My Facebook timeline has been replete with articles about the President of the United States and his executive order to build a wall on the U.S. Mexico border and to ban refugees from several Muslim countries. I have a few thoughts here and there about the entire situation. Honestly, my mind is still all over the place because I cannot believe that this is actually happening. I’ve been in shock and denial. It’s just a few days into the new administration and everything so far has been negative. Wow.
I don’t like to write extremely political things, but I have to state a few things about the wall and the ban. Luckily, my devotional for the day speaks to me about this situation and it’s the perfect way to share my thoughts. In any case, this is a Christian blog so all my thoughts come from my own understanding of God and His revelation to me.
Here goes. As always, my thoughts in italics.
Who art Thou, Lord? — Acts 26:15
“The Lord spake thus to me with a strong hand.” There is no escape when Our Lord speaks, He always comes with an arrestment of the understanding. Has the voice of God come to you directly? If it has, you cannot mistake the intimate insistence with which it has spoken to you in the language you know best, not through your ears, but through your circumstances.
God speaks to us in love. He speaks to us through our circumstances. I was born in Northern Nigeria, and contrary to the stereotype of Northern Nigeria, I grew up in a predominantly christian community. It was there that I fell in love with Jesus. It was there that I learned that we cannot steer people towards God by keeping them out. We lose God’s divine command to love when we do that. Love doesn’t cast out. If we’re casting people out, we’re not walking in love, we’re walking in the spirit of the enemy that propagates fear and masquerades itself as love.
God has to destroy our determined confidence in our own convictions. “I know this is what I should do” — and suddenly the voice of God speaks in a way that overwhelms us by revealing the depths of our ignorance. We have shown our ignorance of Him in the very way we determined to serve Him. We serve Jesus in a spirit that is not His, we hurt Him by our advocacy for Him, we push His claims in the spirit of the devil.
We have to discern between the spirits of this world and the spirit of God. If we’re serving God in a spirit that cannot be fully identified with His, we’re playing games. If we choose to be pro-life for the unborn fetus and choose to be anti-life for the refugee and immigrant among us, we don’t have the Spirit of God in us. If we’re going to pick and choose when and where we serve God as a function of how convenient that serves us, we certainly aren’t operating in God’s spirit.
Our words sound all right, but our spirit is that of an enemy. “He…rebuked them, and said, Ye know not what manner of spirit ye are of.” The spirit of our Lord in an advocate of His is described in 1 Corinthians 13.
Here is 1 Corinthians 13.
If I speak in the tongues of men or of angels, but do not have love, I am only a resounding gong or a clanging cymbal. 2 If I have the gift of prophecy and can fathom all mysteries and all knowledge, and if I have a faith that can move mountains, but do not have love, I am nothing. 3 If I give all I possess to the poorand give over my body to hardship that I may boast, but do not have love, I gain nothing.
4 Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. 5 It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. 6 Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. 7 It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres.
8 Love never fails. But where there are prophecies, they will cease; where there are tongues, they will be stilled; where there is knowledge, it will pass away. 9 For we know in part and we prophesy in part, 10 but when completeness comes, what is in part disappears. 11 When I was a child, I talked like a child, I thought like a child, I reasoned like a child. When I became a man, I put the ways of childhood behind me. 12 For now we see only a reflection as in a mirror; then we shall see face to face. Now I know in part; then I shall know fully, even as I am fully known.
13 And now these three remain: faith, hope and love. But the greatest of these is love.
I promise I didn’t even know that love was mentioned in this devotional. I already wrote my thoughts about love being the full expression of God’s spirit before I read the portion about 1 Corinthians 13. The Holy Spirit is one and the same. If we cannot walk in love and serve those who are in need, we’re lying to ourselves. Don’t hide behind a political party, don’t hide behind a demagogue of a president. Bare your own soul and ask yourself if you are acting as Jesus would.
Have I been persecuting Jesus by a zealous determination to serve Him in my own way? If I feel I have done my duty and yet have hurt Him in doing it, I may be sure it was not my duty, because it has not fostered the meek and quiet spirit, but the spirit of self-satisfaction. We imagine that whatever is unpleasant is our duty! Is that anything like the spirit of our Lord — “I delight to do Thy will, O My God.”
As a christian, are you speaking for those who have no voice? It could very much be you without a voice tomorrow. I come from Nigeria, a country that is split almost equally between Muslims and Christians. If the U.S. President decides to take his islamophobia any further, my country would certainly be on that list of banned countries and I could be leaving America or barred from further entry.
America has been the land where my dreams of receiving a world class university education have come to fruition. Being here has given me a worldview and an understanding of people and places from diverse backgrounds. This is the land where I’ve come to know myself better, make (hopefully) lifelong friends, and grow in my own faith and knowledge of God. It’s also where this blog was birthed and continues to thrive. It holds a very special place in my heart and I want to see this country prosper.
I would be remiss if I do not mention my great sorrow that refugees, who are mostly children and women and need this opportunity to live a good life more than I do, are being turned away.
My heart is broken. Imagine being in the middle of a political conflict and having absolutely no where to go. Imagine the world turning its back on you. My heart is truly broken. But as always, I continue to pray and use this tiny blog to speak my mind.
May God bless and keep us all.