During our month-long fasting exercise in February this year, a few weeks before our Spring 2015 US Mission Tour, Jesus Christ Himself appeared to me and told me to declutter and simplify my life; starting from my closet!
Since then, I’ve already given out most of my clothes; restricting myself to just about three pairs of clothing; and aiming at fitting all of my earthly belongings into a normal-sized carryon bag. I have also given away all the books in my library, except four that still hold significant relevance to my journey.
The Lord told me that every material thing in my possession —clothing, jewelry, electronic device, automobile, and so on—has a weight, and occupies space; not just in my physical environment, but also in my emotional and heart space. And in the later space each of those items could constitute a poison and spiritual weight that could hinder my spiritual growth and ascent.
And I can see that now; because, ever since I began to give away my personal belongings, I have felt so refreshingly light; an amazing floating lightness of inner relief and relaxation. And even as I write, I’m still reeling under the blissful euphoria of emotional weightlessness.
I can also see that many today that groan under the torment of sadness, depression and stress, may not know how much of those are due to the emotional weights they are lugging around in their daily lives as a result of all the material possessions they’re hoarding in their rooms, closets, garages, and shelves. If they could only lay aside every weight and simplify their lives, they would find the peace and lightness of possessing nothing.
Emptying my closet and library is just a beginning; because I understand that the counsel to simplify my life extends into every aspect of my life: finances, ministry, relationships, and so on. So I wasn’t really surprised when the Lord just recently showed me His own life of simple focus and instructed me to concentrate my ministry efforts on those He has sent me to.
21 Leaving that place, Jesus withdrew to the region of Tyre and Sidon. 22 A Canaanite woman from that vicinity came to him, crying out, “Lord, Son of David, have mercy on me! My daughter is suffering terribly from demon- possession.” 23 Jesus did not answer a word. So his disciples came to him and urged him, “Send her away, for she keeps crying out after us.” 24 He answered, “I was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel.” 25 The woman came and knelt before him. “Lord, help me!” she said. 26 He replied, “It is not right to take the children’s bread and toss it to their dogs.” 27 “Yes, Lord,” she said, “but even the dogs eat the crumbs that fall from their masters’ table.” 28 Then Jesus answered, “Woman, you have great faith! Your request is granted.” And her daughter was healed from that very hour.
~ Matthew 15:21-28
Did you notice that Jesus paid zero attention to the woman? He did not answer a word. He ignored her and responded strictly to His disciples, telling them that He was sent only to the lost sheep of Israel. Finally, He referred to her as a dog! Now, how mean and ‘heartless’ can one get? In reality, however, Jesus wasn’t being mean or heartless here; He was simply being focused. That woman was outside the people group to whom His Father sent Him.
Eventually, Jesus attended to her. Yet, notice that He didn’t go looking for her; He never tried to get her to believe; He never tried to convince her—as a matter of fact, He basically ignored her and called her a dog. It was entirely up to that woman to press through Jesus’ snub, and apparently insulting remarks, to get what she wanted; and she got it only because she persisted and gave Jesus a valid reason to attend to her.
For me, the lesson here is crystal clear: To strictly focus my ministry efforts only on the people group to whom I’m sent; to pay zero attention to those outside this group.
This does not mean that those outside my area of assignment cannot receive from me; just that it’s up to them to break through the barrier; to overcome whatever obstacles on their way in order to get whatever they need from me.
Like Jesus, the Apostles were also focused..
“James, Peter and John, those reputed to be pillars, gave me and Barnabas the right hand of fellowship when they recognized the grace given to me. They agreed that we should go to the Gentiles, and they to the Jews.”
Each person knew who they were sent to: James, Peter and John to the Jews; Paul and Barnabas to the Gentiles. They didn’t spread themselves thin trying to reach ‘the whole world’. Instead, they sharply defined their respective people groups and focused their ministry efforts accordingly. Of course, as history has shown, the ministries of those apostles, in spite of their respective focus on specific people groups, ultimately touched the whole world and changed the course of human history.
The highly focused nature of the ministry of Jesus Christ and His apostles inspires me to sharply define the people group to whom I’m sent, and focus my ministry efforts on them. And I believe that the Lord is dealing with me in this area in order for me to be very effective and productive.
It’s been a long road; winding down through nearly two decades of ministering to all kinds of people: in churches; in university campuses; via multimedia channels. And from my very first steps in this journey, there’s never really been any vagueness in my mind regarding the essence of the wildfire message that God gave me to deliver to mankind. But as far as the exact people group that this message is meant for, I’ve always struggled; because, somewhere down that rigorous stretch, I had become aware of something: I’m not sent to everyone.
Since then I’ve borne the burden of that awareness; I just didn’t know exactly what to do with it.
Thankfully, that struggle has now come to an end. Through His own example of simplicity and focus in ministry, a direct command spoken to me by His Holy Spirit, and a revelation that leapt to me from the scriptures, the Lord has given me a very clear picture of the people group I’m sent to.
5 “Gather to me my consecrated ones, who made a covenant with me by sacrifice…14 Sacrifice thank-offerings to God, fulfil your vows to the Most High,”
~ Psalm 50:5,14
“Wildfire,” He said to me, “The message I’ve given to you is for the consecrated ones; people who have entered into a covenant with me by sacrifice.”
Consequently, today I understand that I am sent to the Consecrated Ones; to challenge, inspire, and support them to fulfill their vows to the Most High God; to walk in their consecration; to walk in their distinction; to be exclusively devoted to Him. And He has commanded me to concentrate my ministry efforts on them. Such a clear picture of the people group I’m sent to is a very powerful and liberating awareness.
As my first name reveals, I’ve always known that God sent me primarily to His church to be a messenger of fire; but this complete realization that I’m not sent to the entire church just happened. In retrospect, though, —considering the overall thrust of my teachings, what I’ve consistently emphasized, things I’ve said in meetings, in our services, in our events, in discipleship classes and training programs—I can perceive that my spirit has always known what my conscious mind is just now coming to terms with: that I’m sent to the called ones; to the priests; to the consecrated ones. Reflecting on some of the most dominant themes in my teaching—such as, ‘we are citizens of God’s Kingdom’, ‘walking in the realities of the New Creation’, ‘the Single-Eyed Way Of Life’, ‘intimacy with God’, and ‘Can God be Lonely?’—it becomes easy to see that my spirit had always known whom I was sent to. That knowledge has always been down there in my spirit. But because my conscious mind had not clearly grasped it in full, I inadvertently tried to rope every Dick and Harry into it.
So, who are these concentrated ones?
The consecrated ones are distinguished from everyone else by their scale of preference; by their absolute and unwavering devotion to God the Father, and His Son Jesus Christ.
So, the consecrated ones are those members of the Body of Christ whose hearts have been inflamed by an all-consuming love for God. Their loyalty to Jesus Christ is unalloyed and undivided. They are wholly submitted to God. And they demonstrate these fruits down to the minutest choices and decisions of every moment of their lives.
Fortunately, identifying a consecrated one is pretty easy for me. Trust me when I say that I can always tell; because, I believe I’ve been gifted with the instinctive spiritual discernment to smell a consecrated one from a million miles away. But also because it’s easy to tell from their values, priorities, unconscious choices, and default preferences; I can tell just by observing their lifestyle. It’s a heart thing, but it’s demonstrated in the choices they make. The consecrated ones consistently sacrifice things that are highly valued among men in order to be devoted and pleasing to God. God is always first and only in their daily pursuits. This isn’t something that can be faked on a consistent basis. So it’s pretty easy for me to pick out the consecrated ones in any crowd.
Unfortunately, while it may be true that the consecrated ones are not yet extinct on earth, they are a seriously endangered species; a dying breed on the surface of the earth. This makes it imperative that I hunt them down and help them thrive in a world that is completely hostile to their way of life.
Are you one of the consecrated ones? That is, do you by default prefer God and His ways to everyone and everything else’s—wholeheartedly and absolutely submitted to Him in all of the daily choices and decisions of your life? Then this message is for you.
I am sent to you.
For twenty four years now, I’ve planted and pastored multiple churches, taught thousands of discipleship classes, and held hundreds of live worship events; I’ve challenged church folks to put the Lord first, to submit to Him, to sacrifice their lives for Him. And through these twenty four years of ministry, this has become clear to me: not everyone―and I’m referring to church folks―is willing to absolutely consecrate and dedicate themselves to the Lord; and there’s nothing any of us can do about it. Consecration is like falling in love; it cannot be taught.
What I’ve seen among church folks is something Jesus pointed out among the religious folks of His day:
“…These people honor me with their lips, but their heart are far from me.”
Most people that come before the Lord have their own personal agenda, and selfish ambitions; they really don’t want to put the Lord first and submit to His ways; they just want to use Him as a means to their own ends. So they come before Him, but not really to seek Him as the only treasure of their lives; they’re rather there because they can sense His power and they hope it’s something that can help them achieve their own personal goals; in other words, they want to be in His good graces, but just so He can help them get whatever it is that they want. And it’s so easy to mistake all this for devotion to God. In reality, they’re there merely to capitalize on God’s presence and power to get at their own ends.
Over these twenty four years I’ve seen people come before the Lord, try to con Him with lip worship in order to get whatever they can from the Lord, and then move on after getting what they came for—or because they failed to get it.
They are just like the rich young ruler that came to Jesus seeking to receive eternal life. Jesus said to him, “Go, sell everything you have and give to the poor, and you will have treasure in heaven. Then come, follow me.” Mark 10:21. The guy, however, wasn’t ready to let go of his riches at all; so he went away sad.
Most church folks today are just like that. They deceive themselves into thinking that they really love the Lord, whereas all they actually want is to use Him to serve their selfish ends. How many church folks today are willing to give up everything in order to become absolutely consecrated to the Lord?
But note this: Jesus never tried to persuade that guy to abandon his preference for worldly wealth.
I wish I’d followed His example years ago; because most of the pain I’ve had in my discipleship efforts has come from trying to persuade the rich young rulers of this age to abandon their preference for this world; to seek the Lord as the only treasure of their lives. And how did that work out for me? In my misguided and foolish zeal to get everyone to seek God as the only treasure of their lives, I only succeeded in plaguing my life with unnecessary misery and frustration.
Actually, the problem really wasn’t in the lifestyle I’ve been advocating―a life that seeks God as the only treasure; it was in the fact that I tried to rope everyone into that lifestyle; instead of, like Jesus, focusing my efforts only on those I’m sent to.
Having finally learnt my lesson the hard way, I think I’m now ready and resolved to take the Wildfire Message of the Single Eyed Way of Life only to the consecrated ones.
I see two things in the Lord’s recent command to concentrate my ministry efforts on those He has sent me to:
The first is a sharp definition. To clarify and sharpen the definition of the people group that I’m sent to; in my heart, and in my mind. But also, to become deliberately conscious of the fact that I’m sent to a specific group of people. For Jesus it was the lost sheep of Israel― a sharply defined people group; distinct from any other people group; and He was acutely aware of that specification. That’s the first of the two things that stand out clearly to me from what the Lord is telling me.
The second is to become more focused. To make a conscious and continuous effort to pay zero ministerial attention to anyone outside the specific people group that I’ve have been sent to. This calls for the severest form of discipline to not get distracted by any other group seeking my attention; but rather to be disciplined enough like Jesus to focus all of my ministry to the people group that I’m sent to.
Consequently, I’ve resolved to focus exclusively on the people group I’m sent to. In my ministry efforts― writing, teaching, retreats, tours, and other ministry services that I render―I’m fully committed to focus, without wavering, on the people group I’m sent to. And in doing this, Jesus Christ remains my perfect model. He wouldn’t respond to anybody that He wasn’t sent to, no matter how much they cried out to get His attention. They literally had to push through to even get at him! Now, that’s focus. And I want to be as focused as that on the people that I’m sent to.
And who am I sent to?
The consecrated ones.
Are you one of the consecrated ones? That is, do you by default prefer God and His ways to everyone and everything else’s—wholeheartedly and absolutely submitted to Him in all of the daily choices and decisions of your life? Then know this: I am sent to you.
In practical terms, for instance, it means that henceforth, I’ll focus my posts on this blog towards reaching and helping only the consecrated ones scattered around the world. I don’t think this necessarily implies that the content and theme of my posts here will change. I think they’ll remain essentially the same. But how I present the content and who I specifically address my message to will definitely change. I also think that this shift will allow me to connect even more personally with my audience than I’ve done previously.
I’ll also apply this focus to the audience of my weekly Wildfire Lectures here in Nigeria and in the UK; whittling it down to strictly a gathering of the consecrated ones. This means that our weekly Wildfire Lectures ―hitherto a day of fasting, praying, and deep scriptural meditations―will now be restricted to the consecrated ones; those that in their daily lives consistently demonstrate a preference for God, devoid of pretense or compulsion; people who out of their own volition and passion for God prefer Him and go out of their way to make sacrifices to please Him.
The seasonal Wildfire Retreats and Tours that hold predominantly in the United States, but which I hope to introduce soon to Nigeria, will also be affected by Jesus’ ‘simplify your life’ command to me. And so will our global Home and Congregational Church support outreaches.
One thing is clear: I’ve resolved to invest the rest of my life in reaching out only to those I’m sent to; focusing on them; not wasting my efforts on those I’m not sent to.
Of course, this is not going to be easy at all. Just look at the case of Jesus’ encounter with the Syro-Phoenician woman. She was crying out to Jesus, and it was well within His power to help her; but His focus was intense and absolute; so much that He did not answer even a word to her! He kept His focus fixed; He kept His priorities right; He knew who He was sent to. And His is the model I intend to follow. As I move on in my journey and a lot of folks outside my sphere of assignment begin to clamor for my ministerial attention, will I have the discipline to not be drawn into territories the Lord has not assigned me? Will I have the discipline to keep focused on the people group I’m sent to?
The fact, my friend, is that you don’t have forever; your time is limited; your energy is limited. Neither you nor I have been given unlimited time or energy. Everything we have received in this earthly life ― time, money, energy, and so on―is given to us in limited measures. So, we just have to optimize and maximize them. And so instead of trying to get at everybody, I’d rather find out exactly who I’m assigned to and then focus all of my efforts in taking the message and ministry to these particular people.
I believe that God sent me into this world to deliver the Wildfire Message to the consecrated ones: people who, like me have been called and chosen, and have also chosen to devote themselves and their lives exclusively to the Lord. And I believe that when I’m able to focus my efforts on them, those I’m not even sent to will also receive from my work and eventually be blessed.