By Odogwu Emeka Odogwu
Bishop of the Anglican Diocese of Niger West, Anambra State, Rt. Rev. Johnson Ekwe, has appealed to Christians to be good soldiers of Jesus Christ in words and actions by being vigilant at all times in order not to allow the plans of the evil ones prevail in Nigeria. This can be achieved through dedication to prayers and reading the scriptures properly, he says.
Bishop Ekwe who spoke at the monthly Power Night Vigil Programme of the Diocese of Abuja Anglican Communion for the month of September, held at the Cathedral Church of the Advent, Life Camp, Abuja, said some Christians were so lazy that they did not study the Bible or pray as they ought; adding that to gain eternal life, one must be as strong as a soldier, as well as being astute.
Speaking on the theme, “The good soldier of Christ'', the Bishop highlighted the qualities of a good soldier in the army, explaining that one could use the physical analogy of a soldier to explain what it meant to be a soldier of Christ.
'Good soldiers don't sleep anyhow; if you are a strong soldier, you sleep less and are on routine duties, because if you sleep much, the enemy will finish you,' he said, pointing out that each letter of the word, ''soldier'' defined what a true soldier should be.
He said a soldier must be Smart, Obedient, Loyal, Disciplined, Intelligent (have Integrity), Enduring, and Respectful; adding that a Christian was a soldier who was disciplined and who played according to the rules to win the price and hardworking just like a farmer.
According to the Bishop of Niger West Diocese, the devil used three things - sin, laziness and ignorance, to get Christians. He noted that the problem of the Church today was that there were a lot of ignorant people who were unteachable and untrainable; people who thought they knew, when in actual fact they did not.
He termed it unfortunate that some of those ignorant people were men of God who ought to be in charge of the flock and teach others the right way. Highlighting the characteristics of a good soldier, Bishop Ekwe said that soldiers did not do things their own way; that they obeyed their commander-in-chief and focused only on what he said.
The guest preacher said the first soldier in the whole universe was God and, according to him, that was why He is referred to as the God of Hosts. He emphasized that Christians should be strong in the grace that is in Christ Jesus; explaining that when one was serious with God, He also would be serious with that person.
Bishop Ekwe who was a Chaplain in the army explained what it entailed to be a soldier and the lessons one learned from being a part of the army. He said that the army taught one to let go of arrogance, respect seniors and helped one gain stamina and the ability to endure any form of hardship. He however expressed sadness that there were more miracle seekers than people who wanted to be soldiers of Christ in the Church. He therefore urged those present to be strong in the Lord and endure to the end; adding that only those who endured to the end would be honoured.
The Rt. Rev. Ekwe stated that there was a process of pruning and grooming that could not be evaded whenever God had an assignment for anyone. According to him, this was because God is more interested in what one would become at the end rather than immediate comfort.
The Bishop explained that if a person recognized where God is taking one to, such a person would strive to fit that position or role even before getting to that point. He therefore charged Christians to be strong in the Lord, irrespective of what they may be passing through, so as to reap the reward in the end.
The preacher called on Christians in Nigeria to be as harmless as doves and as wise as serpents, refusing to cave in until righteousness was enthroned in the nation.