by Dr. Henderson Ward
The world has a way of making you feel useless, denying you your worth, underestimating your value, and if you permit it, if you do not assert yourself, you too will end up believing that your life does not matter, and it does not count. The corporate world sees you as a nameless consumer, only useful to buy their products, the politicians see you as invisible until election time, and even the government sees you merely as someone to cough up taxes and give support to them when they require.
For much of the world’s unhappy existence, women of all races were made to feel useless or of limited worth because of the system ingrained at that time, a system known as patriarchy. Under this system, women were regarded mostly as a liability, of little worth, and did not count. Literally.
Even after 4,000 years since Adam, when Jesus Christ was born, at a time when the world had entered a new and enlightened age, and an age known theologically as the Dispensation of Grace, women were still not counted. In the biblical parable of Jesus increasing five loaves and two fishes to feed thousands, here is how the Bible put the numbers, “And they did all eat, and were filled: and they took up of the fragments that remained twelve baskets full.And they that had eaten were about five thousand men, beside women and children.” (Matthew 14: 20-21)
From the time Christopher Columbus discovered the new world in 1492, and Europeans invaded/conquered/colonized (take your pick) those foreign lands, the world has plunged deeper into its efforts of devaluing humanity. It was Christopher Columbus, and his ilk, that introduced the Atlantic slave trade, and with it all the degradation for which it is notorious.
Even before columbus’ time, a huge swathe of humanity had divided the world into lords and serfs, with the serfs being of little value, of almost no worth, except as fodder for the ambitions of the lord of the manor. The Atlantic slave trade ushered in a barbaric system of brutality that was not seen before, where blacks were, by virtue of their colour, abused and enslaved and deprived of all rights and made to feel worthless, and did not count for anything save as a minor piece of property belonging to the slave owner.
Following on from Columbus, Europeans spread across the world spreading their terror to all across the globe, and in the process devaluing human worth, and making the subjected people feel they did not count, that their lives did not matter.
In Africa, this devaluation took the form of plunder, conquest, and subjugation, that left the natives powerless in their own lands, and feeling they did not count. In Asia and South America the ruthless exploitation and subjugation continued apace, and the natives were pummelled into submission, and made to feel they did not count. In some territories, for example the United States of America and Australia, the locals were generally wiped out, some would say that genocide was practiced, all in an effort to conquer, and to make people feel they did not count, they did not matter, they were worthless.
We will not use up valuable space, and time, to document the systems across the globe that make people feel that they do not count, that they are of little worth, that they are marginalized. The systems are there, in politics, in finance, in social systems everywhere, and sometimes, alas, even in religion.
It is without a doubt true, that some people think that they are somebody only if they can push others around, control other people’s lives, intimidate those with whom they come into contact, and generally exert any power they have to elevate themselves and belittle others in the process.
In the days of Apartheid in South Africa, the peoples of colour, referred to by the Boers as “non-whites”, experienced systematic devaluation of their worth on a daily basis. A typical example of this treatment was when the government threw the natives off their fertile land because the government wanted to give the land to their white farmers. The victims were given poor land, far removed from the whites, and told that was theirs, and they were given title to the poor land.
Many years later, when the victims had built their homes, and worked their arid plots to make a not-too-good living, one of the victims discovered a gold nugget. You can guess what happened next. Yes, the people were told that they were illegally occupying the land, pushed off their land yet again, and given more barren land somewhere else.
Everywhere in the world, wherever human society exists, the dominant spirit is the spirit of evil, and at its worse, it identifies itself by its efforts to crush humanity. It does not matter if we are thinking Hitler and the Jews, Stalin and the Labour Camps, Pol Pot and the “killing fields”, Australia and the Aboriginals, Muslims and suicide bombings, or America’s Deep South and the Jim Crow laws, it is all motivated by the same profound, malign substance; the spirit of evil.
When the first king of Israel, King Saul, who was deadly envious of David, wanted to do David harm, the Bible described what possessed and motivated him, “And the evil spirit from the Lord was upon Saul, as he sat in his house with his javelin in his hand: and David played with his hand. And Saul sought to smite David even to the wall with the javelin.” (1 Samuel 19:9-10). “The evil spirit from the Lord” was just a Jewish way of saying that God permitted the evil spirit to possess Saul, and nothing more.
In the most famous prayer in the world, the only prayer Jesus Christ taught his disciples, a prayer popularly known as the Lord’s Prayer, some famous words are contained, “but deliver us from evil” (Matthew 6:13)
The form may differ, the activities are often unrelated, but evil in all its manifestations and its motivating agent – the spirit of evil – are inextricably linked to the systems and activities of this world. To really understand this, is to grasp the methodology of how we, as believers, are to position ourselves to make our life count.
You CANNOT make your life count when you are a willing, compliant participant in the systems and activities of this world.
For good reason, Satan who is very smart in these matters, and understands this predicament very well, after all his offers had failed, made Jesus a very powerful, final offer: “Again, the devil taketh him up into an exceeding high mountain, and sheweth him all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them; And saith unto him, All these things will I give thee, if thou wilt fall down and worship me.” ( Matthew 4:8-9). Notice what Satan offered Jesus, “all the kingdoms of the world, and the glory of them” , and Jesus refused the offer.
Remember, in his High Priestly prayer, what Jesus asked of God, “I pray not that thou shouldest take them out of the world, but that thou shouldest keep them from the evil. They are not of the world, even as I am not of the world.” (John 17:15-16)
The Apostle Paul was in full agreement with this, and he encouraged believers with words like these, “And be not conformed to this world: but be ye transformed by the renewing of your mind, that ye may prove what is that good, and acceptable, and perfect, will of God.” (Romans 12:2)
So how are we, as believers, to make our life count? Really make it count.
We should consider becoming an agent of godly change. A lot of change is happening in the world, and it’s not godly. Too often believers allow themselves to become invisible, taken for granted, afraid to make waves, reluctant to get their hands dirty in the fight for righteousness. Jesus made a whip and chased the thieves out of the temple. John the Baptist told the king to his face that he was wrong. And Nathan told King David to his face that he was the culprit. Our life will not count until WE make it count for something, regardless of the cost.
We should consider making sacrificial giving a way of life. It is easy when we have plenty of money, or we have enough and to spare, to give to that vagrant a little something. But if by giving we have to do without, then that is a very different matter. When we practice sacrificial giving, a practice that is richly filled with the spirit of Christ, it helps not only to lift our spirits and bolster our self esteem, but also let us join forces with other believers to take the fight to the enemy. Satan weeps when he sees us making sacrifices to assist others.
We should consider taking risks for God’s kingdom. In this context, it means doing things that may not please your circle of friends, or your family, but makes a difference. Many believers in their prayers often repeat the Lord’s prayer, and in the Lord’s prayer you will find these words, “thy kingdom come, thy will be done on earth”, and yet many believers hesitate, or refuse, to help to bring this about. It’s like inviting someone from a different social class, or someone of a different colour, with whom you would never associate, to a family lunch. It’s like seeing a poor child from a poor neighbourhood walking home and offering to give that child a lift. It’s like greeting that badly dressed stranger at the back of the church, giving him a warm handshake, and saying, “Good to see you, please come again.” These are the kinds of things that shows grace, and make your life really count.
Making your life count is about taking control of your life, moving it to a higher level, of displaying an attitude that says to the world, “My life may not be worth much to you, but it is mine, God gave it to me, and I intend to live it to please Him. With God’s help I intend to fight evil, let my light shine where I am, do the best I can to fight evil, and make my life count for God.” To this, believers everywhere will gladly say AMEN.
Books by this author you may wish to read.
THINGS EVERY CHRISTIAN SHOULD KNOW (e-book)
Volume 1 – Five tough facts to be faced
STAND UP TO THE DEVIL (e-book)
Volume 1 – You must first identify him
BASTARD: A STORY OF REDEMPTION(e-book fiction)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (Hard copy)
ONE MINUTE TO MIDNIGHT ON GOD’S CLOCK (e-book)
Dr. Henderson Ward received his Doctor of Divinity in theology, with distinction, from Masters International School of Divinity, USA, where he is currently a post-doctoral fellow. Dr. Ward's career involved pastoring, evangelism, and teaching. Copyright 2017
Article Source: http://www.faithwriters.com