Fundamental to the issue of recovery, is your sense of value
If you think that something is valuable, receiving it would be regarded as gain, whereas you would consider it a loss if it’s taken from you; otherwise, it really wouldn’t matter. So, it is your sense of value that determines what you would regard as gain, and what you would regard as loss.
Your sense of gain and loss, is derived from your sense of value.
Your sense of value will determine what you will neglect, what you will protect, and what you will fight for. If something is extremely valuable – to the point of being a matter of life and death – and you are not aware of its value, you will neglect it; you will not protect it; you will not fight for it. As a result, and particularly if you have a smart foe, you will definitely lose that thing. Furthermore, because you may not even consider it a loss, you would never seek to recover it.
Thus, the very first thing to cultivate in order to recover all that you’ve lost, is a sound and wholesome sense of value. This will then enable you to appreciate what is actually a loss and what is not. And, let me quickly point out that when I say ‘sound and wholesome sense of value’, I’m referring to God’s own sense of value – the only one that is pure and faultless.
The Lord does not look at the things man looks at
So, let’s begin with the very fundamental and vital issue of cultivating a godly sense of value.
7 But the Lord said to Samuel, “Do not consider his appearance or his height, for I have rejected him. The Lord does not look at the things man looks at. Man looks at the outward appearance, but the Lord looks at the heart.”
~ 1 Samuel 16:7
God looks at – He prefers, or places a higher value on – the heart: the spiritual, the invisible, the intangible. Human beings, on the other hand, look at – prefer, or place a higher value on – the outward appearance: the earthly, the visible, the intangible.
The point: God’s sense of value – His scale of preference and priorities – is diametrically opposed to that of human beings. As a matter of fact, Jesus Christ emphatically stated that what is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
13 “No servant can serve two masters. Either he will hate the one and love the other, or he will be devoted to the one and despise the other. You cannot serve both God and Money.”
14 The Pharisees, who loved money, heard all this and were sneering at Jesus. 15 He said to them, “You are the ones who justify yourselves in the eyes of men, but God knows your hearts. What is highly valued among men is detestable in God’s sight.
~ Matthew 16:13-15
The natural man is materialistic
Materialism comes from ‘matter’, a reference to the visible and tangible. Matter has measurable weight and quantity. It occupies space and exerts pressure on its environment. And, make no mistake about this, matter has its own glory; it can dazzle; it can blind. Matter is intrinsically seductive to the senses, simply because it’s sensual. The moment you fall under the spell of matter, and begin to value it over non-matter, for instance money over God, or a person’s body over their spirit, you have become materialistic; trapped in materialism. This produces a warped and perverted sense of value – a mind that, as Paul wrote, is hostile to God, and cannot please God.
“The sinful mind is hostile to God. It does not submit to God’s law, nor can it do so.”
You may want to ask, “Pastor Favour, are you in any manner suggesting that a materialistic mind is a sinful mind?”
Absolutely! The moment you begin to place a higher value on matter than the invisible and intangible virtues of God, your mind becomes corrupted and loses it’s capacity to submit to God’s law.
Materialism, like the physical force of gravity, ties your soul to the sensual plane; the realm of frustration, stress, depression, and strife; the realm of ignorance, human knowledge, and satanic wisdom. Satan easily manipulates and controls the sensual plane. And this sensual realm is marked by spiritual stagnation, often wickedly masked as material success.
Materialism, an anti-God sense of value, can manifest in various forms
Several years ago, about two years after I had dropped out of the University to answer God’s call on my life, I was offered an ‘opportunity’ to travel to the USA on a scholarship. I say ‘opportunity’, not because I regarded it as such, but because folks around me thought so. The reason they thought so was that, as far as the human eyes could see at the time, my ministry was nothing more than 15 teenagers, regarded by their parents and the neighborhood as riffraff. Our meeting place was an open field, because we couldn’t afford the 50 naira (about 30 cents) monthly rent for the school classrooms! So, I was regarded as a confused, ignorant, and deluded religious freak. I was considered a disgraceful failure by friends and family.
Consequently, many who knew about the offer felt I should have jumped at it.
Just think about it: On one hand was a ministry of 15 ‘ragtag’ teenagers; on the other hand was this ‘glorious opportunity’ to fly to the USA to study in a prestigious Christian University. When I declined the offer, people thought I was nuts.
Of course, I wasn’t nuts; I knew exactly what I was doing. That offer wasn’t an opportunity. It wasn’t even a temptation. Frankly speaking, it also wasn’t a distraction. As far as I was concerned, it was a piece of thrash. In the eyes of men, however, I had missed an opportunity. Nevertheless, the way I saw it, and certainly the way the Holy Spirit saw it, my work in that neighborhood, working with those youths, was far more valuable in God’s sight than flying to America.
More recently, during a ministry trip to USA, I was scheduled to speak to a group of about 12 pastors that met weekly for early morning prayers at an indoor Ice Hockey hall. The meeting was by 7:00 am on a Friday. Not long after I had committed to speaking to those pastors, a men’s group from a large church, and numbering about 300, heard about my visit and approached my host requesting that I come and speak in their business meeting. Their meeting was also by 7:00 am on the same Friday that I was already scheduled to speak to the 12 pastors. My host suggested that we reschedule the pastors’ meeting. His reason was that the men’s group was a larger audience, and they were influential business men in the county. Gently, but firmly, I told him that we were already committed to speaking to the pastors, and that we would honor that commitment. The way I saw it, these were men of God; besides, I had already given them my word.
In the eyes of man, 300 men may have been a larger number than 12. In the eyes of God, however, integrity on my part in honoring a previous commitment to 12 men and women of God, weighed far more than 300 executive and influential business men.
We went rather to the 12 pastors; and God was pleased.
My experience in ministry so far has been that, for the most part, teenagers, women, and young adults are more affected by my ministry than any other group. And, lots of times, I find myself with small groups of them, because I’ve often been called by the Lord to leave a ‘more successful’ level of ministry to start from zero. Also, when sophisticated elites listen to my tapes, read my articles, or hear me speak, they often make comments like “Pastor Favour, the wisdom in you is too high to be ‘wasted’ on a mere handful of people. You should seriously consider reaching out to a larger and more dignifying audience.”
I get it. What they mean is that, rather than pouring God’s precious insight into the lives of young people who have no status in the society, I should go to so-called big men and women that are wealthy in this world’s goods. They mean that rather than speaking faithfully to a group of 5 ordinary boys and girls, I should prefer a stadium-full crowd of high society elites. I get it; and I think its plain silly; it’s simply ridiculous. Frankly, the smell of materialism is odious!
God’s sense of value
Take a look at how God thinks: He created an entire universe just for one man! He didn’t think it was wasteful. Why, then, should I consider it wasteful when I’m pouring all that I know into a single individual?
Jesus Christ sat by the well and waited for a woman; a single woman who had been married 5 times, and was presently living with a man that wasn’t her husband. He didn’t think He was wasting His time on her. Moreover, He spoke some of His most famous and memorable words of wisdom and insight to that audience of one promiscuous woman. That, my friend, is how God thinks. One promiscuous Samaritan woman was worth all His time and wisdom. Do you think she would have been worth yours?
Phillip, by the Holy Spirit, left an extraordinarily successful ministry in Samaria – some estimate the crowd was over 200,000 strong – to go to a lonely Gaza strip on a mission to one man. He left a crowd of 200,000 in a city for just one man on a lonely desert strip. Who would do that today? Would you? But, that’s God’s sense of value in action.
The entire 28 chapters of the book of Acts was a letter written by Dr. Luke to a lone man – his name (or, probably official title) was Theophilus. Did Luke think that was too much for just one reader? Was he thinking in terms of being a New York Times bestselling author, or was he thinking about reaching one individual with the gospel? Unlike the carnal man’s warped sense of value, God puts a premium on every individual human soul.
The first and second books of Timothy were letters written to one young man by Paul. The entire book of Titus was a letter from Paul to an individual; so was the book of Philemon. He never thought for a second that those letters were too much for the single individuals they were meant for.
In the past year alone, I have published two books — over 110,000 words; I think of them more as letters to the inner circle of my ministry, than books to the whole world. They are on Amazon.com and other outlets alright, but I’m talking about my perspective; about my mindset; how I see things.
Lord renew my mind
The carnal mind equates size with success. He is intimidated and swayed by scale. The saying ‘He that pays the piper dictates the tune’ puts it so succinctly: man is ruled by money. This is materialism.
If I may ask, do you share God’s sense of value? Are you yet a partaker of His glorious nature?
As I noted earlier, if you want to recover all that you have lost, all that satan has stolen from you, you must begin by renewing your mind to line up with God’s sense of value. This will then enable you to appreciate what is actually a loss and what is not.
10 Create in me a pure heart, O God,
and renew a steadfast spirit within me.
~ Psalm 51:10