Most of those living in this world, are under irresistible bondage. Everything comes to be, without being caused by the person concerned. For instance, circumstances, forcing humans to look for employment or else starve to death, are considered normal.
Tradition is given respect, ahead of a person’s own condition of reasoning. Detrimental choices, in life, are adopted without considering their value, or lack of it.
All this comes from the person’s inability to know his/her identity. Born in this world of sin, the person assumes that what is perceived in the environment is ideal.
However, having been created in God’s image, that person is naturally capable of controlling the environment, rather than being controlled by the environment. The person gets defeated by the desires of the sinful flesh.
When they came to the crowd, a man approached Jesus and knelt before him. “Lord, have mercy on my son,” he said. “He has seizures and is suffering greatly. He often falls into the fire or into the water. I brought to your disciples, but they could not heal him.”
“Oh! unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you? Bring the boy here to me.” Jesus rebuked the demon, and it came out of the boy, and he was healed from that moment.
Then the disciples came to Jesus in private and asked, “Why couldn’t we drive it out?” He replied, “Because you have so little faith. I tell you the truth, if you have faith as small as a mustard seed, you can say to this mountain, ‘Move from here to there,’ and it will move. Nothing will be impossible for you.” (Matthew 17:14-20 NIV).
Apparently, Jesus was lamenting over what He viewed as an unbelieving and perverse generation. Rightfully so, because, humans, having been created in God’s image, cannot be defeated by anything, especially what would be in the physical universe.
We have to dig deeper, to find out what it is that causes failure in humanity. When advising his disciples, Jesus said this was a result of a lack of faith.
What is faith, and how can it be acquired? Before attaching religion to the meaning of faith, let us consider the realities in our modern civilization.
There was a time when fast jets, now being used as a normal mode of transport, were non-existent. It took the apparently genius characters to invent such innovations, managing to ease transport problems for humanity.
This includes the currently highly workable innovations in information technology. Such innovations were not necessarily carried out by the Bible-believing people.
“Now faith is being sure of what we hope for and certain of what we do not see. This is what the ancients were commended for. By faith, we understand that the universe was formed at God’s command so that what is seen was not made out of what was visible” (Hebrews 11:1-3 NIV).
Technological advancement shows that humanity has got no limitations. Hence, Jesus was lamenting over a faithless generation. Nothing is impossible with humanity, as long as having faith, according to Jesus. The utterance “It is impossible” comes from lacking faith.
Humanity is defeated at the point of assuming being something else, other than what was created in God’s image. Whoever starts a project, allows doubt to block him, even when convinced of its workability. Such doubt would be brought by those in his surroundings.
While doubt is an enemy of faith, it is always a result of invalidation coming from those in one’s surroundings. “Who do you think you are?” is often the most devastating question, demoralizing those with the best intentions. Unaware of his origin, any person gets occupied with other people’s viewpoints, rather than his own.
That person allows falsehood to penetrate his mind. The truth is that the same person was created in God’s image, and therefore, answerable to God, only. However, the falsehood is that he has got to listen to other opinions rather than what was accorded him, by God.
He assumes it necessary to agree with what other people say; even if suicidal. Consider a young man who voluntarily joins the military service, finding himself assigned to kill other people. He willingly commits such repugnant activities, as required by his ‘superiors.’
As far as that young man is concerned, he would be doing the right thing, as following orders from above. But where would be his common sense, for him to know what is right from wrong? At the point of fighting for liberation, it is assumed, the participants sought justice.
But what could have then later caused them to adopt the oppressive instinct? Clearly, this reveals that even though fighting for emancipation, the combatants admired the behaviour of the oppressors. Hence, on attaining power, they perpetuate the idea of oppressing their countrymen.
Their behaviour alone reveals that they would have not fought for liberation, out of their own initiative. Some of them would have been common criminals fighting along with genuine combatants.
This would be a result of not recognizing one’s own identity. When appreciating being a product of what was created in God’s image, it is impossible to succumb to being manipulated by others.
The Church of God was founded upon the idea of appreciating that Jesus was the Son of God. This was the foundational truth, pointing to the origin of humanity. Falsehood is in assuming not being God’s child. This is what envelopes the entire humanity. Only God’s revelation enlightens those who believe in Jesus.
When Jesus came to the region of Caesarea Philippi, he asked his disciples, “Who do people say the Son of Man is?” They replied, “Some say John the Baptist; others say Elijah; and still others, Jeremiah or one of the Prophets.” “But what about you?” he asked. “Who do you say I am?” Simon Peter answered, “You are the Christ, the Son of the living God.” Jesus replied,
“Blessed are you, Simon son of Jonah, for this was not revealed to you by man, but by my Father in heaven. And I tell you that you are Peter, and on this rock, I will build my church, and the gates of Hades will not overcome it. I will give you the keys of the kingdom of heaven; whatever you bind on earth will be bound in heaven, and whatever you loose on earth will be loosed in heaven.” Then he warned his disciples not to tell anyone that he was Christ. (Matthew 16:13-20 NIV).
This is the only Scripture, highlighting the foundation of the Church, established by Jesus. It is based on knowing Jesus as Christ, Son of the living God. But this does not end at knowing Jesus as the Christ, only. The church is established on those to whom Jesus said:
“And do not call anyone on earth ‘father’ for you have one Father, and he is in Heaven”(Matthew 23:9 NIV).
When a person appreciates being the son of God, he ceases to behave like those of this world. This comprises those referred to by Jesus, as having faith. They would not be defeated or found succumbing to anything of this world. Such people have the capability of moving mountains, as long as such actions are aligned to God’s will.
A person who becomes aware of being God’s child is not intimidated by anything of this world. That person is not gripped in fear, anymore. He does not doubt doing what he considers to be the right thing to do.
But where can such people be found? Jesus had every right to be frustrated when stating: “Oh! unbelieving and perverse generation,” Jesus replied, “How long shall I stay with you? How long shall I put up with you?” (Matthew 17:17 NIV).
Those people did not believe the significance of Jesus Christ, as prophesied to bring freedom to humanity. The captivity of humanity rests on believing falsehood, rather than believing the truth, coming from the source.
As long as believing the falsehood of not being God’s child, one is captured in doubt, leading to fear. There is nothing positive that comes from people whose doubtfulness causes the fear that grips them.
“There is no fear in love. But perfect love drives out fear because fear has to do with punishment. The one who fears is not made perfect in love. We love because he first loved us. If anyone says, ‘I love God,’ yet hates his brother, he is a liar. For anyone who does not love his brother, whom he has seen, cannot love God, whom he has not seen. And he has given us this command: Whoever loves God must also love his brother (1 John 4:18-21 NIV).
God cannot be fearful of anything. Similarly, those whom He calls His children cannot fear anything. Such people are not intimidated by anything, or by anyone. Their faith lies in the belief that they were created in God’s image.
Each time they face challenges, they ask themselves, “How could God have handled this? Jesus, the torch-bearer, enlightened the way, already. The only way through what is feared is fearlessly going through it. Cowardice is included among the reasons for which some people would be purged, on judgment day.
“He who overcomes will inherit all this, and I will be his God and he will be my son. But the cowardly, the unbelieving, the vile, the murderers, the sexually immoral, those who practice magic arts, the idolaters and all liars—their place will be in the fiery lake of burning sulfur. This is the second death.”(Revelations 21:7-8 NIV).
A human being is his own jailor, as long as failing to appreciate being God’s child. This implies that the person would be failing to appreciate being capable of achieving anything, according to his postulates.
The ears of some people are ever willing to capture falsehoods, but unwilling to entertain truthful information. Others zealously desire to obey what is written in the Bible.
Although zealous, the only Scripture that they are not willing to confront is the one about being created in God’s image. There is no reason to blame anyone or anything when appreciating having been created in God’s image.
The faithful ones can be relied upon to cause things to move in the right direction. Two forces that will forever be dichotomously pulling or pushing against each other, are falsehood and truth.
All falsehoods lead to destruction, whereas, all truths lead to abundant living. It is cowardice that causes people to pursue non-survival missions. They take instructions from those assumed to know better when the opposite would be true.
As long as the mental faculty of any individual is operating normally, it is impossible to succumb to anything destructive. Faith is a result of being sure of having been created in God’s image.
With that assurance, a person takes instructions from the one who created him in God’s image. This refers to those appreciating that if God cannot be defeated by anything, they also cannot be defeated by anything.
It is better to die, doing what the person considers to be the right thing to do than to succumb. Before Jesus came, there may have been some good reason to fear death. But now that Jesus came, there is no reason to fear death, anymore.
The purpose of Jesus was to display that death should not be feared anymore. The proof of His resurrection should empower believers to appreciate that the grave carries no significance, anymore.
When the perishable has been clothed with the imperishable, and the mortal with immortality, then the saying that is written will come true: “Death has been swallowed up in victory.” “Where, O death is your victory?” Where O death, is your sting?” The sting of death is sin, and the power of sin is the law. But thanks be to God! He gives us victory through our Lord Jesus Christ. Therefore, my dear brothers, stand firm. Let nothing move you. Always give yourselves fully to the work of the Lord, because you know that your labour in the Lord is not in vain (1 Corinthians 15:54-58 NIV).
The idea of choosing to live a godless life appeals to the cowards. Unfortunately, at times, cowards carry the capacity to lure those having been committed to doing the right things, to also succumb.
Falsehood appeals to the cowards, as it gives temporary comfort. Those cowards are good at ridiculing those committed to enduring suffering when pursuing noble ideas, aiming at changing the environment for the better.
Doing the right thing does not appeal to the cowards. But in their cowardice, such cowards also invalidate those attempting to do what the cowards, themselves, would be scared of doing.
When Eliab, David’s oldest brother, heard him speaking with the men, he burned with anger at him and asked, “Why have you come down here? And with whom did you leave those few sheep in the wilderness? I know how conceited you are and how wicked your heart is; you came down only to watch the battle.”(1 Samuel 17:28 NIV).
Rather than encourage, the cowards prefer ridiculing those committed to advancing goodness. Rather than confront, their cowardice, such cowards take comfort in the prevailing wickedness in the environment. Without such cowards, the world would, indeed, be better.
Andrew Masuku is the author of Dimensions of a New Civilization, laying down standards for uplifting Zimbabwe from the current state of economic depression into a model for other nations worldwide. A decaying tree provides an opportunity for a blossoming sprout. Written from a Christian perspective, the book is a product of inspiration, bringing relief to those having witnessed the strings of unworkable solutions––leading to the current economic and social decay. In a simple conversational tone, most Zimbabweans should find the book as a long-awaited providential oasis of hope.
The Print copy is now available at Amazon.com for $13.99