As the engine of Nigeria’s 50th independence celebration was heating up, I began to ponder on this thing called ‘independence’; and was asking how better off the people have been since October 1, 1960. Then, it occurred to me that even though we had gained independence from our colonial masters, we are in a greater mess than when we were under them.
Not that to remain under colonial rule is something to desire, but the reality speaks for itself: we are now one of the most corrupt, lawless, and morally decadent nations in the world. Some have even said that we are a failed State! Citizens provide everything for themselves, from water supply to electricity, using wells and electricity generating sets, respectively. To all intents and purposes, there is no government for the people, only a government for the ruling Party members. The Police act as investigator, prosecutor, judge and executioner; Customs Officers look the other way as contra band goods, guns and ammunitions are brought in through the border, but they will scrutinize even the soap you used when you travelled to Ghana. Parents pay people to sit examinations for their children; teachers demand payments from students before class assignments are given to them, and payments to obtain good grades in exams; women sleep with government officials and politicians for monies which their hardworking counterparts can never have even if they worked for the rest of their lives; Bankers use depositors monies to enrich themselves, and are walking free, while Depositors are forced to fend for themselves; politicians under criminal investigation including murder, win elections while in prison; Judges connive with politicians to free the guilty and punish the innocent; the ‘rule of law’ is a phrase that applies only to the common man, but not to the wealthy and powerful; thieves govern, whereas the hardworking man can barely survive on his legitimate income; there are no elections, only selections. What a calamity this thing called independence has produced! But when we wanted the colonial masters out, it was because we wanted to be free from their oppression. Now Nigerians are under oppression from fellow Nigerians. They are anything but free!
But we have not come to talk politics, but to declare to you the good news: the message of the kingdom of God! And this is the message: God says we are where we are as a nation, because we have sought to be independent of Him. He wants to give us true freedom from those who oppress us, but only if we depend on Him and seek Him totally.
There is a difference between ‘independence’ and ‘freedom’. While independence is a state of not being dependent on or accountable to anyone or anything; freedom is being made free from oppression, bondage, and captivity, through being accountable to God. Many people erroneously confuse the two, thinking that both mean the same thing. The truth is that no individual, group, or nation can truly be independent, because we all need one another to function optimally in God’s Universe. Independence is therefore a misleading term. God did not create a world in which the things created can be independent of one another, neither should they be independent of the Him, the Creator.
There is a joke I heard recently of a scientist who challenged God to a contest. He told God that he had reached a stage in his scientific work where he could make a human being. So, God said, “Okay, go ahead and make man.” The scientist promptly went about gathering dust. No sooner had he started gathering dust, when God said to him, “Not so fast, go and get your own dust!”
Imagine a man who seeks to be independent: he must produce absolutely everything that he would use, from things that he himself must create. This is impossible! To be independent from God is therefore an unwise desire. Equally unwise, is to seek to be free from God. The only desirable freedom that man should seek is freedom from sin and those things that dominate and seek to separate him from God.
The Western world has propounded theories that encourage man to be independent of God. The result has been the erosion of moral standards in the lives of their citizens. Some of the theories include ‘the Big Bang Theory’, which states that the earth is one of the pieces resulting from a Big Bang in the Cosmos which occurred millions of years ago. Closely related to this is ‘the Evolution Theory’, which states that man evolved over millions of years from microscopic organisms called, planktons. The theory (and that is just what it is — a theory) is that planktons evolved into smaller insects, which then evolved into marine life (like fish); which evolved into some other mammals; from which the apes came; and finally, man evolved from the ape! What a convoluted theory! That is what you get from wanting to be independent of Almighty God, the Creator.
The truth is that in the beginning God made the heavens and the earth. He made the sun, the moon, the stars (the planets), the oceans, the seas, and the rivers. He also made vegetation, fishes, birds, animals, and man. God made everything. This is the truth. Why else don’t we have insects, marine life, and mammals, in various stages of evolution, such that some dogs would evolve into tigers or lions; monkeys evolve into apes; and apes evolve into human beings? No. But since man has been on earth, there has not been a shred of evidence or proof whatsoever that any created thing came into existence through evolution. This is the kind of mumbo jumbo you get when man rebels against his Creator.
A young man in the United States of America was sentenced to life imprisonment for killing some 13 boys and men. The man would lure his victims into his apartment, kill them, and in some cases, eat their flesh. He later said in an interview that once he had killed his victim, he had control over their bodies and could do whatever he wanted with them, including having sexual intercourse with the corpse, as well as cannibalize them. The most profound part of his interview was when he confessed that he was taught in school that he was not accountable to anyone, and so, he did whatever he wanted, which culminated in a life of serial murders, necrophilia, and cannibalism! He went on to say that after his arrest, his father gave him a copy of the bible and as he read it, he came to realize that man is accountable to God. He realized that he would have to give God an account of how he lived here on earth after he dies. He went on to tell the interviewer that he had sought and had received forgiveness for his sins. He said that he had made his peace with God and was not afraid to die.
When you choose to be independent of God, through believing man-made theories, ungodly teachings, and so on; you will inadvertently find yourself in bondage to that theory, teaching, or way of life. The good news though, is that God has promised you freedom from all kinds of oppressive and wicked theories, teachings, and mind-set, if you will be willing to turn away from them and come to Him. Just as the man who once practiced necrophilia and cannibalism found peace with God; you too can find peace with God and true freedom when you turn to Him and walk away from the things that seek to make you independent from God. The freedom that God gives, frees you from the oppression of men and their ideologies, whereas, a declaration of independence is usually an exchange of one oppressive regime for another. We have the benefit for example, of the history of African nations to support this fact.
Dear friends, have you been seeking to be independent from God? Have you exchanged one regime of oppression for another in your search for independence? Are you equating independence from God with freedom? Do you think that being unaccountable to God means that you will not have to give an account of your life to Him? Think again!
Repent and turn to God so that He can give you true freedom — freedom to enjoy everything He has made for your benefit. Not the ‘freedom’ promised by politicians which never materializes year in, year out; neither ‘freedom’ promised by some pastors who claim to give you ‘financial freedom’, to which they themselves are in bondage; nor the ‘freedom’ promised by the secret societies, which demand the blood of family, friends, and all; and yet keep their adherents perpetually enslaved to a wicked master and a death without hope.
Friend, from the day you turn to God and depend on Him for all your needs and sustenance; from that day on, your real freedom begins. This freedom will continue even after you have departed this world, on to eternity with God.
God’s message to you today is simple: Do not strive to be independent of your Maker by living your life apart from Him. Rather, repent and come to Him as you are. He will forgive your sins, cleanse, and give you the free gift of salvation; which is eternal life through Jesus Christ, His Son. And when the time comes for you to give an account of your life, you will do so with joy. This, dear friend, is real freedom!
Another installment from the book, “Journeys into Salvation: Finding your way in life” (http://a.co/fCKE8bX)