Relationship & Love: Our Character In Christ

Posted on July 19, 2019

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Relationship & Love: Our Character In Christ

by Pastor Toks Oshokoya

Love is the foundation for sound character, and character is very germane in our pursuit of the goal that we have set for ourselves; and the likelihood of attaining the desired objective. For anybody to be resolute he or she must have a strong character, and character is maintained by daily consciousness of the divinely infused personal life- force.

Apostle Paul spoke to Timothy in 1 Timothy 4:13-16 and said, “Till I come, give attendance to reading, to exhortation, to doctrine. Neglect not the gift that is in thee, which was given thee by prophecy, with the laying on of the hands of the presbytery. Meditate upon these things; give thyself wholly to them; that thy profiting may appear to all. Take heed unto thyself, and unto the doctrine; continue in them: for in doing this thou shalt both save thyself, and them that hear thee.”

What Paul’s admonition meant for Timothy was that all the exercises he was putting himself through must be physically seen and appreciated by the people he oversaw, so that ultimately, Timothy would save not just himself alone, but also those who were with him.

In 1 Chronicles 12:1-40, God gives a list of several warriors of Israel. We need to realize that God does not waste words, and He is not a talkative; when He speaks or writes, He has reasons for doing so. Among the names mentioned, were some very skilled and versatile warriors who could shoot arrows with both their left and right hands. Others were captains among them, yet they could stoop low; and that was why they chose to be subject to David. We need to learn from them and get to a point where though we are placed at high levels, yet we can stoop low when necessary, to do the work of the kingdom.

1 Chronicles 12:1-7 “Now these are they that came to David to Ziklag, while he yet kept himself close because of Saul the son of Kish: and they were among the mighty men, helpers of the war. They were armed with bows, and could use both the right hand and the left in hurling stones and shooting arrows out of a bow, even of Saul’s brethren of Benjamin. The chief was Ahiezer, then Joash, the sons of Shemaah the Gibeathite; and Jeziel, and Pelet, the sons of Azmaveth; and Berachah, and Jehu the Antothite, And Ismaiah the Gibeonite, a mighty man among the thirty, and over the thirty; and Jeremiah, and Jahaziel, and Johanan, and Josabad the Gederathite, Eluzai, and Jerimoth, and Bealiah, and Shemariah, and Shephatiah the Haruphite, Elkanah, and Jesiah, and Azareel, and Joezer, and Jashobeam, the Korhites, And Joelah, and Zebadiah, the sons of Jeroham of Gedor.”

Don’t be discouraged about the work you do in the house of God because it is your function, not your position that matters to God. Or else how can you explain that Steven and Philip, who were deacons and served tables in the early church, later became the first to organise a city-wide crusade? After Philip’s city-wide crusade, God sent him to preach to just one person, in the wilderness. God removed him from the spot-light he had been in, to preach in a lone chariot that bore an Ethiopian on a lonely wilderness road. God is training us by the things He allows us to pass through.

When God told Moses to remove his shoes before the burning bush, Moses would not have obeyed if he had not learnt to take instructions in the house of Jethro, his father-in-law. He was a military general who ran away, but learnt to drop his martial attitudes and take instructions. Many times we refuse to take instructions because the people that God sends to train us look insignificant in our eyes. But we need one another, because we all posses differing skills. There are skills you don’t have that your brother has. You may think you can pray very well, but I tell you, there are realms and graces to prayer. You might have been praying and fasting for days about an issue, but there may be someone that God has revealed that issue to. There are people you think are insignificant, but they carry some worth. Everybody is graced specially.

Verses 8-15 “And of the Gadites there separated themselves unto David into the hold to the wilderness men of might, and men of war fit for the battle, that could handle shield and buckler, whose faces were like the faces of lions, and were as swift as the roes upon the mountains; Ezer the first, Obadiah the second, Eliab the third, Mishmannah the fourth, Jeremiah the fifth, Attai the sixth, Eliel the seventh, Johanan the eighth, Elzabad the ninth, Jeremiah the tenth, Machbanai the eleventh. These were of the sons of Gad, captains of the host: one of the least was over an hundred, and the greatest over a thousand. These are they that went over Jordan in the first month, when it had overflown all his banks; and they put to flight all them of the valleys, both toward the east, and toward the west.”

Note the diversities in the specialty of these warriors: the first group of warriors could use bows and arrows, and they could also hurl stones; so they could fight people from afar, since stones and arrows are not aimed at people in close range. Grenades cannot be used for arm to arm combat, and in order to overcome enemies at close ranges, warriors who were experts in handing the dagger were needed. But the second group which had captains over hundreds and thousands, went to war through water. Now there is a possibility that the first group of warriors had phobia for water, but not this group. At the end of the day, David is declared the winner of the battles.

Verses 24-32 “The children of Judah that bare shield and spear were six thousand and eight hundred, ready armed to the war. Of the children of Simeon, mighty men of valour for the war, seven thousand and one hundred. Of the children of Levi four thousand and six hundred. And Jehoiada was the leader of the Aaronites, and with him were three thousand and seven hundred;And Zadok, a young man mighty of valour, and of his father’s house twenty and two captains. And of the children of Benjamin, the kindred of Saul, three thousand: for hitherto the greatest part of them had kept the ward of the house of Saul. And of the children of Ephraim twenty thousand and eight hundred, mighty men of valour, famous throughout the house of their fathers. And of the half tribe of Manasseh eighteen thousand, which were expressed by name, to come and make David king. And of the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do; the heads of them were two hundred; and all their brethren were at their commandment.”

If you examine what is written of the sons of Issachar, you would notice that they were not described by anything physical. They were in the cadre called “Military Intelligence”.  Wars can be lost where there is no military intelligence, because the next person to you could be a sniper. The sons of Issachar knew what Israel ought to do per time, so their brains and the revelation that God gives them were their own weapons. Their brethren were at their command, and that meant there were certain times Israel had to listen to them first before going to a war.

Verse 33 “Of Zebulun, such as went forth to battle, expert in war, with all instruments of war, fifty thousand, which could keep rank: they were not of double heart.”

The warriors from Zebulun were strategists because they were experts in war. How did Alexander the Great fight an army of almost sixty million from the Persian kingdom with less than three million armies? The situation seemed hopeless, but strategy was what gave him victory. Battles are not fought with untested soldiers; else a disgraceful loss will be inevitable. It is only tested soldiers, who can keep ranks that are fit for battles.

Can you keep rank? Keeping ranks means to obey all instructions. Can you work with people and submit yourself to them wholeheartedly? Working with people who cannot keep ranks means trouble. Do you know that a righteous man dies foolishly if he works with people who cannot keep ranks? You need to know that even if your captain is not perfect, that does not mean that you will not keep your rank with him.

Urriah was a righteous man, a mighty man of valour, a patriotic citizen, but his fellow soldiers broke ranks and killed him. He fought until he got weary, since his fellows had retreated. He did not die because he was a coward or an unrighteous man; he died because his fellows took orders from someone else.  Don’t be a child of God who cannot keep ranks. Each time you refuse to keep ranks, you are endangering the lives of those at the fore-front. Keeping of ranks is part of the cords that bind us as children of God.

Do you know that Judas Iscariot was a thief? Do you think the other disciples knew that Judas was a thief before the death of Jesus? If they knew, Jesus would have lost that team. It was only Jesus that knew that Judas was a thief.

Naaman was a leper and a Syrian captain of the host, yet the Bible records that the Lord wrought mighty works through him. Do you know that if other generals knew he was a leper, they would have committed mutiny? Are you aware that members of Naaman’s house knew he was a leper? Even the king knew. But once he puts on his armoury, the power of God begins to work through him. He cried everyday for God to take his leprosy away from him. Members of his household kept shut about his state, because they knew the mandate on his life. So they neither published his predicament in Gath, nor spread it in Ashkelon, so that the Philistines will not take advantage. They all believed that one day, their General will be cured.

You kill your future by destroying the person ahead of you. Pastor Bakare would say, “The closer you move to men of God, you will see a lot of unholy things.” And God allows this in order for you to decide to have a better future. Because any one whose failures you see, who may likely have a part to play in the nearest future. If you think of killing somebody, being drunk can give you a helping hand; but if it never crosses your mind, there’s no amount of drunkenness that would make you become a murderer.

Can you imagine a son who slaps his father? That son may attribute his stupid act to the effects of alcohol on him, but the truth is that he had always felt like slapping his father before then. God wanted to promote Aaron because he could speak fluently while Moses couldn’t, but Aaron did not have character. Moses couldn’t speak well yet he had character. So when Moses went to the mountain to hear from God, a vacuum was created. Then Aaron tried to fill the vacuum but couldn’t, since he was empty on the inside. Are you anticipating for the day your leader would be absent so that you can show off your skills?

God wants us to make up for what our leaders do not have, so that the overall façade will be perfect. Do you become angry when your leader is being praised? Then you are sick! Or do you go about telling people that you are the actual person behind all his success? Don’t you know that it is because God wants to promote you that He put you there? He can use anybody else, you are just an instrument.

Naaman was a leper but his people hid it. When the little Israeli slave girl was brought into his home, she also knew about Naaman’s leprosy and she kept mute too. That was because love and relationship thrived in that household, and everybody knew the family mandate. If Naaman sank at that time, Syria was doomed. As soon as the slave girl received love, her purpose in that home surfaced and she began to point Naaman towards the place of his healing. Keeping ranks means noting and being focused on proper order.

Verse 38 “All these men came with a perfect heart to Hebron to make David king and all the men also of Israel were of one heart to make David king.”

Note the phrase “perfect heart”, and see how God describes it in Verse 22 “For at that time day by day there came to David to help him until it was a great host, like the host of God.

Which means this perfection of our hearts is a shadow of what the church should be in terms of warfare against the enemy — perfect heart — different graces, different abilities, some may not know how to preach, and may not have fluency in prayers; but they can give counsel, and it will be evident that God deposited something in them. Let’s stop fighting one another, and synergize our graces to do the work of God and triumph over satan.

The book of Nehemiah Chapter 3 gives a record of all the builders of the walls of Jerusalem. I wondered why Nehemiah would put a goldsmith beside an oil-seller, but it was because he knew how they needed each other. You can read the following scriptures for more references: 1 Corinthians 12:4-31; Romans 12:3-21; Ephesians 4:1-7.

There is a saying that goes:

“Sow a thought, reap an act;

Sow an act, reap a habit;

Sow a habit, reap a character;

Sow a character, reap a destiny;

And I add:                                           Sow a destiny, reap a destination;

Because that’s what destinies do, they lead to destinations. What destination do you desire for yourself? Some people’s dream is to work in SHELL or live in Lekki, because all they hear from their pastors is earthly vision. Where is your destination and what is is your goal? What conscious, deliberate and intentional efforts are you making towards getting to that desired destination? The Israelite warriors had a perfect heart because their goal was to make David king.

My goal and destination is God, and wherever He is, that’s where I’ll be. If you know your destination, you must make conscious effort everyday towards it, because I read about a rich man who was clothed in purple and fed sumptuously every day, while Lazarus, a beggar, sat at his gate with sores, desiring to be fed with crumbs which fell from the rich man’s table and dogs licked his sores. Then it came to pass that that the rich man died, and the poor man also died. The rich man suddenly found himself in hell even though that destination was not his desire, but by the reason of what he sowed every day, he found himself in a destination that he did not want. When you sow a thought, time creeps over it until you reap. So the very element that you should watch out for is what you do with your time.

In hell, the rich man looked up to Abraham’s bosom and called out, “Father Abraham, have mercy on me. . .” this shows that the rich man still remembered relationship. And in response, Abraham called him son; this tells us that “Abraham’s son” went to hell, even though the promise of God is not for Abraham’s sons to go to hell. It means that the way you live your life can determine your destination, so you must make conscious effort for the desired destination. Because if a person who was once a believer goes to hell, he would suffer more torment than an unbeliever in hell, because his memory will still remember that he used to call God “Father.” The rich man’s torment caused him to beg Father Abraham to send someone to go preach to his brethren so that they could learn to live intentionally, since he did not (Luke 16:19-31).

Love is the foundation for sound character, and character is germane in our pursuit of the goal we have set for ourselves and the likelihood of attaining the desired objective. Luke 9:51 says Jesus was resolute as He set His face steadfastly towards achieving the purpose for His life. That was because Jesus had character, and character is the fuel for resoluteness. When you are resolute, it is a sign that you have character; and if you have character, you will be resolute.

Character is maintained by daily consciousness of the divinely infused life-force. Life force has to do with the things that God told you personally in the times of your communion with Him. The personal Rhema you can refer to in your Christian life, become your life-force and push you towards achieving purpose. You must keep your life-force, and have a written record of the things God spoke to you about. Sometimes you may tell people who will remind you of your life-force when you are down. There are times we fall short and then refuse to go to church, but the truth is, the church is actually the place of our deliverance. So if you are at your spiritual ebb and your faith has dropped, humble yourself to bend down and pick it up, because satan cannot eat your faith. And if Satan tells you it’s unreachable, remind him that he has been a liar from the beginning of times, and he would remain a liar.

We need to constantly remind ourselves of the things that constitute the elements of our life-force, so that we can maintain a focused life though not without occasional trauma of being subjected to distractions by our immediate environment, cultural setting, unexpected circumstances and daily legitimate requirements of life. Maintaining a focused life begins by doing a self evaluation to know what is expected of us so as to make our calling and election sure.

How will you categorize your relationship with God? Remember, if you don’t love God, you cannot love man and if you don’t love man, then you cannot love God, because you cannot see God. Calibrate your maturity level by the following:

FIVE CATEGORIES OF RELATIONSHIP LEVELS

  1. Converts: Every Christian begins from this level, and there is nothing wrong in being a convert, but don’t stay too long at that level.
  2. Disciples: Do you wake up each morning thinking of how to be like your master? If so, you are disciple and if not, you are still a convert, even if you are called a pastor or a bishop.
  3. Servants: Have you moved from discipleship to servant hood, doing all things for God and for the sake of the gospel? Do you count all that you have as the Lord’s and hold nothing back even your very time?
  4. Friendship: this comes after servant hood. Have you become a friend of God? Jesus told His disciples, “I no longer call you servants, I call you friends” and He began to show them what friendship entails; it’s almost like starting all over again.
  5. Son ship: this level is available for those who have become faithful and true friends of God.

Ask God for the grace to live for Him and begin to practice how to live intentionally, how to serve God purposefully and how to love one another unconditionally. I commend you to Jesus.

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