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Matured Stories

Spoilt At Church – Season 1 – Episode 5

CHAPTER FIVE

The much awaited revival started as scheduled.

The revivalist was an elderly and vibrant minister, who gave the word of God in its raw form, not minding the ox of whom was gored. His bible exposition was done in such a way that, it leaves one with no doubt that he had the backing of the Holy Spirit.

Like Paul, he said he was an anti-Christ before his conversion. Because God had mercy on him and saved him, he’s eager that all will have genuine salvation through an encounter with the Savior.

He emphasized on the need for Christians to work out their salvation with fear and trembling (Philippians 2: 12), because now is our salvation nearer than when we first believed (Romans 13:11).

Furthermore, he reiterated that many have gone the broad way, because of the cares and entanglements of the world. Darkness had crept steadily into the church, making peoples’ lamps dim and ineffective. He enjoined everyone to take the narrow way that leads to paradise.

According to him, it’s not in vogue to see preachers preaching about salvation, and majority of altar calls don’t produce needed fruits. That is why the church is filled with workers who are not walkers with God, people who are busy working for God, but do not know God. Sunday school teachers who do not live by what they teach, choristers that are singing to hell, ushers who commit wilful sins, and preachers that embezzle church money.

The church is full of strive, envy, and rancor. Instead of being a place where sinners would see light and embrace it, it is fast becoming a dumping ground for unrepentant sinners. The church has entered into the world, and the world into the church.

Emphasizing on Galatians 5:19-21, he said, the works of the flesh is manifesting among brethren, who mustn’t forget that Christ will come for a church that is holy and without blemish (Ephesians 5: 27).

“But!” he bellowed on the last day of the revival. “The Lord knows those who are his, and everyone calling on the name of the Lord should depart from evil!”

After that, he led the congregation in singing the hymn-

Have you been to Jesus for the cleansing power?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?
Are you fully trusting in his grace this hour?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

The refrain was taken loud and strong
Are you washed in the blood?
In the soul cleansing blood of the lamb?
Are your garments spotless?
Are they white as snow?
Are you washed in the blood of the lamb?

Martha was pricked to the depth of her heart, as she listened to the preacher. Feeling a deep sense of anguish and dread for her life, she shook at the thought of what would happen, if she refused to give her life to Christ.

Although she had answered to an altar call at a time she needed to be baptized to become a full member of the church, her secret life style was such that wouldn’t make Christ happy.

To the society, she was a decent and well behaved girl. To the church, she was dedicated, God-fearing, and a role model. To her parents, she was a child they trusted, and would always be proud of.

Martha knew the secret sins she contend with, the sins that easily besets her and made her vulnerable to other sins. She knew her heart was not right with God, and she feared what would happen if the trumpet should sound.

So when the preacher gave an altar call for all that would give their lives to Christ to step forward, she made a move which coincided with the preacher asking the choir to lead – I surrender all.

Martha wanted to be at the front, at the altar, to plead for mercy, not minding what people would say.

As the choirmaster shoved the mic into her hand, she closed her eye, knelt at the spot, and sang the song from deep within her.

She felt a great burden leaving her, and an indescribable joy suffusing her. Tears cascaded down her face, as she made the decision to follow Christ to the end.

When she got home and all had retired for the night except her Mum who needed to put things together for the next morning, Martha joined her in the kitchen and explained what happened to her.

“Mum, I rededicated my life to Christ today at the service,” she said.

“And who was ruling your life before, the devil?” her mother asked, raising an eyebrow.

“Not really, but I was touched by the preaching of the revivalist,” Martha answered. “It made me realize that my life was not totally right with God.”

“Interesting.”

“I was about answering the altar call, when the preacher asked the choir to sing. Well, right at the spot where I stood, I rededicated my life to Christ, with a covenant to shun every sin and be a child of God.”

“Thank God you did not get a chance to move to the altar,” her Mum said.

“What’s bad about it?”

“I swear, I would have skinned you with my bare hands.”

“I’m confused and don’t understand you. What is bad about answering an altar call? Is that not the essence of Christianity? To decide for Christ.”

“Definitely you are confused,” her Mum answered. You were emotionally carried away by the sweet mouth of the preacher. Remember people hold you in high esteem, and see you as a role model for the youths. It will be shameful for them to know you’ve not given your life to Christ. What is there to give?”

“Mummy!”

“You were born into a Christian home, to practicing Christian parents dedicated to the service of God. You’ve been engaged in one form of service or the other from childhood. I ask again, what are you giving? Daughter! your life is perfect the way it is.”

“I still feel…”

“Don’t feel anything, tomorrow is another day. Have a nice night rest. Make sure you read psalm 91, and keep the bible under your pillow before you sleep.”

Dismissed, Martha left for her room in a dejected mood, feeling empty like a deflated balloon.

She sat and brooded, wondering why her Mum of all people would be skeptical about her public declaration of Christ. What is the essence of attending church if not to get saved? She asked. Why would one pretend to be what he’s not in order to look good before people?

She queried if her parents’ salvation was genuine? With what she heard at the church, she doubted their salvation, and concluded that it would be difficult for them to admit that they are not saved, except by divine intervention.

Thinking about some questionable characters in them despite being strongholds in the church; characters like lying, cheating and slandering, characters like pride and envy, she shook her head.

Her Dad would force the children to lie for him. He deliberately falsified her younger brother’s age because he wanted him to write the national common entrance at age 8. He also hired someone to write Mathematics and Physics for her elder brother in his external GCE, because he had written several times without success.

Her Mum would lie, and call it a white lie. She would gossip, and slander, without batting an eye lid. She would manipulate to get positions in the church. She’s never tired of pitting people against one another to achieve her selfish aims.

Her parents were full of religious activities like the Pharisees. They were like tombs that looked beautiful outside, but contained dead bones inside. They were blind teachers of the blind.

Martha detested their kind of Christianity. She wanted a life that is upright and devoid of hypocrisy. She wanted a life that would portray Christ, and lead others to him.

Kneeling by her bedside, she prayed for God to give her the grace to stand firm, and not be distracted.

© Bosede Fagbemi


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