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This post was written by Tee Akindele on March 20, 2010
Posted Under: Everyday Christian

Being Christian fulltime

I had come to a point of a restless nagging confusion, about my Christian experience, sometime ago. It wasn’t like I was living in any secret or un-confessed sin, yet a grueling sense of guilt tormented my body and mind, terrible as pangs from a body riddled with bullet wounds. I tried to pray more, read my bible more and even participated more in spiritual activities, yet I seemed to be loosing my peace more and more. The problem may actually have been complex: I felt overwhelmed with all the activities I was involved with, several church meetings in a week and more resource draining days of special meetings monthly, coupled with my job and other domestic responsibilities.

Somehow, I was convinced that slowing down on things was not an option, because I was a ‘soldier in training’. Then I was confronted week after week in church with admonitions to strive to do more and more for the Lord: preach more, win more souls and disciple more, because that was my purpose on earth and that was what it took to be a Christian, I was told. Guilt flowed with multidimensionality: first, in the middle of all this, I never felt I understood or was convinced about the biblical basis for such a performance driven life, yet every time I had to admit that I wasn’t enjoying this kind of ‘Christian life’, I felt like a fake Christian.

Secondly, I felt pushed by my leaders to do things that I had little or no success with: like getting people to speak in tongues, and healing the sick. I was tempted to think I was inferior in my knowledge or faith to others who gave testimonies about how easily they did these things. Feelings of inferiority translate to guilt for most Church folks – I was no exception [black sheep?] .

And on top of all that, I could easily tell that my personal devotion and fellowship with the Lord was dwindling, personal bible study became less fruitful, personal prayer turned laborious; in short, I consistently felt spiritually dulled. Church meetings could refresh me a bit, but once I left fellowship and returned back to my regular world, my exertion and depression were restored and a persistent sense of inadequacy held me in a world of spiritual loneliness; even my relationships with others suffered.

My frustration drove me to begin to study again for answers. I studied the life of the apostle, Paul from the Bible. He was probably the most zealous of them: he said he had received grace to labour more than the rest; he said: woe to himself if he didn’t preach the gospel. Yet I was surprised to discover that his sense of fulfillment didn’t come from the exploits he did for God or for the gospel. This new light dawned on me as I read through the entire chapter of Philippians 3.

6 concerning zeal, persecuting the church; concerning the righteousness which is in the law, blameless.
7 But what things were gain to me, these I have counted loss for Christ.
8 Yet indeed I also count all things loss for the excellence of the knowledge of Christ Jesus my Lord, for whom I have suffered the loss of all things, and count them as rubbish, that I may gain Christ
9 and be found in Him, not having my own righteousness, which is from the law, but that which is through faith in Christ, the righteousness which is from God by faith;
10 that I may know Him and the power of His resurrection, and the fellowship of His sufferings, being conformed to His death,
12 Not that I have already attained, or am already perfected; but I press on, that I may lay hold of that for which Christ Jesus has also laid hold of me…
13 Brethren, I do not count myself to have apprehended; but one thing I do, forgetting those things which are behind and reaching forward to those things which are ahead,
14 I press toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus.
- Phil 3:6-10, 12-14(NKJV)

Paul’s supreme goal in life was to trust every thing to Christ entirely, he denounced every form of self acclamation, including his personal pride of achievement which he regarded as rubbish. But rather he said: “that I may know Him …” and “this I thing I do …”. If you observe the passage of scripture cited above keenly, you would realize that this goal Paul referred to wasn’t his doing of exploits for God, but a depth of experience of fellowship, till he had learnt so much to trust Christ and could do nothing of himself alone but through Christ. This was the grace that worked in him as he laboured for the gospel; he longed for a state where he would be like Christ was when He died on the cross: in total surrender to God’s will, dead to self and ambitions.

But God forbid that I should boast except in the cross of our Lord Jesus Christ, by whom the world has been crucified to me, and I to the world.
- Gal 6:14(NKJV)

I have been crucified with Christ; it is no longer I who live, but Christ lives in me; and the life which I now live in the flesh I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave Himself for me.
- Gal 2:20(NKJV)

Finding fulfillment

Many preachers often say that it is humanly impossible to live the Christian life, it takes Christ at work in the believer by the holy spirit. And so, it’s less a performance issue than of consistent unbroken fellowship with the Lord. Even ministry, contrary to the way many go about it, is not about performance but it flows out of our individual fellowship and obedience to Christ’s leadership.

As we advance in the world. We are taught to pursue more and more independence; to assert ourselves: “be a woman of yourself or a self made man”. Ironically, and in contrast to this, if we are going to progress in the kingdom of God or in spiritual maturity, we have to learn to loose our self reliance and pride of self-accomplishment and learn more and more to trust only in and pride absolutely on Christ and his cross just like Paul did. How can I possibly overstate this point, considering it’s importance? Being strong in Christ, isn’t attempting great exploits for Him and working powerful miracles in His name. When one is rooted and grounded in Christ, he would not need to perform, the beauty of Christ will flow in his person and God would work exploits in his life. That is, the horse pulls the cart not the cart pulling the horse.

Fulltime Christians

But sanctify the Lord God in your hearts: and be ready always to give an answer to every man that asketh you a reason of the hope that is in you with meekness and fear
1 Peter3:15 (KJV)

As Peter says: “be always ready”All professing Christians should regard themselves as Christians wherever they are, whatever day of the week, whatever country in the world or whatever situation they find themselves in. like Paul they should say for themselves: “to live is Christ!”. Being Christian is a full time occupation, yet it has little to do with carrying a big bible around the office or your place of work everyday and preaching to people, especially if co-workers who are around you cannot clearly vouch for your character in subtle areas like humility, love, patience, integrity and loyalty.

The idea that being a fulltime Christian is all about ministry comes from the popular idea of people calling themselves fulltime ministers when they imply that they have no other vocation or means of livelihood, other than being preachers of the gospel. In the part of the world where I live, you will find thousands of clowns who dress sanctimoniously and carry big bibles into public places like transport vehicles, embassy offices, using preaching and the giving of flattering prophecies as a cloak for pretense, while they solicit for money from people. If you challenge them, they tell you without shame that they have been called to fulltime ministry. Their more glorified counterparts have established church-offices or prayer houses for themselves, and preach for money and demand the people’s tithes or prophet-offerings – this also, they say is fulltime ministry. Paul regarded such as idlers, Jesus regarded them as robbers.

I came to learn from the word of God that my one priority as a Christian was to keep my focus on Christ and be heavenly minded; to do all I did as unto the Lord, including my professional practice; to do all in attitude, speech and deed in the name of Jesus Christ, as his servant or vessel, till others can see Him in me. And then, it doesn’t matter whether or not  He sends me to the U.S. to teach or to Somalia or Zimbabwe to disciple a handful of believers, or to pray for the church or for lost souls, or that He only wants to make of me a remarkeable example of a believer – walking in the spirit, right where I am(this also is ministry); I could be a toilet cleaner, or a bank executive, or a government agent and never preach the gospel through a microphone, but if I just trust Christ completely in every personal decision and choice I make, He would bless people and reveal or minister himself to them through me and through my lifestyle and He’d be glorified in me. If I live a life that daily glorifies God I wouldn’t have less a crown than a pastor of a congregation of 50,000 who also faithfully carries out his ministry.

Ministry is yielding to God – any how He’s pleased to use us. First, He requires our faith and trust in Him, then our consistent obedience. If we keep relying on Him, soon we would know what capacities He would require us to serve by the gifts He chooses to manifest in us, even as we fulfill other earthly responsibilities part-time – housewives, doctors, teachers, lawyers or law enforcement agents. Whatever we are doesn’t matter, if we can do what we do as unto the Lord, we can be fulltime Christians.

Conclusion

Being a fulltime Christian is honouring God with every breathing moment, every choice that we make and every prayer that comes from out heart, till the mind of Christ is fully formed in us and all our treasures are wisely invested in heaven, where they are truly safe. Then there would be no need to do anything grudgingly or out of a compulsion to perform, serving the Lord would be, as it ought to be, a thing of privilege and delight not a burden that drains us and leaves us unfulfilled.

Reader Comments

Hi..
This post is awesome. This tells that Christ is fully, this moment, in us and treasures are widely invested in heaven. Thanking for this nice post.

#1 
Written By christianwalktoday on March 23rd, 2010 @ 6:39 AM

Oh thanks for reading and the kind comments too.

#2 
Written By Tee Akindele on March 30th, 2010 @ 3:09 PM

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