Following God — Three Legged Faith
It is one of those days — a combination of some trouble, a clear head and some solitude. Yes trouble, I had a tooth extraction and a root canal some twelve hours ago, if you’ve ever had one then you probably have an idea of what I mean by trouble. Clear head, quite strange but it often comes with trouble. Since I can’t sleep, I decided to listen to one of my favorite speakers — Dr Gary Burge. Solitude, it’s 4.59 am, I am wide awake, the pain killer is working well now and everyone is asleep.
So what do I do? I write. What do I write about? My thoughts on what I just heard Dr Gary speak about. And who am I writing to? I don’t know. I actually know — I am writing to you. Who are you? I don’t know. It’s hard writing to the unknown.
Introduction and Background
I am writing about following. Following God. I am one of those people that follow Jesus. Do we confuse you? I get confused too with the many varieties of the followers of Jesus.
I am Nigerian and I live and work in Lagos, Nigeria. I think about myself as a professional — a privileged one.
What does it mean to have faith? What does it mean to have faith in God. Let’s take a detour. When I hear the word ‘follow’, the first thing that comes to mind is twitter and social media. So let’s find two icons — Warren Buffett and Beyonce Knowles — one is superrich and conservative and the other can sing, can dance, can perform and successful too. One is 84 and the other is 33. One male, one female. One white, one black. Both have Harvard programs dedicated to them.
I hope you admire at least one of them, I am hoping you admire both. Do you follow them on twitter. Let’s take it a step further. Do you want to be a follower of Mr Buffett and/or a follower of Beyonce Knowles. Both actually sounds interest.
If you want to become a disciple of Warren Buffett or Beyonce Knowles — following them on twitter won’t be enough. The oracle of Omaha has only tweeted twice this year. And seven tweets since he joined twitter in April 2013. Beyonce has 14 million followers (Warren has a million) but she has only tweeted 8 times since April 2009. You won’t make a good disciple if all you do is follow them on Twitter. I must say though, Beyonce engages more facebook.
So, we know one thing — twitter like following is not enough.
How to Follow
How then do we follow? How should we follow? How do you follow someone that is faraway? Someone too rich or too iconic for you to get face to face and regular meetings with? How do you follow Warren Buffett and how do you follow Beyonce Knowles if you want them to be your mentor and guide, if you have chosen them as your life model.
I think it’s very simple. Two things — you engage and you adjust your behavior to fit your mentor.
Engage — Warren Buffett
To engage Mr Buffett, you will need to start by reading about his idol — Benjamin Graham. He wrote a book in 1949 — The Intelligent Investor. Then you probably need to read his biographies. There are two of them — The Snowball and The Business of Life. You should then read about his investments and all his annual shareholder letters to Berkshire Hathaways stockholders. After all this, you would have gotten to know Warren Buffett. You can add a few case studies from a top university as well.
Engage — Beyonce Knowles
Here you will not need to read a lot of books.You should read her official biography though. But more importantly, you should listen to all her music, watch all her videos and pay keen attention to her relationships — her parents, her husband, her friends and her siblings. You should also read a case study on her from one of the top universities.
Did you notice that getting to know these two icons involves some fairly different experiences (with some overlap). A bookish person will find one easier and the other not so interesting. And to use my Lagos lingo, a happening person will find Beyonce easier and the other not so interesting. Where do you belong? If I saddle you with a project, which one will you choose?
Adjust your Behaviour
Getting all the information as described above does make you an ardent follower of these icons. You need to start taking action, externalizing what you learnt about them. Making actual investments with his principles. Getting disciplined at your art or profession like her and tons of other things.
If Jesus was living in Europe or some faraway place from you, will it be enough to follow him on twitter or friend him on Facebook. I think we also need two things — actually three things. What do you need to do to have complete faith in Jesus.
1. You need to know him
Like Mr Buffett, to follow Jesus, you need to find out a whole lot about him. You need to study. You need to commit to a lifelong decision to study the scriptures. You need to read books about him.
2. You need to experience him
Head knowledge won’t be enough. You will need to feel him. There is an extra feeling that comes from watching a life performance of Beyonce that you will not get reading about her. Same here, you need to find Jesus, worship, pray, hear him and get into the frenzy.
3. You need to adjust your behavior
You can read all about him. You can enjoy his presence. Church is tedious (learning) or Church is fun (experience) will not cut it. You have to adjust your behavior to follow his teachings and lifestyle. You have to work.
Apostle James says faith without works is dead.
Phase 1 and 2 is about accepting and believing your icon. Phase 3 is about living it out. Can you please rate yourself.
Do you have enough information about Jesus? Do you know him
Do you have enough experience of Jesus? Can you feel him
Do you work for him, like him, for him?
My name is Ayokunle Ojo. I work in the financial services industry in Lagos, Nigeria. I can be reached on Twitter @ayolope and on email email@example.com