Sometime ago, I was invited to attend a high profile Clinton Global Initiative meeting in New York City. We met to exchange ideas about solving global problems. At this meeting of the world’s most powerful people, I conversed with people like Madeleine Albright, Colin Powell, Richard Branson, Bill Gates, Warren Buffet, the mayor of London, England, former Heads of States. People like Desmond Tutu of South Africa and many other such leaders.
Everywhere I turned, there was a recognizable person. The setting was so informal that you could walk up to anyone and introduce yourself, which I did. But as I looked around, I saw very few church leaders. In fact, I can only recall seeing one other Pastor there. The Pastor of a large and well known church, in the United States.
During the entire event, I wondered why this was so. I found my answer while talking to former President Bill Clinton. I wanted to know why I had been invited, so I asked him how he heard about me and what I had done to merit being with all these bona fide leaders. He told me, “I know about you. I like what I read about you and I love what you are doing”. His answer spoke volumes to me about the state of the church.
I had been invited because he had read about our church. If our church was only solving internal church dispute and concentrating on personal growth, nobody would have cared about me. But because we have stepped into the kingdom role God has called us to, I was counted among the most powerful people in the world for at least those few days.
It was a privilege to participate in that summit, but it also broke my heart. I nearly wept at how irrelevant Christians have become. Believers by and large are so buried in their churches that they are invisible to the rest of the world. We disengage from the world and still claim to be doing kingdom work. Even worse is how we criticize people who are doing kingdom work.
People like Bill Clinton and rock star Bono, are putting kingdom principles to work, yet people condemn Bono because, he does not act like American evangelicals. They also criticize Clinton at any opportunity, because they don’t like his politics or personal behavior. Bono’s effort has resulted in billions of dollars, going towards poverty abatement programs and Clinton’s Global Initiative is addressing problems God wants solved: alleviating poverty, improving health, stopping religious and ethnic conflicts and taking proper care of the earth.
We may disagree with their means of solving these problems, but most church leaders have not even addressed these issues. They’re on the side lines, in fact they are not even in the stadium.
“Social responsibility becomes an aspect not of Christian mission only, but also of Christian conversion. It is impossible to be truly converted to God without being thereby converted to our neighbor.” – John Stott
These problems mean life or death for countless millions. They mean much more than what color the carpet in the chapel is or who will sing in the worship band. But the Christian community is largely mute on the major issues of the day.
As a result, God has passed over many believers. The people meeting to discuss issues of national and international importance are, for the most part, not Christians. Yet they carry Gods burden for the poor, the unhealthy, the prisoner, the orphan, and the downtrodden. They are doing exactly what Jesus would do. But we are like the Levite and the Priest in the story of the Good Samaritan. Both passed by the dying man. Both apparently were too cut up in their religious worlds to help. – An extract from my book “ChurchShift”
This short story, is a preamble into the topic we are going to be examining today –WHAT A PERSONALITY ARE YOU? When God created man, he did it with some great intentions in mind. Man was not supposed to be just a passerby on earth engrossed in his daily survival and vanities of life. Man was supposed to be the crown creation. Ruling and reigning on earth, in the mode of the creator Himself.
Man has been entrusted with much greatness and glory, therefore we are not meant to be just mere human beings struggling to make a living every day. Men are supposed to be the masters of taking charge of the whole earth for the king of kings. In God’s mind at creation, He sees man as the very crown of creation itself. His picture of man is that, man would reflect His image, the very essence of God Himself.
If God is love then man would manifest that love on the earth. If God is kind, man would be an epitome of that kindness. If God is forgiving, man would be forgiving. If God is loving and caring, we would see it in man. If God is understanding, man would be both compassionate and understanding.
“Alas! Much has been done of late to promote the production of dwarfish Christians. Poor, sickly believers turn the church into a hospital, rather than an army. Oh, to have a church built up with the deep godliness of people who know the Lord in their very hearts, and will seek to follow the Lamb wherever he goes!” – Charles Spurgeon
In the story that I started this article with, these powerful individuals at the Clinton Global Initiative, are all people who have paid the price to develop themselves into strong personalities. That is the main reason why they could make a difference in the world and to a large extent, be more effective in fulfilling God’s mandate than the church people themselves.
Alas, there is a problem though, men don’t automatically become what they are meant to be. They must evolve into it. That evolving too is not automatic. The process is the same as all processes of maturity.
- Every individual person must start his process of evolving with a decision. A decision to make of himself a personality, rather than just a mere man.
- After the decision, comes the work, the hard work. The hard work of observing the ultimate man which is God himself, manifested in his son Jesus Christ. As we observe him, we see the qualities of God. The perfection of God, the virtues of the divine.
- The next step is that we have to come to the realization that we don’t observe God or Christ simply to preach about him. Our learning and knowledge about divinity is for a purpose. It must be for the purpose of becoming like him. Our main work on ourselves is to actually be transformed into the image of God. For it is only when we are internally transformed in qualities and virtues that we could better carry his image.
- After engraving the nature of God into our spirit and soul, we now begin the next process which is learning to function like him. For we are made to be and act in his likeness. That is like him, we have to learn to manage the earth like he manages the universe. We learn to rule like he rules over creation. If we are made in His image, it means carrying the same inner qualities as Him, then being in His likeness would mean to act like Him.
These are some of the basic steps, in the process of a man converting himself from an ordinary mortal, into a personality, that could make a difference in his or her world.
“We are continuing God’s work of forming, filling, and subduing. Whenever we bring order out of chaos, whenever we draw out creative potential, whenever we elaborate and “unfold” creation beyond where it was when we found it, we are following God’s pattern of creative cultural development.” ― Timothy Keller
As we move forward, I would like to give you my understating of who a personality is. What differentiates a personality from an ordinary man? I would agree that my use of the word personality might be in contrast to how the word is popularly used today. For the purpose of a better understanding for my readers- so as to be on the same page, let me share with you my understanding of the word A PERSONALITY.
A personality – This is a person who has abandoned the mundane lifestyle of mere mortals. Someone who has gone beyond the concerns for his daily bread and personal survival. Someone who now lives for something of a higher cause. Someone that wants to make a difference in his world, environment and generation.
Furthermore, we can describe a personality as a person or an individual, who has successfully formed in himself qualities that now make him to be looked upon as a deliverer of some sort.
More so, my use of the word personality, is an attempt to put into use a modern vocabulary to describe an old truth. The truth I am seeking to describe through the word personality is as old as the planet itself. Its root could be traced to the heart of God.
For it is clear that God does not just want man to be a vegetable, that simply exists today and disappears tomorrow. His plans are more grandeur than that. They involve the man managing the earth for him. So, for anyone of us to fully fulfill the destiny for which we have been created, we really don’t have a choice than to become a personality.
“Jesus did not die on the cross just so we could live comfortable, well-adjusted lives. His purpose is far deeper: He wants to make us like himself before he takes us to heaven. This is our greatest privilege, our immediate responsibility, and our ultimate destiny.” – Rick Warren
It is simple, we simply have to line up our lives with God’s understanding about us. We have to comply with His expectations. If He sees us as rulers upon the earth, why not? Let’s go for it. You know ruling upon the earth in God’s mind is not about bullying other human beings, no! In Genesis 1: 26, when He asked man to rule and manage the earth, He did not include ruling over other men in the list that was given. We are made to all rule over the creation, but not over each other.
Unfortunately however, since some men are too lazy to mature themselves from men to personalities, they have to be managed until they grow to maturity. This is where the role of leadership comes in. A true leader, would not take joy simply in the fact that he rules or dominates other people. His joy and excitement would be that he helps other mortals, to come to a full realization and fulfillment of who they are meant to be.
In the meanwhile, we all have the assignment and challenge to become personalities according to God. At this junction, I feel it might help to give you a glimpse of how God originally intends for man to look at himself. Psalms 8:4-8
“What is man that you are mindful of him, and the son of man that you visit him? For you have made him a little lower than the angels, and you have crowned him with glory and honor.You have made him to have dominion over the works of your hands; you have put all things under his feet, all sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.”
Reading through this passage of the scriptures, I am afraid some men have fallen so low that they don’t even believe these things any longer. Friends, we are all so far from God’s ideals about us. Whereas, what a glowing, beautiful picture of perfection and dominion, the Almighty has about us. Let’s take a closer look at how God ideally sees man from the above scripture.
WHAT IS MAN THAT YOU ARE MINDFUL OF HIM?
Creation and maybe angels, had to ask this question. Because it is alarming that God in all His majesty, would have time to be mindful of man. By the way, why go so far? I guess some men are asking the same question. I believe so many people in our world today won’t believe this, that God is personally interested in them.
Hello my dear reader, are you really aware and assured of the fact that God is personally mindful of you? So God is mindful of what you become. God is mindful if you are a success or if you remain just an ordinary mortal. God is mindful of your growth. God is mindful of your development. God is mindful of your choices.
Do you think God is as mindful of you as that? Are you sure you truly believe it? Are you as important to God? Do you think He is mindful of your calling? Does He really care if you are working in destiny or in vanity? Does it concern Him if you come to the fullness of your capacity or not?
Look, friends, anyone who is as sure of God’s interest in him personally, would definitely work day and night to become a personality that Gods would be proud of.
“When we seek His word above all others, His encouragement before all others, His truth instead of all others, then we will be pleasing to Him more than all others.” – Woodrow Kroll
WHAT IS MAN THAT THOU VISITS HIM?
Indeed, God’s honor for man is absolutely incomprehensible. We don’t even honor fellow men like that. What a God we serve! Can you imagine your president honoring you as much as to come and visit you at home? Some of your bosses would not come and visit you at home and in some cases some of your Pastors would not either. But here comes God, so mindful of you and me that He actually takes His time, to come pay us a visit on daily basis.
Friends, do you realize you are as important? You are so important that God has made a provision to visit you in diverse ways on regular basis. Did you ever take notice of Him coming to see you? Oh yes, He comes to see you regularly. Unfortunately, we are all often too busy to even take a notice of Him. But thank God, there is such a time as when we cannot be busy. As in when we are sleeping, for that is the only time most people ever notice that God comes visiting them in their dreams and visions.
In actual fact though, God is trying to visit us twenty four hours daily. Those who are mindful of God, those who care for Him, those who tremble at His presence would tell you, it is real to see God, hear God and fellowship with God on daily basis. God seeks to visit us daily, in our devotions, in our daily activities and engagements, in our life situations and circumstances, in our studies, in our growth process, etc.
Friends, God is not bluffing. He is indeed mindful of us. Do you think He is doing it just for fun? Not really, He has a goal. For God is not chaotic in anyway. He does everything with an intention. And the bottom line of His thinking is to help us become all we are meant to become – A personality that can make a difference in his or her world. A personality that would emulate God in all things. A personality that would carry God’s image. A personality that would act like Him. A personality that would rule and manage the earth for the king. A personality that would bring heaven down and cause the principles of the kingdom of God to be revealed on the earth.
THOU HAS MADE HIM A LITTLE LOWER THAN THE ANGELS.
To us men, angels are a big deal.Are they really? According to that scripture we read, we might not be extremely far from them. It says we are only a little lower than the angels. In some other translations, that actually translates to being equal to angels. Yet in some other Bible interpretations, it says angels are lower than men, as the case may be. Can you begin to compare in your mind the respect and honor you have for angels, to that which you have for yourself or some other men?
I don’t think we nearly respect ourselves as much as we respect the angels. Sometimes, our low self-esteem, is such that we don’t even attempt to think we deserve any form of recognition, honor or authority. But God does. This is what makes the difference between personalities and ordinary men.
“Today’s church wants to be raptured from responsibility.” – Leonard Ravenhill
Personalities know who they are! They know who God has made them to be. They believe in God’s words concerning them, some despite the fact they are unbelievers. Most of all, they believe in themselves. They believe in their dignity and in their roles as the crown of creation.
Friends, if you indeed believe that you are of the class of angels, I am not sure you will still be afraid of taking charge of your sphere of influence. You cannot believe these words and be intimidated by anything on the earth. You can only believe that everything is possible for you. And that means you would go for it.
THOU HAST CROWNED HIM WITH GLORY AND HONOR.
What an amazing exposition. Come to think of it, the God of the universe, creator of heaven and earth, decided not just to honor you, but to enthrone you as well as the kings and rulers upon the earth. In the midst of it all, to prove that your kingship is not simply ceremonial, He sealed your authority with His crown. This crown is two faceted, on one hand, it is a crown of Glory, and on the other hand it is a crown of Honor.
Glory is defined as magnificence or great beauty, worship, adoration and praise, radiant beauty or splendor, heavenly, the bliss of heaven. A state of great gratification or exaltation.
While honor is a source of credit or distinction: high respect, as for worth, merit, or rank: high public esteem; fame; glory: to hold in honor or high respect; to revere.
Friends, come to think of it, all these descriptions are talking about YOU! Now, Here comes the challenge, how much do you believe in them? If we could make you to believe who you are in God, there is nothing you cannot be. You will easily rule and reign on the earth. You have already been made so. You don’t need to pray it through, you don’t need to fast it through, and you don’t have to confess it through. It’s already made for you in heaven. Prepared for you. All that is needed is for you to believe and act it out.
“The most important thought that ever occupied my mind is that of my individual responsibility to God.” – Daniel Webster
People who believe this truth about themselves, are the personalities that are managing and ruling our world today. It doesn’t matter if they are Christians or not.
THOU MADE MAN TO HAVE AUTHORITY OVER THE WORKS OF YOUR HANDS
God is always having a grand plan, magnificent ideas. His ideas are always striking, they are monumental in status, they are majestic in comprehension and glorious beyond finding out. For God to have given man dominion over all the works of His hands, that should tell us something. We need to respond to His gesture. If He is making me to be responsible for all the works of His hands, then as a person and a personality, I have the responsibility before God to exploit the whole earth for Him.
I must explore the air for His glory. The sea must be subdued by me to please the master. The land and lands must be cultivated for His pleasure. Underneath the earth must be exploited for his marvelous discoveries. Animals, birds, must all be channeled and managed to please the creator.
“All moral obligation resolves itself into the obligation of conformity to the will of God.” – Charles Hodge
Because of this, my understanding of the scripture and the mind of God, I am always taken aback and embarrassed by the kind of prayers, I hear Christians pray. I am always ashamed when I hear what churches and church leaders discuss among themselves. We are often too preoccupied by the mundane things of life such as church buildings, budgets, tithes and offerings, praise and worship teams, quality of music, singers, drummers, preaching, etc.
At a time when God is thinking in the scope of managing the whole earth and all its resources. We are supposed to be exploring ideas on how to make the whole earth function to reveal His majesty. The sea, the land, the air, the birds, the animals, the sky, the stars, the moon, the galaxies, the space, the cosmos, those are the things we should be thinking about exploring. That is where our interest should be as the representatives of God on earth. We should be deliberating. How can we bring all these things to come to honor and adore God?
“God has given believers the responsibility of spreading the Gospel to all the world, and we need to use all at our disposal to accomplish this task.” – Theodore Epp
Our preoccupation should be, how all creation could submit their glory to His feet. If we say we are people of God, His church, His command center, His headquarters, then these things must interest us. Did you hear what He said? “God made man to have dominion over all the works of His hands” that is why all of creation must interest us. The exploration and the exploitation of them to reveal His glory must be our priority. That is what personalities do.
But when we are merely mortal men, we pre-occupy ourselves with selfish, egocentric interests of our immediate realities. May God open our eyes, may God make us personalities after His own heart.
THOU HAS PUT ALL THINGS UNDER HIS FEET.
God has put everything under the feet of man. Whenever the Bible talks about feet, especially in the Old Testament, it refers to authority, possession and ownership. When Naomi advised Ruth to lie at the feet of Boaz, it was a symbolic act, telling Boaz that he now has the ownership of Ruth. If God is saying He has put all things under our feet, look, we shouldn’t be asking for permission any longer to take nations back for God. We should not be struggling to reclaim our cities, because they are already given to us. We should move into reclaiming every sphere of life because they are already under our feet.
Sometimes Christians behave as if we needed to fight, do warfare, pray and struggle often without success. To be able to do this things, we only have to believe God and go acting on our faith. That is what leads to personality formation.
Everything is put under your feet brethren. Remember the story when Moses saw the burning bush? He was instructed to remove his shoes from his feet because the land he stood on was a holy ground.
As a Jewish man, Moses knew the implication of that lesson. It was a way of letting him know that the owner of the earth, the land owner was standing right before him, so he had to submit or give up on his own rights to ownership. That is what should happen when we arrive in territories, cities, countries, spheres of life. We are the true authority, under whose feet the earth has been given.
The all temporary owners, that are occupying cities, nations and spheres of influence, must vacate their ownership rights. All tenants must give way to the landlords. This they must do with honor. Remember that what Moses was instructed to do was to remove his shoes because shoes in ancient Israel stood for a sign of ownership. Only slave owners wore shoes. And only land owners walk in sandals and shoes upon the land. So when a higher authority came, Moses had to remove his shoes to honor the real owner. That is why in Israel, when you go visit other people’s houses, you have to remove your shoes at the door before you enter, thereby recognizing the authority of the house you are in, you are not the owner there, so you have to remove your shoes. That is what should happen wherever we go to on earth, people should remove their shoes. Because we come with faith, confidence and with the knowledge of who we are in God. We are personalities.
When Jesus attempted to wash the feet of His disciples, they refused to let Him, because normally it is the slaves that wash the feet of the master. Because slaves didn’t wear shoes themselves. They were owned, they were possessed. So by symbolically washing the feet of the disciples, the master himself was releasing them to go possess the earth for him. So we don’t have any option my friends, we must go to the end of the earth, reclaiming and possessing the whole earth for God.
“All sheep and oxen—even the beasts of the field, the birds of the air, and the fish of the sea that pass through the paths of the seas.” Psalms 8: 7- 8
So brethren, are you a personality after Gods’ heart? Is your life right now in conjunction with how God intended it to be? Are you taking charge of the earth? Are you acting as the crown of salvation? Do you bother yourself about returning the glory of the earth back to the master? Are you paying the price to become a personality? Do you have a global vision? How far would you go to make sure God’s dream concerning you comes to pass?
FOR THE LOVE OF GOD, CHURCH AND NATION
By Pastor Sunday Adelaja