Have you ever fallen asleep while driving—either in reality or in a dream? Did you know that it is easy falling asleep spiritually without knowing it? Did you know that religious activities are not the primary determinants of vigilance?
For many, the issue is not the reality of Christianity; it is the price of commitment. In "The Pursuit of Commitment", Ogweno ingenuously presents principles of commitment to equip Christians to live a dynamic life, serving the Lord. His practical approach doesn’t leave you wondering what to do next. He helps you see the dangers of complacency and prescribes inspirational strategies to invigorate your passion.
This book will test your vigilance. If you are asleep, it will wake you up; if you are drowsy, it will shake you into alertness; if you are awake, it will cheer you on to a more passionate vitality.
TEMPTATION RESISTED IS PROMOTION REGISTERED
Esther: A Story of Beauty for Intercession
The exiled Jews were in danger. The story started when Queen Vashti rejected King Ahasuerus’ (also called Xerxes) command to have her wear her royal crown and be brought before him to display her beauty. That the queen would refuse the orders of the king was a very remote thing to anticipate. In anger, the king and his advisers decided to demote Queen Vashti and her place taken by another beautiful woman—the most beautiful that could be found.
Esther, a Jewess won the beauty contest for she was lovely and beautiful—she was crowned the new Queen. It happened that Haman, one of the high ranking officials of the king, didn’t like the Jews, especially Mordecai whom he didn’t know was related to Esther, the new Queen. In fact, it was Mordecai who brought up the orphaned Esther (Est. 2:7). Haman had schemed to annihilate the Jews, starting with Mordecai.
As Haman put his last acts together to have Mordecai hanged as a preliminary move for the destruction of the Jews, the latter passed the following message to his cousin:
“Do not think in your heart that you will escape in the king’s palace any more than all the other Jews. For if you remain completely silent at this time, relief and deliverance will arise for the Jews from another place, but you and your father’s house will perish. Yet who knows whether you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” (Esther 4:13-1).
The plea was urgent but there was a problem. It wouldn’t have been as difficult for Esther to approach the king and make supplication for her people had it not been for the law that forbade any man or woman to appear before the king in the inner court without being invited by the king himself. Anyone who appeared before the king uninvited would be put to death except the one to whom the king held out the golden sceptre (Est. 4:11). Because of the urgency of the matter, Esther couldn’t wait until one day when the king would call for her. How could she be sure that the king would hold out his golden sceptre at her intrusion? It would be an extremely dangerous gamble—gambling with life itself!
But as Mordecai wondered, “Who knows, you have come to the kingdom for such a time as this?” it turned out that God had made Esther so beautiful that no normal man could vouch for her death simply because she appeared uninvited before him. She braved her way, uninvited, and appeared before the king and the latter extended his golden sceptre (Est. 5:1-2).
Esther got more than she expected. Without informing the king that she had a request to make, he was already making the second favour to her. The first favour was to extend the golden sceptre which saved her life. The second was that he took the initiative to ask Esther to make a request and even suggested the extent of the request she could make (Esther 5:3).
In an interesting turn of events, Esther who was supposed to be in a hurry to make a petition for her people, took her time. Instead of making the request she prepared a banquet for the king.
Finally, Esther made her request and got her people emancipated. I have told the story of Esther because of what I am about to stress below. If you are familiar with the story, you probably remember how many times the king “tempted” Queen Esther with “half the kingdom”. The offer was made three times (Esth. 5:3,6; 7:2).
Esther was committed to saving her people and was willing to risk her life—talk of laying down one’s life for the sake of others!
The story of Esther teaches two important things about commitment. The first is the test of courage and the second the resistance to temptation for glory and material things. Not knowing the mood of the king as she went in to stand before him, anything could happen to her.
Esther was focused on her original noble goal—to plead for the life of her people. Three times she ignored the intervening opportunities.
How many of us set off on a better course, a noble call, only to allow ourselves be distracted by what looks better than the noble thing we initially set out to acquire for the sake of others and for the glory of God? Many believers start on a noble cause but they allow themselves to be distracted by the intervening opportunities along the way. They abandon the original purpose because something “better” has surfaced. How many servants of God started well, pursuing Christ's heart and the “emancipation” of souls, only to get distracted by the compromise-demanding conveniences of fame and celebrity? How many started well and ended up on the platform of compromise, playing it safe for the lures of gold and glory—money and power? Instead of preaching the unadulterated Gospel of Jesus, they settled for a PR (Public Relations) gospel—which is no gospel at all.....