Friday, 22 April 2022
“But while they were on their way to buy the oil, the bridegroom arrived. The virgins who were ready went in with him to the wedding banquet. And the door was shut.” – Matthew 25:10 NIV
One of the customs that have always fascinated me is the whole process of paying lobola. You have a suitor that has chosen a potential spouse/partner. He then sends his delegation made up of people he trusts, most often his uncles and aunts, to go and represent him. These people have to carry out the will of the suitor, whether they like the chosen girl or not. Their mandate is to execute his will and not theirs. Once in a while there is this one troublesome uncle that spoils the festivities. He comes with his own agenda and in the process spoils the process for everyone. An event that was meant to unite two different families now turns sour because of someone who didn’t want to surrender their own will and advance the will of the one who sent him.
Christianity is almost similar to the lobola negotiations in that we ought to surrender our will and take up the will of the Father who has called us into His service. You have the suitor (GOD) who has chosen a bride (the nations) for Himself and has deligated his agenda/will to His delegation (Christians). Our mandate as His delegation is to represent Him to the world, and to effectively do so we have to surrender our own will and prioritize His. It’s not about how we feel about the assignment, but it’s all about obedience to His instruction. The minute we try to impose our own will, everything backfires and what was meant to be a divine assignment turns out to be sour as our own will contradicts that of the Father.
In the above parable, all the virgins were given a mandate to be ready for the coming of the groom. The five wise virgins prioritized the will of their master and hence prepared in advance for his coming. The five foolish virgins were preoccupied with their own will and in the process missed their calling. They had not surrendered their will and as a result, missed their moment of encounter. Christ also had His own will which was self-preservation. Yet, when the moment came he decided to surrender His own desires and submitted Himself to the mandate of His Father. In our walk with GOD, self-preservation will always be a challenge. The flesh will want to pursue things that will gratify it, at the expense of the desires of the Spirit.
Prayer is a tool that helps us to overcome the weaknesses of the flesh. This is why Christ kept on going back to pray as He knew that self-preservation wanted to creep in, and He couldn’t overcome it with His own will. Prayer gave Him the courage to face the danger that was before Him. So the aim isn’t to avoid the weaknesses of the flesh, but the aim is to be found strong in prayer when it tries to creep in. It’s not the temptation that’s the problem, it’s what you do when it has befallen you. Paul, in 2 Corinthians 12:9 didn’t initially understand that the thorn isn’t the problem, the secret is in realizing that when it’s busy tormenting you, that it’s in your physical weakness that God’s power is availed. This is the point of contention, what you chose to do while you are physically weak (because weakness always tries to take you away from obeying God’s will). This is why at His weakest Christ drew closer and closer to His Father in prayer. This is when grace was supernaturally availed because He surrendered His own will, and had taken up that of the Father. “Therefore I will boast all the more gladly about my weaknesses, so that Christ’s power may rest on me” 2 Corinthians 12: 9b.
Prayer is a tool that helps us to overcome the weaknesses of the flesh