One thing I’ve learned during my time here is that many Africans who claim to be believers are actually involved in a “Jesus +” faith. They will take Christ as their Helper and Savior, but they will also continue to go to witch doctors and pray to their ancestors for help. Several of the children and adults that we minister to are wearing some sort of charm (around their waist, wrist, or neck) that they have gotten from a witch doctor to ward off evil spirits, and many of them pray to their ancestors, believing they are their connection to God.
This is why it is important to constantly emphasize Christ’s supremacy.
When telling stories of Jesus’ time on earth, we almost always point out how His power proves Him to be God.
Jesus calming the storm: power over creation.
Jesus healing the leper: power over disease.
Jesus raising Lazarus: power over death.
No charm or potion from a witch doctor (or ‘Sangomas’, as they call them) can give the ability to conquer disease and death. Only Christ, in His perfect sacrifice, can do so. And this is what we preach.
I think Tullian Tchividjian said it best when discussing Colossians…
“The Apostle Paul wrote to show the superiority of Christ over all human philosophies, traditions, personalities, and accomplishments. He wrote to remind Christians of what they already possess in Christ. He wants us to understand that everything we need, in Christ, we have—everything! All the freedom, security, acceptance, affection, approval, validation, protection, cleansing, righteousness and rescue we crave, in Christ, we already own. This frees us to live a life of radical generosity, risk, sacrifice, courage and loss. Because our identity, worth, and value doesn’t depend on our success, but Christ’s success for us, we can live life going to the back not getting to the front. We’re free, in other words, to become small.”
As I read this quote and meditate on all that God has done for me, I cannot think of a better reaction than to make myself small as I make much of Him.
“Proclaim the power of God, whose majesty is over Israel, whose power is in the heavens. You, God, are awesome in Your sanctuary; the God of Israel gives power and strength to His people. Praise be to God!” Psalm 68:34-35
Jesus saving me: power over sin, guilt and death.
People tend to put missionaries on a pedestal because of their obedience and sacrifice. And I understand. My heroes of the faith are the ones who risk it all for the glory of God. I am inspired and convicted as I learn their stories of how God worked through them, and long to follow their example of radical selflessness.
Then I am reminded that they have nothing more than I do – than any of us in Christ do. Because in Christ we have all that we need to live out our faith; all that we need to obey Him. His resurrection power working through us proves that He will equip those He calls.
“Now to Him who is able to do immeasurably more than all we ask or imagine, according to His power that is at work within us, to Him be glory in the church and in Christ Jesus throughout all generations, for ever and ever! Amen.” Ephesians 3:20-21
So we can go, we can risk, and we can obey, knowing that He has gone before us and His power is working in us.
What will you risk today to see God glorified?