Becoming your best in God and for God
3John 1:12; Deuteronomy 28:13
Written by Matthew Ogunniran and Emmanuel Elikplim
It is the desire of God that His children excel in whatever their hands find to do. His will for us is to be the head and not the tail. Mediocrity is not in God’s agenda for us. Many Christian’s students in our time have misjudged being simple and contented as being mediocre. Our small mind wants to remain below or at most, on the average.
Contrary to this, examples abound in the scriptures and in our contemporary world, of youths who recorded outstanding performances in their days. Young men and women like Daniel, Mesach, Shadrach, Abednego, Lydia, Ruth, Joseph, Mary, Paul and Luke were notable for exploits in their days.
They stood out tall among their equals not because they won a lottery or got a scholarship. This retinue of men dicovered God’s purpose and plans for their lives. They pursued it with all vigour and strength until they reached God’s placement for their lives.
DEFINITION AND CONCEPT OF EXPLOIT
When an endeavour produces the desired result, it could be reffered to as success. But when the result obtained exceeds the desired or projected result, it could be said to be an exploit. In other words, an exploit is an interesting, brave, unusual or extraordinary act or event that makes people wonder whenever it is thought about. Its effect or memory usually last for a long period of time.
BASIC TOOLS FOR ACADEMIC EXPLOIT
Attaining success especially good success is demanding and costly. For an unbeliever, success could be achieved through dubious means in a quick succession but it is not so for a believer. Therefore, the following criteria, qualities, virtues, lifestyles… are necessary for a Christian youth to reach the peak of success:
- The Experience of a New Life
What does it mean to have a new life? 2 Corinthians 5:17 -21 says “Anyone who belongs to Christ is a new person. The past is forgotten, and everything is new. God has done it all! He sent Christ to make peace between himself and us, and he has given us the work of making peace between himself and others…” (GNB). This is what it means to have a new life: turning from your old life of sin and receiving the new life of righteousness in Christ through faith. In other words, it means to become born again. Any success outside Christ is no success at all before God, for what is born of the flesh is flesh and what is born of the spirit is spirit (John 3:6); nothing that is of the flesh can ever please God (Romans 8:7). We must love righteousness and hate iniquity in all we do. This is how we know that we are children of God (Hebrews 1:8 – 9, 1 John 3:10). We must avoid being involved in any act that negates the law of God and of the land, school, organization etc.where we find ourselves. We must fear God, obey his word, be committed to our devotions (prayer, reading and studying God’s word, reading Christian literature, evangelism, etc.) live by faith in God alone and walk according to the Holy Spirit. For those who walk by the spirit are the sons of God.
- Counselor/Discipler (Prov.15:22, 19:20): You need the watch and counsel of senior believers who have are ahead in the faith and have gained some experince about life. You will avoid many mistakes if you yield to this correctly.
- Vision (Prov.29:18): You need to discover what God’s purpose is for your life as you relate with God and your discipler/counselor. This will help you to make the correct choices as you go on in life and to chart the course of your life correctly; you also need to avoid distractions.
- Information (Neh.1:1 – 4): You need relevant and adequate facts about what you want to achieve to help you pursue it properly. You must be acquianted with your class time-table. Of course, you should have the mobile contact of your class representative. Some lecturers could arrange for extra hours. The use of social networks (such as Watapp, facebook, etc) would be of great help here.
That reminds me of a student who missed an examination. He left his hostel to study that fateful morning thinking that the examination was fixed for 2.00pm. But to his amazement, when from where he hid to read, he got to the hall around 1.00pm (thereabout), he soon discovered that the paper has been written at 10.00am. That means an extra semester!
- Sacrifice (1 Cor.10:23): You must give up some things in order to pursue your goals well. Some of them include wrong friends, excessive time on T.V, games, internet, social network and even some religious activities where necessary. You need not belong to every unit in the fellowship or Church. Engage only in things that are beneficial and not just things that are good.
- Patience and Endurance (Heb.10:36): You must be patient to allow God launch you gradually into His will for you. Do not be in a rush for he that as promised is faithful to bring it to pass. God cannot fail and so you will not if you wait for Him.
- Good company (Prov.13:20): You need to keep a correct company even amidst the brethren. Walk with those who have the same mind with you and not otherwise. Whereas you should not shun those who need your help and assistance in the class, you must deliberate befreind those who could challenge you to study hard. There are those who have made up their minds not to pursue a first class or a second class upper or a distinction grade. To them, these grades are exclusively for some. These are not the right of friends you should keep around your life.
There was this friend I met in my 200 level in the university. I came in through Direct Entry. Prior to that time, he had recorded a “very strong” second class upper grade. But he had a desire to finish up with a first class. When I discovered him, I befriend him. He was gifted and talented with mathematical skills and abilities. I worked hard to become his reading mate. He impacted me greatly. He was a blessing to me from God. He was instrumental to my success in the university. Those are the kinds of friends you need in your life. Don’t team up with those who take things easy. Those who lazy around and attend all social gatherings on campus. Such are injurious to your academic pursuit.
I also recalled a pathetic incident while I was on campus. There was this “guy” that began on the second class upper grade. He graduated with a third class grade. You can guess what the problem was!
- Hardwork and Diligence (2 Thess.3:8 – 12, Eccl.9:10): Do not be lazy; do all things well with the right mind; avoid eye service because God is watching you and He reward you according to your deeds. Work now that you still have the time and strength for a time (the evil days, when you are old) will come when you will no longer be able to do anything no matter the zeal you ahave for it. If you work hard, you will be able to stand before kings and not mere men. If you aim at finishing with a first class or distinction grade, work hard to earn it from your first semester in school.
Don’t consider any course to be too hard for you to break.All formular, laws and theories were formulated by men of like passion. Hardwork and diligence will unfold mysteries to you as you study. They will give you access into what your colleagues would struggle to tackle. They would unravel the secrets of your teachers and lecturers to you. This duo would make you search the library to discover some texts that your tutors use. Experience has shown that many teachers or lecturers have some unique patterns of examining students (setting questions). A hard working student could find this out. One of the methods is to compare his lecture notes and questions over the years. It will give you a trend.
- Faithfulness (Prov.28:20, Matt.25:21): Avoid shady deals; be sincere even about your faults and weaknesses and you will receive help; be a good and faithful steward especially in small things and you will be approved for bigger things. Write your assaignments by yourselfe, don’t copy from others, be original in whatever you do. Don’t ask a friend to endorse class attendance on your behalf. Though your lecturer may not discover this, you are not faithful. And God sees you.
- Grace and ability to recover from failure (Prov.24:16): Do not be discouraged when you fail, make a mistake or achieve less than your expectation. Rise up and try again for you will do it better this time because you would have become wise not to repeat the previous mistake you made.
You may wonder that money is not part of the above list. Money is not bad but the love of it is the root of all evil because it is a god (mammon). The love of it takes away God’s love from a child of God. The fear of many believers is that you would not get it if you do not pursue it. But God says seek first God’s kingdom and its righteousness and all other things will be added unto you. So, trust God and seek Him first in all you do and He will prosper your ways.
HINDRANCES TO GODLY SUCCESS
As good as our goals, wishes, dreams, ambitions etc. are, we could fail in achieving them if we do not watch for the obstacles along the way. Some likely obstacles that could hinder us are highlighted below.
- A faulty beginning/foundation (Psalms 11:3, Matt.7:26 – 27): Check the foundation of anything you want to build. Do not go to school with a forged certificate or that gotten from examination malpractice; do not falsify your age to get a job or admission. Do not start something good with something wrong. It will cost you more to correct it. So start well because even the righteous cannot do anything tangible with a faulty foundation. I wonder the drama that would ensue when we get to heaven. It will be shocking to see a supposed accomplished “Professor Emeretus” pushed aside for claiming academic merits he never earned with his own hand and labour. I doubt if heaven will ignore how you rise to become “a big-man.” But these are issues that many people in our time have trivialised. I plead with you, don’t go on a long journey with possessions that are not your own.
- Lack of Determination/Daily planning: There is a need to always plan your day: your time for work and that for rest and do your best to follow your plan through. However, be flexible to adjust it when the need arises.
- Laziness, Idleness and Procrastination (Prov.6:6 – 11, Eccl.8:5 – 6): As a student, do your assignments as quickly as possible, prepare for tests and exams early enough; do your best to always meet up with your appointments. Rest well and be at your work early, use every little time you have judiciously for time lost cannot be recovered.
- Love for the world (1 Tim.6:9 – 10, 1 John 2: 15 – 17): Do not be greedy for money, materials, fame etc for many have injured themselves because of these. Do not give in to sin, flesh and the world. They may look attractive but they will cut you off from your much desired and awaited purpose in God. Learn to bear with hardship and trust God for your every need. The love of the world will make you to join some wrong clubs, associations, unions on campus. You may soon find yourself promoting the culture of this world and the tradition of men. All of these will eat-up your precious time you would have invested in serious study of your courses.
- Independence and Self-confidence (Eccl.4:9 – 12): Do not try to go on this journey alone; you need the encouragement, comfort, charge and the warmth from other believers to survive this journey. Even Jesus our master, did not go anywhere without His disciples because He needed them in one way or the other. Do not be proud; you are safer among your fellow brethren (Prov.16:18). A proud student would not ask question in the class (even when he doesn’t understand), talkless of asking his colleagues.
In addition, do not seek for easy route, do not be overambitious; allow space, time and counsel to help you check your convinctions. Do not compete with, envy or try to hinder the progress of another; do not be self-centered (Eccl.4:4). Do not trust in human wisdom and strength for the arm of flesh will surely fail you (Isa.31:1). Avoid activities, attitudes or company that can put you in trouble. Do not abate any form of corruption, dishonesty or crime. Always stand clear, clean and on the truth and you would have no course to be afraid. Also, seek counsel on issues that you cannot handle such as threats, harrassments, coexisting with other people etc.
Now, you must understand that the devil, witchcrafts, wizards, demons etc cannot hinder your success if you are rooted in Christ (Job 1:1 -12; 42:12; Mark 16:17 – 18). Jesus has overcome the world and so has anyone who is in Him. It is sin and ignorance that make people to remain under Satan’s bondage even after confessing Christ. Jesus has dealt with every principalities and powers on the cross so they no longer have power over you (Col.2:13 – 15). So, believe in the finished work of Christ on the cross concerning you and walk in obedience to His commands and you will remain victorious over Satan.
If you have attained any success through a dubious means before giving your life to Jesus, you may need to do restitution. But before then, seek counsel from elders in the faith so that you could receive proper guidance on how to go about it to avoid compounding the problem.
Then, lack of opportunity or inability to acquire formal education does not mean failure. It could have been as a result of negligence, ignorance and issues of life among others. You can rise again says the Scriptures. You can still go back to school. You could opt for adult education or go back to continue where you stopped or start all over again as the case may be. But you must be ready to pay some cost. One of it is the readiness to learn among very younger ones. This may attract some insult, disrespect etc. from them but you have to bear it since you know why you are there. You may also need to attend extra-mural classes or get a private teacher to help build your areas of weaknesses. You would also have to submit to your tutors who may be your peers or younger ones. There could be other challenges such as finance, time constraint, distance etc. but in all these, you can succeed with God’s help.
Being your best in God and for God through exploits in various areas cannot be achieved by mere wishes. Only those who are willing and ready to pay the price can become their best for God in life. Your destiny in God is great but except you follows the divine pathway; your pursuit will soon become a mirage – a chasing after the wind. Friends, no matter your past failures and mistakes or even present challenges, you can attain God’s best for your life. Even you that have experienced some level of success, eyes have not seen, ears have not heard and it has not yet come to the heart of any man what God has planned for those who love Him. Just allow the Lord to lead the way and you shall have good success.