FULLY KNOWN AND LOVED!

“Before I shaped you in the womb, I knew all about you…”.

– Jeremiah 1:5a

When I was a kid, I used to be so fascinated about the sun. I was never able to comprehend how the sun seemed to follow me every single time (same way I didn’t understand how my sister was older than me given that I was born in March and she in April😹). I remember being in my dad’s car on our way to church, looking out through the window and seeing the sun moving as fast as the car. Whenever the car stopped, the sun stopped too. And when it moved again, so did the sun. What was even more fascinating was that it was same for every single human being. So while I was in Lagos, in my dad’s car, watching as the sun “followed” me, you could have been in Edo state or in the Bahamas, or in Queens, or even in a small town in the middle of East Africa, watching the sun chase after you too. All at the same time.

Sometimes, I’d try to trick the sun. I’d start running towards a particular direction, watching as the sun followed me, and then I’d swiftly switch to a different direction. And I’d see that the sun had switched with me. I enjoyed watching the sun follow me. It was fascinating, the fact that the sun could do what MTN network couldn’t; it could follow me “everywhere I go”. I marveled more at the fact that it also had the ability to follow me and 10 billion others at the same time.

A while ago, Holy Spirit reminded me of this fascination of mine from my childhood. He used it to explain how peculiar I am to God, how peculiar you are to God. God doesn’t just love us as one big body of Christ. His love isn’t one big pie that we all have to share and take a piece from. His love is special and personal to me, as it is to you too. Holy Spirit made me see that God doesn’t just know me as “one of His children”. He knows me by my name, He knows me as PRAISELYN (here’s where you insert your name lol). It’s great that I have a personal relationship with Him. But it’s even more fascinating that He has a personal relationship with me. And even though He loves everyone of us, He loves me (and you) differently, in a personal way.

I can trust that He knows what is good for me, not just because He is God and He is all knowing, but because He knows me personally. The 12 disciples were all disciples of Jesus, and while Jesus related with them collectively and together, He also knew each of them personally, differently, at the same time. He could cater to their different desires because He knew them. In biblical parlance, to “know” means to have sexual intimacy with a person. So when the Bible said “Adam knew His wife Eve”, it was saying Adam had sexual intercourse with his wife. In the same vein, God’s knowledge of you is as deep and personal and sacred as sexual intimacy between a man and his wife. Husbands can only experience that kind of intimacy with their wives. That’s how it is with us and God. He doesn’t just have general or head knowledge of you. He KNOWS you, deeply, intimately, separately.

This understanding brought me to a deeper place in my relationship with God. That anytime I come to Him, anytime I approach Him, He wasn’t just seeing “one of His many children”. He was seeing Ahaiwe Praiselyn Chidinma (and my other name that I won’t share😹). That in Gethsemane, when He felt like giving up the journey to the cross, He thought specifically of me and said “nevertheless Father, not my will but yours be done”. That I am not just one of the millions of lives He came to save and have a relationship with. I am known by my name, by the numbers of hair on my head, by the sound of my voice and the tingle in my laughter. Just as you are too. He knows you personally. And if that isn’t the most incredulous thing ever, I don’t know what is.

Just incase you’ve been feeling unseen, this is to remind you that you’re no outcast. You’re not “one of many”. You’re the 1 that He would leave the 99 for. You’re His reason. Yes, you. Remember this when next your feelings try to tell you something else. Remember that you’re the daughter or son of a King. Now, straighten your crown, cross your legs if you please, set your back straight, and walk in this reality. Until later, God bless!

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UPROOTING AND REPLACING: THE SECRET TO LIVING ABOVE SIN

           “The secret to living above sin is to replace secret sin with secret place”

                                                         – Vladmir Salvchuk

Hello friend. Hey! I’m talking to you dear. Yes you reading this right now. Have you ever struggled with losing weight? No I do not mean physical or body weight. I mean spiritual weight. Have you ever gotten so tired of dragging along baggage that weakens your growth in Christ? Are you currently struggling with secret sins? Pornography addiction? No? How about social media addiction? Thought as much. Do you get tired of falling back into the same thing you said you would never do again? Yes? Well then darling, this post is for you. If you would spare some of your time and attention to read through this post, I’ll share with you what the Holy Spirit has taught me over time, and what has been keeping me standing and running and steadfast. Shall we begin with a story?

Once upon a time, there lived a young man who owned a house. This man had a lot of rooms in the house, about 10 rooms. The house belonged to him, but he rented out all the rooms to tenants. He wasn’t occupying any of the room. Now this man had always desired good and upright tenants. Tenants who wouldn’t cause him any trouble, tenants who would treat the rooms like theirs. He had 9 of such tenants occupying 9 of the rooms. Unfortunately, he had one really bad tenant occupying the last room. This tenant was stubborn, wicked, envious, and evil. He was giving the man sleepless nights. The man was troubled everyday. He really wanted to get rid of the tenant. He did all he could to get him out. At a point, he thought of tolerating him, and he tried to do so. But the more he tolerated, the more the tenant frustrated him. Finally, somehow, someway, the landlord was able to evict the tenant from the room. He was so happy and joyous that he had gotten rid of this evil tenant! He celebrated, danced, thanked God, and relaxed. Finally, he could have peace of mind. But something happened. (I’m tempted to say “find out in my next post!)

    The very next week, another tenant packed into the house. And this tenant was TEN TIMES worse than the previous one. This one didn’t just frustrate the landlord, he frustrated the other tenants too. In fact, the other tenants started to think of packing out because of this one tenant. This time, the landlord cried his eyes out. He begged God to divinely chase this tenant out. He didn’t know what to do. How could he have gotten rid of the last evil tenant, only to get someone even worse? What could he do? Again, by some divine means, the new worse tenant was evicted from the room. The man celebrated again! He was happy! He was joyous! He gave a huge offering in church. He testified everywhere. Everything was fine again, God had answered his prayers. Lol. Little did he know. Three days later, an even worse tenant packed into the house. This new one was set to take over the whole house completely. It was war! This one stayed for a longer time, but God be praised, he finally left. The landlord sat down and wondered what he could do to stop bad tenants from renting the room. And God said to Him “son, as long as that room is empty, you’ll continue to attract evil tenants. Until you go yourself to search for a good one, that room will always be available for the evil ones”.

       Guys, many of us are like Mr Landlord. We’re uprooting, but we aren’t replacing. Truth is this: An empty room is available to ANY tenant. I remember studying the book of James a while ago when I was battling with distractions from several sources. The Holy Spirit made me understand that it’s impossible to not be distracted. I can’t take away distractions, but I can replace them. And that has never been more true. You know what’s so beautiful about the bible? Whenever it tells us to not do something, it goes ahead to tell us what to do instead. When it says “lay aside every weight that easily trips you up”, it goes ahead to say “instead, run with endurance the race that is set before you”. When it says “do not be drunk with wine”, it goes ahead to say “be filled instead with the Holy Ghost”. When it says “never let ugly or hateful words come out from your mouth”, it goes ahead to say “instead, let your words be seasoned with grace”. For every thing that we shouldn’t do, the bible tells us what to replace it with instead. So it doesn’t leave that space in us empty, it tells us to fill it with something better.

The secret to living above that thing that you keep going back to is to replace it. It’s not enough to uproot it. It’s not enough to kill it. It’s not enough to get it out of that room. As long as that room is empty, it would keep coming back. If you’re looking to buy a house, you do not go looking at houses that are already occupied, you look for houses that are empty. Similarly, when the devil is looking for a place to set up his camp in your heart, he takes up an empty room, a room that is occupied by nobody, because an empty room is an invitation to any buyer. Many times, we exhaust our efforts trying to get the enemy out. We spend all our time praying and fasting, begging God to deliver us from whatever it is that is eating us up and damaging our walk with God. But guess what friends? No matter how many times you’re delivered, no matter how many times you repent, you’ll not find true freedom until you give that empty space to something better. Still not convinced? Let me show you another picture. Jesus died so that we can be free from sin. He took away the power of sin from us, and made us no longer bound to the pulling and cravings of sin. But you know what else He did? He didn’t just leave that place  empty. He didn’t leave the space where sin was living vacant. He replaced it with righteousness. It wasn’t enough to remove the power of sin. Sin has legs, and it can walk. When it sees an empty room, it takes it. See the devil is roaring about, seeking for whom to devour. And you know what? He’ll only devour the one who offers himself to be devoured. The devil doesn’t have the power to devour any believer, unless that believer gives him a room.

Dear friend, the Holy Spirit is calling you to replace whatever it is that you have uprooted from your life with Him. He’s asking you to give Him that room, that space. He sees how much you’re crying and asking Him to take away this evil tenant occupying a room in your life. But He’s saying “sweetheart, if you don’t give that empty room to me, he’ll keep coming back.”

What is that thing that God has uprooted? Is it addiction to social media? Replace it with addiction to the Word. Is it addiction to sexual sins? Replace it with addiction to the Word. Cultivate a new hobby that would take up that empty space. Because if it isn’t replaced, then it’s open to the devourer. If it isn’t replaced, it’s as good as inviting it back. It doesn’t matter how many rooms you’ve surrendered to Jesus, if there’s an empty room yet to be surrendered to him, the devil will assume an invitation. And of course, he comes with friends.

 I pray that the Holy Spirit opens the minds of our understanding and helps us to discern this truth. I pray He helps us replace whatever we have left behind with more of His presence. Because if we give Him a room, He’ll occupy it. He’s a gentleman, He won’t come in unless we ask Him in. So what are you waiting for darling? Go ahead and ask Him in. He’s waiting.

Until later, God bless you!