OPINION: Avoiding Friendship With the World Even at ChristmasFeatured Contributors/Columnists, Latest News, Prof.R.A Ipinyomi Friday, December 18th, 2015
Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi, University of Ilorin Nigeria
Nigerians, like all other communities around the world this period, are already in some level of Christmas celebrations. Webcan be described as a people having a warm, familiar attitude with the rest of the world and we may have thus become God’s enemy as stated in James 4 verse 4 in the Bible. The Bible is the Christian Constitution. What does it mean, in more practical terms, to be a friend of the world? It is to adopt the world’s set of values and wants, to desire what the world wants instead of choosing according to divine standards or divine truths. For example, the Christmas celebration is going directly opposite the man of Christmas, Jesus Christ. Stories in the old Testament of the Bible have been pointing to the coming of a Messiah, God’s massager and Saviour (Jesus) and the King of the world (Christ), whose reign and Kingdom will have no end, he is the beginning and the end.
Two major errors have been committed by the world from generation to generation. Thevfirst is the failure to recognise the Saviour of the World, Jesus. This failure occurs in different levels depending on who you are and what you believe. For instance, the Jews are still expecting their promised Messiah, the Muslims recognise Jesus but believing Muhammad to be ahead of Jesus, the Christians who believe him as Saviour are not committed and which is worst. Others will have their own faiths encouraged seeing Jesus Christ living in us and directing us. Many other religions, with millions of followers, don’t even mention Jesus. The second level of the error is that the celebration of Christ is skewed to volume of business sales, holidaying, exchange of gifts, clubbing and partying, etc. No body seems to have any significant consideration on how low the world moral standard has fallen. Instead people are celebrated and become celebrities if they behave abnormal in the society, becoming antichrist, world governments giving approval to evil living. In fact I read some articles lately saying that Jesus is not coming back again. Please don’t believe them, Jesus is coming back as promised.
Therefore we encourage you this Christmas not to conform with the world or its passing glory because if a person does that, he has actually made himself subject to Satan because Satan is the god of this world! Satan is the angel that grew proud and left God to set up a parallel Kingdom. He is a rebellious adversary to the Way, Light and the Truth. That is a choice that we want to avoid. The worldly person will almost invariably choose to satisfy himself and take action on his desire, which eventually produces confusion, division, and war in the way of Satan. It cannot be otherwise because the spirit of the world is the spirit of Satan, and laws are at work that will produce what they are designed to produce. Christmas is a time of rejoicing truly but only if we realise that we have a bridge to break away from Satan and get back to God whom we lost fellowship and contact with. The fact that we are always unhappy with ourselves, whether we have or not, is a pointer that we cannot rescue ourselves. This Christmas must be an avenue for reconciliation and returning to the Creator. We have many religions, even here in Nigeria, but we cannot hide in religion that cannot protect us. We have to grow above religion and live true Christian life. Jesus said that anyone wishing to follow him he or she must take up the cross and following him. In such a process we don’t allow the passing world attractions to desuade us.
Apostle James found himself in a congregation like we have here in Nigeria, where there is high level of immorality and corruption, high desires for things of the world, steading and kidnapping, and where everyone takes advantage of authority given to him like public tax collectors. That was the problem in the congregation to which James wrote. If another apostle had been writing it, such as the apostle Paul did in I Corinthians 3, he would say, “You are yet carnal.” These were converted people but still carnal, and they were showing it through their choices. It was not that they did not have the Spirit of God but that they were still so weak spiritually. They were choosing to fall back on what they had in the way of character, understanding, knowledge, and vision from the world, and by this, they showed that Satan was still dominating their lives. This is understandable because Satan is a wily and powerful adversary. But he can be overcome and defeated. Christ did it, and we can too because Christ is in us.
Where do we put Christmas in our national life, here in Nigeria? We expect each person who truly believes in Jesus Christ as the reason for Christmas to live it out as our minimum demand. Put all your hope, faith and love in Christ Jesus’ service. Be an ambassador for Christ for once and letting others know it’s Christmas. We don’t have set functions laid out for the period or for anyone but let the Holy Spirit lead you to do something for Christ. It is not about carol, church services, religion, that I am a Muslim or I am a Christian or I am not one of them. No, we have only one God, one destiny, one death process and one Judge at the end. You cannot save your life by sleeping in the Church but no Christ’s love seeing in you nor condemn yourself by being antichrist of any class. This Jesus we are talking about has power over all the nature of the world because all powers belong to him (visible or invisible), and his name is above all names. Hence stop fighting yourself against the power that is so awesome you cannot win. Find some peace in your life this Christmas period and stop running away from God. Jesus Christ is the reason for Christmas and join us to celebrate him. We wish your and your lovely families a very Merry Christmas.
Prof. R. A. Ipinyomi
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