BY ESTHER OKE
“If you are not tested and persecuted, you cannot be ascertained as a true Christian.”
The Rt. Revd. Joshua Ogunele, Bishop, Diocese on the Coast reiterated this at the Holy Eucharist Service marking day 2 of the Standing Committee meeting held at the Cathedral Church of St. Faith Awka, Anambra state.
The Cleric stated that a true test of Christianity are trials, temptations and most of all persecution adding that anyone who has not been tried cannot call himself a believer. He noted that although what many Christians today call trials and persecution is self-inflicted pain, which according to him will only debar them from reaching their goal. He said many Christians today carry holy garments but their hands are filthy, they confess to know God but inside they are rotten and disobedient. He appealed to Christians to be reminded that the only mandate they have on earth is to preach the gospel of Christ to all nook and crannies of the land.
Harping on the theme of the Standing Committee meeting “WHO IS ON THE LORD’S SIDE,” the Bishop of on the coast diocese stressed that any faith not worth dying for is not worth living for. Lamenting the rate at which many Christians profess and pay lip service to God, the preacher stated that self-righteousness and the holier than thou attitude will not take them to heaven. According to him, for anyone to be on the lord’s side, they must identify with him not only by verbalization but in their actions and deeds.
Quoting copiously from the scriptures, the preacher rounded up by stating that anyone who will be on the lord’s side must be ready to carry their cross, deny themselves sacrificially and follow Christ, this is what Christianity is all about. Citing the example of Daniel and the three Hebrew youth who refused to defile themselves with the king’s food and bow down to lesser gods, a Christian must deny him/herself of worldly pleasures and follow Christ. He emphasized that God is looking for men and women, boys and girls who will be on his side and impact this generation positively. He called on all who are not sure of being on the Lord’s side to leave and join the side of Christ which according to him is the only sure way. Having given his ordeals as a purveyor of good news, his submission was that if they are on the Lord’s side, they will pass through fire and harassment of all sort, and put their feet down because fire is the test and the standard of carrying their cross cannot be changed, for if they change it, it is at their own peril.