Why I Reduced The Time I Spend On Facebook

Why I reduced The Time I spend on Facebook

 

Over the course of the last couple of months, I have tried to deliberately reduce the amount of time I spend on Facebook.

Occasionally, you may see status updates on my Facebook wall. This is because my Twitter account is linked to my Facebook account. In the rare occasion that I tweet or retweet a post, that action is replicated on Facebook too! I have tried so much to unlink the two social media accounts no avail, so, I guessed I might as well leave it the way it is.

My decision to reduce my Facebook consumption is backed by a few reasons which you may also want to consider.

 

The Infinite Scroll

The infinite scroll

The way our brains have been wired, we are fascinated by novelty. The moment you pick up your phone to check up what’s going on in your social circle, there’s no predicting what you may find on there.

It may be a friend’s birthday.

Someone might be getting married.

Another one could have just gotten a new job.

And the list goes on and on…

Now, here’s the thing: Facebook is aware of the human psychology and they have designed their interface such that you keep on coming back for more.

How? Through the News Feed that scrolls to infinity.

Let’s try to remember your typical day.

Once you’re online, you come across the first status update.

It doesn’t seem interesting, so you move on to the one below it.

This one seems to be a bit better than the first one, so you give it a like or even comment on it.

Your brain is happy with the satisfaction you got from liking the status or picture, so it urges you to look for even more novelty.

You keep on scrolling and scrolling till you satisfy that itch for even more novelty that never goes away.

By the time you are self-aware again, you’d have discovered that you’ve spent 1 hour doing nothing!

 

The Bullet Theory

The Bullet Theory

Donald Trump has called CNN the Fake News Network on numerous occasions. But long before Trump became President, my friend Samuel, a Mass Communication graduate, was telling me about The Bullet Theory. According to this theory, the masses tend to receive information from the news media like a group of ducks faced with a spray of bullets. But unlike ducks who would attempt to run away from the barrage of gunfire, the populace has learned to receive anything that the mass media gives to them – hook, line and sinker.

With zero resistance. With zero mental processing.

It reminds me of a verse in The Message Bible translation of Romans 8,

“We’re sitting ducks; they pick us off one by one.”

Sometime last year, as I went through Facebook’s Scroll ad Infinitum, I came across a sensational news piece. Since it was novel, I heard a voice in my head.

It said, ‘Click That Post!’.

It so happened that there was a reporter who collapsed as she was giving a live report at some location. This post had thousands of comments and likes. Mine was amongst them too.

Well, being the inquisitive person that I am, I decided to do some background research on this reporter.

Guess what I found?

The story was true…but it was nearly THREE YEARS LATE!!!

Can you believe that?

This news agency had made use of its Facebook page to disseminate sensational, but stale news.

With the Bullet Theory, news agencies are able to use Facebook to infiltrate our hearts and mind. They don’t care about the accuracy of the reports, and sadly, we also have become insensitive to the falsehood and half-truths forced down our throats.

Back in the day, there only used to be so much information to go around. That’s all different now. There’s an abundance of information everywhere. And there’s an unlimited amount of room on Facebook to disseminate this information. In those days, there used to be a cost for getting information wrong, which was you losing your credibility and reputation.

Today, accuracy doesn’t matter anymore. This is because stories can theoretically be corrected, so the reporters pay even less attention to accuracy. And even, if they get the information wrong, they always have the chance to fix the previous story with another one.

Besides, reporters are paid based on the amount of traffic that they are able to generate. That’s the secret behind Facebook pages like INFORMATION NIGERIA, Gossip Mill, amongst others. Many of the admins of these pages generate cash flow that is directly proportional to the amount of human traffic on their Facebook pages. This is why you will continue to see more extreme and exaggerated news, such as,‘Rihanna exposes armpits. CLICK HERE to smell’.

They just want you to click it. That’s it.

I don’t want to be party to that anymore.

 

Cognitive Dissonance: Trust Me, I’m Lying

Why I have reduced the time I spend on Facebook

We live in interesting times. With the advent of picture filters and image quotes, people seem to focus more on their brand, rather than their characters!

People are willing to go great extents all in the name of getting rave reviews and social proofs from their friends on Facebook.

Some months ago, my news feed was pretty much flooded with arguments between Christian brothers. There’s this particular group I joined where I attempted to keep up with the doctrinal arguments they were having there. It was pretty much impossible to simply catch up. You would see hundreds of comments, with each averaging nearly 1000 words.

It made me start wondering:  Where do these guys have the time to study the Bible and pray if they write this much EVERY DAY on Facebook?!

Many times, a vast number of them do not have a solid walk with God. Rather, they prefer to spend their time loading their minds with ‘just-in-case’ information that will be useful for their next social media arguments. And that’s where it ends. They do not walk their talk.

The truth is that God has wired the brain such that it is impossible for you to deceive yourself. And when you talk yourself into doing so, Cognitive Dissonance occurs.

 

Focus Is The New I.Q

Focus is the new IQ

With information at the tip of the finger, one of the few things that would make you stand out from the crowd is your ability to focus on what matters. Except you are one of the few people that make use of Facebook to run a business or cause, you are pretty much wasting units of your life, mindlessly scrolling on Facebook for things that really do not matter.

The other day, a friend was telling me that she learned that EFCC’s Twitter handler had resigned.

Great…! But how does having that information improve our lives?

Someone once said,

What information consumes is rather obvious. It consumes the attention of its recipients; Hence, a wealth of information creates a poverty of attention and a need to allocate that information efficiently amongst the overabundance of information sources that may consume it.

We live in times where there is an abundance of information, but a scarcity of attention. And because attention is scarce, its value has increased tremendously.

Mark my words, one thing that would make you stand out wherever you find yourself would be the undivided attention you devote to ONE course. In fact, that’s the meaning of FOCUS

Follow One Course Until Successful.

Do you really think Mark Zuckerberg, John Maxwell, David Oyedepo, amongst many others spend countless hours of their day on their Facebook News Feed?

I used to be in the trap of accumulating information just for its own sake. I felt it allowed me to be perceived as a smart fellow. However, the truth is that information is useless if it is not applied to something important.

Much of the information on Facebook falls into this category.

You do not need to know everything that is going on around you. If it’s important enough, someone else will tell you eventually.

Advertisements

4 Things I Learned From Taking 1352 Cold Showers

Promise Tewogbola

 

 

Growing up, I remember my mom getting up very early to boil water for my younger brother and I to take our baths. At some point in high school, I stopped doing warm baths. Looking back, it was probably because I was lazy since I would have needed to get up earlier to boil the water myself.

For all my bravado regarding using cold water, it’s funny how I was never tempted to use it during the cold harmattan season. Motivating myself to take my bathto use warm water was a big challenge back then. Numerous times, I considered just snuggling on my bed and not bathing altogether.

Okay. At times, maybe I actually didn’t bath.

So, you can imagine my surprise when, in my sophomore year, a colleague recommended taking cold showers to shake off the morning harmattan cold.

Boy, did it work!

Since then, (with a few exceptions, like the week when I moved into my new apartment and used scalding hot water to shower because I didn’t know better!), I have been taking my bath with cold water and it has been working wonders. In fact, I have been able to pick out a couple of lessons that I gleaned from my cold shower sessions.

Let’s dive in.

 

Discomfort Is Good 

If you are serious about learning and growing to be a better person, you have to be willing to put yourself in uncomfortable situations. A lot of people hear this and the next thing they think about is quitting their jobs or taking one big risk!

It doesn’t work that way.

You have to get accustomed to accumulating smaller victories before going all out to catch the big fishes.

And do you know one way you can start doing that?

That’s right, by taking cold showers.

You see, by taking your bath with cold water, you are conditioning yourself to have patience and endurance. You are learning how to get out of your comfort zone, albeit in a small way.

Let me be clear here: Cold showers are not part of the formula needed to fulfill the purpose and destiny that God has assigned to you. Rather, you will need to stretch outside your comfort zone. And to do this effectively, you will need to patiently endure the discomfort that comes with stretching.

Taking cold showers in the morning is one of the best and safest ways you can be accustomed to the discomfort that accompanies stretching to new terrains.

 

What’s The Worst Thing That Can Happen?

I can assure you that in a typical day, there’s nothing that would be worse than taking a cold shower every morning…especially when the weather is cold!

So, why would I recommend it?

Simple. Because it is the worst thing that would happen to you that day!

When you take a cold shower in the morning, your body doesn’t like it. In fact, every cell in your body would cringe in revolt like water on a hot pan of oil. In the first few seconds, your skin will be like that of goose flesh with bumps covering every square inch. You would probably yell like a soprano singing off-key.

Your body cells do not like the feeling of a cold shower and at that moment you are bathing, your brain sets this experience as the baseline for the worst feeling you would ever experience that day. This is why if you are faced with a tough assignment on the day you take a cold shower, your brain would ask, ‘Is this as bad as taking a cold shower?’. Nine times out of ten, the answer will be ‘No!’ and you will be able to summon up the willpower and motivation needed to go far with the task at hand.

 

Rewired For Crushing Limitations

Since I take cold showers, I brag about it a lot. I know it’s not a virtuous behavior, but which hunter kills an elephant and carries it home through the back door?

Anyways, when the topic comes up, a number of my acquaintances tell me that they CAN’T take cold showers. Not WON’T (i.e., not willing to) but CAN’T (not able to)! When I hear this, I start wondering: Do these people have a medical condition preventing them from touching cold water?

The excuse that is often given for not taking cold showers is the idea that they will make you fall ill. Actually, cold showers will make you less likely to fall ill. The only things that can make you fall ill are disease-causing organisms called pathogens. Cold showers reduce uric acid levels while boosting glutathione levels in your blood. The overall effect? Less stress and a general feeling of well-being.

Elementary science stuff.

Here’s the thing: When you take cold showers, you begin the process of conditioning yourself to have a limitation-challenging mindset. As I’ve said before, the body hates cold showers and if you try to rationalize with it, you will get myriads of reasons why you shouldn’t take cold showers. However, you need to realize that you are not under the control of your body. Rather, your body is under your control! You are its boss and you need to stand your ground and tell it what to do.

Developing this habit is crucial because once you are able to rise above the limitations that your own body is suggesting to you, every other kind of limitation is reduced to dust.

 

Proper Breathing

Despite the fact that I am already a pro at cold showers, this is a part that I still struggle with a bit.

The truth is that a lot of us have forgotten how to breathe properly. Take a look at the way a baby breathes when it’s asleep. Notice how they breathe deeply and contentedly.

Sadly, as we grow older, we grow accustomed to taking short and shallow breaths.

When you take short and shallow breaths, your body starts anticipating stress and as a result, there is a spike in your cortisol levels. On the other hand, when you breathe like a baby, your body tells itself that everything will be alright and you are able to relax.

When I take cold showers, I normally gasp at the first impact of cold water on my skin. However, with each passing moment I spend under the cold water, I am able to convert the gasping into deliberate deep breathing. As a result, when I am done showering I feel relaxed and cheerful.

The benefit of this? By practicing how to deep breathe during cold showers, you will be able to teach yourself to calm down deliberately, especially during stressful moments that you may encounter during the course of your day.

 

Do you take cold showers too and have other lessons or benefits that you want to share?

Comment below and let’s rub minds together!!!

Low Information Diet: The Breakfast of Champions

I read a lot of books because I write a lot…

Or maybe I write a lot because I read a lot.

Oliver Wendell Holmes once said, “A mind that is stretched by a new experience can never go back to its old dimensions”. Since books are compendiums of experiences, it is safe to assume that reading books can stretch the mind into new frontiers.

Last year was a great year of reading for me…I think I read about 50 – 60 books.

Pretty impressive, right?

However, I am starting to find out that I had been going about reading books the wrong way. I realized that I was focusing on ‘just-in-case’ information, rather than ‘just-in-time’ information. ‘Just-in-case’ information leads to action paralysis which is often due to mental clutter fluttering through the mind. You’re merely accumulating information just for its sake. You really don’t need that!

What you need is ‘Just-in-time’ information which would give you a competitive advantage over anything that life may throw at you.

 

David and Saul

Image result for david and goliath

When reading the story of David and Goliath, many people fail to realize that the war between the Israelites and the Philistines was that prolonged because of ‘Just-in-case’ information.

Take a look at the following verses from 1 Samuel 17:1-7, 16.

“Now the Philistines gathered together their armies to battle, and were gathered together at Shochoh, which belongeth to Judah, and pitched between Shochoh and Azekah, in Ephesdammim. And Saul and the men of Israel were gathered together, and pitched by the valley of Elah, and set the battle in array against the Philistines. And the Philistines stood on a mountain on the one side, and Israel stood on a mountain on the other side: and there was a valley between them. And there went out a champion out of the camp of the Philistines, named Goliath, of Gath, whose height was six cubits and a span. And he had an helmet of brass upon his head, and he was armed with a coat of mail; and the weight of the coat was five thousand shekels of brass. And he had greaves of brass upon his legs, and a target of brass between his shoulders. And the staff of his spear was like a weaver’s beam; and his spear’s head weighed six hundred shekels of iron: and one bearing a shield went before him…

…And the Philistine drew near morning and evening, and presented himself forty days.

How were the Israelites able to measure Goliath’s height with stunning accuracy? Six cubits…and a span. It doesn’t get more accurate than that!

How were they able to know that his helmet was made of brass, and his coat made of mail…without even touching him?

How were they able to know that Goliath’s spear weighed six hundred shekels of iron, or that his coat weighed five thousand shekels of brassall the way from the mountain where they were standing?

All these unnecessary information kept the Israelites captive to one man. For 40 days!!!

If they had put down their compasses, set squares, French curves and protractors, and simply got down to attacking the Philistine army, they might have had a shot at winning the battle.

If you can take this, you would be on the right path of simplifying your life greatly: Not every information is important!

I know this post started with mere accumulation of information from books, but it’s much more than that!

There are several of you reading this right now, who have been held captive to information overload from gossip blogs and news sites. For others, it is their Facebook feeds and emails. Still, others more (including yours’ sincerely), it is your favorite football team. You know your team’s latest scores, their transfer targets and the jersey numbers of everyone on the team – including the B team!

Regardless of the type of information, our minds are just being bombarded time and time again with ‘just-in-case’ information that we do not need.

I mean, who gives a rip about whether Kim Kardashian was really tanned or not?

How is knowing ‘the number of times Jon was stabbed when he was murdered at Castle Black’ going to benefit you?

Who cares whether EFCC has the best Twitter handler ever?

Not every information is important!

Goliath was trending and David didn’t even know!

This simple fact of David choosing to be ignorant about Goliath’s attributes and well-informed about the attributes of God positioned him for victory. What Saul and the Israelites saw as too big to defeat, David saw as too big to miss!

 

The Tetris Effect

Image result for tetris effect

If you’re old enough, I am sure you should be familiar with Tetris. You know, that game where you had to arrange falling blocks into empty pockets of space at the lower part of your game screen. If you were not able to do this fast enough and the blocks got to the high enough to stop more blocks from falling, it was game over.

Well, some scientists decided to have some more fun with this game.

So, they got a bunch of Tetris lovers and made them play the game for extended periods of time – up to hours a day for weeks!

Here’s the interesting thing that happened next.

The gamers started seeing everything around them like, wait for it…falling blocks!!!

It was terrible. I can almost imagine one of the participants just sitting there chilling and busy figuring out the kind of block that would fit into the space between two cars following each other!

However, you shouldn’t be surprised with the findings. The Bible had been right all this while and it’s always nice to see science finally catching up with the Word.

Whatever you focus on continually would manifest in your life!

This is why Proverbs 4:23 says, ‘Keep thy heart with all diligence; for out of it are the issues of life.’

A lot of people are not are not diligent with what they allow to go into their hearts. This can happen in two major ways:

  1. A lot of people are focused on all the wrong things. We are all aware that if you focus on the negatives, you would lead a stifled life. I’m not going to dwell too much on this.
  2. A lot of people are focused on too many right things at the same time! I’m more concerned about this second way because it is much more prevalent in our day and time.

Back in the days, I used to think it was cool to be focused on so many things at the same time. In fact, I used to pride myself on my ability to multitask because I had multiple talents. However, if you go through the path of trying your hands on everything you come across, you would find yourself living under the illusion of being an expert when in the real sense, you are not. It would also force you to be spread out too thin – since you are simply trying your hands on everything and not spectacular in anything. Man was not made to be spread out thin. Rather, he was created to have depth!

This is why I say multitasking is the highway to mediocrity because the only thing you become good at doing is doing multiple things poorly!

 

There Is A Better Way

Image result for bible talks about me

I have said it before – God is The God of Principles.

Sadly, we live in a generation that gets the order of God wrong every single time:

We first try to accumulate the information we think we need and then we try to ask God to approve our agenda. When we find out that the agenda does not work out, we dump it somewhere in the recesses of our brain – alongside the information we gathered with it.

Wasting precious time and mental resources.

And then, we look for the next shiny information source to consume.

The cycle always repeats itself again!

Listen up: God is deliberate.

I do not think He created us to be Jacks of all trades, and masters of none.

Just the same way each cell in our bodies has a specific purpose which contributes to the general well-being of the body, I believe every individual has something specific to contribute to God’s wonderful ongoing story of creation.

The only way to find that specific purpose that God wants you to do with your life is to ask Him to reveal this to you. Only then would it make sense to start accumulating as much information as possible on your highly specific assignment.

We were not created to be spread out thin like shrubs. Rather, God designed us to be trees with depth in Him.

Find your purpose in Him first!

Then you can start building depth in God through the Word and cultivating expertise through accumulating “just-in-time” information within that narrow niche.

God bless.

 

Who Died And Made You God?

Within the space of two weeks, two different people within my circle of influence were visibly shaken by other people’s opinions about them. One moment, we were talking and jesting, the very next moment, they were wrapped with so much doubt and uncertainty in themselves. What I found most appalling is the fact that nobody had been physically present to make them feel bad.

I can empathize since I was once a victim too.

I had always attached a large importance to what people thought about me. In fact, in a bid to maintain my “Nice Guy” persona, I went to great lengths to conform to other people’s expectations of me. Not only did this leave me in the quagmire of mediocrity, I was also constantly overwhelmed and frustrated, because I was spread out too thin, trying to “meet up with the standard”.

Right now, God has cultivated me to the point where I really could not give a rip about your opinions of me.

Remember this?

By the way, you can still get your copy by clicking on the picture above!

Anyways, I may still have tendencies to be shy in a new environment, but I am secure in the love of the Father to know that He’s got me – any day, any time. Of course, by now, you should know that one of my favorite Scriptures I like to quote about this matter is John 12:3-5:

Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into his hands, and that he was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside his garments; and took a towel, and girded himself. After that he poureth water into a bason, and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith he was girded.”

Are you like the way I used to be? Frustrated and overwhelmed with meeting up with the opinions of others? Pay attention to the following practical tips that may be helpful in helping you to a life of freedom and abundance – just as God wants it!

 

The Father, The Son And The…Donkey!

Image result for smiling donkey

I’m sure I’ve heard Ebenezer Obey sing a song about the story I am about to share. Ah! The good ol’ days…

But I digress.

So, there was this old man who had a son and a donkey. They were apparently going on a long journey and the father put the boy on the donkey, while he walked by the side. As they moved along, they passed some old women sitting in the shade. One of the women called out (I’m pretty sure she was a Yoruba woman), ”Ahhhhhh…..Shame on you, a fully fit boy, riding while your old father is walking. What is this world turning to? Ahhhh….the children of nowadays!”

The man and boy decided that maybe the critics were right, so they swapped positions.

Later as they passed by a group of mothers watching their young children play by the river. One (Yoruba woman, of course!) cried out in protest, ” Ahhhhh….eh!!! Oooooooo!!! Ahnahn! Ahnhan! Ahnhan! Wat hapin na? How can you make your little boy walk under this terribly hot sun while you ride! Ahnhan…don’t you have any conscience?”

So, what did the duo do? They simply decided that maybe it would be in their best interest to walk.

Next, they met some young Warri men hanging out.

“Oboi! See craze o! You guys have a healthy donkey to ride on, and yet you’re both walking!” one of them shouted.

So, both the old man and his son climbed the donkey.

Then they met a group of Animal lovers….

Of course, one of them shouted, “You people are so mean! Imagine you were the donkey, how would you feel carrying two people on your back?”

The old man and the boy saw that there was clearly no way out of their ‘predicament’, so they struggled to carry the donkey.

As they crossed a bridge, they lost their grip on the really confused animal and it fell to its death in the river!

This is pretty much the first lesson to be learnt: Irrespective of what you do, people would always talk about you!

If you do something, they would talk. If you refuse to do anything, they would still talk. It makes absolutely no difference if you do anything or not, because people would always find a way to still talk about whatever you do.

Funny enough, in my experience, I was able to find freedom to live above people’s opinions of me the moment I realized that opinions would still be formed – regardless of what I do. If that’s that’s the case, I might as well go ahead with what I feel God is leading me to do per time!

 

Nothing Has Meaning, Except The Meaning You Give To It

Image result for janus optical illusion

Some days ago, I wrote the following on my Facebook wall:

“All human phenomena are absurd outside context. E.g, money: ‘Give me this Ferrari and I’ll give you a piece of paper with digits. Deal?'”

I was with a person who posted Christian content on his personal Facebook wall.

Now, that would not have really mattered, except when you consider the fact that this person is a highly-placed individual in a very secular community. So, naturally, some people started criticizing him for posting such content.

That really got to him.

I mean, it’s not like he shared some nudity or pornographic images on his Facebook timeline. He only shared a few encouraging lines from the Bible and he was being criticized for it?

If you look at the issue the way I have started seeing things, you’d realize that some things do not even make sense at all, except you decide to read meanings. Everyone accesses social media via their phones and laptops and if you are working yourself up because someone criticizes you on social media, in the ‘realest‘ sense, you are actually getting worked up with your phone! Whoever is criticizing you online is not in the same room with you, and there is no need for you to waste mental energy rehearsing your rebuttal in your mind. There is simply no time for that!

I remember a story I heard while growing up. Now, don’t quote me anywhere because I’m not sure whether it’s fact or fiction.

So, this witch went to a party and she was served jollof rice and fried rice – topped with chicken wings. She took offense and some days later, she started afflicting the family who organized the party. One way or the other, the witch was soon found out and she was asked why she decided to afflict the family.

Her response? Her rice was topped with chicken wings, instead of chicken thighs!

While some of you might laugh at the story I just shared, a lot of you reading this post are just the same way. In fact, so many would be offended if they went to a party and were served water, instead of juice or wine. They would forget that water is probably the healthiest liquid you can drink. Rather, they would think that they have just received the worst insult that any human could possibly endure!

Don’t even get me started with those who feel offended because someone handed something over to them with their left hand – instead of the right hand….

 

Receive Understanding To Tie It All Together

You would not believe it (just kidding!), but God has an opinion.

He has an opinion about everything – and He has His opinion about you!

If there was ever an opinion you need to highly consider in your life – that opinion is God’s.

This is where Understanding comes in play.

You see, Understanding is a supernatural discernment and perception of reality from God’s point of view. In essence, it is perceiving and accepting God’s opinion about things, people and places per time.

The truth is that with Understanding, it is impossible for you to be confounded, depressed, confused or at a loss. Why? You have the benefit of a supernaturally elevated perception – one that is backed by the very breath of God. By understanding, you are tuned into the dynamics of the spirit and your comprehension of actions, events and intentions becomes razor-sharp.

To me, the most outstanding feature of understanding is that it is applicable to EVERY aspect of your life. That includes your physical well-being, career, social life, relationships, spiritual walk with God, emotional intelligence, financial health and so on.

Proverbs 8:9 says, ‘They are ALL plain to him that understandeth’

Understanding makes all things plain to an individual.

Understanding is all-encompassing.

When it’s in full manifestation in your life, you understand the ways and timings of God, you undestand people, you understand things, and most importantly, you’d understand how God sees you.

He sees you as righteous.

He sees you as anointed.

He sees you as wise.

He sees you as forgiven.

God sees you as beloved!

The more you focus on God’s perspective of you, the more you can walk in the full awareness of God’s love – without anybody’s opinions holding you to ransom!

And if they try, you can look them squarely in the eyes and ask them, “Who Died And Made You God?!”

 

Understanding Understanding

When compared with what has already been said about Wisdom and Knowledge in Christendom today, it’s a bit surprising to find out not so much has been said about understanding, in spite of the fact that the Word says so much about it.

In the Parable of The Sower, Jesus says that the Word will not profit you in the absence of Understanding.

‘When any one heareth the word of the kingdom, and understandeth it not, then cometh the wicked one, and catcheth away that which was sown in his heart…’ (Matthew 13:21).

Understanding is deeper than what you think it is and we’d be trusting our Teacher to put us in the right path to understanding Understanding.

One of the most direct definitions of Understanding is found in Proverbs 9:10. It says, ‘The fear of the LORD is the beginning of wisdom: and the knowledge of the holy is understanding’

We’re more concerned with the second portion of that verse: ‘…the knowledge of the holy is understanding’

Now, I’m aware that some translations render that verse as ‘…the knowledge of the Holy One…’, but I believe that such translations are a bit limiting. We’d appreciate why shortly.

Understanding means possessing the knowledge of the holy, therefore, we need to know what ‘holy’ means before possess its knowledge.

So, what then is the meaning of ‘holy’?

Being holy simply means being set apart for God, by God.

However, nothing can be holy without God because God is the only one with the attribute of being holy and He’s the only One capable of inputing the attribute of being holy.

This inputing happens via the presence of God.

Throughout the scriptures, it is apparent that the Presence of God is what makes a place, a thing or a person…and even a particular time, holy.

For instance, the place where the burning bush burnt in Exodus 3:5 was not said to be holy AFTER Moses’ encounter with God. Neither was the place where Joshua met with the captain of the Lord’s hosts in Joshua 5:15 referred anymore as holy after the encounter. All these places became holy as a result of God’s manifested presence!

Great! But what does this have to do with understanding?

A lot, actually.

Since God is too big to lie (Titus 1:2), whatever He says is Truth. And whatever He declares as holy by His Presence becomes just that!

So, when you have understanding, you suddenly become highly perceptive to whatever, wherever, whoever God has marked and vetted with His Presence per time!

You become highly sensitive to realities of the Ultimate Truth from God’s point of view per time!

What do you think made the men of Issachar stand out from among their peers?

‘And the children of Issachar, which were men that had understanding of the times, to know what Israel ought to do…’ (1 Chronicles 12:32)

They were sensitive to what God was doing in Israel per time. They had picked up on their receivers that in the NOW agenda of God, David was the one who has been vetted by God to be Israel’s king. As a result, they broke camp with Saul and joined David.

When Understanding is established in your heart, you cannot be stranded!

When Understanding possesses you, you cannot be at a loss, neither can you be confused!

Rather, you’d find yourself in step with God and always one step ahead of what the devil, circumstances or the world throws at you.

Today, we live in a world where there’s a dearth of men and women of understanding and the Father is earnestly seeking and searching for men and women who would avail their hearts to stay sensitive to the realities from His point of view.

Would you be part of them?

Security In The Audience Of One

When it comes to forming opinions about ourselves, a lot of us are very sensitive to what others say about us.

News flash: Every single person would form an opinion about you, whether you do something or remain nothing!

Personally, I experienced first-hand the truth of that statement. You see, in a bid to become a ‘people person’, I was becoming a ‘people pleaser’.

For a while, I thought it worked. Everyone seemed to like me – males, females, seniors and juniors…

…that was until The Woman entered the picture.

Really, there’s was nothing I could do to please this woman!

It seemed as if she took pleasure in embarassing and humiliating me with every chance she got.

Back then, I didn’t understand, neither did I appreciate the lesson she was inadvertently teaching me.

Eight years later, it’s crystal clear.

You’d lose sight of yourself if you try to conform into other people’s opinion of you.

At that young age, I had been unconsciously trying to be the nice guy that did not want to offend anybody.

I didn’t want to disappoint the ‘expectations’ that other people had of me.

So, I put unnecessary pressure on myself to ‘perform’ and meet up with the opinions of others.

I most likely would have continued to tread down that path today, were it not for the intervention of THAT woman!

The lesson was driven home while I was meditating on some verses I came across many years back.

‘Jesus knowing that the Father had given all things into His hands, and that He was come from God, and went to God; He riseth from supper, and laid aside His garments; and took a towel, and girded Himself. After that He poureth water into a bason and began to wash the disciples’ feet, and to wipe them with the towel wherewith He was girded’ (John 13:3-5).

Wow!

Jesus could perform the menial task of washing His disciples’ feet because He knew Who He was.

He was secure in the fact that all things had been given to Him.

Jesus didn’t feel pressured to meet up with the standards that were expected of a highly respected Rabbi.

As long as Jesus knew He was doing what the Father was doing per time (John 5:19), He didn’t give a rip about the opinions of anybody else – be it the Pharisees, the multitude, the Gentiles or even His disciples.

Look, we all know that doctors wear ward coats. But I tell you the truth, a ward coat without the doctor is just another piece of cloth. It’s the doctor in himself that gives value to the ward coat!

Similarly, when you make up your mind to see yourself the way God sees you, no one’s opinions matter anymore.

You’d secure yourself in God’s Love for you.

You’d develop an outlook on life that remains the same, regardless of people’s criticisms or approvals.

You won’t live your life trying to conform to other people’s expectations and opinions of you.

Rather, you’d get into the Word and walk in the reality of how God sees you right now.

Granted, you might make mistakes and errors of judgement along the line.

You might get it wrong at times and make a big mess of things.

People would not see eye-to-eye with you on so many issues.

So what? Big deal!

I assure you, as long as you secure yourself in God’s Love for you, you’d have what it takes to learn from the experiences and move on.

Jesus was secure because He only had an audience of One – His Father.

You’d also find security too, when you come to the realization that, ultimately, only One Person’s opinion matters, and that’s God’s!

The Power of Broken Windows

In the field of criminology, researchers discovered that communities that had buildings with broken windows also had higher petty crime rates.

This led to a very interesting question:

Are the petty crime rates in the community causing more windows to be broken, or the broken windows in the community are attracting more criminals?

It’s pretty much like the ‘Chicken-Egg Paradox’. What comes first: the Chicken or the Egg?

Regardless of what the cause is, broken windows in a comnunity is always associated with lawlessness and crime. As a result, broken windows in the community attract more petty criminals that would break more windows which would attract even more criminals that would break even more windows…this can go on and on, but hopefully, you got my point!

Interestingly, in spite of the resources and efforts spent on improving the intervention and number of law enforcement agents, the antics of petty criminals in the community continued to be on the rise.

For some odd reasons, however, the researchers noticed that as soon as the broken windows were fixed in a community, criminals stopped associating the area with lawlessness – and as a result, crime rates dropped drastically! The fixed windows exuded the presence of law and order, and as a result, the criminals stopped perceiving the comnunity as a crime hotspot.

These findings make up the backbone of what’s now called the ‘Broken Window’ theory.

What’s more? The Bible had been telling us the same thing for a while now.

A classic example is the case of King Saul in 1 Samuel 10:10,

‘And when they came thither to the hill, behold, a company of prophets met him; and the Spirit of God came upon him, and he prophesied among them’

A similar story can be found in 1 Samuel 19:18-24, where not only Saul, but 3 groups of messengers started prophesying by virtue of being where the company of prophets were.

Great! So, how does this relate to me?

It’s simple. There is power in association!

Your associations would go a long way in determining the quality of your experience.

If you decide to associate yourself with 5 prayerful people, soon, you’d be the sixth.

If you associate with 5 millionaires, with time, you’d be the sixth.

It also follows that if you associate with 5 idiots, soon, you’d be the [fill in the gap].

If you don’t like where you’re standing now, check yourself out, you might just be associating yourself with the wrong crowd.

Think BIG!

pdm 5

Many people cannot think big.

Fact.

Today, it’s not uncommon to hear youths making remarks like, ‘I really hope I can get a decent job when I graduate’ or ‘I hope I will be able to make enough money to pay my bills and stuff.’

Rarely would you hear a young person say, ‘By God’s grace, I see myself making millions before I’m 25’

I get nauseous when I hear things like that, because getting a decent job, or making enough money to pay your bills isn’t even the biggest thing you can do with your life!

Sadly, many people are going to live mediocre lives, far below God’s best, because they’ve set the bar very low for themselves.

Psalms 78:41 says, ‘Yea, they turned back and tempted God and limited the Holy One of Israel.’

When I was in secondary school, I used to write the following words across the front cover of all my notebooks:

‘Sky is the beginning, God is the Limit’

Clearly, in the light of Psalm 78:41, that was a very toxic thought that could have potentially limited what I could receive from God.

If I had persisted in that way of thinking and had managed to see some level of ‘success’, I would still have fallen short of the richness and vastness His plans for my life.

Listen to this: God never was, never is, and never will be your limitation.

In fact, it works the other way around.

If there’s any variable in the equation…you are the cause!

I don’t mean to condemn you. I’m just pointing you to the answer.

You really need to renew your mind (Romans 12:2)!

Many of us think that renewing our minds merely means changing your way of thinking so as to lead a righteous life.

Renewing your mind is far more than that. It also means changing your perspective of God, so you’d see Him for who He really is.

God is BIG.

His thoughts are BIG.

He thinks about YOU.

And His thoughts about YOU are BIG!

Why would you want to limit what God can do in your life because of your small-picture thinking?

You’ve not been thinking big, and that’s why you’re dissatisfied with where you are.

You’re made for more than your current experience, and that’s why you’re looking for a change in your current situation.

Why not change your thinking and start to discover the plans that the LORD GOD has for you.

Start seeing yourself for who you are in the sight of God: His Righteousness.

Start seeing God for who He really is: The Almighty Potentate.

Start seeing your situation for what it really is: Temporal.

Think BIG and watch your life turn around for the best…just as He has planned it to be!

 

Mirror Image