By Isaac Asabor
There is nothing nostalgic about my life some 33 years back while growing up in the rural area as a youth, specifically in my home town that lies within Orhiomnwon local government area of Edo state. Reflecting on my life and times as a youth in the village back in the days, I feel a strong sense of kinship with some of today’s youth in Edo state. The permissive society I lived in was much like what some contemporary youths in the state are living. Without any iota of exaggeration, the moral crises I faced as a youth, and which God in His divine mercy has helped me to deal with upon my migration to Lagos where I found Christ, are exactly the same crises contemporary youths in the state, particularly those in the rural areas are still experiencing. The moral crises that stuck in the social life of some of the youths that grew up in any of the villages in Orhiomnwon local government area in the 70s and early 80s and which the youths are still dealing with today cut across smoking, indiscriminate drinking of Palm-wine, womanizing and partying as well as searching for “Obitos” (funeral ceremonies) across villages that lie within the expansive local government area.
Without sounding sanctimonious in this context, permit me to confess that if not that I gave my life to Christ and continued to ask Him to show me what he would have me to do, and in that order set out in His power to do it with all my heart that my life by now would have been in a sorry state today as it is said that “The Life without Christ is in crises.”
Against the foregoing social status quo that has continued to fester in the state to the detriment of some of the vulnerable and gullible youths, one may not be wrong to proverbially say that the salt has lost its flavour. Or, to change the proverb, the walls of ideal social norm have crumbled around the youths. Metaphorically put, vulnerable youths in the state are surrounded with the rubble of broken-down boulders, and the youths, whom all Edolites, particularly parents and elders, are looking up to as future leaders in the state, are becoming more vulnerable to the attacks of the enemy which is laughably coming in the form of drinking, smoking and womanizing than it has ever been. It is not an exaggeration to say that we are in a grave danger of being trodden underfoot by youths that are engrossed in moral depravity if nothing pragmatic is done.
Given the understanding of the fact that many youths who are invariably leaders of tomorrow are literarily trapped in the quagmire of moral decadence, and are unarguably distracted by bad habits which impact negatively on their aspirations and educational pursuits, there is no denying the fact that some youths who are remorseful enough to realize the consequence may have been planning on how they would quit bad habit or habits come January 1, 2021.
Permit me to say that those who have resolved to quit whatever bad habit they are literarily entrapped in should put God and prayer at the centre of their resolve. In as much as this piece is not a sermon, permit me to opine that those that are familiar with the word of God should have it at the back of their minds when making resolutions that John chapter 15 verse 5 states that “I am the vine, you are the branches: He that abideth in Me and I in him, the same bringeth forth much fruit: for without Me, you can do nothing.” Also, they should have it at the back of their minds that motivational books are replete with how many people had in the past made New Year resolutions that were broken even after some hours of making them.
To fully understand the fact that New Year resolution without God is an exercise in futility, it is expedient that I literarily give you an insight into my struggle with bad habits until God delivered me from them some years back. The habits followed me like a leech to my post-secondary school life so much that my ears literally became blocked to the wise counsel of friends, relatives, those who were genuinely concerned, and those that made me a laughing stock. The realization of my dilemma came to me but I could not break the chain of addiction. Added to the suicidal lifestyle of smoking and excessive drinking was the knack for anybody on skirt. For years I wept and wept inside me but I was under the captivity of addiction. I struggled on my own to break the habits but I couldn’t. Then I never knew the scriptures in the book of John 15 verse 5 and 1 Samuel 2 v 9 that respectively says that “…without me ye can do nothing” and “…for by strength shall no man prevail.”
In February 2000, my wife (we married in October 1999) mounted pressure on me to quit my bohemian lifestyle. We were on daily basis quarrelling. She placed me under the surveillance of Pastor Yinka Adejumo and Pastor Sam Giweze of the Redeemed Christian Church of God (RCCG). They told me at several times that because I was alienated and separated from God that that was why I was struggling with my habits and life generally. Today, Ephesians 2 verses 12 and 13 says, “That at that time ye were without Christ, being aliens from the Commonwealth of Israel, and strangers from the covenants of promise, having no hope, and without God in the world. But now in Christ Jesus ye who sometimes were far off are made nigh by the blood of Christ.”
I started attending RCCG Shalom Parish in Lawanson, Lagos, Nigeria in the year 2000. Before one could say Holy Ghost I developed a very strong aversion for smoking and drinking. Not only that I began to see people that do them with passionate pity. In the book of 2 Corinthians 5 verse 17, it is written that “Therefore if any man be in Christ, he is a new creature; old things are passed away; behold, all things are become new”. I discovered that I cannot do those things I used to do. Gradually my former friends began to avoid me because I no more share the same lifestyle with them. But I was not bothered because Jesus told me in John 15 verse 15 that “Henceforth I call you not servants; for the servant knoweth not what his lord doeth; but I have called you friends; for all things that I have heard of my father I have made known unto you.” Jesus instantly became my friend when He changed me.
At this juncture, permit me to say that I deliberately decide to express my views in this context from a sermonic perspective, and at the same time use my personal life experience as a case study particularly for the benefit of those who are determined to make New Year resolutions come January 1, 2021.
For the benefit of those who are planning to make New Year resolution, I am using this medium to advise them to make the resolution that would make them become more and more like Christ during the coming year.
Isaac Asabor is a Public Affairs Analyst.