My most profound testimony today of which I am so grateful to the Lord for is that I did not die in my ignorance, I did not die in my sin. It would have been a straight path to hell for me if I had died in those years without knowing Christ as my Lord and personal savior. Remember that it is appointed unto a man to die once, and after death it is judgment. My people perish for lack of knowledge. Ignorance is not an excuse, as a matter of fact, it is the fastest killer.
In the summer of 1999 in Kaduna, I had my first encounter with this set of people that I first referred to as “weirdo”. Who are these guys I always muttered under my breathe every time I walked by this church close to our house at Angwar Rimi in Kaduna, Northern part of Nigeria? There they go again, speaking some strange languages through the blarring speaker every time I walk by. I was a teacher at a nearby secondary school.
One day, out of curiousity, I decided to walk into this church. Oh yeah, I have gone to “churches” all my life; from Cherubim and seraphim to catholic masses, Anglican to Methodist, I have seen it all, as a matter of fact, I had visited mosques with my intimate friends(the Smiths) a few times while I was in the college of education (Lagos, Nigeria). This looks different, the settings, the man with the microphone, the looks on the faces of the people, their dressings, just, just weird! I thought of turning back, but before you could shout jack Robinson! I was ushered to a seat.
My comfort zone was further rattled when this preacher with the microphone and with an intensity that I have never before witnessed keeps looking at me , talking, sweating profusely like a Christmas goat, jumping and shouting at the same time, finally calmed down and said “if you believe JESUS is the Lord, can you please lift up your hand”? In all sincerity, I expected everyone in that church that day to agree with that statement, or how else would anyone be seating in that church and have a contrary opinion. My K&S church wouldn’t agree less, even some of my Muslim friends can do better!
To say I was disappointed in that congregation that day will be an understatement, even though this is my first time in this weird place, even though I am very uncomfortable with these folk’s appearances and probing eyes, I am going to make a statement and show them that I know better than them all, I am going to join forces with this poor preacher, I am going to raise is confidence, I will boost his ego, it will be unfair to him for the effort put in this charismatic jingoism if not at least one person will agree with him, I will, and I will publicly do it by not just raising my hands in agreement, I will stand and I will even say it. and that was exactly what I did folks!
What happened next blew me away! Not only did I raised my hands, I stood up by request and even voluntarilly repeated that Jesus is Lord in agreement with the preacher, but to my chagrin, the weird and unbelieving congregration were clapping for me and encouraging me to go on to the front, perhaps a lady rushed to my side and held me by the hand to the preacher. Now this is completely out of control and insane! Virtually, everyone came to me after the service before I could escape through the window. Brother! brother! they say…congratulations!(like I had won some lotteries). They wanted to know our house address and also wanted to know when to come. What? Come to our house? Are you guys serious? I muttered. Not in your wildest dreams, don’t even think about it, I told them emphatically! To my surprise again, they just laughed it off.
To cut the long salvation story short, I was more like forced to attend this church close to my house because I had no other choice, the path beside the church is the only good path to our house and these guys are like always setting traps for me whenever I am walking by…’bro kunle, we can see you oo! are you not coming to church, bla bla? Please cut this crap people! I am not your brother, I always muttered under my breathe. I was eventually coerced into the praise team. “You have a beautiful voice” they said. ‘But I don’t even know any of these songs you guys sings, I said. ‘Never mind bro kunle, you’ll be ok’. I led worship several times not knowing exactly what I was doing. I led special songs that had been well rehearsed previously and then completely forget the lyrics on sunday and just make up my own words trying not to say foul things and also trying hard not to mistakenly embed some Michael Jacksons lines within.
The point I am really trying to narrate and drive home with my personal salvation story is that we all must have that genuine encounter with Christ. If your salvation is as a result of peer pressure or you just trying to fit in, or perhaps you are in church for other cynical reasons, or maybe you’re trying to make your parents happy, then your journey is yet to begin and my prayer for you is that you will find your level before it is too late. God is never interested in the neither cold nor hot believers, you are either in or out(the choice is yours)
In my early christian days, it was total ignorance! The prayers of the saints must have sustained me to date. Godly sorrow worketh repentance to SALVATION… while the sorrow of the wolrd worketh DEATH.2cor7:10. Something that was really constant during my ignorance days was my desire to now be like those weird people. I kept on thinking that they are kinda different, even though I couldn’t put my fingers on it. I felt they look and speak special! Now I started having the desire to be like them. Maybe, it is the strange language they were speaking, they told me with it, you are empowered, You can also confuse the enemy they said. My favorite! cos I gat a lot of enemy, and most of all, how come they rarely forget the lyrics, but I always do? Another tormenting constant is the general overseer of the church(Rev Moses Aransinola, I hope I am right), he comes to this branch once in a while…his words…”there is a brother here that is fornicating”, always pointing to my direction. At first, I did not take him seriously. After several meetings and encounter, I asked one of the choir members…what is fornication anyway? He/she explained to me. Whao! I thought to myself, why is this guy so worked up about another person having sex before marriage anyway, afterall, I am not sleeping with his daughter or people in the church? And that broke the last straw, I cannot forsake my girlfriend in Lagos. From then on, I started avoiding the church.
When I got admission to the university in 92 for further study, I was relieved to finally rid myself of these weird folk! Whao, good riddance! God had another plan for me, my destiny had just commenced. These people are everywhere, I had imagined all along that their territory is not beyond Kaduna. OMG! they are in FUTA(My campus), they are in Lagos. Now I am begining to see them everywhere I go! I guessed they have been there all along, I probably did not noticed.
I got the baptism of the holy Ghost in 93 after I was led to re-dedicate my life, and there folk, is the begining of my journey!
Finally, my bretheren, be strong in the Lord and in the power of his might. Put on the whole armor of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickednesses in high places. Wherefore take unto thee whole armor of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all to stand. Stand therefore…Eph6:10-24
Again, Finally brethren, whatsoever things are true, whatsoever things are honest, whatsoever things are just, whatsoever things are pure, whatsoever things are lovely, whatsoever things are of good report; if there be any virtue, and if there be any praise, think on these things. Phil4:8
I know that in the age and society we live in, the tendency is there for us to assume that Christianity has evolved, but I must assure you that the word of God has never changed, his standards and demands from us are constant. Remember, the word of God has not evolved, we are the ones that are evolving, he is the same God today, yesterday and tomorrow. He is the unchanging changer. We are the variables in the equation of life, he is the constant “k”
Thanks for taking the time to read my salvation story