I was surprised to find an almost full red square cider on my table when I got back from the exam room! Oh, now I remembered, my sister mentioned something about not being able to finish it the previous night! Disgusted by the sight of it, I poured it down the drain! That was a first! Red square used to be one of my favourite alcohol brands!! In the state I was in, I could have easily drowned my sorrows with it and become jolly or whatever, but by God’s grace I cannot stand the sight of alcohol anymore! (But by the grace of God I am what I am 1corinthians 15:10)
I got born again at quite an early age, twelve years old! It was in October at boarding school when I first went to the alter call and said the salvation prayer! From that evening I tried my utmost best to live a holy life! I did not know much about Christianity, grace and the love of Jesus then, so I was very judgmental and thought I was more righteous than others! If somebody swore in my presence I was the first to cast the first stone: “thou shalt not swear”, forgetting that I also had flaws to deal with-jealousy, envy, spiritual competition and pride! I knew about God but I did not know Him on an intimate personal level that was why I was always judgmental! We judge others because we try to cover up our own secret flaws and sins, but no child of God who truly loves and knows Him will judge another human being! The moment you start judging you will live your Christian life trying to be “better” than others around you and this will cause you to live a life based on the law, your own law or the law set by people around you!
Honestly, I have no idea why I kept going to prayer meetings and bible studies in boarding school! I knew I was searching for something but at that time I didn’t have a relationship with Jesus so I was actually going there to please those around me, going to bible study to see the guy I had a crush on, leading songs in the church for my own glory! It sounds like I’m beating myself up but I’m not because now I understand that even though I was so foolish with wrong motives, God was still working in me! There is something about going to the alter call and confessing with your own mouth that you are in need of Jesus! People who do this are at a great advantage to have God work in them even when they have forgotten about His existence or know nothing about His love! You might forget but God remembers the day when you went to the alter call and said you accept Him as Lord and Saviour and He will do whatever it takes to bring you back to Him!
The journey was not easy at all because of my wrong motives! God was still good to me, He would bless me with spiritual gifts but I thought that I had to do something in order for me to be liked by Him! The more I tried living “right” the more I actually failed and this went on through to university! I’d be in my room praying and sweating but would actually find myself the following week getting drunk or fornicating once again! It was a routine! I already accepted the fact that after a powerful service at church or a personal encounter with “god” in my room, I’d face some sort of temptation which I would actually succumb to! I’d feel so bad about myself until I eventually gotten used to sinning that it didn’t matter anymore! I didn’t know what I know now! I grew up having my mum telling me that if I have sex or get drunk God will punish me heavily, mind you I was still very young by then! I grew up having elders begging us not to sin and if we did anything wrong, they’d actually use their “spiritual maturity” to curse and frighten us! I wish we could have a generation that begs people to focus on God instead! A generation that doesn’t scare people away from God because of the sins they commit! We need a generation that will explain to the people who go to the alter call that they are a work in progress; God is not finished with them yet! I’m reminded of a certain incidence at boarding school when I wanted morning after pills and almost all the teachers knew! For some who were against the prayer group this was exciting news for them so that they could laugh! And for those who were Christian it was news of defeat that they could not even say anything to me! Instead, they made me feel so bad not interacting with me as much as they did and actually calling my dad to let him know about the whole incidence! I grew so cold towards some of the teachers that I refrained from attending bible study and prayer group for a long time! Thank God now I know that he didn’t see me as my teachers saw me, He didn’t feel the shame that my dad felt because He knew that I was a work in progress!
Now, let me go back to my sister! After the day she went to the alter call she continued with her old habits of the flesh, getting drunk, swearing…and this time I could not even cast the first stone at her! I had to go through all that I went through, judgements, mocking, peoples laughs, to understand that I am not in a position to judge another human being or make them feel bad about themselves! Sometimes when my sisters friends visit her they get scared to drink or swear in front of me and my sister just says, “don’t worry, titi doesn’t mind at all!” Well, I don’t mind because I also did those things! Do not live your life as a Christian trying to make people feel guilty about the wrongs that they do because you were once also at that stage! Understand that God immediately starts working in the individual that admits their need for Him!
The moment you go to the alter call you don’t see the transformation that takes place! Please understand the power of the alter call because that is where you lay down your weaknesses, wrong habits, struggles and all things at Gods feet! At the alter call you let go and let God work through you throughout your entire life! Don’t beat yourself up when you sin because you will only find yourself frustrated and sinning more! Don’t seek advice from people who tell you that God will hate you once you do this and that because that is not the truth! The truth is He loves you and He is willing to change you despite what others say or how they make you feel! My sister came into my room holding her red square cider and with a somewhat defeated attitude saying, “I don’t know what’s happening to me these days, look at this, I can’t drink anymore!” I told her God is working in you girl, you don’t have to try too hard! She said, “I can feel it coming, I can feel the change coming soon!” It’s good for a new born again believer to feel this way and not condemned and guilty all the time! They know that no matter what they do God loves them, and this will make them realize that hurting God constantly with their sin is not worth it and allow Him to work in them! “It is the Lord who performs the great work in you, and not you who perform for Him!”
For anyone who is hungry for change I would recommend the alter call first, and rest in God knowing that He who has started the good work in you will finish it until it’s perfect! Don’t live your life being hard on yourself when you unintentionally fall because God is not hard on you at all! Rather strive for God's love and presence always! People may judge you and look down on you but keep pressing in, like the woman with the issue of blood; God’s power will be demonstrated in your life!
"You may have your struggles for a time, but your victory is assured! You have the spirit of God indwelling within you! As your relationship with Christ grows, so too will your determination and strengthen to resist temptation!"