing knowing a person and another listening to, and memorizing stories about that person. It’s easy to read about celebrities in the papers, watch them on TV, and tell others about them; but does this mean we really know these people? Do we really know President Barack Obama just because we read his biography, or the Queen of England just because she is written about in our history books? No!
In the same way we can’t say we know Jesus based on stories we have heard about Him. To know Him, that is, who He is, what makes Him tick, why He came down and more, we need to become sons of God: we need to be adopted into a new family; that’s only when we can experience Him as God like never before; not as outsiders but as His dearly beloved children.
It’s really easy to attend church every Sunday and yet still, “walk according to the course of this world, according to the prince of the power of the air, the spirit that now works in the children of disobedience” because, all many Christians, like the children of disobedience know, is a string of stories about Jesus: stories that don’t lead to adoption but rather syncretism. And as syncretists, they linger on this path to apostasy under the weight of their past sins, till they finally embrace a belief system that vilifies the very God they once tried hard to understand.
In Matthew 11:28, Jesus said, “Come unto me, all ye that labour and are heavy laden, and I will give you rest.” Can rest be found in rigid religious laws, rules and traditions, that in no way keep us from being led by beings contrary to the Holy Spirit, to indulge in the flesh? By no means. Rest can only be found, when we are wholly led by the Spirit of God (See Galatians 5:16-18).
“Let no man therefore judge you in meat, or in drink, or in respect of an holyday, or of the new moon, or of the sabbath days: Which are a shadow of things to come; but the body is of Christ. Let no man beguile you of your reward in a voluntary humility and worshipping of angels, intruding into those things which he hath not seen, vainly puffed up by his fleshly mind, And not holding the Head, from which all the body by joints and bands having nourishment ministered, and knit together, increaseth with the increase of God.
Wherefore if ye be dead with Christ from the rudiments of the world, why, as though living in the world, are ye subject to ordinances, (Touch not; taste not; handle not; Which all are to perish with the using;) after the commandments and doctrines of men? Which things have indeed a shew of wisdom in will worship, and humility, and neglecting of the body; not in any honour to the satisfying of the flesh.” (Colossians 2:16-23)
Giving thanks unto the Father, which hath made us meet to be partakers of the inheritance of the saints in light: Who hath delivered us from the power of darkness, and hath translated us into the kingdom of his dear Son: In whom we have redemption through his blood, even the forgiveness of sins: (Colossians 1:12-14)
We were once dead in our sins, enslaved by demonic powers against our will and led to indulge in immoral and shameless acts as they so pleased. They worked in us and made us children of disobedience because we were without Grace; we were without the life of God in us. Then God sent Jesus to give us His Grace, His life, His power, so that we can live like Him.
Believing in Jesus isn’t just about believing that He walked this earth, but it’s about believing that only He and He alone has the power to deliver us from a life of bondage: to open our eyes, and to turn us from darkness to light. It’s about believing that He and only He, not a shrink or rehab can save us from the powers and hands of the evil one. It’s about yearning for His power more than life and asking Him to fill our beings with all of who He is. When we pray “Jesus take control of me,” we are indeed saying “Jesus use every aspect of me as you so please”.
To become a son of God, to be born of the Word, we need to let the Word of God take over our lives. This salvation process is what the devil mimicked as demonic possession. We are vessels for the spirit world, but the choice of who to have within us, is ours.
Read: Ephesians 2:1-9, Colossians 2:16-23, 1 Corinthians 15:56