As a practicing Christian, I have lived in Africa for three decades and in Australia for over a decade now. Therefore, I have gained substantial experience to elaborate on this important matter. That is, Christians are not fulfilling their mission nor experiencing the freedoms that are stated in the Bible. In this light, I will like to make four brief and interrelated points.
First, the Bible encourages us (Christians) to continually grow and deepen our faith and belief in God. However, I have found that some African spiritual leaders are not helping their followers in this regard; instead these leaders choose to manipulate their followers. It is shocking to know that some Christians believe in their spiritual leaders more than God; it is sad but very true and I saw evidences of these unfortunate truths in Sierra Leone, other parts of Africa I have fortunate to live and more recently in some western countries.
The increase in such attributes among our spiritual leaders clearly demonstrate that the end time is fast approaching (Jude 1 18-19) and if the promise of the gospel is “to proclaim good news to the poor and those that are blind see and oppressed will be set free” (Luke 4:18), then something has to change. In my observation, what some Spiritual leaders around the world are portraying as miracles, I see these things as mere manipulation of their followers mind and I consider this as an increase in spiritual bondage throughout the body of Christ. Both Isaiah 61:1 and Luke 4:14 tell us that Jesus Christ was empowered by the Spirit to set the captives free from bondage and eternal destruction. These verses are providing some tangible assurances to the poor, the sick and the oppressed. However these leaders ignore, and in some case pervert, the true mission and purpose of the faith and replace them with theirs.
The good news is, Christians do not need to indulge in the unnecessary and ignorant act of chasing God from one church or spiritual leader to the other for hope, prosperity or healing because God is omnipresent and faithful to His Word. The Bible says, only “be strong and courageous and He will never leave you nor forsake you” (Deuteronomy 31:6).
Secondly, the bible instructs every man to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2:12), which is to say, moving from one church to the other and from one prayer camp and to another will not necessarily solve your problems; in fact, this will increase the level of your confusion and frustration. What is needed is for Christians to learn how to develop a personal relationship with God without unnecessary interferences.
Thirdly, in life we all need a vision. Do not buy into any contrary misconception about this and don’t live your life from day to day without a plan. The bible says “Where there is no vision the people will perish” (Proverbs 29:18).
Sometimes in life you do not need someone (other than Jesus and His Holy Spirit) to foster the relationship between you and God, it is a personal relationship that needs no middleman. To know how unique and special you are in God’s eyes, read Jeremiah 29:11. Indeed we get inspired when we read the following words: “for I know the plans I have for you, declares the Lord, plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future “. So why worry to chase God from church to church? Develop a relationship with God instead and He will show you his plans for you. Spend less time with your spiritual leaders and more time with God. Don’t be foolish and stupid to allow some among the spiritual elites to metaphorically imprison you as Oswald Hanciles once wrote in an article.
Remember God’s word is spiritual and practical; read it and spend time with God, and set out a goal for your life in accordance with His plan for you.
Finally, I will like the readers to answer the following question: why do most of the world’s poorest countries including Sierra Leone seem so spiritual and yet our people live in severe poverty and our economies are in devastation? However, the less spiritual nations such as the UK, Australia, Norway, USA are doing better economically and their citizens are not in adverse poverty. Well first, allow me to examine the applicability of a vision is a few important scenarios while also demonstrating its practicability.
Some of the things God expects of us and for which a vision is vital are practical. Here are a few examples:
The Bible tells us to “give and it shall be given to you” (Luke 6:38). This is a reciprocal based blessing and no one has to “chase” God to receive it, in fact you can receive this blessing even if you are not a Christian. This is where Sierra Leone and many developing countries are failing; they receive financial aids from western counties and hardly give in return so the blessing goes to the developed countries because “giving” is a reciprocal blessing.
The Bible also says, “Where there is lack of vision the people will perish”. This is an instruction that requires practice for it to be effectual. When the leaders of the world’s poorest countries (such as Sierra Leone) do not exercise the requisite vision to invest in advance healthcare, job creation, education and capital investment, then the people will perish and this is why Sierra Leone and some developing countries are poor. If you are a businessperson and you have no vision for your business, it will perish; if a politician, the country and the people that you govern will suffer; and if an individual with family responsibilities, those you care for will lack even the basic necessities of life (food, shelter, water, clothing, sanitation, healthcare and education) because the leader has no vision.
It is a simple principle.
However, due to the ignorance of our people and the constant manipulation by some spiritual leaders, we have a big problem to address; certain crafty souls have learnt that it is quite easy to deceive the masses. For it seems there is a big opportunity in today’s society to enrich oneself by misguiding desperate people (even Christians) in search of hope; no wonder the number of false prophets are increasing globally and daily.
To conclude, I will use Oswald Hanciles words again “Illiteracy, mal-education, fragrant injustice, poverty are oppressive and widespread scandalous inequity are antithetical to the lessons in the Bible”.
So be cautious of those who led, especially if they do not help you to identify & pursue a godly vision because you are at risk of perishing. Then you need to be watchful, because the lack of vision the bible says the people will perish.
One of the reasons why developed countries and successful companies are doing well is because their leaders are generally visionaries, and because of their vision they find it necessary to invest in the future such as; advance health system, job creation, agriculture, education, and a governance system to minimize corruption and increase capital investments, etc so they can be sustainable.
Let me close with the following scripture, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect will of God (Romans 12:2).