DELIVER SUCH UNTO SATAN.?

You all know the story. This ‘wonderful’ brother in the church of Corinth was having an affair with his father’s wife… I’m thinking a much younger wife but his step-mum nonetheless. Meanwhile, the sexcapade wasn’t a product of error – a one-time affair; he made a habit of it.

I’ve heard some say the fellow couldn’t have been a Christian. He must have probably been a mere churchgoer. No ‘real Christian’ can stoop so low into such a despicable. Well, I’m afraid he was indeed a Christian.

Just in the first chapter of the book, 1:2, Paul address his audience (the Corinthian Christians) as saints, i.e. holy. In fact, he praises their spiritual fervency in verses 5 to 7. However, just two chapters away (3:1-4), he refers to the same men he praised earlier as folks who behaved as carnal (mere) men. Although they were spirit-filled believers, traits as envying, jealousy and strife manifested in their conducts.

A believer can fall into sin when he fails to allow God’s Word influence his mind and consequently conduct.

Back to our dear brother – I’ll call him Brother Thomas. So Bro. Thomas -a man we were supposed to look up to in the church – was getting his step-mum laid. As if that wasn’t enough, the (Corinthian) church, where he worshipped, was nonchalant about it. In fact, they got arrogant over the matter: After all, unto the pure all things are pure.

You could imagine Paul’s indignation when he heard both of Bro Thomas’ lewd action and the I-don’t-care attitude of the church towards it. So you have such a ‘terrible Christian’ making a habit of fornication among you and turned a blind eye on it? How dare you allow him fellowship with you as if nothing happened and thereby make him feel comfortable with his actions? I’m ashamed of you all!

So Paul passes judgment over unrepentant Bro Thomas…

…to deliver such an one unto Satan for the destruction of the flesh, that the spirit may be saved in the day of the Lord Jesus

Now, this is where our wild imagination kicks in. Deliver him to Satan? Apostle Paul, sir, do you mean we should seize Bro Thomas, take him to the Temple of Satan downtown and hand him over to Lucifer’s representative there so he can inflict bodily/physical on his body?

Paul would have been baffled by such reasoning. He couldn’t in any way have thought of bringing Satan into the picture. Think about it: A believer sins and we invoke the devil on him. How does that add up? What has Satan got to do with saints, even when it comes to correcting an erring believer?

To deliver such an one unto Satan is a manner of speaking!

To start with, the word Satan in the Greek is the word that means ‘accuser’. A reference to the name connotes accusation hence to deliver a fellow unto Satan will imply delivering (subjecting) him to accusation. That accusation will happen via excommunication!

Notice Paul’s major concern was the fact that they didn’t isolate the brother so he can be ashamed of his act:

…in place of feeling sorrow, you are pleased with yourselves, so that he who has done this thing has not been sent away from among you.

…purge out therefore the old leaven, that ye may be a new lump.

…I wrote unto you in an epistle not to company with fornicators

…Therefore put away from among yourselves that wicked person…

He kept harping on the need for them to dissociate themselves from the brother so he won’t be a bad influence on the other believers.

Bro Thomas is being unremorseful/unrepentant. To deliver him to Satan will therefore mean to subject him to accusation by not keeping company (identifying) with him so that he burns with shame to the end that the lustful appetite in him can be destroyed. Hence Paul’s judgement was to serve as a corrective measure.

A believer has no business with Satan. When he sins wilfully, he is to be judged and corrected by the church and not the devil. It’s not unheard of for a believer to fall into an error. However, it’s uncharacteristic of a believer to make a habit of it. When that’s the case, the church will walk in love (correct) towards such via stern reprimanding.

Remember, bro Thomas’ ‘harsh judgment’ of excommunication is not forever. Just because he sinned does not make him rejected by God. God still cares about him and wants him straightened up, hence the correction.

Delivering him to Satan (excommunication) is to make him ashamed and correct him. When the correction is achieved, he is to be restored to the gathering and accepted back with love.

Hear what Paul had to say about Bro Thomas much later:

2Co 2:6 The majority of you have imposed a severe enough punishment on that person.
2Co 2:7 So now forgive and comfort him. Such distress could overwhelm someone like that if he’s not forgiven and comforted.

Forgive him, comfort him and absolve him back into the fold! He is not a meat for the devil. He is a believer regardless.


Image Credits: Psychology Today, Fatherly,

JOB AND HIS TEMPTATION: GOD’S ROLE IN IT…

The book begins with a glowing description of the main character Job. I particularly like how Good News Bible puts it: He was a man who worshiped God and was faithful to him. He was a good man, careful not to do anything evil. What a man!

He wasn’t just a religious man but also a prosperous one. Actually, he was said to be the most influential person in the Middle East, back in the day. So this man had it all: The ‘fear’ of God and ‘a fat bank account’. What can go wrong?

But all of a sudden, a little thing called peripeteia happened to him. In simple English, he suffered a sudden tragic reversal in fortune. Well, the truth is the adversary, the devil sought to devour him. He envied his piety and prosperity and sought to inflict pain on him to the end that he loses faith in God. However, his devilish might notwithstanding, he couldn’t get to him without a loophole.

You see, the believer cannot be possessed of/by the devil because his body is God’s temple. He also cannot come under the devil’s authority because he has been translated into the kingdom/dominion of God/light. However, the believer can subject himself to the devil’s affliction if he lets down his guard.

Back to Job…So the devil needed an inlet and he found one – fear. Fear is a potent weapon in the devil’s arsenal. Listen to Job’s confession after the successive series of … that befell him – 3:25-26:

Everything I fear and dread comes true.
I have no peace, no rest, and my troubles never end.

His life was ruled by the fear of the unknown…He consistently conceived them in his mind till the devil made it a reality for him.

Interestingly, all along, Job thought God was the mastermind of his misfortune. In fact, he gave God the glory for what the devil did:

The LORD gave, and the LORD hath taken away; blessed be the name of the LORD.

Many believing folks are like Job. They think God has a hand in the unpleasant things that befall them.

I once heard a true-life story of a clergy who paid a condolence visit to a woman who lost her baby. In his way of consoling the bereaved, the clergy said: Take heart. Your baby’s death is God’s will. You can’t but submit to it. That unguarded statement dealt a blow to the woman’s faith in God.

Some will say “God was surely involved in Job’s misery. He gave the devil the permission after all”. And of course, they make reference to the supposed conversation about Job between Satan and God. Now imagine the scenario: Satan strolled into God’s presence and had a dialogue with him? God and the devil having a tete-a-tete and struck a bargain over one of God’s children? Unthinkable!

What communion hath light with darkness?

What you find in Job 1:6-12 and 2:1-7 is a documentation of a spiritual reality as perceived by the documenter. Obviously, the writer was not present when these opposing forces were having their exchange. He must have gotten his …via a vision and in a vision, things seen are mostly not clearly understood and therefore requires revelation.

God never had a hand in Job’s desolation. It was all the devil’s mechanization.

God delivers from evil. He is never involved in it.

Here is another conspiracy theory: God made Job go through the hellish experience just so He could try his faith. What kind of God is that? God made me lose my job so I can be committed in church? God took my child from me to see if I’ll still serve him regardless? That’s not the God I serve!

Have you not heard?

It is not possible for God to be tested by evil, and he himself puts no man to such a test-James 1:13

Every good gift and every perfect gift is from above – James1:17

God is light, and in him is no darkness at all – 1John 1:5.

Can you, as a father, ask that your son be kidnapped, punished and coerced into casting aspersion at you just to test how loyal/faithful he is to you? I think not. How much more the father of mercy and grace.

Ask yourself: What does stand to gain from such action. What pleasure does it bring to him to see his beloved suffer needlessly? If (hypothetically) God ever needed to test your faith/salvation, then his redemptive work wasn’t foolproof.

What was God’s role in Job’s temptation?

It’s the same role he plays in all temptation:

You saw that the Lord ended Job’s suffering because the Lord is compassionate and mercifull – James 5:11b.

God is true, who will not let any test come on you which you are not able to undergo; but he will make with the test a way out of it, so that you may be able to go through it- 1Cor 10:13.

God doesn’t tempt anyone. He is merciful. He provides a way of escape. He delivers from evil. This is my God!

For the most part of the book, through his dialogue with his friends, Job, in his limited knowledge, thought it was God dealing with him and testing his mettle. But he was wrong. He came to the realisation of the truth after God had upbraid him. Hear his confession at the end – Job 42:3&5:

…I have talked about things that are far beyond my understanding.

I heard about you from others; now I have seen you with my own eyes.

He was ignorant of God’s involvement!

Rather than allow the devil to have a swell time over things that concerns us, we can exercise our authority in Christ over him and get him to take his hands off your things.

He is a good father. All the time!


Image Credits: rainbowtoken.com, Manna Ministry

©ayansola ibukun

DEAR BELIEVER

Dear Believer,

The Bible is already inspired (by the Spirit) – don’t inspire it. It is birthed in such a way that its understanding and application is singular, from one saint to another. Hence, your bias will never make it mean what it never meant.

God’s Word is the same yesterday, today and always. It’s not subject to variation with respect to time/space or individual outlook. If Jesus or His apostles (in their epistles) didn’t teach it, it can’t inform your conduct.

Therefore, resist the temptation to use God’s Word to validate your whims and caprices. That urge to intentionally misconstrue/twist the scriptures or interpret it out of context to justify dishonorable/ungodly actions/conducts is not of God – fight it.

Never get to that point in your Christian walk where you get comfortable using the bible to explain away or create excuses for wrong doings. Quit trying to cherry-pick from God’s Word: identifying with parts that sooths you and discarding/ignoring those aspects that addresses certain flaws in your life.

As a believer, you have no right to a personal opinion outside the purview of the Written Word. Thus, allow God’s Word to entirely influence your heart and consequently your life(style). In the place of prayer and diligent studying of God’s Word (in the local church), you submit to the training of the Spirit such that your selfish interests give way to God’s desire and design.

God has blessed you!


Image Credit: The ladders

©ayansola ibukun

WHEN THE CHIPS ARE DOWN…

Such a flaw in human nature
Never to value what we have until we lose it.
The cares and love of real ones to neglect
And desperately seek to please the one who cares less.

“They’ll always be there” so he takes them for granted,
Until they call his bluff and live him deserted.
Gold in the hands of the undiscerning is a travesty
Pearls also should never be cast among swine.

He trades off his kin at his season of plenty,
Never to be regained in his period of paucity.
Such a sturdy cord it is that binds folk together
But then it snaps when it suffers the strains of mistreatment.

The river that forgets its source becomes history.
Love is not a caged bird…endearing yet unfettered.
Much is expected from whom much is given
So don’t lose the moon while counting the stars.

Time…attention…care…gratitude…empathy…
Nothing fans the flame of love and respect than these.
Love unrequited, feelings unappreciated, efforts unacknowledged…
Nothing bids true affection goodbye than these.

When you sell your brother to a stranger,
Even the buyer will trust you no longer.
When you relish a façade and shun the bona fide,
To whom shall you turn when the chips are down?


©ayansola ibukun

CARE, NOT CONTROL!

You don’t have to turn into a bird at night and fly to the coven before you practice witchcraft. You are into witchery each time you bend others to your will or make them feel inadequate.🦉

How about you killed that idea that you are the only one with the answer to people’s problem and quit trying to fix others. Truth is it’s manipulative when you always want to be the sole reference point to other people’s growth/success.

Here and there, you’ll find folks that are invaluable but never will you find a fellow who is indispensable. He is therefore a fine specimen of a man who knows when to get on the pitch and play and when to watch from the sidelines.

Your friend seeks your counsel over a matter and you give her your best. She however ends up not taking it and you become offended… She gets into a relationship with someone you don’t approve. You sit her down and express your misgivings about her choice. She however tells you to trust her judgment on the matter as she knows what she is getting into. But regardless of her assurance, you stick to your gun on the matter and begin to resent her so much that it causes a strain on your friendship. Tell you what? You were never deserving of her friendship in the first place.

Trust your loved ones enough to be able to make the right decisions now and then. Love is not manipulative and neither does it lord over. Trust their judgment on matters of choice. In essence, learn to respect people’s privacy, opinions and decisions. Why cry more than the bereaved?

When a handshake goes beyond the elbow, we know it has turned to another thing. It’s good to feel concerned, to be perceptive and caring about people who are dear to us. However, it’s out of place to make them live in your shadow. Love/care for folks should engender confidence in them and not make them tied to our apron strings.

It does you no good to be overbearing. We all get to learn on the job. So cut folks some slack. A breathing space now and then will suffice.

Consider the relationship between the tire inflator and the tire. When deflated, the tire relies on the inflator to get back to shape. There is however a limit to the extent of air pumped into the tire otherwise it blows up and becomes useless. But what good is the inflator without a serviceable tire?No one is an island. We all need each other to grow.

Learn balance – don’t choke people with love, care and guidance.

CASE STUDY

A parent’s job they say is never done. But at what point in life should a child begin to make his own decisions while the parent simply play advisory roles? At what point should the parent cease to think for them? Many a child today resents their parents for their lots in life. And why is that? They forced a lot on them: what course to study…who to marry and where to marry from…what church to attend and activities to engage in…and the list is endless.

In my own clime, you hear parents say to a grown child As long as you are under my roof, you can’t attend a different church…As long as I’m your father, you can’t marry that girl. Pure manipulation. A parent has failed when his child(ren) doesn’t outgrow the dependency stage.

If I care about you, I’ll respect your opinions/choices. While I’ll do my best to play a positive role in your well-being, I won’t presume to know what’s best for you than you know.

Be a mentor, teacher, guardian, provider, trainer, leader…but not a tin god.

There is a thin line between care and control. Never cross it.


©ayansola ibukun

ABOUT LETTING GO…

I know what to throw away and what to keep… When to let go and when to hold tight.

He clings to the baggage of yesterday’s memory,
And tries to swim through the ocean of today’s reality.
His palms bleed with the scars of yesteryears unattended
Yet he tries to have a firm grip on today’s bliss.

How can a man look into the future When the woes of time past blur his vision?
He makes it to the other side of the pool when he swims light.

You shouldn’t pour new wine into an old bottle.
Nor sew a patch of new cloth on an old garment.
Know when to dwell on and when to move on.

Picture what happens to a river that stops flowing… It gets stagnated and becomes an eye sore.

Yesterday’s pain is today’s gain.
He wins life’s race whose eyes is on the target
But is bound to lose out that never stops looking over his shoulder.
Best you forget what is behind and reach out for what is ahead.

Think about the phoenix, reborn from its ashes, to start a new life.
Even the snake as it sheds its skin so it can growth further.

Shed some weight and up you go.

Love…learn…live!


©ayansola ibukun

MY JOURNEY ON WORDPRESS 🚶‍♂️🚴‍♂️🚐🚄✈️

Hello good people. It’s such a great moment to share my ‘progress report’ on this platform with you. I promise you it’s going to be worth the read…

IN THE BEGINNING…

My journey on WordPress began over 4 years ago, April 2015 to be precise. At the time, the thought of blogging never came to mind. Far from it! Truth is, I didn’t know the first thing about blogging then. My decision to be a part of this space was for the sake of honing my writing skills.

By the way, I can’t remember ever mentioning, on this platform, that I studied English. Yes, I did. And from UNILAG too. Now, if you are a student/graduate of English, you’ll understand how tough it is to leave up to people’s expectations of you as ‘an English expert’. Folks expect that your spoken and written English are almost perfect.

Luckily for me, I could/can hold my own as far as the spoken aspect was concerned. However, when it came to the written, especially creative angle, I was a tedious work in progress. Now, don’t think too far… I wasn’t a bad writer. In fact, as far as academic/formal writing was concerned, I always did a fine job of it. (I recall one of my lecturers marking my script in my presence and telling me that I write so well). However, once it was time to put down a random thought/idea, short story, or anything without an intellectual tone to it, I suddenly lose my thinking cap and become pen-shy. It was that bad.

Meanwhile, I had always wanted to build a career in professions where versatility in writing is key – editing, content/copy writing… Seeing that my rigid and selective attitude to writing would hinder me from fulfilling this desire, I chose to challenge my limitations and take practical steps to get rid of them. One of those steps was setting up a WordPress account.

The idea was to have an e-Intellectual-Dumping-Ground where I could dump all the imaginative baggage my mind churned out. I felt I needed to have a serious platform that I could commit to. The idea of having a blog where I could call mine inspired me to task my mind and squeeze out logical and coherent ideas out of it. At the time, I was really not particular about the dynamics of of WordPress blogging.

My very first post on this app was a flash fiction titled Of Costly Assumptions and Regrets published on the 11th of May 2015. Now that I think of it, it happens to be my first successful effort at creative writing. Although I had written random pieces now and then, I didn’t consider them worthy of public consumption. I recall how accomplished I felt after fine-tuning the story and publishing it. It was such a pleasure to know I could give coherent expression to my imagination.

However, ever since my first post, my progress on the platform had been fitful. I’ll put up a post today and won’t post another for weeks. Sometimes, the interval lasted for months. And sure, I had bundle of excuses for the inconsistencies. For instance, I could tell you that the demands of my job in the crazy city of Lagos made consistent critical/creative thinking/writing an uphill task. I could also tell you that my workload as a post graduate student didn’t give me the room to build my blog’s portfolio. What’s more, I could even tell you that life happened, things went south and I couldn’t care less for some inconsequential WordPress post. But the truth I won’t tell you is that I just lacked the willpower and determination to stay the course no matter the odds.

Anyway, I didn’t start taking the platform seriously until some two months ago. You heard that right – two months! As at then, I didn’t have more than 20 following to my name in all of my five-year existence on this space. Also, I didn’t know Jack about WordPress optimization. All I could do was copy and paste content to my page, use the basic editing tools and upload images.

So why did I decide to revive the blog?

✍️For one, I needed to tackle that bane of inconsistency. I tend to start a thing/project on the spur of the moment and allow it die a needles death for convenient excuses. For a start, I decided to make this a pet project which I’ll keep nurturing till it blossoms.

✍️Remember what I said about working on my creative writing skills? Yes, I had been working on that all along but still needed to improve on it, especially as it relates to writing for SEO. Since WordPress provides the basic platform to apply SEO skills, I decided to avail myself of the opportunity and use it to optimum.

✍️However, more importantly, I wanted to bless lives with my writings. I didn’t want to be selfish with my knowledge and ideas. You see, nothing gives me joy than when I see people nourished through the things I write. So I said to myself: Why not take advantage of this blog to reach a wider audience?

NEXT COURSE OF ACTION

I didn’t just pray and wish that a miracle happens to make the blog grow. Much more, I took practical steps:

🎯I went on YouTube and had a crash course on how to maximize WordPress.

🎯 I sought out those who already had a sound knowledge of the app’s dynamics and took counsel from them.

🎯Without delay, I began to practicalise the knowledge: Got myself acquainted with the backend tools, page settings, image/text/font optimization…and began to apply them on my posts.

🎯Nothing works magic like rich contents. I came to understand that the success or failure of a post is dependent on the quality of its content, regardless of the optimization. So while I ensured I put out rich contents and didn’t lower the standard of my writings while at it, I also ensured I put it out in a reader-friendly manner.

🎯People make the world/word go round. Hence, I began to consciously and consistently build my following, one individual at a time.

IN LESS THAN TWO MONTHS…

I was able to achieve, in barely two months, more than I did in over four years:

📌My post The Believer; His Health; and Commonsense, published on the 26th of May (less than two months ago) happens to be the post with the highest number of engagements in all of my four years here.

📌I have come to master virtually all the readily available tools on this app and use them to optimize my posts.

📌In my quest to connect with fellow bloggers, I’ve come to meet profound writers (who are huge sources of inspiration) among whom are Patience and Dawn. God bless their wonderful hearts.

🔥Now to the inspiration behind this post: In barely two months of unrelenting devotion to this blog, I’ve made 500 amazing WordPress followers! That’s a multiple folds of the followers I’ve made over 4 years!

THANKFUL🙏

While this may not call for celebration, especially for bloggers who have followings in their thousands (whether via organic means or not), it means a lot to me. I choose to celebrate this moment and reckon with it as a milestone. I see it as a testament of determination, doggedness and consistency. It’s a proof of the fact that a ‘short’ but steadfast period of diligence and consistent effort can turn things around. The process may be tough (and it sure is) but it’s worth the effort.

So on this occasion of my 500th WordPress Followings, I’ll like to deeply appreciate every single individual who, in their magnanimity, followed my blog. When I see 500 followers, I don’t see mere self-serving social-media statistics but 500 awesome personalities.

I thank you all for every single like, comment, reblog, share and mention. Meanwhile, I promise to always make your following worth the while; to never lower my standards and never stop writing consistently.

God bless you real good!


©ayansolaibukun