…continued from the previous Edition (12)
I am Matthew Arin Adams an earthly indigene of Jos East Local Government Area of Plateau State of Nigeria. I was born in 1950 at Gwisti in the present Shere District but my parents were from Fobur District of the same locality. I attended Shere, Fobur, and Jarawan Kogi Primary Schools from 1959-1966; and attended Bauchi Teachers’ College from 1966-1971. I was a Primary School teacher at Ribina, Fadan Fobur, Army Children School Owode (Ogun State), and Ekan Fobur from 1971-1976….
The last comment from the previous edition: “…the tension mounted so high; I was pushed to the wall; I had to run away from home to Lagos where a dramatic change took place; but this was to become a temporary and challenging phase of my Christian testimony…”
In Lagos, squatting in one room with a soldier friend; I continued with this rough lifestyle. Until one day I went to buy a stick of cigarette in a close-by shop; there I found the shop owner, an elderly woman; wearing a prophetess attire. I was curious seeing her in such dressing and wanted to make further enquiry about her. She realized I was a stranger in Lagos.
After I had smoked the cigarette, I returned to her on her request and told her about my life. And she invited me into her house, and as soon as she prayed for me, suddenly there was change; I asked for a copy of the Holy Bible which became my constant companion. Everything about my sinful lifestyle ceased; there was no longer any urge for smoking cigarette, marijuana, drugs, alcohol or any of such evil habits anymore! I believed this was what it meant for one to be born again.
This was the Holy Spirit working in the ministry of this prophetess. Many of our mainline churches today may not whole heartedly welcome this miraculous transformation approach in a person bound by satan. This was my predicament in the local church where I grew up! If God did not order my life to where I could get my freedom from these demonic addictions, I could have rotted in sin and ended up in hell fire. This is what many people are passing through in their Christian life today!
After the deliverance, I started preaching the gospel; and many who did not know my previous lifestyle never believed I had passed through such experience. I had got new life!
It is one thing to get new life in Christ Jesus; it is yet another thing to get it developed into an increasing higher spiritual status. This was where my spiritual predicament ensued! With a heated urge and desire from within to serve God; I started seeking for ways to actualize this dream.
With much zeal in my heart, I returned home in December 1974, got married on 12th April 1975. I was desperate to settle down to pick up God’s work as a life time career. But since I had never learnt to listen to the voice of God through His Spirit, I was just ready to listen to every man-made or religious views, advice and or instructions. “If you must serve God, you have to go to the Seminary or pastors’ school.” With the burning zeal within, I could not hesitate giving in to the offer; but my church denomination would have to endorse what I considered as God’s calling upon my life. In other words, it was the church that sponsored my ‘training to become a pastor.’
I was thrilled when my admission letter was handed over to me. Oh, I thought, with much enthusiasm, the Seminary was a sort of heaven on earth; but on getting there, it was totally the opposite, but (to the shame of religious Christianity), it was a dungeon of wolves in sheep clothing! Amazingly, what I was running away from was the practice or the order of the day in the pastors’ college! Instead of receiving spiritual growth, I went back into drinking and womanizing! It was later I discovered that no one can obtain spiritual maturity from people who were themselves spiritually lacking or bankrupt!
Well, I managed through and graduated as a grade one hypocrite in 1980; and so with the seminarian and denominational orientations, a church was assigned to me. Can you imagine this kind of a pastor? Well, truly speaking, I was that kind of “man of God.” Was this serving God or the devil?
I was doing better in ministry before I went to the Theological College. I want to use this opportunity to speak to owners of Bible Schools, Pastors’ Colleges and all forms of Biblical training institutions. This is not intended to ridicule or judge anyone; but rather a way of sharing a serious concern that made up an experience that almost ruined my calling in life! (Here is also where the grace of God comes to play; today I have cause to honor God for the new discovery of His purpose for my life by the Holy Spirit’s given insight into the revealed truth that kept me transformed over the times.)
Let the Holy Spirit as our Teacher (Luke 12:12; John 14:26); Guide (John 16:13); Reminder (John 14:26); and Comforter or Helper (John 14:16; John 15:26) be given the centre stage of all ministry efforts; so, the church must make constant reference to Him as we carry out the heaven-on-earth ministry. Without Him, we are never serving God at all! …expect the most interesting part; the end of the testimony in the next edition.