“Oh my God!” Tade joyfully nudged her friend, who was looking elsewhere, calling her attention to a young lady about twenty five years of age.

“Tade! What is it?” Sola answered annoyed. “You almost scared me. Must you always shout?”

“Can’t you see who I’m seeing?” Tade said, drawing her friend closer. “Let’s go and meet her.”

“Who?”

“Ibukun Mary.” Tade was beaming with smiles, like a child on Christmas morning. “The lady that sings and talks in those women conferences we used to attend when we were in secondary school. I can’t believe I’m seeing her again.”

“Is she the one?” Sola joined the excitement. “Yes, let’s go and greet her. We might even be fortunate to get her number.” Off they went, giggling like little children.

“Good afternoon, ma.” Mary turned to see two ladies behind her, smiling like they’d just won a gold medal.

“Hello ladies.” She greeted them and they giggled. She waited for their response after a few seconds. “Can I help you?”

Tade and Sola looked at themselves, wondering who would speak first.

“I’m Tade, ma and I’m so happy to see you today.” Mary raised an eyebrow. ‘This is sure a funny afternoon’ she thought to herself.

“Actually ma.” Sola cut in. “We were in secondary school when you came to sing and talk at the Rising Women Conferences and I must say, you’ve been a blessing. There was always something about you that made you different from the others. I don’t know what it was but every time you spoke or sang I always had the urge to pray or sing to God.”

“Yes! I remember one of the programs when I was sick and you sang; I don’t know what happened but I became completely healed. It’s so wonderful meeting you in person now.”

Mary stood stunned. At first, she wasn’t sure what to make up of what they were saying. She had heard such numerous testimonies from her previous ministrations but it was a long time ago. They were like distant memories.

“I’m glad you were blessed.” She smiled. “All glory to God.” She turned slightly; she was beginning to feel uneasy.

“Ma, please can we have your number?” Tade asked.

“Just to keep in touch and ask some questions.” Sola added, for fear of not getting their request granted.

“Sure.” Mary called her number and greeted them off. Immediately, she hurried back into her car and closed the door behind her.

‘What had gone wrong?’ Bumping her head against the car wheel, she thought. She vividly remembered those days. She was still being called to minister, although her busy schedules didn’t avail her opportunity to attend to some. But that wasn’t the issue. She felt like she had lost something. Her ministrations didn’t hold the power and Presence they once did. Yes, she still got testimonies, miracles still happened but the difference was clear. Hearing the young ladies speak brought a void in her heart of something she once had but lost.

‘Dear God, where did I miss it?’ Her Christian life was still in sync. She knew she hadn’t gone out of steps with God but still something was amiss. She yearned for those days when she’d climb the stage and she could literally feel the Holy Spirit beside her. For a few minutes, she stayed in the car. She needed to go back to the hall because she had been invited to minister. But how could she go now when it was glaring something was amiss?

‘Father, please help me. I can’t do this without You.” The feeling of void and uneasiness was pungent on her. More than ever before, she knew climbing the stage would just be a show.

Suddenly, she jerked her head up. Her eyes were opened! How did she miss it? She had lost her gaze. The Holy Spirit brought to her remembrance how the only thing on her mind then was to let Christ be seen, to let the people she was ministering to experience Him. Sola’s testimony of having the urge to pray or sing to God was the direct prayer point on her mind then: ‘Father, let the hearts of these ones be drawn to You! Let them see You and experience You! Let them know You are real and near!’ All her focus was that Christ be seen, not her. She didn’t care what anyone thought of her, so long as Christ was glorified.

But somehow along the line that had changed. Her gaze had left Christ and was now on the manifestations. If there weren’t any apparent signs and wonders, she didn’t think she had ministered.

With total surrender, not just of her ministrations but her life, she sang:

‘Lord, be my vision and my central focus

Be the only reason that I live

Be the fervor that lights up my passion

Be the Only One I live for’

After singing, she stepped out of her car with a surge of joy in her. The void was gone. She had an assurance that great things were going to happen but much more that Christ was going to be glorified and that was what mattered most.

These days, many Christians focus on the manifestations in their ministrations and they’ve lost focus on the Man behind the manifestations. In all we do, our main focus must be Christ! He is our central theme, our main message. We are Christians because of Him, and our lives are meant to live out Christ. Anything other than that has aborted the main purpose why we are called Christians.

A life aglow with the power of the Holy Spirit will reflect only Christ, because that is why the Holy Spirit came. John 16:13,14 “Howbeit when He, the Spirit of truth, is come, He will guide you into all truth: for He shall not speak of Himself; but whatsoever He shall hear, that shall He speak: and He will shew you things to come. He shall glorify me: for He shall receive of mine, and shall shew it unto you.”

A glorious Christian life is the one lived with Christ at the center of focus. Shalom!

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