A Sinner’s Worth

For the Son of man is come to save that which was lost.

How think ye? if a man have an hundred sheep, and one of them be gone astray, doth he not leave the ninety and nine, and goeth into the mountains, and seeketh that which is gone astray?

And if so be that he find it, verily I say unto you, he rejoiceth more of that sheep, than of the ninety and nine which went not astray. Mat. 18:11-13

How much is a person’s life worth? The Bible says that God gave up ALL He had because He considered each sinner’s life worth that much. The Bible says in John 3:16, “For God so loved the world, that he gave his only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in him should not perish, but have everlasting life.”

Our lives were worth all that God had. You cannot lay a price to such a revelation.

But it is the individual touch that speaks volumes about God’s compassion, mercy and grace.

Beyond the fact that God sent His only Son Jesus to come to die for us, the scripture we just read in Matthew 18 gives us an even more amazing description of the incredible worth that God attaches to a sinner. Two factors are revealed here. One is that God goes for the sinner as if he were the only person in the universe. The second, even more incredible thing is that God goes after that person Himself, personally.

I remember, many years ago, how one night the Lord came calling at my heart’s door. This is how it happened. I was in my final year at the university. But I was also a sinner of the most frightful sort. That night I was all alone in my room when all of a sudden I felt a deep, indescribable grief welling up in my heart. There was no preamble; just as suddenly it was there, and without a thought the tears began rolling from my eyes. The grief was so overwhelming that it shook me till I thought I would tear apart.

Having never experienced anything of the sort before, I thought it was a sickness. But it was past midnight and the dispensary would be closed! So I lay in my bed, sobbing uncontrollably, till morning.

In the morning, I felt all right again, so I did not bother to go to the dispensary.

Thereafter, every night after that, the Lord would come and stand in my room. And then He would softly call out to me. You appreciate, of course, that I did not know then that it was the Lord. I neither heard a Voice, nor did I see any Body. I did not even feel a Presence. In fact, having established that it was not an illness, I decided it was just a feeling, and I was convinced it would soon go away!

It was long after I got saved that I came to understand the surreal drama that had been unfolding in my room those many nights back then.

I cannot remember for how long this went on, but on countless nights until the semester ended, I would spend half the night (and sometimes the entire night) standing under the showers, crying my heart out. I would cry till the tears had completely dried from my tears. Even after I had stopped crying I would continue standing under the shower, savoring a strange kind of peace. I must have cost the university a neat bundle with the water bill!

When I went home for the vacation, the Lord made His final call. I had continued living my old sinful life, of course, since I had no way of knowing that the Lord had been calling. Then, one day a pastor and three young men passed by our home. They found me there all by myself, just as I was finalizing my ‘plans’ for the evening. I would never have guessed that that would be the end of the road for the Mwita that I was then; but it was. By the time these blessed men left our house an hour later, I was back in the Lord’s fold.

It happened so suddenly, and no other member of my family was even around.

To this day, I can never fathom what it was that drew the Lord to me. I cannot understand what it was that caused Him to come looking for me. However hard I look, I cannot find anything of worth in me that could have attracted the Lord to me. I can only accept His gift of faith which teaches that He did all that out of love. Not because there was anything good in me, nor because there was any ‘worthiness’ in me, no. Indeed, I am convinced (and the Bible affirms it) that it was because of my very unworthiness that He was so overcome with compassion and mercy that He decided to give me worth.

And He did not give me any old worth; He gave us – me and you – His very own worthiness! He gave us the best that He had, the best of the best!

I give my Lord and Savior praise and glory and honor and thanksgiving for the incomprehensible grace and mercy that He showed me then, and which He continues to show to me today. And there is also something more… My heart yearns with all its strength for such a heart of love and compassion as my Lord’s. A heart that can give the best that I have. A heart that can deal with an individual person as if he or she were the only person in the world.

In reality, this is a commandment. We are commanded by Jesus Himself to love people in that manner. It is an incredibly enormous responsibility we have been shouldered with, and we are hardly up to the task. We need to cry out to God for His grace in our lives.

If I had only one prayer to make, I would not ask for any other thing. I know exactly what I want from the Lord: that particular heart of love and compassion. Somehow, in my heart, I know that those are the only true riches, the only real treasure – and therein is the richest contentment.

The Holy Spirit is Grieving

Jer_9:1  “Oh that my head were waters, and mine eyes a fountain of tears, that I might weep day and night for the slain of the daughter of my people!”

I now know that all the men and women whom God ever called to Him were men and women of tears. When I say ‘I now know’ that means there was a time when I did not know that. In fact, it has taken me a long time to really appreciate this truth. I have come to know that the Spirit of God is a grieving Spirit. God has nothing to rejoice about in this world. On the contrary, there is much, much to grieve Him, particularly in the days we are living in, and especially within the Church itself.

Some years back, there emerged a wave called “laughing in the presence of the Lord.” I remember participating in one such event. True, we laughed our heads off, but to be honest I felt nothing in my heart. I went home feeling empty and used. These are the kinds of strange, crazy doctrines that the Church today has allowed itself to accommodate!

But no, Sir. That kind of spirit never was, and never will be the Spirit of God. These are demonic doctrines brought in by the enemy to weaken the Church.

Nothing much is written about the Apostle Paul on the topic, but I realize that he also was a man of many tears. When Paul says in 2 Corinthians 12:10 that  “Therefore I take pleasure in infirmities, in reproaches, in necessities, in persecutions, in distresses for Christ’s sake”, I believe it was no laughing matter. It was a breaking experience and it was accomplished with much tears on his part. Of necessity he had to constantly be on his knees, so that he could conclude: “for when I am weak, then am I strong.”

In my humble experience I have come to discover the only place to really meet God is when the tears are flowing from my eyes. Even in the most mundane of my experiences with God I always know it when the Holy Spirit is visiting me. My eyes fill with tears, and immediately I know He is there. I can just be standing somewhere, and all of a sudden I feel my eyes burning, and I have to quickly make sure I am alone because I know He is there and He needs my attention. And when the Holy Spirit wants your attention you need to be alone because no one else will understand what is going on. One time, many years ago, a lady invited us to dinner in her house, and there was a song playing there, and I just began crying. I was naïve, of course, and I should have known better. But I sat there shaking like a rattlebox; and the pastor who was the senior member of our team began laughing and said, “What is this stupid fellow doing?”

When I got saved I was a final year university student. I remember clearly whenever we entered the chapel for a service, even before the service began I would sit down and begin crying silently, the presence of God was so pervasive.

If there is one thing I can thank my God for today, it is that the tears have not dried from my eyes. The day they dry I know I will be a dead man. The one moment when I know without a doubt that “I am weak, but He is strong in me” is when I feel exactly that: weak. The Lord has won many battles for me as the Holy Spirit led me to simply sit in His presence and let the tears flow.

The Bible talks of Jesus in Hebrews 5:7 and Timothy in 2 Timothy 1:4, and I see this was exactly what happened to them. Of course, it is not a principle, or something that you can just decide to do by yourself. It cannot be an emotional thing that you can just work up. But I am sure that this is a grace that God alone can give. He alone knows our hearts and only He can lead us to that place of humbling ourselves before Him; and at the end of it all, we are left praising and thanking Him for such a grace! If anything we do is not initiated by the Holy Spirit, however spiritual it might appear it is of no spiritual value.

The Church is not in a position to laugh now. We are in a position where all we can do is to allow the Holy Spirit to touch our hearts, and we will first allow God to change our lives; then He will commission us to go out and effectively reach out to a dying world. God will come down and He will move on behalf of His Church.

Let us end by seeing what this broken man of God accomplished. “Truly the signs of an apostle were wrought among you in all patience, in signs, and wonders, and mighty deeds.” verse 12

Heavenly vs Earthly Glory

Behold, I show you a mystery; We shall not all sleep, but we shall all be changed, In a moment, in the twinkling of an eye, at the last trump: for the trumpet shall sound, and the dead shall be raised incorruptible, and we shall be changed.” 1 Cor. 15:51

It is difficult for me to not cry whenever I read the story of Joseph in the Bible. The scene where Joseph is taken out of prison and into Pharaoh’s presence, and the events that follow, is particularly tough on me, and many are the times I have found myself crying so violently on reading it, that my body would shake and rattle like it was about to break apart. I take precautions when I am reading this explosive account because one time I bawled so loudly the neighbors came to see what was wrong.

I always wondered why I should grieve so intensely whenever I read Joseph’s account. There was a voice in my head telling me that because I was raised in a poor family, therefore I could identify with poor Joseph, and that was why I cried. In other words, this was a psychological reaction and I was empathizing with my physical situation. This line of thinking seemed plausible to me, and with time I even found myself reproaching myself whenever I was tempted to cry reading that story.

And then one day the Holy Spirit opened my eyes to see what it was about this part of Joseph’s story that was so powerful. That was the day that I came to realize what made me cry so hard. The revelation hit me like a freight train, as they say, and that day I knew without a doubt that God had spoken to my heart. On that day, I came to understand the deep spiritual significance of Joseph’s instant promotion at the court of Pharaoh.

I also came to know that God called us to a spiritual purpose and that when He moves or touches our hearts it is always for a spiritual purpose. We should never interpret it otherwise.

What I understood from the story of Joseph was so contrary to the cheap ‘promotion’ gospels that we hear peddled in Church today. You know, today you will hear adverts on Christian radio and TV about the ‘uplifting’ work of Jesus: Jesus wants to promote you at your place of work, in your finances, in your studies, in your health; He wants to give you a wife, etc., etc.

It is hard for many believers to accept the truth of the Gospel because they have been taught that we get saved in order to live like ‘King’s kids’ here on earth; even though the Bible itself clearly negates that notion. Today there is another gospel, another Jesus and another spirit being preached and believers are paying heed to these things (2 Cor. 11:4).

The Gospel of Jesus Christ has nothing to do with whether you are rich or poor; whether you sleep with a full tummy or an empty one.

To be fair, there is nothing wrong with material things, for God is our Father and He wants to do us good even in this world. But that is not the blessing we are called to look to. The Apostle Paul said: If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men most miserable.” 1 Cor. 15:19

God showed me that the true value of this account of Joseph was in showing us how in the twinkling of an eye we will be taken out of our physical bodies and into the glory of the living God at the last Day. That account is about our initiation into the heavenly glory. It is a spiritual account. The Bible tells us how things will be at the end: For he hath put all things under his feet. But when he saith all things are put under him, it is manifest that he is excepted, which did put all things under him. And when all things shall be subdued unto him, then shall the Son also himself be subject unto him that put all things under him, that God may be all in all.” 1 Cor. 15:27-28

There was none above Joseph in all of Egypt except Pharaoh. Likewise, above Christ and His Body, the Church, there will be only One – God the Father.

The account of Joseph’s promotion has nothing to do with anything of this world. We await an incomparably far greater glory, one that far outweighs anything that our mortal minds could dare to think. It is a spiritual glory. We need to cry to God for this revelation. Such revelation will put us eons ahead of this present world, and enable us to see spiritual things that are “afar off” (2 Pet. 1:9). Consequently, we can rejoice in the present suffering we are undergoing in anticipation of that which only our spirits know about.