Written by Evi Idoghor
I was assigned to teach small children at church this past Sunday. This was a responsibility I politely declined over the months because I was much more comfortable playing the role of teacher's assistant, which included making sure the kids were paying attention in class and some bathroom duties. After sickness and Lagos traffic had saved me on two previous occasions, there was no way out this time. I was nervous doing this for the first time in a long time, but children have a way of bringing out the best in you. As I went through the lesson for the day, asking them questions along the way, we finally got to the end of service. Then a little boy, about four years old volunteered to pray for us. I was astounded by his words, which began, “God, help us obey you.”
Most of the time, we see God as a dictator, seated on his high horse in a distant land, waiting for us to fail so he can cast us away or write us off. However, such a story does not exist in the Bible, and it took this little boy's words to remind me. The Bible demonstrates that God is a righteous God who wants all to come to him.
With passages like 2 Peter 3:9, which says, “The Lord is not slow to fulfil his promises, as some count slowness, but is patient toward you, not wishing that any should perish, but all should reach repentance,” and Hebrews 4:16, “Let us then with confidence draw near to the throne of grace, that we may receive mercy and find grace to help in time of need,” God is always looking out for our best interests.
He wants us to succeed in his ways, and he wants to help us achieve that. He wishes to teach us his ways and lead us down the path we should take. I recently read The Alchemist at a book club, and there was a scene in which the main character, a shepherd, was explaining something to an older man. He asserted that sheep have the ability to sense danger and where they can find water to drink among many things. He concluded, “if God leads the sheep so well, he will also lead a man.”
“…yet your Teacher will not hide himself anymore, but your eyes shall see your Teacher. And your ears shall hear a word behind you, saying, “This is the way, walk in it,” when you turn to the right or to the left.” – Isaiah 30: 20-21
All these scriptures point to the same idea - we are not meant to go through this life on our own. Christianity teaches us to be completely reliant on God. There will never be a point in our Christian lives when we will no longer need God. “I got this! I don’t need your help!” We can never say to God. This is referred to as pride in the Bible. Even Christ, who had the power and authority to do whatever He pleased, demonstrated total dependence on God through prayers and scripture study. Who better to help us overcome our failures and sin if not God? Who made the laws and statutes, and who better to teach us, or better yet, help us in obeying them, if not God?
Obeying God sometimes might not be the most comfortable, easy peasy thing to do. If that was the case, Christ wouldn’t have cried out in anguish in the garden of Gethsemane. However, his tears were not misplaced. He directed them to God. With God’s help in choosing to do the right thing irrespective of our feelings or discomfort, we will always arrive at the right destination. But if we choose to go ahead with sin, not only does it bring with it consequences, it often causes to hide from God.
We all struggle with sin (or disobedience to God’s word). For some, it may be sexual, while for others, it may be dishonesty. Even stinginess, greed, and a lack of kindness are character flaws that God wishes to help the Christian overcome.
Help us obey you. This is a heartfelt, innocent, but powerful prayer that we should all pray every day. The enemy would have us believe that we cannot live without sin and that immediate gratification of our flesh is required to fill whatever void we may be seeking to fill at the time, but it is fleeting and never enough.
In those moments of weakness, and premeditation, where we plan our sins ahead of time, we should turn to Christ, and ask for his help. He is the only one who can guide us on the right path.
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