The plane took off and my friends and I chitchatted excitedly. It was my first time flying with a group of friends, so there was no ‘alone-time’ to look out of the window and to get lost in personal musing. My friend who sat next to the window almost reminded me of a little daughter as she pointed at interesting sights.
‘That’s a bridge. It’s so long, even from here’
‘That’s a cloud. Wow! We are flying ABOVE the clouds’
‘Wow, there is so much water. You’d never realise how much water surrounds Lagos’
Her enthusiasm was infectious.
I love travelling, be it by train, boat, plane or camel. I have not ridden a horse for a while, but I think it will be interesting to do an interstate trip on horseback, with an accompanying car – just in case!
But what struck me is this simple fact:
It’s a very different view when you are far above and looking down.
All of a sudden, things take on a different perspective, and more and more, you realise how small you are and how big the ‘bigger picture’ really is.
From the skies above, walls just blend into the landscape. You see them, but they are not really important. It is greenery, water bodies and large expanses of earth that really stand out. Buildings are all alike from above, irrespective of the grandeur they appear to have when one is on the ground. It reminds me of the walls of denomination.
I almost HATE denominationalism and the sordid brands that people look to in order to give themselves some sort of identity – as though Christ is not enough. By its very definition, a denomination is about exclusivity that brings people together based on traditions. Unfortunately, this exclusivity, many times, tends to give a false feeling of superiority…and the ones who do not believe ‘the same things’ are outcasts, even said to be heretic. Ah, how we love to brand people as heretic. Burning at the stake is no longer ‘cool’ or, with the vehemence displayed by some ‘followers’ of Christ, certain people would be burnt to ‘purge’ the church and as always, it would be ‘in the name of the Lord’. Just check out Foxe’s book or martyrs.
I am neither Pentecostal nor Orthodox. I am not Protestant – I see nothing to protest. I am just a disciple of Christ.
And who are my brethren? ANYONE who SINCERELY believes and accepts the sacrifice of Jesus, and has made him Lord irrespective of DENOMINATIONAL affiliation. Whether they be Redeemed or TREM, white garment, 7 day Adventist, Jehovah witness, Protestant, Pentecostal or whatever MAN-MADE divide people have chosen to go by.
Ah, John, you are losing it, you say.
Well, for me, the parameter for testing spirits as seen in scripture is NOT a string of doctrines and dogma. It is SIMPLY this:
“Beloved, believe not every spirit, but try the spirits whether they are of God: because many false prophets are gone out into the world. Hereby know ye the Spirit of God: Every spirit that confesseth that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is of God: And every spirit that confesseth not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh is not of God: and this is that spirit of antichrist, whereof ye have heard that it should come; and even now already is it in the world.” 1 John 4: 1-3
“For many deceivers are entered into the world, who confess not that Jesus Christ is come in the flesh. This is a deceiver and an antichrist. Look to yourselves, that we lose not those things which we have wrought, but that we receive a full reward. Whosoever transgresseth, and abideth not in the doctrine of Christ, hath not God. He that abideth in the doctrine of Christ, he hath both the Father and the Son. If there come any unto you, and bring not this doctrine, receive him not into your house, neither bid him God speed” 1 John vs 7 -10
Now, even the disciples had their segregationist myopia rebuked by Christ himself.
“And John answered him, saying, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name, and he followeth not us: and we forbad him, because he followeth not us. But Jesus said, Forbid him not: for there is no man which shall do a miracle in my name, that can lightly speak evil of me. For he that is not against us is on our part. For whosoever shall give you a cup of water to drink in my name, because ye belong to Christ, verily I say unto you, he shall not lose his reward. And whosoever shall offend one of these little ones that believe in me, it is better for him that a millstone were hanged about his neck, and he were cast into the sea.” John 9: 38 – 42
“And John answered and said, Master, we saw one casting out devils in thy name; and we forbad him, because he followeth not with us. And Jesus said unto him, Forbid him not: for he that is not against us is for us.” Luke 9: 49 – 50
And the reason for this, he clarifies when he said:
“I am the good shepherd, and know my sheep, and am known of mine. As the Father knoweth me, even so know I the Father: and I lay down my life for the sheep. And other sheep I have, which are not of this fold: them also I must bring, and they shall hear my voice; and there shall be one fold, and one shepherd.” John 10: 14 - 16
ONENESS… Simply, in HIM, because it’s all about HIM, not pastors in jerry curls or safari suits, not huge building with nine keyboards and huge building plans, not white garmented clerics or the choice of a holy day, not ‘holy ghost services’ or demon and witch spiritual lynching, not Baptist or ‘foursquare’ or ‘eight cubes’, not ‘deeper life’ or ‘redeemed’, or a ‘present house’ or ‘future kraal’ or whatever names you conjure. It is not about your pet doctrines that you will kill and even die for. It’s not even about you, or your belief that the hair should be covered or whether trousers should be worn. If you have been privileged to lock eyes with a demon possessed individuals, you suddenly lose sight of some silly quibbling. Furthermore, you need to understand that so much of what we practice as modern Christianity, this hybrid religion, actually stems from sun worship, but right now, that is NOT EVEN the most important thing. You need to get it into your thick skulls that it is ALL about HIM, HIM, HIM!!!
Paul talked about people who did not ‘discern the Lord’s body’. If you really learn to see from the skies above, you define individuals based on their WALK in GOD, not their denomination, by their FRUITS and NOT their religious brand! There are saints everywhere and there are vermins everywhere, and no denomination is holier or more right than the other. Yeah, I said that!
It is all man-made and will all end here on earth. But the true church, ah! you have to ‘see’ that beauty. She is made of people from every race, every tongue, every tribe, she is bold, she is beautiful, she is strong, she is the very bride of the lord and she will not soil her garment with any things that is temporal. She is made up of people who stand up like Daniels in the middle of a corrupt world, not bending to the whims of doctrine or fashion, or trends, not thinking promiscuity is fashionable or that life should be about what one can amass because she has set her affections on things above, so much so that other things pale in comparison. My God, she is so, so, so, so, aware that everything that the eyes can see is TEMPORAL. She is not hoping that the Lord will not come anytime soon, because she waits for the coming with an inner cry of “Maranatha!”, sick to death of the filth in the world, but so, so, so aware that it is almost time, that the harvest has been ripe, and that so many are falling away and yet, the labourers are so, so, so few and that people spend more time talking instead of reaching out with their voices and hands and blood and tears and skills and everything they have to snatch as many as they can from the darkness, because anyone whose antennas are in good working order knows that time is so short and that dark, dark days are coming.
Friend, that is the view from the sky above. Your acceptance of my view is not important.
I do know that if you are really plugged into God and his heart, he will lead you OVER TIME to where you should be and those you should be with, before he moves on AGAIN, as he tends to do – and depending on the walk he has mapped for YOU.
“Some indeed preach Christ even of envy and strife; and some also of good will: The one preach Christ of contention, not sincerely, supposing to add affliction to my bonds: But the other of love, knowing that I am set for the defence of the gospel. What then? notwithstanding, every way, whether in pretence, or in truth, Christ is preached; and I therein do rejoice, yea, and will rejoice.”
People constantly yap about trivia reminding me of the quote by Heraclitus: Dogs bark at what they do not understand.
It’s almost sad that it’s demons that really get the picture. Don’t you forget that before beating the day light out of the sons of Sceva they did not ask, WHERE do you belong.
They simply said
“WHO are YOU?”