TEXT: James 1:22‐25
By Bro. Timothy Ejenavi
PREAMBLE: The day we were baptized into the faith there was a spring of joy inside us for taking a very positive decision. Yes for us were really convinced and convicted on our heart before taking this decision the level of joy we felt on that day was indeed very high. But there are some of us who were not really convinced in their decision however such ones made up their minds maybe to please their parents, husbands or otherwise, this group may not have experienced that level of joy as the first group.
I want to say it again that for us who told the decision to baptize out of self conviction there was that well of joy inside us on that faithful day. Now, I am going to use the story of my conversion as an example in this narrative: Back in July 2005 we were having a very turbulent time as a family to put it simple, things were very tough with us, few after I know my wife we started worshipping in a newly planted church known as Aghogho Baptist church, we were pioneer member, l never found spiritual fulfillment in this church even though l was the secretary of the church, after some years my wife and l decided to mutually pulled out because of certain anomalies ,we could no longer condole. Still in search of deliverance for our problem we started worshipping in other churches such as Redeemed, Assemblies of God, Mountain of Fire etc.
My wife was the architect of this iterant worship because her focus was on deliverance from our difficult situation. However my focus was different and so l never found joy in these worship centers, l was searching for true worship and spiritual fulfillment though my knowledge of the scripture was very low in those years, Now on one faithful Sunday in that month of July 2005 my wife started her usual nagging about us preparing to go and worship, l told her l was fed up going to those churches that she should go with the children without me but she would not let me be, when her “wahala” became unbearable and to save an ugly situation l picked up my bible and went outside, But outside l became confused as to what to do.
Where will l go to spend time till 12noon before returning home, the thought to go to any church never crossed my mind l was instead thinking of some friends house then l saw the worship hall, in a flash the though entered my mind why not try this church to see how they do their own worship, And so l entered this worship hall Behold what l saw was a totally different settings.
As the worship progressed l saw myself being catapulted to spiritual consciousness that l have never felt before, everything that was done suited perfectly my perception of true worship and l said to myself l have found the truth, that day my joy was boundless, when l got home my wife asked me which church did you go to and I told her, she exclaimed Oh that church don’t pray, that church be like “Ogboni oh”, but she saw the joy that was in me and I told her that I have found the truth. Funny enough she never left the house to worship in any church with the children after troubling me to go out, But that is by the way fortunately or unfortunately l was not noticed on that Sunday by the attendance department but my fulfillment was that l have found a church where I will worship God dedicatedly for the rest of my life, And so the following Sunday by 8am I was dressed before 9am l was already here. On this very Sunday 25th July 2005 a brother came to me and after asking some question gave me a piece of paper, in the column where it was asked do you want to be baptized I filled YES, so after the close of worship l came to the front row and three brothers (Bro. Matthew Ojji, Chukwueze and E. Afekolu) attended to me.
After asking me some fundamental questions that are normally asked before baptism, they told me they were taking me for the exercise, They asked me right away and I answered Yes. To satisfy my curiosity l was referred to the three thousand souls on the day of Pentecost, the Ethiopia Eunuch and the household of Cornelius all in the book of Acts and l said wowed so there is a church like this very close to us and l did not know before now, I was immediately taken to Ekpan river then for the spiritual exercise and l became a child of the kingdom. After my baptism we were the set of the new convert class of that period were in line with Matt. 28;19‐20 drilled by Bro W. Atigbi and J. Orhesere now Bishop and Deacon respectively , After all these I found spiritual fulfillment.
Suffice to say that my joy and zealousness in those early days of my baptism made my wife to be convinced and be baptized into the wonderful family. Now among the songs that were sang on that day of baptism was this particular one “O Happy Day that Jesus washed my sins away” (Hymns 386).
Yes, on this very day of our baptism, we made a vow with our creator to follow His footprints of Christ and to further cement the vow we sang the song “I have decided to follow Jesus”; the question is after our baptism and early days of dedication and zealousness are we still the same? Are we keeping our vows? Are we increasing spiritually or struggling with our faith? Yes, most of us are struggling with our faith viz—we still visit find ourselves keeping companies we are not suppose to keep, saying things we are not suppose to say and doing thing we are not supposed to do, We cannot help ourselves it is only God that can help us.
This is what informed this admonition “Looking into the perfect mirror”. Yes, the day we took the decision to become members of the kingdom of God (church) we took an oath with God. This oath means that we will operate within the ambit and the laws of God. God has his own modus operandi (ways of doing things) which as his children we must obey.
Thus, the day we agreed to be baptized to become members of the family of God we struck a modus Vivendi (covenant) to obey and follow his ways. The ways and law’s of God are supreme and immutable. They are not subject to any form of modification by man, if it either we chose to obey them or not. Either decision has its own reward. But as we navigate this rugged water of salvation, the devil will not let us be. He sets before us encumbrances and impediments that will hinder us from belting on the heavenly shore.
In 2 Peter 5:8 the scriptures describes the devil as “our adversary moving about like a roaring lion seeking for targets to devour” and we are advice to be vigilant. For us to overcome the wiles and caprices of the devil we have to constantly look into the perfect mirror.
Now what is a mirror? The Mirror as defined by the advanced dictionary is a piece of a flat glass that reflects images so that you can see the exactness of yourself when you look into it. So what is the out of looking into the mirror: Simple, it is to make adjustments to our works. You will agreed with me that before we came to fellowship this morning we all made use of the mirror to make the necessary adjustments, for our physical beautification so that we will be presentable in our own judgements before others. As for the women the mirror is one of their greatest companions.
If we decide to conduct a search on our sisters now, we will discover that almost all of them have mirror in their bags. Before, they came in this morning they have already use the mirror at home to adjust their looks, namely their headgears, level of pancakes or Marykay and lipsticks etc. But you will still discover that some of them will steal time to leave the worship hall use the mirror to make further adjustments. I am not by any means trying to ridicule our sisters but only using their closeness to the mirror to illustrate and emphasize the importance of the mirror.
But this physical piece of glass (mirror) is not perfect it can fall and break to pieces. It can even deface so that when you look into it, you can no longer see yourself clearly. However, the mirror we are talking about this morning is the perfect mirror that is not subjected to any form of damage. It is not a physical object that can be touched or felt. It is abstract, figurative and a spiritual mirror – which is the word of God. James 1:22‐25 (Text)
Yes, as we continue daily to adjust our looks physically with the looking glass (physical mirror), be also more importantly we ought to adjust our lifestyles using the perfect mirror (the word of God). This is the adjustment we need for our spiritual beautification so that we do not walk disorderly. Let us consider the book of Psalm 1:1‐3.
We are described in 1 Pet. 2:9 as “A chosen generation, a royal priesthood, a holy nation, a peculiar people, that we may show forth the praise of Him who has called us out of darkness into His Marvelous light. Now, how do we show forth the praise of Him that called us – It is to constantly mirror our lives with His word (The perfect Mirror) In order to always remain in His standard? This will help us not to be like the world according to 1 Jn. 2:15‐17. “Love not the world, neither the things of the world. If any man love the world, the Love of the Father is not in him. For all that is not in the world the lust of the flesh and the lust of the eye is not of the Father but of the world and the world passeth away and the lust thereof, but he that doeth the will of the Father abideth forever”.
The question now is now is, are you a Christian and ways is at variance with the standard of God – then you and I need to look into the perfect mirror and make the desired adjustment. Individually we know the area where we are struggling, the perfect mirror will help us make the adjustment we need. Hebrews 10:25 “25 not forsaking the assembling of ourselves together, as is the manner of some, but exhorting one another, and so much the more as you see the Day approaching.”
And for those who are here and have not taken the decision to be baptized, mirror yourself with the word of God that you have heard today and take that most important decision in life to save your soul. Procrastination is one of the tricks of the devil.
The book of Matt. 5:13‐14 describes us as the salt and light of the world. As humans we are not infallible, therefore as we press on in this our Christian journey the need to constantly use the perfect mirror for our daily adjustment cannot be over‐emphasized. This will help us to maintain our value as the salt and light of the world that the scripture says we are. The journey of salvation is not a smooth one. As we navigate this rough water of salvation, the only way our ship of faith can anchor on the heavenly shore is to allow the Holy Spirit to be our compass. We need the perfect Mirror always for a safe arrival. Hymn 674.
Thank you for your wonderful audience and may God bless his words in our Hearts in Christ name… Amen