The Bible study was very engaging, but I didn’t hear half of what was discussed. My mind was far away. Bukunmi’s words kept ringing over and over. How could so much truth come out from the mouth of a chronic unbeliever? She told me the exact things Kitan had been telling me for almost two years now, but I had failed to listen.
‘Let us rise and share the Grace’, Bro Kennedy announced.
The Grace? I didn’t even know when the prayers were said.
After we had shared the Grace, I scanned the auditorium for Kitan with my eyes. I didn’t see her. Maybe she was working late, I thought. Monday was always a busy day for her at the office and she sometimes worked late. As I turned to leave, I heard Sister Gloria, Pastor Gbenga’s wife call my name.
‘Yes Ma’, I answered and quickly hurried to where she was.
‘Good evening Ma’, I greeted.
‘Good evening my dear. How are you?’
‘I’m fine Ma.’
‘Please I want to see you briefly before you go. Will that be okay?’
‘Yes Ma. It is very fine by me.’
‘Alright, just wait for me here. Let me attend to a few things. I’ll be with you shortly’. With that, she left.
I sat on one of the seats and waited for her. I wondered what she wanted to discuss with me. Maybe the Lord told her what I was passing through, I thought. A few minutes later, she joined me.
‘I’m so sorry for keeping you waiting’, she apologized.
‘No problem Ma’, I responded.
‘Can we just say a short prayer?’ she asked.
‘Okay Ma’, I replied as I bowed my head and closed my eyes.
‘Dear Holy Spirit, we ask that your presence abide with us even right here and that you take charge of this discussion in Jesus name’.
‘Amen’, I responded.
She looked at me and smiled.
‘Bolanle’, she began. ‘I have watched you since you joined this church about three years ago. I have seen your dedication, hard work and commitment to the things of God and particularly to this church and I commend you for that. God Almighty will reward you’.
‘Amen Ma’, I replied.
‘However dear, the Lord dropped a few things in my heart concerning you as I prayed this morning. I want to ask you a few questions, and I want you to be honest with me’.
I nodded my head.
‘How old are you?’
I’m twenty seven Ma’
‘When did you give your life to Christ?’
‘Eight years ago’.
‘Did you undergo any follow up or foundation classes?’
I scratched my head. ‘Yes Ma, but I didn’t finish’
I adjusted on my seat. ‘Well, I was already on lesson four before I relocated. The new church I started attending was a growing church and they were in need of workforce. To join the workforce, you needed no special requirements. All they required was for one to be born again. They didn’t require that you must have completed follow up classes, so I joined the ushering department. I tried continuing my classes but the follow up class in the church was very slow and inconsistent so I just left it’.
‘So you stopped at lesson four?’ she questioned.
‘So how has the journey of eight years been?’ Sis Gloria asked.
‘Difficult Ma. Difficult’, I responded and bowed my head again.
‘What makes it difficult dear?’
Ma, I’m going to be honest with you’, I started.
‘Before I gave my life to Christ, I had severe anger issues. I loved keeping malice and I don’t forgive easily. I also don’t apologize for my wrongs. After I gave my life to Christ, I thought it would all go away at once. It didn’t’.
‘So what did you do about it?’ she asked.
I sighed. ‘Ma, I’ve prayed, fasted and sought counseling. There has not been much improvement. I spoke with my mum and she said anger and unforgiveness is in our lineage. In fact, my grandfather killed his first wife out of anger’.
‘Ha!’ Sister Gloria exclaimed.
‘Yes Ma. After my mum told me that, I just accepted myself like that. I started praying to God to help me control it so it would not get out of hand’.
‘So you’re content with the state of your life now?’ She inquired.
‘No Ma, I am not’. A hot tear escaped from my left eye. ‘Right now, I feel so miserable. I need serious help’.
‘Good. Acknowledging that you need help is the first step to your breakthrough. You know why so many people are suffering in silence today?’
I shook my head.
‘It is because they have refused to admit that they need help. Until a man loses sight of his strength and effort and embraces God’s unmerited grace, he will remain in the valley of hopelessness’.
I was staring intently at her.
‘Bolanle, I know you are genuinely born again. However, it is one thing to be born again and it is another thing to be broken’.
‘Broken? What does it mean to be broken?’ I asked.
Sis Gloria smiled. ‘Have you seen an earthworm before?’ she asked.
‘Earthworm? Yes ma’, I replied, puzzled.
‘Now, one major characteristic of the earthworm is that it is very flexible’’ she continued. ‘It can bend into any direction and shape it wants to. Do you know why?’
I thought for a few seconds. ‘Well, is it because it has no backbone?’
‘Exactly!’ She replied. ‘The earthworm is very flexible and bendable because it has no backbone’. She continued. ‘Now, every man born of a woman has a backbone. That backbone represents his self, his will, his pride. Until that backbone is broken by the Lord, that man cannot amount to anything tangible in the hands of the Lord.’
My eyes widened in surprise. I hadn’t heard this before.
‘Bolanle, when you got born again, you accepted Christ into your life. However, to be broken is to willingly and deliberately allow Christ work in you so that you can produce His nature and become His perfect image. You see, some people accept Christ into their lives, but they don’t allow Him. That is why they are stuck with certain things that shouldn’t be found in their lives. They still battle with old habits and attitudes, because they did not allow Christ break them’
‘Brokenness comes by total surrender to the workings and dealings of the Holy Spirit in your life. That way, you will be like the earthworm, flexible and bendable, without any self-will or stubbornness. Christ will then be able to work out His good pleaure in your life. Do you understand?’
‘Ah! Yes ma’. I exclaimed. By this time, the tears were rolling freely down my eyes. The church was already empty, except for Pastor Gbenga who sat at the back, waiting for us.
‘Now let me address that issue of anger in your lineage’, she said. Please open your Bible to second Corinthians 5 verse 17 and read.
“Therefore, if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature: old things are passed away; behold all things are become new”.
Good. Now open to Colossians Chapter 2. Start reading from verse 9 and stop at verse 15.
“And you are complete through your union with Christ. He is the Lord over every ruler and authority in the universe. When you came to Christ, you were “circumcised,” but not by a physical procedure. It was a spiritual procedure–the cutting away of your sinful nature. For you were buried with Christ when you were baptized. And with him you were raised to a new life because you trusted the mighty power of God, who raised Christ from the dead. You were dead because of your sins and because your sinful nature was not yet cut away. Then God made you alive with Christ. He forgave all our sins. He canceled the record that contained the charges against us. He took it and destroyed it by nailing it to Christ’s cross. In this way, God disarmed the evil rulers and authorities. He shamed them publicly by his victory over them on the cross of Christ”.
‘Thank you. Now I want you to note something’, she started. ‘The very day you surrendered your life to Christ, you said goodbye to your old way of life and its pattern. You accepted the life Christ gives, a new life without spot or wrinkles. No matter what you have done in the past, it was all abolished with the old man. Jesus Christ cancelled all the charges against you, all the lawful demands against you and he nailed it to the cross, he disarmed and demolished principalities and powers, including ancestral curses and ancestral vices that were flowing in your lineage. He shamed them publicly, and won the victory for you’.
‘My dear,’ Sis Gloria said as she touched my arm. ‘The devil has held you bound in the cage of ignorance and because of this, you accepted anger as part of your life, something that Jesus Christ has already paid the price for.’
‘Also’, Sis Gloria continued. ‘You are still trying to do it by self-effort, and that is why you keep failing. By strength shall no man prevail. Give Jesus full control and don’t hold back anything. Allow Him to break you and bend you into what He wants you to be.’
‘Remember, we are what we are by the grace of God, not by our works of righteousness. Lean totally on the grace and mercy of God, and He will help you overcome this’.
‘Finally, Jesus tells us to learn of Him. Learning of Jesus is a continuous process. You can read Philippians 3 verses 7 to 11 and second Corinthians 3 verse 18 when you get home’.
‘Daily, as we genuinely behold Him, we are transformed to be like Him and every “un-Christly” character or habit in our lives falls off and dies away. It is Christ who works in you to will and to do of His good pleasure. His grace and mercy is abundantly available’.
I was already weeping loudly on my knees. I realized where I had missed it. Nobody had explained it to me this way before. Sister Gloria joined me on my knees and we began to cry to God for mercy. We prayed until I lost track of time. By the time we finished, I knew something had happened inside of me. There was this lightness and joy I felt.
Sis Gloria looked at me and said: ‘My final charge to you this evening is this- Colossians chapter 2 verses 6 to 7
“As you therefore have received Christ Jesus the Lord, so walk in Him. Let your roots grow down into him and draw up nourishment from him, so you will grow in faith, strong and vigorous in the truth you were taught”.
‘The Lord will help you my dear’.
‘Thank you so much Ma, I can’t thank you enough’, I replied joyfully.
‘You are welcome. I also want you to start follow up classes from this week. Follow up class is very important because that is where you will learn all the basics and foundation of the Christian faith and a solid walk with God’.
‘Yes Ma’, I replied. ‘I will do as you say’.
Sis Gloria checked her wristwatch. ‘Wow! Its ten thirty p.m. already. Please we need to leave now. Daddy will drop you in front of your house’.
‘Thank you so much Ma’, I said as I hugged her. ‘God bless you Ma.’
‘God bless you too dear. Let’s go’.
I hope you’ve learnt a thing or two from this Episode. Episode 5 comes up next. Thanks for reading!