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ManoA’s Manual

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August 14, 2023

Growing up, I remember an instance where a distant uncle caught his son sipping water directly from a bottle and asked him to go get a cup. His son responded and said, “Dad, but you never use a cup when drinking water”. Of course, taken aback by his son’s response and especially because it was in the company of other relatives, he angrily blurted out saying, “I have always told you to do as I say, not do as I do”. As you can imagine, his response to his son rallied the well-known Yoruba maxims, laughter in some corners and confirmatory nods in others. I’m sure you remember similar scenarios where you have heard this common quote thrown around, because of its widespread adoption, we may reach a hasty conclusion about its verity.

In the gospels (Luke 7), we see a man who sparked the marvel of Jesus, he is called the Centurion, a commander of a military unit consisting of 100 soldiers. The Bible was careful to introduce him with his title because when you come into his space of influence, what you immediately notice is the frequency of his words or how his name fills the air, because as a commander of a force, he spends most of his day giving orders, and he was surely used to those orders being followed.

As Jesus made his way to the Centurion’s house to heal his servant, on the strength of the social credibility the Centurion had built, not only in Roman circles but also amongst the Jews, the Centurion sent his friends to Jesus, and he was careful to insert a re-introduction in that message. That re-introduction compelled the marvel of Jesus. This Centurion said he is a man under authority. So when you go back to that picture set forth in the previous paragraph, during the day you might be excited and amazed at the level and height of his command, but if you stayed around him and his battalion long enough, you would be humbled and inspired by the burden of submission that he put on himself.

The Centurion’s re-introduction set a prelude to his definition; a man of authority in truth and in effect, is actually a man under authority. That his ability to command is driven by the strength and extent of his submission. The yeses he got were directly correlated to the yeses he gave!

This man then asks Jesus to say the Word, and He is sure his servant will be healed. In making that statement, the Centurion recognized that Jesus was a kind of Centurion, but with an influence beyond mortal armies. He understood that Jesus commanded a host that transcended physical realities. He also understood that Jesus was under the authority of the Father and it’s on the premise of these 2 suppositions that he asked Jesus to SPEAK, being assured that whatever Jesus said could not possibly be overridden or disobeyed, and of course, in the same moment, his servant was healed!

Herein is our love made perfect, that we may have boldness in the day of judgment: because as he is, so are we in this world.— 1 John 4:17

We understand from Hebrews that in Christ and as heirs of salvation, we are each (wo)men of authority who, after the order of Christ, command forces that transcend physical jurisdictions, and this privilege is exciting, but it is only underpinned by a life of surrender. To command a yes in authority, you have to have said a yes in devotion and submission. The problem is never the call, but the response. You can call anything, but the question is, would what you’re calling come? Can your word compel the response of the entity you’re calling? What we see in people who violate this principle is frustration of an inactive and ineffective faith walk like the Seven Sons of Sceva.

This crucial lesson lends its relevance to leadership and answered prayers:

  1. Leadership: One of the plagues that has put a dent in the quest for national transformation in most African nations today is a misconstrued elitist leadership style that wants their followers to do as they say but not do as they do. So we see leaders that rally and charge up the masses with their words, but in the same breadth, they comfortably and unashamedly do the barest minimum in living up to those words.

ManoA’s first level of leadership is to lead himself. To ensure his actions are always consistent with his words. Before you require the performance of your word from anyone, require it first from yourself. In Romans 2, Apostle Paul asked the Jews, you that say people should not steal, do you rob? You are the first recipient of every instruction. Another lesson we see here is that when you violate the same requirement you dole out, you’re a greater offender because, whilst others are at the level of judgement, you are already at the level of condemnation because you have violated the truths that you yourself profess.

2. Answered prayers: To understand the interlink between the two is to understand and step into the realms of great faith that moves mountains and compels answers to prayers. To be a man of faith, you must do the Word. Let’s take a cue from God. God has exalted His Word above His Name, i.e., His identity. When the response to His Word involves Him bearing up under the requirement of performance, He does it. He doesn’t exclude Himself from obedience to His Word. That’s why His Word doesn’t return to Him void, because God is a God of integrity and rounded authority.

So friends, this week, say with me, I am ManoA, I bring my life under the authority of the Word of God, I lead my life responsibly, I live consistent with the faith I profess and I enjoy the fulness of joy that comes from answered prayers!

Have a blessed week

Olayinka Adebayo

@layinkadebayo

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