Don’t quench the Spirit
Jesus was clear about what He said Christians would have to do to have a blessed life. He said to put God first in all that we do and that God would take care of the rest. That means putting God first in your heart and worshipping Him above all other things. There are many things we can put in our hearts that can take the place of God. We can put our clans before Christ; we can put the desire for money and greed in our hearts above God; we can put adultery and the sins of our hearts ahead of God and seek these things instead of putting God first in our lives.
Here is what Jesus said in Matthew 6:33 “Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” In the old English version of the Bible is says: “But seek ye first the kingdom of God, and his righteousness; and all these things shall be added unto you.”
“Laakiin horta doondoona boqortooyadii Ilaah iyo xaqnimadiisa, oo waxaas oo dhan waa laydinku dari doonaa.”
Living a godly life is one way that shows that we are putting God first in our lives. Taking care of our families rather than fulfilling our selfish desires is another way we can worship God by putting Him first. So many of us try to find the peace we desire by filling our lives with other things: and then we only end up getting depressed, angry, confused, and on medication of one sort or another.
It says in 1 Thessalonians 5:19 “Do not quench the Spirit.”
“Ruuxa ha deminina.”
I have seen it over and over again in Somali Christians lives. They become Christians and are born again and saved; most of them if not all of the Somali Christians I know came to the Lord by a dream or a vision – they get supernaturally saved. God shows Himself to them in a very real way so that there is no question that Jesus is the one who can save them from their sins and give them eternal life. And many Somalis believe and accept Jesus Christ as Savior.
Then they are faced with a decision to make: do I tell my family and face persecution, and harassment, and possibly physical harm and death; or do I try to live my Christian life as carefully and as secretly as possible without letting anyone else know that I am a Christian. Most of the time they choose to try and live like a Christian without letting anyone else know that they are a Christian. They never feel the full joy and peace that comes from following Christ: there is price to pay.
““God blesses you when people mock you and persecute you and lie about you and say all sorts of evil things against you because you are my followers. Be happy about it! Be very glad! For a great reward awaits you in heaven. And remember, the ancient prophets were persecuted in the same way.
“You are the salt of the earth. But what good is salt if it has lost its flavor? Can you make it salty again? It will be thrown out and trampled underfoot as worthless.
“You are the light of the world—like a city on a hilltop that cannot be hidden. No one lights a lamp and then puts it under a basket. Instead, a lamp is placed on a stand, where it gives light to everyone in the house. In the same way, let your good deeds shine out for all to see, so that everyone will praise your heavenly Father.” – Matthew 5:11-16
“ Waad barakaysan tihiin goortii laydin caayo, oo laydin silciyo, oo wax walba oo xun oo been ah laydinka sheego aawaday. Farxa oo reyreeya, waayo, jannada abaalgudkiinnu waa ku weyn yahay, waayo, sidaasay u silcin jireen nebiyadii idinka horreeyey.
Idinku waxaad tihiin cusbadii dhulka, laakiin haddii cusbadu dhadhan beesho, maxaa lagu cusbaynayaa? Dabadeed waxba tari mayso in dibadda loo tuuro oo dadku ku tunto maahee. Idinku waxaad tihiin iftiinkii dunida. Magaalo buur ku taallu ma qarsoomi karto. Ilays looma shido in la hoos geliyo weel, laakiin waxaa la saaraa meeshii ilayska, oo wuu u iftiimaa kuwa guriga ku jira oo dhan. Sidaas oo kale iftiinkiinnu dadka hortiisa ha iftiimo, si ay shuqulladiinna wanaagsan u arkaan, oo ay Aabbihiinna jannada ku jira u ammaanaan.”
So the very things that Jesus says for Christians to do to feel blessed is the very thing that many Somali Christians don’t do – they don’t stand up for Jesus Christ and let people know that they believe in Christ. Jesus said that God would bless us when people make fun of us because we believe in Jesus; and that we will feel great joy when we are persecuted because we are His followers. You cannot feel the great blessings of God if you are quenching or drowning the Spirit by not doing what Jesus tells you to do: Jesus never said to avoid the persecution that comes from following Him. If you want to get blessed – get persecuted.
One issue many Somali Christians have in the West is that they have not learned how to stand on their own two feet financially; so they are dependant upon their families and clans to have a roof over their heads and food in their belly.
But Jesus said: “That is why I tell you not to worry about everyday life—whether you have enough food and drink, or enough clothes to wear. Isn’t life more than food, and your body more than clothing? Look at the birds. They don’t plant or harvest or store food in barns, for your heavenly Father feeds them. And aren’t you far more valuable to him than they are? Can all your worries add a single moment to your life? “And why worry about your clothing? Look at the lilies of the field and how they grow. They don’t work or make their clothing, yet Solomon in all his glory was not dressed as beautifully as they are. And if God cares so wonderfully for wildflowers that are here today and thrown into the fire tomorrow, he will certainly care for you. Why do you have so little faith?
“So don’t worry about these things, saying, ‘What will we eat? What will we drink? What will we wear?’ These things dominate the thoughts of unbelievers, but your heavenly Father already knows all your needs. Seek the Kingdom of God above all else, and live righteously, and he will give you everything you need.” – Matthew 6:25-33
“Sidaa darteed waxaan idinku leeyahay, Ha ugu welwelina naftiinna waxaad cuni doontaan, iyo waxaad cabbi doontaan, jidhkiinnana ha ugu welwelina waxaad u huwan doontaan. Naftu miyaanay ka roonayn cuntada, jidhkuna miyaanu ka roonayn dharka? Shimbirraha cirka eega, waayo, waxba ma beeraan, waxna ma gurtaan, maqsinnona waxba kuma urursadaan, oo Aabbihiinna jannada ku jira ayaa cunto siiya. Idinku miyaydnaan ka roonayn? Midkiinnee intuu welwelo dhererkiisa dhudhun ku dari kara?
Maxaad dharka ugu welweshaan? Fiiriya ubaxyada duurka siday u baxaan, ma ay shaqeeyaan, ma ayna miiqdaan. Weliba waxaan idinku leeyahay, Xataa Sulaymaan wakhtigii ammaantiisa oo dhan dhar uma uu gashan jirin sida kuwan midkood. Laakiin haddii Ilaah sidaa u huwiyo cawska maanta duurka ku yaal oo berrito moofada lagu ridayo, sidee ka badan ayuu idiin huwinayaa, rumaysadyarayaalow? Sidaa darteed ha ku welwelina, idinkoo leh, Maxaannu cunaynaa? ama, Maxaannu cabbaynaa? ama, Maxaannu huwanaynaa? Waayo, quruumuhu waxaas oo dhan ayay doondoonaan. Aabbihiinna jannada ku jiraa waa og yahay inaad waxaas oo dhan u baahan tihiin. Laakiin horta doondoona boqortooyadii Ilaah iyo xaqnimadiisa, oo waxaas oo dhan waa laydinku dari doonaa.”
Do you want to sell your soul to someone because you are afraid that God will not take care of your needs? Do you want to give up following Jesus Christ and having a great joy in your heart for food and a place to live here on earth?
In the Old Testament we read about a man named Esau who sold his inheritance and his rights as the older brother to his younger brother for a bowl of soup. We laugh at Esau, and yet, many Somali Christians sell their joy and peace for a plate of rice or spaghetti. Many of you sell your joy and peace that you could have because you do not follow Jesus Christ the way you should: that means you will be persecuted and attacked for being a Christian.
Too many Christians have chosen unwisely when it comes to how to spend their days; and for you Somali Christians out there too many of you are choosing to hide your light rather than let it shine.
This is a hard message to hear and hard for me to write and speak. But I need to tell you that putting God first and following Him in your heart above all other things is the way to feel blessed beyond belief.