This week I want to lay down an enduring thought for our Perfection Series. And that is, perfection begins with what we proclaim with our mouths and is perfected with what we think in our hearts. The moment we accept Christ into our lives and acknowledge Him as our Lord and savior, our journey of perfection begins. Although, it may sound like tautology, this acknowledgment of the Lord Jesus Christ is the beginning of the perfection of our journey of perfection. Accepting Christ into our lives is the beginning, not an end in itself. I say it is the beginning because anyone who accepts Christ must also walk like one who has accepted Christ. Anyone who is in the light must live as a child of light. Living as a child of light begins from the heart. When our hearts are in the right place, it does not mean we are sinless, but it means we are striving as hard as we can.
Apostle Paul talked about the weapons of our warfare in 2 Corinthians 10:4. He said these weapons are not carnal but they are mighty through God in pulling down of strongholds. These strongholds include those that have been built in our hearts by our upbringing. Strongholds that have been erected in our hearts from our life experiences; strongholds as a result of wrong doctrines that we may have been exposed to during our time of seeking the truth; strongholds that we have picked up because of our environment. All these strongholds need to be torn down so that we can live our lives as true Christians. We need to renew our minds completely. We need to unlearn things that are not of God but that have become part of our lives. It is only in doing these things that we can begin to perfect our walk with God and as a result perfect our journey of perfection.
There is a new fad amongst the young people in Nigeria. There are kids, and some adults too, who identify themselves as “Marlians”. Yes, just as we call ourselves “Christians”, these people also call themselves “Marlians”. They are followers of a viral musician known as Naira Marley – real name Azeez Fashola. However, Nigerian parents are up in arms and do not want their children identifying as Marlians. This is because Naira Marley may not be that kind of a good example. While his songs are danceable and his phrases catchy, people are not that sure of his character traits as a role model. In the last six months he has been involved with the police for one thing or the other. In one instance he was accused of stealing a car, and in another he was accused of internet fraud and cybercrime. Some of his songs include “Marry Juana”, “Am I a Yahoo Boy”, “Soapy”, and “Tesumole” meaning “walk on Satan”. Without going into details or the merits/demerits of his lyrics, many Nigerians see these songs as teaching bad morals. Put his police issues and his songs together and you see exactly why many parents do not want their children to be Marlians. They are afraid a Marlian will behave like the person he/she follows. As Christians, our contention is opposite. We must behave exactly like the one we profess to follow. Every effort to succeed as a Christ follower is an effort at breaking down strongholds.
When our Lord Jesus Christ was explaining a parable to Apostle Peter, He said, “But the things that come out of a person’s mouth come from the heart, and these defile them. For out of the heart come evil thoughts—murder, adultery, sexual immorality, theft, false testimony, slander” Matthew 10:18-19. This means that a man is defiled only by what comes out of his heart. So, if our hearts are not perfected, only defiled things will continually come out of them. The things that make us imperfect usually emanate from the heart. The common ones are false testimony, also known as lying; theft – taking things that do not belong to us; and slander – that thing we do behind people. They all start from the heart.
My brothers and sisters, the Lord has made this year a perfect year, we need to get on board with God’s plan. Being in tune with God’s plans this year requires that we begin to work out our perfection too. Seek God’s face for renewal of the mind. Ask God to change your mindset. Ask God to help you unlearn the many imperfect things you have grown up with. As we do this we will be on our way on that journey of Christian perfection and take every imperfect thought pattern into captivity. Try it and see what God can and will do with you. – Pastor Simbo Odunaiya