FINDING GOD OUTSIDE THE CHURCH


"If in this life only we have hope in Christ, we are of all men the most pitiable." 1 Corinthians 15:19


Personal Thoughts: Trying to be at peace with myself
Welcome to March! A few weeks ago, we welcomed the new year, and soon we would be saying goodbye to the first quarter. What have you guys been up to send me an email, I have a contact form below my blog, and you can reach me through that, I'm interested in your stories. 

The older I get, with each passing day, I realize how much growth has occurred in my life, morphing strongly in different ways. I see it in the career path, I chart for myself, in how I deal with conflict, daily interaction with personal relationships, and most importantly, my faith. I have watched as little habits in these areas have cemented a strong sense of self. 
My blog has served as ca·thar·sis /kəˈTHärsəs/ for my faith journey, and if you've followed me long enough, you can attest that my opinion has evolved. In 2019, I began a journey to find God for myself outside the firm foundation my parents built, which was rooted in the church. I needed a conviction about the faith I professed and claimed to love, to enable me to speak on it or preach about it with stronger conviction. 

A lot of individuals, become Christians because that is the religion they were born into, and have remained so because their faith may not have been tested to the point where they question the biblical principles that have blanketed their belief. I didn't want to be part of the statistics- people who could not defend the knowledge of God when asked challenging questions; also, after going through so much struggle last year, I had my crux to settle with God.
With that premise, I stepped away from active church participation, for 6-months, only attending services intermittently. To remain in constant communion with God, I maintained my daily devotion, and bible study, kept my godly friends close. After these few months away from the church, I have come to an early conclusion, that there is opium in Christianity/ Faith/ Religion, and I cannot scorn people who actively seek in grandeur means to appease that need. Also, that Christianity in Nigeria has a flavor seething in the praise and worship, that keeps faith alive. 

In my finding God journey this year, I have asked questions during personal devotions, read in-between the lines of my bible to concede my belief in God, without reservations. I currently live in a morally conscious society, over here people are naturally inclined to do the right thing but have a faint belief in God, and would question religion being a farce. They would ask questions such as why does evil happen in the world, why do we have natural disasters, if God exists why are there still poor people, why do the righteous suffer? As a Nigerian, my question comes from a different place of raging anger; the economy, politicians, religious conflict, and Boko Haram. When that anger rises, I  no longer see God for what he is or has been to me. 

There is something that tells me after my anger is seethed,  that if he is to interfere in one thing, He will have to interfere in all things, to maintain a balance. 
The strong faith and conviction Christians often speak of is rooted firmly in the exploits of the people in the bible, which is a valid experience; however, has that God been faithful to people who look like me, with a different or similar battle than what the Israelites fought? The answer to this question is multi-layered, but Ecclesiastes 8:14 mentions that- "There is something else meaningless that occurs on earth: the righteous who get what the wicked deserve, and the wicked who get what the righteous deserve. This too, I say, is meaningless."

In my faith journey, the past few months - I've found that life continues to remain a mystery. The one thing I won't deny while I continue my faith journey is the existence of God. As someone who has been on the receiving end of his mercy, faith, and kindness- God exists. 
In my opinion, He hopes that humans can judge themselves and act out fairly, despite our sexuality, individuality, crux with people who identify as Christians, living adjacent lives, or the dystopia happening in the contemporary world. "...Now all has been heard; here is the conclusion of the matter: Fear God and keep his commandments, for this is the duty of all mankind." Ecclesiastes 12:13
Finally, "He will judge everyone according to what they have done." Romans 2:6 I am still on this journey to finding God and would have another write-up soon, but I felt inspired to write today's post. My journey has also let me appreciate the challenges facing contemporary Christians, without judging them from a place of privilege. I say privilege because my upbringing afforded me the leverage of witnessing God's Grace and miracles.
Tips For Being Disciplined While Finding God 

Keep Christian Friends: The instinct for me, when I began my faith journey was to rebel. I didn't want to pray, see any Christian post, or be in Christian gathering. However, I have godly friends who share their church experiences through their social media page and instinctively- I remember why I began my journey. 

Get A Bible App: I use the YouVersion Bible app that has devotions publicly available, with the Bible translated in different versions- also, you get a streak, for every day, you read the bible.

Praise and Worship: Something Nigeria does well is producing great gospel music- After listening to some scintillating music, you will be convinced as I am that there is a supernatural power that gives that sort of inspiration. https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iwqBL9MiZ8Y&t=298s

As a Nigerian Christian whose culture restrains us from asking the difficult question we do not understand, I hope my post can allow people to think deeper and strike uncomfortable conversations. 

Leave your comments below, I read them and will get back to you.





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Comments

  1. I love this post for the sincerity and openness. As a Nigerian, i am constantly in see-saw mode with my faith. Some days i am filled with it and other days like an agbero, i wanna square up with God and yell and scream at the ugly curve balls life throws our way. One of the recurring questions i have is why God allows extreme suffering and pain, that hope seems almost laughable; like what is the point i wonder. Even then, i cannot deny the far reaching hand of Grace. I hope you keep exploring your faith! <3

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    1. Hello Kings, you couldn't have put this any better, so apt. Thank you for taking time to comment, in the end it boils down to how much each of us has experienced God's grace, to affirm his existence.

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  2. Thanks for this Grace, for me God truly exists !

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    Replies
    1. Your response is encouraging. Yes, God exists.

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