Tag Archives: Nigeria

Loadsa Money 2

Thanks to all those that sent me their views regarding ‘Loadsa Money’.

Indeed your views and comments made me feel a little ….well….cowardly, to say the least.

It seems that once again I was a little too light on the grim reality that’s been staring us in the face for the past decade or so.

In my defense (hey! gotta defend a little bit …pleeaaase???!!);

I know where I am coming from in terms of the many mistakes and errors I’ve made in my past, and the faults and defects I continue to do battle with today. Therefore I am always very conscious of not wanting to sound too harsh or ‘holier than thou’ – in any shape or form.

But – on the prompting of many readers I feel obliged to delve a little deeper into the heart of the matter.

The question is this-

How far and how deeply has the lust for wealth seeped into every facet of society – relationships – work – church.

Here are two quotes from two readers – in response to ‘Loadsa Money’;

Quote from Tolu

“Why do you often not go to the heart of the matter? In Nigeria of today: our entire value system, personal scorecard, the respect you command in society… associations… among your peers… and in your extended family, the way you’re treated by those who don’t know you, whether you receive good service in a public place, the manner in which you’re welcomed and treated at social events, the manner in which your children are treated at school etc etc, are ALL strongly influenced by the actual (or perceived) wealth that you have! We were sold to mammon a long time ago and there’s growing inflation!!”

I must confess that I love the bluntness, and the pure but controlled rage that underlies the above quote.

Nigeria seems to be a complete contradiction of the term ‘don’t judge a book by its cover’.

In Nigeria we not only judge the book by its cover, but proceed to judge the next four generations of the book – by that same cover.

The manner in which one is treated in the market place (working environment) largely depends on the fabric of one’s suit, shirt, and tie; and for the ladies – clothes, shoes, and handbags.

Whether or not the security guard allows you to park inside largely depends on the make, model and year of your car.

A man enters a restaurant with his wife / girlfriend / mistress ( yep, no pretence here – let’s keep it real), or business partner – the door man greets the man with a respect that implies that the president himself has just arrived, and then completely ignores the woman.

Why?

Because he or she naturally assumes that the man will be paying, and hence immediately pays homage to the person he believes holds all the aces – all the wealth.

The woman in search of a boyfriend /partner / husband – introduced to a handsome, polite, and very loveable man, but loses interest as soon as she sees his 1997 two door Honda.

The man in search of a girlfriend /partner / wife – befriends a gorgeous and amiable lady but loses interest because she isn’t of the same social standing.

Yep – works both ways.

The church car park – glittering with shiny new cars – range rovers, mercs, all manner of SUVs – a true sign that God Himself visits that particular church every Sunday!

Material wealth IS the new God’s love!!!!

The prestigious front row of churches – reserved for people of affluence – people of influence – people with LOADSA MONEY.

The second quote is from my good friend Nana.

Quote

“Just read your article, and the truth is that people go to church mainly to be blessed with “wealth” – in this case solely “loadsa money” and its all in the frame of mind,homes and state of country plus the portrayal of the finer things of life right in church as the “sign” that you are a true christian…cliques in churches of the who’s who and who wants to be “who” starting from the heads of churches…..people dedicate cars and material stuff in church and no one questions how they were able to afford them…our society and generations before now put in place the loadsa money = respect trend and now people of my generation have no integrity. I am afraid I will have kids who will be governed by thieves and live in a society morally stripped …I can go on but what good will it do?? The world is deaf!”

During a chat with some young (much younger) female colleagues at work earlier today I asked them what they think of our churches.

I was shocked when they all told me that they are Anglican (one naturally assumes that most of the younger generation go to pentecostal churches).

I asked them why.

Their reason – the Anglican church isn’t all about money, sowing seeds, and prosperity preaching.

They may be a little extreme in their view point but I can see where they’re coming from.

Quote

“At our church they don’t force you or put pressure on you to give offerings.”

Having said that I must point out that I have attended a few Anglican services, and they most certainly did not dissappoint with their prowess for collecting ‘big bucks’.

Let’s be honest – no church is perfect – just as no human being is perfect.

But my concern is that our imperfections regarding the love / lust for money passed the tipping point a long time ago.

The interesting thing is that our saviour, Jesus Christ, was a carpenter whilst on earth; and led a very simple life.

Final quote of the day in relation to Loads Money goes to Lanre.

“Awesome piece…. ” You CANNOT Serve two Masters. It’s Either You Serve one or Despise the other, or use one to Serve the other” This scripture is the ONLY Evidence we have in the bible where God compares our servanthood to Him with our servanthood to something else. For God to state this categorically, it means that it is a very CRITICAL PROBLEM. Many use God to serve mammon, whilst others use mammon to attempt to serve God.
SERVE Him because of who he is, and for His Mercies, Love, Faithfulness, Grace etc Not Because of What He Will do For You…So Next Time you’re Praising, Worshipping, Praying and Even Giving in church, Ask Yourself “What is my Motive” ? Love of God or Love of Self and Money?”

People – I most certainly am NOT perfect.

So very far from perfect in-fact.

But I do recognise, as do so many others, that something is not quite right.

A body that is supposed to epitomise love, selflessness, and humility, is strangely reflecting something entirely different – greed, selfishness, lust for money, and the all too familiar judgemental attitude that tags along with them.

To coin a phrase from Shakespear’s Hamlet, ‘Something is rotting in the state of our churches’.

Jesus said;

“Come to me, all you who are heavily burdened. My yoke is light”

Going to church – fellowshipping with one another should be a time / day we look forward to – to get away from the stresses and burdens of everyday life – to immerse ourselves in an environment of love, truth and humility.

But we seem to have made church another market place

– a place to talk about business, success, and Loadsa Money

– a place to flaunt success and wealth

-a place to seek opportunities to climb the wealth ladder.

Surely this is NOT the way it was supposed to be!!

Rather than finding a truth that set us free, we seem to have found another type of truth – one that has further ensconsed us in more bondage.

Can any of us really claim to regularly find peace in church?

Or do we often leave church feeling even more troubled – wondering why we haven’t received our breakthrough.

Christ’s message is one of unconditional love, peace, and humility – NOT WEALTH.

The population of Nigeria is in the region of 150 million people.

There are over 60 million Christians in Nigeria.

If just half the Christians in Nigeria can actually attain the ‘light yoke’ of Jesus then our environment will change over night.

But so long as churches continue to focus on the number of ‘bums on seats’ and the building of wealthy congregations, mammon will continue to influence every sphere of society – ‘with rapidly growing inflation’.

©Segun Akande

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Loadsa Money!

What I’m about to say is not directed at any group or person in particular.

But rather, consider it a wake-up call for ALL of us.

And remember – I did warn you a few weeks ago that as well as encourage and uplift you this year, I will always tell you as it is.

I begin

During a chat with my dear friend Lanre this morning, it became all too apparent that mankind has more often than not being his own worst enemy.

Waaaaaiiiiit!!!!!

It really is about time I did this.

Before going any further I want to sincerely thank those very close and so dear buddies of mine; yes you guys – Tolu O, Gbogie B, Toyo O, Lanre O, Temi P, Tosin O, David A, and that tall chap that never likes being mentioned.

Thanks guys!!!

Time and time again our chats, arguments, and even at times the odd agreement, have been important and indeed necessary ingredients to most, if not all of my articles.

Right – back to the matter at hand.

A few weeks ago I woke up at about 4am (whenever that happened last year I got upset. Now I’ve accepted that it’s part and parcel of getting old). lol 

As soon as I awoke my thoughts went straight to that little town in the US where 20 kids were shot dead a few months ago.

What an absolute tragedy!!

Now – I follow Piers Morgan on twitter.

If you don’t then I suggest you do. He’s superb – brutally honest, and at times absolutely hilarious.

And as a fellow passionate Arsenal fan, it’s strangely comforting to read his angry tweets on Saturday afternoons – as that hallowed (yes hallowed!!) team from north London – yea the one that is forever in transition – continues to push the boundaries of pain and torture to new and unbearable heights.

Why am I talking about Mr. Morgan???

Oh yes – ever since the tragic incident in that little town in Conneticut, Piers Morgan has been agressively campaigning for a review of America’s gun policy.

He believes, as I do, that guns should be banned.

Ban ’em!!!! (yes yes, I did purposely omit the ‘th’)

Simple!

Full Stop!

No flipping excuses!!

Just ban the damn things!!!!!

But we all know that ain’t gonna happen.

Why?

Because the US government and its’ backers are making way too much money from the arms business.

I could write about this all day, but I’m going to give you just a couple of examples.

In which sectors do the biggest financial donors of US governments do business?

Yep. That’s right – Oil and Arms

What did Iraq have?

Who led the war in Iraq?

Who got the contracts for the rebuilding of Iraq?

The commercial arms sales, reviewed by the State Department in 2011, was in the region of US$44 billion.

The figure for 2012 was expected to be at least 60% higher.

Now here’s the rub.

Quite a few of the countries that the US sells arms to are routinely acused of human rights abuses by the US Government.

That seems to me a rather odd contradiction.

I’m going to stop there.

This is not a tirade, or even a complaint against the US government.

My point is this –

As a result of incessant greed, mankind seems to have pressed the self destruct button – steadily destroying millions of lives across the globe for the sake of financial gain.

Back home – we all know the damage and destruction that oil has inflicted on Nigeria; not least to our brothers and sisters in the Niger Delta region.

Whether previous governments are to blame for allowing foreign oil companies to literally rape and pillage our land, or whether we should lay the blame firmly at the door of the foreign oil companies, one fact remains –

It Should Never Have Got This Bad In The First Place!!!

Why did it get so bad?

The answer is simple

Lust for money

To be perfectly frank my concern lies not in who’s to blame, but in the state of human nature – our mindsets – what we’re all willing to do for the sake of a few million dollars.

Now let’s bring this home.

Yep. That’s right – bringing this to your front door – and mine.

My dear friend Lanre explained something to me this morning.

“When you allow your mood and emotions to be determined by the amount you have in your bank account you are allowing mammon to be your God. But when you remain faithful, grateful, and trusting in God no matter what, then you are walking in the spirit and not the flesh; thereby allowing the Almighty and living God to be your God.”

Pause for thought anyone????

Deep breath

So what to do?

I’m not saying we should all just sit at home and not face up to our financial commitments.

After-all we’ve got to eat; and so do the kids.

But who are you going to allow to be your God?

Who will determine your moods?

Who or what will you place your faith in?

On whom or what will you place your worth?

Once again, I have to ask this question.

Is It All About Earth?????

Is the reason you fast, pray, and go to church because you want God to bless you with “loadsa money”?

I’m exaggerating???

Ok..next time you go to church, listen out for the reason behind the loudest Amen.

I’m referring to ALL of us now.

It seems to me that we all need to be very honest with ourselves in order to make a decision.

Are we in this for ourselves?

Or

Are we in this for God?

Do we prefer ‘loadsa money’ on earth – at any cost?

Or

Do we do things properly – with love, and humility, in the knowledge that our real home – our real life – is in heaven.

Before I ask the next two questions I want to emphasise once more that I am talking about ALL of us – myself included.

When we spring to our feet during church services as the pastor makes a powerful prayer / declaration about money and success;

Are we praying to God?

Or

As a result of our desperation for wealth, possibly paying homage to mammon?????

©Segun Akande

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Think Again

A few days ago Christiane Amanpour’s CNN programme featured Nigeria.

We were informed that statistically Nigeria is the third worst place to live on this planet.

The statistic not only made me sad but also rather irritated – verging on angry.

“How dare they?” I thought.

“What or who gave these guys the right to decide which places are good to live in, and which places are not?”

Needless to say, once my patriotic emotions gave way to our dear but often ignored friend, ‘Mr.objective’, I started to see reason.

Despite the valiant efforts of the present government, Nigeria continues to experience a myriad of challenges.

– serious security concerns

– unstable power supply

– a poor education system

– a non existent health care system

– inadequate housing

– bad roads

I said to a friend in 1999 that it would take fifty years for Nigeria to get to where it should be.

Why?

Because decades of military rule, constant abuse of power, and the blatant pillaging the nation’s resources resulted in not just stagnation but abject decline.

Hence, rather than blame this present government we need to bear in mind where we’re coming from.

1999??? That’s just thirteen years ago people!!

By my estimations we still have a another thirty seven years to go!

But one thing is for sure. We are finally moving in the right direction.

So for those who like me felt a little disheartened after the CNN programme I say this;

“Fear not!

And be not sad!

We are finally on our way. We may not see it in our life time but be rest assured that our grand children will live in a great Nigeria.”

But hang on!

This is not supposed to be a political article – not in the slightest.

My topic today is discouragement/encouragement.

Ahh yes – now it makes sense.

The reason I started with the CNN programme is because of how I felt after watching it; just a tad discouraged.

Nigeria is a country in which we all need regular doses of encouragement. Lol

I’m sure you’ve all noticed an increasing number of articles and phrases designed towards encouraging and uplifting us.

I genuinely thank God for such articles and phrases.

I’m sure you agree with me when I say that this journey we call ‘life’ can at times be so arduous, and so very dis-heartening.

But is it possible that the reason we are so easily discouraged is because we subconsciously believe that this is it?????

In other words despite our faith, we still seem to live our lives with a mind-set that screams,
“IT’S ALL ABOUT EARTH! IT’S ALL ABOUT EARTH!”

What on earth is Segs going on about now????

Very simple

The greatest security anybody can have is God

The greatest blessing anybody can have is God’s grace

The greatest gift anybody can have is Christ

The greatest wealth and power we can have is the spirit of the living God dwelling inside us

The greatest treasure anybody can have is Heaven

Is it possible that we are so easily disouraged because our focus is on the wrong things?

I’ll let you into a weee little secret. This is actually the article I was supposed to write yesterday. But when I woke up yesterday morning I kinda chickened out of it.

Why?

Because I was concerned that it may not be what you want to hear.

I’ve noticed something very interesting recently.

Whenever I write an article that is designed to uplift and encourage people to be the best they can be in this life – promoting success and wealth, I always get fantastic feedback.

But whenever the message is about Christ, and hints at the importance, relevance, and reality of life after earth the feedback is …well …non existent. Lol

So I guess I kinda (ok – no more kindas’) got addicted to the wonderful feedback.

That is until a dear friend of mine sent me a message late yesterday afternoon.

She has no idea how her message affected me.

She forwarded a message from Rick Warren’s Saddleback church to me. The message was about serving God.

In her personal message to me she said,

” But I guess you already know the importance of serving God. Keep up the good work.”

The vanity in me was so chuffed.

Absolutely delighted!

I even called her to confirm that the message was indeed for me!!

I went home feeling so good about myself.

But on waking up this morning her words came back to haunt me. Lol

Her words opened my eyes to the fact that due to wanting to give readers what they want to hear, I have buckled time and time again at the prospect of preaching this particular message.

So here goes

People!

This life is NOT the end!!!!!

In comparison to the real meaning of life -an eternity in Heaven -we are here but for a few miliseconds.

Our aim in this life is to be the best we can be for God and those around us – so that we can all enjoy that wonderful place we call heaven.

We must bear this in mind in absolutely everything we do.

In other words – yes, of-course, try your very best whilst you’re here on earth.

Love those around you

Provide for those around you

Protect those around you

Aspire for great things

Aspire for wealth

These are all good. There is absolutely nothing wrong with pushing aggressively for all the above.

But remember to always bear this mind;

Your real treasure – your real home – is heaven.

In all things you do, consider the reality that you are here to love and serve God before moving on to love and serve Him for an eternity in heaven.

So it’s up to us.

Do we want to continue living our lives as though this is it??? All about earth???

Or do we want to embrace the greatest security of all – salvation and God’s love.

The irony of all this is that if we think again, and re-direct our focus, our tendency to be easily discouraged and disheartened will reduce significantly.

There!

I’ve said it.

Sorry if you didn’t like this

Actually – no I’m not

Not sorry at all.

Think again, and do your best to embrace this message.

I know I certainly need to.

Let us regularly encourage ourselves in the knowledge that there is indeed a heaven.

There is an eternity of love, joy, and service to God.

This is what REALLY matters.

Finally, it’s befitting to conclude this article with a quote from my dear friend.

Quote

“The reality is that we will all die one day and we pray its at a ripe old age, but whatever age it is, there is heaven or hell; and we all know no one wants to go to hell. I’ve never heard anyone elect for it.

So it’s good to be reminded that it doesn’t end here, or even with death; and that it’s the aftermath that matters most.”

©Segun Akande

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An Opportunity

Just a brief one today.

Don’t be so jubilant!!

Besides, you never know, it may turn out to be a long one.

After-all there have been many occasions when I intended to write short articles but ended up writing long ones.

So be warned! But you should be safe – I think – just. Continue reading

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The Positives

As we celebrate another year of independence, I’ve chosen to look at things a little differently.

Rather than rant and rave about all the things that are wrong in our beloved country, I’ve decided to focus a little more on the positives.

After-all, we could all do with a visit from Mr. ‘Feel Good Factor’.

So let’s look at some of the progress that Nigeria has made during the past few years.
‘What flipping progress??’ I hear you remonstrate.

Waaaaiiiiiit!!!

Continue reading

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A Change of Heart

Loving people unconditionally is something I’ve always struggled with. Some people are just so difficult to love!!
But they are!!! Lol… Yes yes yes – including myself!

Shut it!!

Arrogance has often been a major challenge; so too have pride, anger, and a tendency to be easily irritated.
I’ll stop there. No need to add any more.

Yep, that’s me – a few hundred miles away from ‘far from perfect’.

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Life Spring

I informed you all many weeks ago about my intention to hold a Divorce seminar in Lagos.

On Saturday, 15th September, the seminar was held at Ocean View.

The seminar was scheduled to begin at 10am.

As I sat in the hall at 10.05am, still waiting for the first guests to arrive, I couldn’t help but wonder whether I had made a huge mistake. Not for the first time I asked myself, “Segs, why on earth are you doing this? Is it really worth it? Are you sure it was God’s voice you heard?”

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Now That Our Eyes Are Open!

After reading the article ‘Have We Got It Wrong???’ my good friend Lanre correctly stated;

‘This is a great article Segs. I can see where you’re going with this. But you didn’t land.’

He’s absolutely right.

I purposely utilised some shock therapy to wake us up a little; to wake us up to the fact that with regards to marriage something has definitely gone wrong somewhere.

Judging from the many responses I received; some of which were a resounding show of agreement and some an open display of irritation, I think most of us are now aware of the fact that maybe, just maybe, we need to re-assess our motives and priorities with regards to marriage.

Quick reminder;

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HAVE WE GOT IT WRONG???

For some of you traditionalists this may sting a little. But please be rest assured that I am not purposefully trying to cause unrest or unease.

This is merely an observation; and just a few teeny weeny questions.

Just a few. Promise!!

I apologise in advance for any discomfort this article may cause you.

In the United Kingdom one in every three marriages between 1995 and 2010 ended in divorce.

In Australia nearly every third of marriages end in divorce.

The divorce rate in North America is 54.8%.

According to findthedata.org the divorce rate in Nigeria for 35 to 39 year olds in 1986 was 0.6%. In 2003 it was 1.6%.

Whilst this is a much lower percentage than those of our brothers and sisters in Europe and the U.S, we need to bear in mind that in Nigeria we tend to ‘separate’ and not divorce. It is quite possible that the ‘separation’ rate in Nigeria is just as high as the ‘divorce’ rates in Europe and the U.S.

Yes yes yes I know, I’m going through a divorce so it’s all too likely that I’m purposefully focusing on negative statistics.

I can assure you that I am not.

I very much believe in marriage, and to be perfectly honest I am looking forward to finding the right person to spend my middle and latter years with. Unfortunately the days of being able to use the word ‘young’ when referring to my dear self, officially waved an endearing but finite goodbye when I turned 40 earlier this year.

Statistics do not lie.

So what has gone wrong?

There are some who believe (as they do with most things) that marriages are under attack from the devil. This is quite possible.

Some are of the view that today’s generation (yep – you and I ) can’t even spell commitment let alone abide by it. This is also true, and quite possibly a legitimate reason for the increase in failed marriages.

Others are of the view that today’s generation simply refuses to put up with some of the unacceptable behaviours and actions that were prevalent in previous generations. Also possible.

Some blame the media.
I love blaming the media; such an easy target. Whenever in doubt blame the media!

However during the past few months I have sensed a more radical line of thought.

This rather controversial view is of the opinion that the institution of marriage has been hampered by the very fact that man has turned it into an ‘institution’. In other words man has indoctrinated and institutionalised something that was supposed to be a lot more simple, natural and straightforward.

Is there anywhere in the bible that portrays a man and a woman getting married in a church building? I’ve searched and searched and searched but I can’t find any reference to a couple going into a church building and being directed to say ‘I do’ as well as being required to sign marriage documents.

Correct me if I’m wrong but it seems to me that by our own volition we (mankind) have created an institution (or shall I say ‘system’) by which to maintain control, and then turned around and claimed that it is God’s will and God’s doing.

Is it God’s will for us to get married in church buildings? Who knows! But the bible certainly doesn’t give us any suggestions that it is.

Is it God’s will for us to sign documents? Again, who knows! But I’m yet to find anything in the bible that suggests or implies that this is what God wants.

I can sense the agitated sighs of “and so what Segs! What’s your point?”

Please tarry with me a little while longer.

Is it possible that as a result of an innate desire for systematic orderliness and accountability, mankind has more or less wrenched out the necessary ingredients for sustained relationships? Ie love, friendship and freedom.

In other words due to the subtle, subconscious, but inherent pressures that accompany the words ‘I do’, have we unknowingly created a ‘system’ that is basically destined to fail?

Again, please pardon me if I’m way off track here but it seems to me that in biblical times it was merely a simple act of two families meeting, and the payment of a dowry.

Have we over-complicated matters?

Further still, has the excitement of the church wedding become so fevered that we have become blind to the fact that marriage is so much more than the wedding day????

We Nigerians love the wedding day. In fact I often wonder whether the wedding day is about the couple getting married or the parents!!!

Has it merely become an opportunity for people to display their wealth?

The attitude seems to be one of ‘Sod the couple! They can sort themselves out later. This is our chance to show how well we’ve done. Let’s celebrate in style.’

No no no, I’m not having a go at parents. Anyone and everyone is entitled to celebrate their children’s wedding day in whatever manner they like.

I’m simply asking this question.

“Is it possible that man’s determined efforts to establish and build a thriving institution have in fact resulted in the unfortunate demise of authentic relationships?”

 

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THE GREAT REVIVAL

Sorry people, just one more tiny wincy memory of London 2012.

The picture that continues to shine ever so brightly in my mind (apart from the gorgeous smiles of Alison Felix and Shelly Anne Fraser Pryce – sorry but they’re just so adorable!!!) is that of thousands of athletes united in a celebration of sports; a celebration of unity; and yes, a celebration of love. I remember I kept wanting to be beamed up (in star trek fashion) to the stadium – to experience what must have been an amazing atmosphere for just a few seconds.

My friend Katie summed it up nicely when she sent me a message, basically saying that it demonstrated the fact that contrary to what many fear, we are not as separate as we might think.

So what was it that united all those people in such loving and joyful celebration?

There is of-course a very strong case that it was simply sports that united them. Indeed I’ve heard it said many times that sports unites’ the world – especially footy – sorry ladies but it’s true! Ok ok – it unites the men of this world anyway!!

But I can’t help feeling that it runs much deeper than that.

I personally believe that we humans were created to love one another. We were created to relate with one another.

We were created to celebrate with each other in times of joy.

We were created to support one another in times of sadness and grief.

We were created to encourage and uplift each other in times of failure.

We were created to share joy with others in their moments of achievement and success.

In short, we were created to help, support and share with one another at all times, in all moments – whether happy or sad.

We were not created to judge one another.

We were not created to put each other down.

We were not created to accuse or slander.

We were not created to bitch about one another.

We were not created to kick others when they’re down.

We were created to LOVE one another.

Please note – the God that created us is a God of love. In-fact just before he created man he said ‘let us create man in our own image’.

Our God is the personification of unconditional love, humility and mercy. So much so that because He knew that we could not attain the righteousness necessary for heaven ourselves, He sent His son to do it for us.

So – the ability to love unconditionally is already inside us.

His greatest commandment is to Love Him (God) with all our hearts, our strength and our minds. His second greatest commandment is for us to love each other, also with all our hearts, strength, and mind.

My next point may seem rather controversial. Trust me – it is aimed as much at myself as it is against anyone else.

I sometimes ask myself – do I really love God? Or do I love Him on condition of what He can do for me?

Do we love Him on condition of how much He can bless us?

Do we go to church out of love or out of the fear of God being displeased with us if we don’t go?

Do we want to serve God in church in that particular area because we passionately want to dedicate those talents He gave us to serving Him? Or is it to please the pastor as well as earn more love from God?

How many of us, myself included, truly love our God unconditionally? By this I mean without any kind of hidden agenda of what He can do for us?

My biggest concern is the message that is being preached in our churches today. It is a message of doctrines (formula) for God’s blessings. What concerns me the most is that we are raising a future generation that is being molded in the belief that money is the answer to everything – fulfillment, joy, peace, the lot. They are being fooled into believe that a relationship with God is all about – ‘a blessing for your fasting, a blessing for your church attendance, a blessing for your tithes, a blessing for your offering (I shudder every time I hear ‘offering time, Blessing time’ in a church). Uuugh!!! Sorry – just shuddered again.

Unfortunately for many, a relationship with God has more or less become – ‘blessing me for my works Lord’.

Many years ago some foreign emissaries visited Nigeria for a couple of days. On their way to the airport, when returning, one of them said, ‘this country is very interesting. I have never seen so many churches. There’s one literally every few metres. And yet there is so much poverty. Surely there’s something wrong there.’

In other words the result of our ‘me me me’ relationships with God is that we have become a nation that is poor in unity, poor in morals, poor in standards, poor in principles, and littered in poverty – all as a direct consequence of our abject ‘poverty in love’.

Once again, I am not attacking church leaders.

We are ALL to blame.

A few years ago after a rip-roaring sermon by a pastor on love, I was so uplifted and so moved by what he had to say that I walked up to him (never met him before, didn’t know him) after the service to thank him for an excellent message. During our very brief conversation I said to him ‘I genuinely believe that the true Great Revival will be love’. When I said this he looked a tad confused and to be quite frank, not at all interested. Not sure whether it was what I said that he wasn’t interested in or maybe he just thought I was rather boring (that’s very possible actually – maybe he just thought I was boring!!!), but anyway, I distinctly remember feeling a little disappointed by the fact that this man didn’t get what I was saying. So, Rather like that poor duck that used to trudge across our TV screens whenever a batsman was out first ball during a cricket match, I also trudged off, feeling sorry for myself, with a small but very irritating cloud hovering over my head.

I’m sure you’ll agree with me when I say that so many churches have done so many revivals in Nigeria – most of these revivals revolve around personal breakthroughs of one kind or another. There is nothing wrong with this. Indeed in some aspects it is good and very necessary.

However, I personally believe that the Great Revival that is needed in our land is a revival of LOVE.

So why do we struggle with grasping the importance and necessity of God’s two greatest commandments?

I genuinely believe the reason is because we preach and talk about God’s grace and mercy but we don’t truly believe or walk in it. We still think and behave as if we have to earn God’s love.

The bible says that when we give our lives to Christ, our old self is dead, and our new one (through Christ) is born. However it may just be that due to our unwillingness to accept that Christ has already done ALL the work for us, we continue to work hard every day to get rid of our ‘old self’. In other words we continue to fight a battle that has already been won – by Jesus Christ.

The consequence of this is that rather than focusing on serving God with our hearts, as well as loving and serving others, our focus is primarily on what we can and must do to be BLESSED; what we can and must do to get our BREAKTHROUGH.

As my dear ex would say, “Honestly??!!!!!”

So who are we kidding?!!!! God can see through us and knows exactly where our hearts truly lie. Hello???!!!

I’m not criticizing. I’m just as bad.

But together we can come out of this continuous and terrible cycle of the ‘me me me’ syndrome.

The bible says that ‘love never fails’.

Let’s give it a try.

Let’s accept once and for all that Christ really has done all the work for us.

Let’s start focusing more on how we can love and serve God genuinely – NOT for appearances sake or so that God can bless us and people can say good things about us.

Let’s decide today to STOP the WORKS and DO the LOVE – for GOD and for EACH OTHER.

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