In the last six months, I have discovered more about myself and life than I have in the 6 years I have lived here.
I have been a Christian for about the same number of years and in that time have listened to endless sermons on getting rich, making it, money cometh and so on. Prosperity teachings have never sat well with me, but that’s for another day. The general approach of these teachings are to just pray, believe and speak it (sometimes backing all this up with a bit of cash helps as well) and wealth will come. Oh I prayed, I believed and I spoke it and although I was never dirt poor, I always only ever had enough to get by. Is this really the way God wanted it to be, I wondered? If it were that easy to get rich and be wealthy then every body would have been praying it, believing it and speaking it.
And the more I prayed the less things happened. Why was this happening? Oh, your faith is not strong enough I was told – via the TV, books and sermons – there are too many doubts in your heart, you are wavering in your belief. And the guilt this churned up in me made me feel like a failed Christian. Help me believe more, I cried to God, help my unbelief. And still nothing.
Eventually, this state of nothing-ness made me resentful and led to a hardening of my heart towards God and His Word. But what it also led to was a questioning spirit and this I believe is the point God wanted me to get to. I began to ask myself how come people, thousands of people, who have no obvious leanings towards a belief in God seem to be getting ahead in life, getting things done, making things happen? What is the key?
It cannot be prayer because they do not believe in God. It cannot be because they pay their tithes, for the same reason just stated. It cannot be because they are ‘baptised in the Holy Spirit’. So WHAT is it they do that makes them successful?
Then it dawned on me – a lightbulb moment.
They WORK for what they have. They back their beliefs – a belief that they will make it, a belief in their potential, a belief in their abilities, a belief that there is a better life to be had – up with ACTION.
And I saw this exact same principle work for me once I applied it to my own life.
For years and years I always knew I wanted to do something with the skill and talent I had been blessed with – the ability to sew and sew well. I always knew I wanted to live a certain lifestyle - a reasonably wealthy one. I always knew I wanted to start a business – one which involved sewing or making stuff. But the one thing I never did was WORK towards achieving these things I wanted. No, I thought I could pray and believe them into reality. What a fool I had been and how God must have laughed at me. I don’t know about you but I think God has a pretty good sense of humour.
Then one day, as if dragging myself out of a daze, I attended a course on setting up a small business. I began to buy business related books, I scoured the internet for business information, I read about business people I admired and I listened to Zig Ziglar and Anthony Robbins. Something Zig said resonated so strongly with me. He said ‘You can have the most mental positive attitude in the world, if you don’t back it up with action, ain’t nothings gonna happen for you.’ This was what I had been waiting to hear. This is what God meant when He said ‘Faith without works is dead’. Sure it’s good to have faith that something will happen, but how is it going to happen when you are not doing
anything to make it happen. Lightbulb flash!
I remember once in church back in Naija, a girl came up to give her testimony and she said she had been praying for a job that offered ‘small work and plenty pay’, and back then we all laughed. But that’s how many of us think today. We don’t want to work anymore to achieve our dreams. We want the manna to fall from heaven.
So till I sat down and sewed that first handbag and sold it, then another and sold that too and then another – then God kicked it. Suddenly the orders were coming it, people where asking for my bags, new ideas were being dropped into my head, doors were opening it up. All because I was finally backing up my Faith with Works!
So if you are someone who is praying, tithing, faith-ing, believing, hoping, wishing your dreams into reality, save yourself the wasted time and grief and Work your way towards achieving them instead. Attend that course, pick up that phone, post off that letter. Then thank God when the doors begin to open.