“And behold, one of those who were with Jesus stretched out his hand and drew his sword and struck the servant of the high priest and cut off his ear. Then Jesus said to him, “Put your sword back into its place. For all who take the sword will perish by the sword”. (Matthew 26:51-52)
Before the crisis in the Garden of Gethsemane occurred, Jesus saw the impending danger. And in response, HE RESOLVED TO PRAY. In addition, He also instructed His disciples to pray. “Watch and pray, that ye enter not into temptation….”, He told them (Matthew 26:41).
While Jesus prayed, His disciples dozed. He came again to wake them to pray, but they soon dozed off again, “…for their eyes were heavy.” (verse 43). Jesus went back to His prayer.
Shortly after that, the mob that came to arrest Jesus arrived, and events unfolded rapidly. The instinctive response of Peter (who had been sleeping instead of praying) was to resort to physical violence – to his sword. With an expert stroke, he chopped off the right ear of Malchus, the servant of the high priest.
And with that stroke of carnal exuberance, Peter set out to disrupt God’s plan for the hour! For it was indeed God’s plan for Jesus to be arrested, so that He would be crucified as a sacrifice for the sin of the world. But, in his carnality, Peter engaged his natural mind and set himself to fight against God’s plan.
This is what happens when men get sloppy in the place of prayer. They lose the cutting edge of spirituality. They become confused. And in that confusion, they instinctively resort to the ARM OF THE FLESH. In sharp contrast, please note how Jesus was IN CONTROL throughout the encounter. It was a very difficult moment for Jesus. That was the hour He would be separated from the disciples He loved very much. That was the hour that His torture would begin – the beating, the mockery, the spitting, the shame, the humiliation, and so on. He knew all these very well. Yet, He was CALM and IN CONTROL – because He had been strengthened by God (through an angel) in the place of prayer (Luke 22:43).
And with His calmness and spiritual insight, Jesus undid the great damage that Peter did, and allowed the will of God to unfold – at a great personal cost to Himself. That is a man of understanding. A true Leader.
Now, let’s bring the lesson home to our situation in Nigeria. For a long time now, the Lord has been calling the Church in Nigeria back to repentance and to prayer. To much prayer for the soul of the nation, so that God’s prophetic agenda for the country may begin to unfold. But we have largely dozed off in the place of prayer. While danger was warming up, we were dozing. And as danger sprung upon us suddenly, our instinctive reaction is to resort to carnality – to SELF-help, to SELF-defence.
The mindless killing of our brethren in the North is a huge disaster that has befallen the Church in Nigeria. The loss of so many innocent lives is both sad and regrettable. But this disaster is not the greatest danger that confronts us. Rather, the greater danger is that neither we, nor yet the leadership of the Church in Nigeria, have a real understanding of what is happening, why it is happening, what the eventual outcome will be, and how we should react in both the short and long terms. There is confusion. There is uncertainty. There is anger. And that is why many believers are now resorting to the traditional base of humanity – CARNALITY.
In contrast, we know that it was the understanding that Jesus had that provided direction for His followers (even though they remained perplexed and bewildered). But the Church in Nigeria seems to lack the genuine spiritual leadership that truly understands the mind of God on our current situation, and can inspire stability at a dangerous time like this.
And instead of admitting our collective failure in the place of prayer, quite a lot of our leaders are openly teaching their members to procure weapons and chop off the heads of their attackers. Some are ranting and raving on THEIR altars, invoking useless curses and sudden death on the attackers. Have the attackers been dropping dead like a swarm of flies as a result of those empty curses? No!
We follow such men at the peril of our souls – unless if we are also really like them. The instruction of Jesus to His disciples in the midst of danger is clear: “…Behold, I send you forth as sheep in the midst of wolves: be ye therefore wise as serpents, and harmless as doves”. (Matthew 10:16).
We cannot be HARMLESS AS DOVES unless we have God on our side, and in our view. So this is the REAL PROBEM. The Fulani herdsmen are NOT our main problem (despicable as their actions are). They are but a mere symptom of a deeper problem. A symptom that exposes our spiritual nakedness. Our failure in arming ourselves in the Spirit because the weapons of our warfare are NOT carnal. “For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in high places” (Ephesians 6:12). This is why we are told that “… the weapons of our warfare are not carnal, but mighty through God to the pulling down of strong holds… (Corinthians 10:4).
When God is not fully in the picture, we have NO MIGHT. And to defend ourselves, we’ll need to use part of our tithes and offering to buy weapons – as a pastor suggested recently!
Friends, please know this. There is much more danger ahead. God will use various situations and circumstances to open our eyes to our nakedness. Our response should be REPENTANCE. Our response should be to resolve to repair our broken altar of prayers. It is NOT about Fulani herdsmen. It is about us! It is about our God! Our God that said this: “When a man’s ways please the Lord, he makes even his enemies to be at peace with him” (Proverbs 16:7). Our God is in firm control!
Out of all the leaders and pastors that are telling us to buy weapons, how many of them have been busy calling us, as a Body, back to repentance and to much prayer? And to a concerted seeking of God’s face to gain an understanding of what exactly is happening, and how we should respond? Rather, they are appealing to our crass carnality. Responding in ways that will satisfy the lowest part of our fallen human nature. When Dr Oyedepo rained curses on some persecutors in 2015, the thunderous response of AMEN could have brought down the roof! Yet, they were praying IN THE NAME of the same Jesus that taught us to pray for our enemies and give them a drink if they are thirsty. Trying to use the power of the God we are not obeying to kill the enemies that we do not love. A perfect picture of fallen humanity.
Church in Nigeria, please let us pray that God will kindly forgive our present crop of leaders, and open their spiritual eyes. And if God chooses to move beyond them, let us pray that He will raise new Davids, Joshuas, Nehemiahs, Daniels, etc, that will understand His mind and lead us to follow His heart.
I say it again, great danger still lies ahead of the nation. And if the Church in Nigeria does not begin to turn earnestly and radically to God in repentance, the events we call ‘disasters’ today will look like child’s play tomorrow.
The time to ARM ourselves is NOW. The time to put on the whole armour of God – the armour of truth, the breastplate of righteousness, the preparation of the gospel of peace, the shield of faith, the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit (Ephesians 6:13-17).
This is the time to ARM ourselves with the mind that is truly ready to suffer for the sake of the Gospel of Christ (1 Peter 4:1), so that the will of God may be done on earth, as it is done in heaven. This is the POTENT ARSENAL that God has provided for the true followers of Jesus Christ.
Let us forsake carnality and foolishness. Let us acknowledge our waywardness, and return in humility to carry our cross and follow Christ. Just so that God’s plan for us as a nation may begin to blossom to the glory of His name. And the time to start is Now!
Thanks for reading, God bless you.
Source: Church Watch