“The earth is wide but it is God who is supreme.” – Akan proverb
The greater majority of the nation’s populace claim a belief in God. Interestingly, the attitudes we display on a daily basis are so depressing they have led to significant increases in agnosticism and atheism. While is true that such ‘non-believers’ are often imprisoned by emotionalism rather than rationality, the separation of our faith from our lifestyles has played a part and continues to impact their disbelief. It is true that the relationship between belief and action is not always easy, but too many of us do not put in the extra efforts needed to correct our flawed characters. Instead, we labour under the impression that the ‘grace’ associated with our faith should and will correct our defects as we journey on.
Interestingly, professing a belief in God is not the domain of any worldly authority. It is more a result of either a personal experience or acceptance of a set of reasoned arguments handed to us by others. Thus, proclaiming a belief in God is self-determinant. While this free-will is brilliant in itself, it leads many down the self-absorbed path where we misinterpret our belief as an act so noble we can relegate God to the church and prayer-time. We forget that He is time, and always in time and everywhere, including in our lives and endeavours. Thus, if we do not live our lives in accordance to His will or commandments, He is always in the know. Sad as it is, too many of us conduct ourselves in a manner so un-godlike we have developed and project “competitive, unforgiving, destructive, unscrupulous and self-serving” attitudes.
Our forgetfulness of God stems more from the fact that even though we believe in God, trusting Him does not come naturally to many of us. We believe a lot more in the ‘flows-and-means’ of our abilities and relationships than in ‘His time’. The myth of the self-made floats atop our thoughts – so much so we find it difficult to disregard our ambitious attitudes for the modest ones God demands of us. We have bought into the fictional freedom of being what one wants to be when they want to be. Is there any wonder our faith is dichotomised from our lives? Our godly ethos and religious values are often sealed in envelopes for the most part of our everyday interactions and in our relationships.
Professing a belief in God is a noble act. But when there is a separation between your faith and your life, question marks will arise. And it is not just that: that attitude stifles the belief of others. Studies have long held that “our actions are the manifestation of what is on the inside of us’, which means that our actions reveal what is true about us: what we believe, who we serve, and who we love”. In a nutshell, it is said that our actions flow from what is true inside of us. Thus, if we profess a belief in God but our actions contradict His values, then we are being dishonest with ourselves. We are conflicted on the inside. As theology advocates, “the implication of faith is action”. We know this because we understand how believing in something does not always flow into working for our belief. Christian scripture captures it as “so faith by itself, if it has no works, is dead”. But someone will say, “You have faith and I have works. Show me your faith apart from your works, and I by my works will show you my faith”.
There is no point professing a belief in God when you do not trust Him; for He needs us to trust in Him in order to enjoy His promise of peace, prosperity and everlastingness. The notion of trust is why He gave us free-will in the first place. He would prefer He to be your choice than He creating you like a robot to rubberstamp Him. Trusting in Him is more like our key to His perfect generosity and mercy. We are to trust not so much for God’s sake but for ourselves, so that we will not forget His always-on presence and His boundless love for us. Trusting God is a notion whereby we encounter Him in His divine ambience.
In this New Year, we are called to let our belief in God reflect in our works and actions. We are called to let His light shine in us, so we inspire a better life in all lives. It might not be easy but it can be done, because a trust in God makes all things possible. It inspires you to develop the capacity to love unconditionally, to show kindness irrespectively, and to be patient with all people and in all situations.
You seek the truth and rejoice in it, all the while dignifying people you interact with. Trusting God involves an attitude of ‘sacrifice and self-denial’. It is a call to forsake your dream in order to fulfil a dream far bigger than all of the world put together can ever imagine. It breaks your self-absorption and remoulds you as you were created to be – divine. And would you not want to be more divine than human?
Kodwo Brumpon is an author, a life coach and a philanthropist who inspires individuals, groups and organisations to think and feel that which is true, by helping them to positively respond to that which is beautiful while nudging them to let goodness govern their actions.
Comments, suggestions and requests should be sent to him at [email protected]