Sis Grace Nartey-Addo
The First Abuja Parish (FAP) of The Presbyterian Church of Nigeria held its annual mid-year revival programme, the Mid-year Showers, from Wednesday June 26th – Sunday 30 th June 2019, under the theme, ‘’Obedience,’’ (1 Samuel 15:1-23). FAP Parish Minister Pastor Rev. Dr. Torty O. Onoh was joined by other men of God – Dondo Yolameh Shettle and Rev Chris Nwaka – as resource persons.
In his introductory remarks, Pastor Shettle gave a brief background on his walk with God since 1985, which he said has been guided by the vision: ‘’To be a copy of Jesus if possible.’’ This vision, he said, has provided a measure for every element of his life decisions, ranging from marriage, fatherhood, ministry, etc. To be in the likeness of Jesus Christ, he said, must be the focus of every believer and this requires absolute obedience, because Christ was obedient even unto death.
He explained that, for the believer, obedience is obeying completely the Superior and the Superior’s will. He noted that the earthly and heavenly (the Lord’s) value systems are always competing for the attention of the believer, and we must choose the later.
Pastor Shettle said that Adam established a heritage of disobedience when he yielded to Satan, and that Christ imputed to us a new heritage of obedience by annulling what Adam did. It is therefore important for every believer to succumb to the finished work of Christ and be obedient, irrespective of the cost. He emphasised that obedience is not cheap. “It may cost you relatives, friends, your job, your promotion, and may earn you divorce, hatred, public ridicule, query in the office,” he said. He, however, assured that “the rewards are worth sacrificing.”
He observed that, like Saul who wanted to erect a monument of disobedience at Gilgal, where the Lord had instituted obedience through the Prophet Joshua, we knowingly or unknowingly build monuments that become institutionalised such as lying, abortion, defrauding, bribery etc. “We must always be mindful of where the Lord picked us from, to avoid being reminded by God,” Pastor Shettle cautioned.
He continued: ‘’Know that as soon as you give your life to Christ, you have subscribed to a life time of obedience and you can never say no to God when he commands you. Your personal purpose must be aligned to God’s purpose for your life, as no human being is a product of accident.” The speaker said God is very strict on obedience because anytime we cease to obey God, we cease to remain in His plans. ‘’Man is naturally rebellious as evidenced in the Garden of Eden, but dying to self (i.e., dying to ego, will, ambition, systems, ideologies, etc) makes obedience possible.’’
Rev. Onoh spoke on the obedience of Peter (Luke 5:1-11) and pointed out that even though Peter had finished the day’s work, he still humbly obeyed the Lord by re-entering the same boat and casting his net again. ‘’Peter saw the Lord and obeyed Him; we have seen the cross of Christ all our lives, yet we don’t obey Him,’’ Rev Onoh observed, noting that it was the humility coupled with the obedience Christ saw in Peter that made Him pray for Peter to recover from the imminent fall the enemy had planned for him.
Rev Onoh described obedience as “the currency of Jesus Christ,” explaining that “anytime Christ sees obedience in us, He sees His look- alike and will ensure that the enemy is not allowed to cause us destruction.”
Speaking on the sub-title: ‘’The Power of Obedience,’’ Rev Chris Nwaka said obedience is the master key to the world of breakthrough, as it provokes the commitment of God, and that when God is committed to you, your case is settled. He defined obedience as, simply taking God’s word as the final authority.
He observed that while the prayer of children is: ‘’give me,’’ the prayers of every adult must be ‘’Lord what must I do?’’ ‘’Lord show me that one thing I must do for you to act for me.’’ Rev. Nwaka said that men become disobedient sometimes because they think God does not mean what He says. “But God does not joke with His words. ’He says what He means and means what He says.’’
Rev Nwaka identified some of the areas to note for obedience as follows: Marriage (men should not be too busy to listen to their wives, because the serpent is still very much alive and ever ready to fill the vacuum created by using your weakness against the harmony of your home); The Jonahs in our mist (when you identify them, you don’t pray for them or manage them, you throw them into the water, e.g., wrong associations, wrong business partners, some relatives, etc).
Rev Nwaka stated that obedience to God invokes God’s irreversible blessings that makes the believer prosper, and that God does not force His obedience on us, hence Jesus never argues with anyone, He only speaks the word to provoke diverse forms of miracles that bless us.
On the final day of the revival, Pastor Shettle further pointed out areas where the Church has been disobedient and how this can be addressed. He noted that, like Saul, many believers think it is okay to disobey God and use the exhibits as a form of bride to buy their way into God’s plan, but these people must be aware that the Church is not an insurance company to cover up sin. He advised the Church to note that the Kingdom of God never lacks, so God will always raise faithful servants to keep His work expanding. Pastor Shettle said it is time for the true servants of God (like Samuel), to say no to donations from unbelievers and people with questionable character and suspicious means of income.
On a final note, he listed some of the benefits of obedience to God as follows: “We become siblings of Jesus Christ; we fall in love with God.” On the evil of disobedience, he cautioned: “We must know that disobedience brings curses just as obedience brings irreversible blessings of God.”