The Love Collision: Love is a Person - Okechukwu Anyanwu
Okechukwu is the LEAD PASTOR at THE BLUEPRINT CHURCH, a Jesus conscious church with experience center at Golden Tulip Hotel Festac. He is also the HEAD of TRAINING and DEVELOPMENT at THE INSPIRED LIVING COMPANY (TILC)- a leadership solutions startup.
Okechukwu is a strategist who loves to inspire individuals and corporate organizations to follow passionately after the purpose for which they started in the first place. He considers himself as the one whom Jesus loves and preaches from the perspective of the finished work.
He is the initiator of the IN THE LEAD initiative- a leadership/basic life skills development program for senior secondary schools
His listeners find him thoughtful and ENGAGING.
What is your definition of love?
Love should be unconditional (meaning not dependent on the ability of the receiver to earn it). Love should be patient, kind, not envious, not vain and not egoistic. Love should not behave indecently, should not look out for personal interest, should not be easily provoked, and should think no evil. Love should not rejoice in unrighteousness, but should rejoice in truth. When you look at the attributes of love that I have just mentioned here, you’d realize that only one person is qualified to claim a right to this kind of love and that person is Jesus. No other person can claim to love in this way. Our love is certainly never unconditional. To define love, we must see Jesus, because He is the very embodiment of love. Love is not this secular idea that our society has come to embrace. Love is a person and that person is Jesus
Have you had a love encounter with God?
Oh yeah I have. First I’d say I received the love of God into my heart the day Christ found me. Yet also on a daily basis, I am constantly drowning in the ocean of God’s love in the way He guides me, provides for me, equips me to be a blessing to others, counsels me, comforts and carries me. We are not supposed to have a historic perspective about the love of God. God’s love isn’t supposed to be an event on our calendar. It’s a daily experience. So every day, I wake up to the reality that God loves me. To encounter God’s love, I remind myself of how much God loves me. God’s love for me does not depend on my circumstances, whatever it is. God loves me despite my circumstances. This is what I constantly remind myself.
How has that changed your life and your perception of Christianity and what religion has portrayed it to be?
Religion! I hate religion! Religion speaks of the things MAN must do in order to get God’s attention! Religion is a document of performance that man embarks upon to attain acceptance by God and to find peace with God. My life changed completely when I realized that God is forever pleased with me because of what Jesus did. You see the whole idea of the cross was the DIVINE EXCHANGE. Jesus on that cross died AS me and died FOR me. When Christ died, I died! When He was buried, I was buried, and when God raised him from the dead, I was raised. Now every favor that Christ is under, I am under as well. As he is, so am I. I did not have to earn it; it was a gift of Grace! I do not have words to explain how that makes me feel! My life changed the moment I embraced this truth. Dear friends, the problem I (and every human being had) was the sin problem. I was in the past forever separated from God because of my sins. So when I try to pray, He does not hear me. Whatever I did to please him was futility. The cloud over my head was bronze and the ground underneath me was iron. I had no access to the favor of God. But when grace found me, it changed everything. That’s how my life has changed. I am growing in grace and in the knowledge of this new identity I have in Christ.
How has this love shaped your understanding of who God is?
When I was growing up, I must confess that I felt God was a bully! I felt he was a tyrant just hunting down innocent people. I actually could swear (even though my friends have warned me about swearing) that human beings were nicer than God. Then I used to see human beings show more mercy than I heard God could show. I mean think about it. A lady gets beaten to pulp by her boyfriend repeatedly, yet she forgives him as often as it happens and when you ask her why she says “I love him so much”. Yet I never had the impression of God as a forgiving God. The stories of people sacrificing for love were more rampant to me than the story of God forgiving people. So you can imagine what I concluded, God must not be nice at all.
Also growing up, the impression I had about God was DEMAND. I always felt God was always DEMANDING and DEMANDING and since He is almighty and his standards were so high, it was impossible to please him, no matter how hard I tried.
This continued this way until I began to embrace a revelation of Gods love. I realized that I had been looking at God with colored lenses all this while!
God is an ABSOLUTELY good God! There is not evil in God and God does not do evil even with the best of intentions. That has never been God’s strategy and will never be.
I found a scripture that really encouraged me… Hebrews 3:10-11 Wherefore I was grieved with that generation, and said, They do alway err in their heart; and they have not known my ways. So I sware in my wrath, They shall not enter into my rest.). Here God was saying that because I have not found his way, I will not enter his rest.
I realized that what God said was not a curse, it was only a statement of fact. We need to find Gods way (Gods method, Gods strategy) to be able to enter his rest. If I were your friend and I alone knew the direction to a place that you seek and you decide you will not allow me help you, I’d say the kind of thing God said, since you will not allow me help you, you will not find your way!
The way God deals with me is from the position of Grace. The strategy God adopted in relating with me is the strategy of grace. God chose to relate with me from that standpoint. The law does not reveal the heart of God. Grace does. The law certainly revealed the standards of God but not his heart.
How has this love walk affected your life? i.e Has this love shielded you from trials? If it hasn’t, how have you been able to reconcile the truth of a loving God with the facts of life’s challenges in your face?
I used to be full of worry and anxiety over the impact my life is going to make-As I am a gifted person with a purpose which I found very early. I then began to worry about how these things would happen. God had spoken to me concerning my future very clearly and so I thought it was my part to get it done. I felt it was God’s duty to speak to me and show me and my duty to get it done. You can imagine the kind of pressure I was under. How can ordinary me accomplish Gods vision in my own strength? Today, this love walk has changed and is still changing my perspectives. I am a lot more restful now than I used to be.
Trails are not from God. Trials and temptations are only the result of our bodies still living in this imperfect world! Since we are still here, we will be tried and tempted. Yet I am constantly encouraged when I think about the fact that I stand on victory ground already. Jesus delivered victory to me and expects me to maintain my victory by simply trusting him.
I’d love to reiterate what I have said earlier…Trials are not from God. Trails and temptations are the result of living in this imperfect world. If trials were from God, then we must get ready to keep passing tests while we are in heaven because I do not see any reason why a God who tries you would want to stop trying you simply because you are in heaven. If his nature is to try people, He’d keep doing it forever. Now a lot of us cannot imagine being tried in heaven. This simply confirms that trials are not from God. Believers will be tried. Believers will face challenges. But believers must understand that these challenges are our bread. We feed on them. God shows the whole world that he is alive in us through the testimonies that we record from victory. I am rest assured that the greater one lives inside of me and because he does, I am assured that there is no trial that will not result in outstanding victory. The love of God assures me that I am designed to win always.
If you were given a chance to witness this love to someone, what would you say?
That the love of God is too good a deal to live life without and trust me there’s no better deal. What other deal can guaranty you of righteousness as a gift (No guilt, shame or condemnation), what other deal can guaranty you peace (that is not hinged on any external event) and what deal can guaranty you a life of joy? I’d help them to understand that God is not angry anymore. He is not dropping any shoe or cookie on your head for your sins. All your sins are forgiven because Christ took them all. This is not for mental assent sake; this is the truth of the gospel. God is pleased with you. There’s not any deal in the world that is better than the grace deal. Embrace it!