Guest Post: How a Son Stands

Forgive my ‘presumptiveness’ but I do believe that there is nothing about our lives that has not been covered in the Book of books. The age is irrelevant- Classical, Middle, Early Modern or Post Cold War. There is not one issue we face today to which the Bible has not provided a true and effective response. The sceptic would call it a fraud of a book, created by men to advance selfish goals. Yet, that book still heals hearts and guides minds today as it did when the words were first written. That says something to us today, who are debating the ethics of stem cell research from human embryos as it did to men desiring to stone a woman to death as part of a scheming plot to trap a Preacher. The principles of creation and the story of salvation are immutable, indestructible truths that will last for millennia more.

As an individual living each day the best I can as I press towards the prize that is my heart’s vision, I have often wondered how to always Stand. My being human means I am not infallible but as a son, I’d rather have more scenarios of standing in victory than staggering up from defeat. And again, the Book provides answers.

It comes in the way of three tests of a man at his weakest- emotionally, mentally and physically. It comes to Bethlehem’s son in the arid Palestinian desert. The Preacher had just gone through roughly six weeks of food abstinence only to be presented with the chance to break his fast, at the end of this exercise with something he could very well do. Yet, the challenge was not the act of turning stone into bread. It was the fact that his adversary had qualified the act by calling into question his identity.

We do not fully understand what was at stake with this temptation. A few weeks earlier, this same Preacher had received a divine confirmation of the Father’s approval of his person and mission. To then ask him to turn stone into bread as evidence of his sonship was to draw him into a place where his heart and mind would succumb to doubt. Imagine what doubt would have done to the ministry of Jesus. There would in short have been no ministry. All his bodacious declarations of self and authenticity that the apostle John covers beautifully in his gospel would have been non-existent. This ‘Validation by Performance’ is the first temptation many a son experience. Many sons are natural achievers with an inborn drive and passion to succeed. Sons embrace the earthly merit based system of accomplishment. They are firm believers in their capacity to do. To be challenged this way then by the enemy would have played right into his natural instincts to let everyone including himself and the enemy know that ‘the king is here’. But the Lord was above needing to prove his identity by a test.  He retorted calmly – I don’t live by what I am able to do, I live by what my Father speaks to me. In other words, it is not my accomplishments that make me, it is my Father’s words that do.

Next, The Preacher is taken to a high mountain and shown all the kingdoms of the world in their scintillating glory. I bet he got a HD viewing of the Roman royal tables and feasts in Egypt. Not an easy sight for a man who had just subjected himself to a most intense personal sacrifice. Knowing who and what he was, he could have allowed himself get drawn into a discussion on how to get all these kingdom’s glories.  This was then the second test, a “Validation by Possession” challenge. The Lord however was the wiser as to where his personhood lay, not in the glories of earth’s many kingdoms but in the servitude of the Father. “Worship the Lord only”, he responded, “and him only shall you serve”. We must remember that while it is in the nature of the Father-Son relationship to have resources bequeathed to us, it does not define whether that relationship exists or not. Nor should it ever be in doubt that even where ownership isn’t a present reality, it is in the Father’s script to have it transferred eventually.

Finally, the Lord is led to the pinnacle’s temple and asked to prove the truth of the Word by throwing himself down and having the angels, as written, bear him up. This ‘Validation by Privilege’ challenge presents the ultimate test for a man of status. He had every right to feel privileged; afterall he had just received confirmation from Heaven of his special standing. He had also just pulled through a biological miracle in surviving without food for so long. Surely, with all he had done, he could expect such privileges. But a son does not ride on status. He rides on principles. Thus, he reminded the wily foe, ‘You shall not put the Lord your God to the test’. Now that’s a classic. Not even in this most dire of circumstances would his sonship be proven by his receipt of any preferential treatment. Said another way, ‘…though he was in the form of God, did not count equality with God a thing to be grasped’. Again nothing to prove. He was who he was already and didn’t need to test the efficacy of the word to prove it.

And that my friends is how we stand, by being fully aware of our identity as sons without needing any performance, possessions or divine perks to prove it. To the one who shows that neither of these defines their knowledge of self, to that one shall great power and influence be made available.

Indeed, Identity is everything!

PS: References to ‘son’ are gender neutral

 

Osita Egbubine is a believer in the capacity of every human being to lead a fulfilling, purpose-driven life. He is currently pursuing a Finance degree in the UK and tweets via @ositane.

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Beneath Our Feet

A friend shared this anonymous piece with me last year, and when I stumbled on it again I decided to share it with you too. Enjoy

I am the basis of all wealth, the heritage of the wise, the thrifty and prudent.

I am the poor person’s joy and comfort, the rich person’s prize, the right hand of capital, the silent partner of thousands of successful people.

I am solace of the widow, the comfort of old age, the cornerstone of security against misfortune and want. I am handed down through generations, as a possession of great value.

I am the choicest fruit of labor, the safest collateral and yet I am humble.  I stand before every person bidding them to know me for what I am and asking them to possess me.

I am quietly growing in value through countless days. Though I might seem dormant, my worth increases, never falling, never ceasing. Time is my aid and the ever increasing population adds to my gain. I defy fire and the elements, for they cannot destroy me.

My possessors learn to believe in me and invariably they become envied by those that have passed me by. While all other things wither and decay, I alone survive.  The centuries find me younger, always increasing in strength. All oil and minerals come from me. I am the producer of food, building materials and the home to every living thing. I serve as the foundation for homes, factories, banks and stores.

I have not been produced for millions of years yet, I am so common that thousands, unthinking and unknowingly, pass be by.

Who Am I? I Am Land.

 

You Need an Editor

#YouNeedAnEditor is the hashtag I use for tweets via my business handle, @JoyEhonwa. If you’re not following me there already, please do. I would love to interact with you and see how we can make your writing the best it can be.

What makes me a special editor is not my A1 in English, my eagle eye, or even my Linguistics degree…it’s my soul. I care. And because I care, I am always learning, and I always go the extra mile for my clients.

Editing isn’t just about hacking a writer’s work to pieces. The writer’s feelings matter as much as proper grammar does.

Sometimes a writer uses a word that doesn’t belong in that sentence, and I can tell they just love the word. So I replace it with a more appropriate word, and look out for another opportunity to use it so that they’re happy.

My goal as an editor is not to give you my voice; it’s to make YOUR voice as beautiful as it can be.

#YouNeedAnEditor

The Love That Never Was

Every buzz of my cellphone in my bag
Is a maybe,
Every glimpse of your photo on the wall
Is a ferry
That carries me back to another time,
A far off place,
Before my blindness robbed me of your voice,
And your embrace.
Every whiff of the coffee that you loved,
A reminder,
Of strong, rich friendship, its smoky flavour
That lingers,
Feeding hope that the love that never was,
Will be someday.

Joysuo: Should Women Enjoy Sex Like Men?

Today I saw a tweet about 60-year-old women not needing sex, and I shook my head not just because this is ridiculous, but because it applies only to women.

My mum called me one day and as we talked, she mentioned that a certain member of her church (where I grew up) was remarrying. I was shocked. “Is it not yesterday Aunty died?” I shouldn’t have let that come out of my mouth; I should have known what would follow. “Hmm, my dear, that’s men for you o. If it was sista do you think she would even have remarried, not to talk about this quickly?”

I had been mildly upset that he was remarrying so quickly, but my greater annoyance at the end of that phone call was not with him. It was with us, women, and the role we unwittingly play in perpetuating the myths that keep us bound. From the time I was a little girl, I heard and saw things that I struggled to make sense of.  I would sit around while older women talked about issues, and learn things that made me wonder how I would ever fit into society. From a tender age I suspected they were either myths, or I was strange.

“If tosay na woman wey hin husband die, you think say she for marry again?” “For where!”

Listening to the discussions that usually followed such assertions, you would draw the following conclusions; women don’t really like sex, and they just do it to keep the man satisfied. Consequently, whereas a widower would need to remarry- sometimes quickly- because of his sexual needs, a woman has no such needs and should therefore stay unmarried for the rest of her life. Also wrapped up in this is the fact that the woman is nobler, purer and more worthy of praise than the man, because she does not need sex.

When I was a newlywed my mum always reminded me, “Never deny your husband sex.” And I would laugh, and laugh, and laugh, because I couldn’t say to her, “Mummy forget that thing, I need am pass the guy sef.” She would be mortified.

I know there are many women who have yet to embrace their sexuality. One wife told her husband, “I’ve given you a son, I’ve given you a daughter. Sex for what again??” When he tried to make her see reason, she said, “Please I am not one of those spoilt girls.” If I hadn’t heard this from the frustrated hubby himself I wouldn’t have believed it.

A few weeks later I was at a meeting for women and an older woman seated beside me pointed to the lady who had just taken the microphone and whispered, “She ought not to have remarried, because of her position and her age.” I was aghast. The lady in question was a widowed ordained minister who had married a widower gentleman, in the Lord. I did not even know she was in her early sixties; she looked to be in her late forties. Who made these rules, I wondered? Had she stopped functioning as a woman simply because she was a minister or because she had reached 60?

Am I saying every widow should remarry? No. I am just saying that a woman who remarries is not committing any crime, and neither is the one who chooses not to. Women have physical needs just as men do, and people are different, male or female.

Some women remarry not for physical intimacy but for financial stability, or companionship. There’s nothing wrong with that.

A lot of women also have valid reasons choosing not to remarry, many of which I applaud. Some stay unmarried to safeguard the future of their children (many African cultures are complex and usually not in a widow’s favour), some stay unmarried for the simple reason that no other man they have met can fill their late husband’s shoes.

But please, don’t come and tell me you felt no need to remarry because you don’t have sexual needs and that this makes you more virtuous than the woman who does.

Acknowledging and celebrating your sexuality as a woman is one of the most important things you can ever do. How did we embrace this “sex is for husbands” rubbish?

I blame the older women for this. I understand that female genital mutilation tampers with a woman’s sexuality, hence many of them did/do not enjoy sex. I also understand that some husbands are unskilled and their wives get little or no pleasure. What I do not understand is the perpetuation of the notion that women who love sex are not normal. One older woman actually told me, “Those ones are dogs.”

No be all old women sha. I remember living in the home of a couple who are close friends of my parents, about a decade ago. I spent most of my time with the children, but their octogenarian paternal grandmother (now of blessed memory) was living with them, and the woman had stories! Mostly stories about the places she had travelled to as a young woman, but sometimes funny stories like the time she went to fetch water and a guy asked if he could look at her breasts. It was the relish with which she told those stories that amused me. She took such delight in them, I suspected she had been a sensual young woman. Then one day, she confirmed my suspicions.

My mum came into town to spend the night with us, and she didn’t come out of her room till late morning. I knew she had been praying, but Mama didn’t even think about that.

“Ah, you’re finally out. I didn’t know your husband was around o.”

I think my mum knew where she was headed but feigned ignorance. “Ah, Mama, what would my husband being around have to do with my not coming out of the room? I was praying o.”

“What kind of question is that? I thought your husband was around and you were having sex.”

“Since morning, Mama?” My mum asked.

“Yes now, when my husband was alive, even after he was done I wouldn’t let him come out. I would ask him to stay inside.”

The look on my mother’s face was priceless, hahaha!

Mama wey sabi! Rest in peace ma’am!

 

 

I wrote this article last month. It was first published on sabinews.com