“Do not love the world or the things in the world. If anyone loves the world, the love of the Father is not in him… And the world is passing away, and the lust of it; but he who does the will of God abides forever” (1Jn 2:15-17)
This is a difficult letter for me to write. The memory of my sinful foolish past, as a woman, wife and mother, is not pleasant. But thank God for Jesus! This letter is also a testimony given to the glory of God, to the shame of the devil and for the encouragement of other parents.
This is our story: My husband and I are medical doctors by profession and now, full time pastors. For about twenty years we had a very successful medical private practice called Lily Clinic in Warri, Nigeria. We made money and fame but we were not saved. Our three children grew up in a financially stable home, were the parents could provide what they needed. They went to private schools. We had drivers and house servants. This was normal in Nigeria. Few homes were ‘better’ than ours. But though we were rich, we did not spend money foolishly. Maybe it was my Romanian (Communist) background that made me love a simple life. We choose not to buy the latest fashion clothes, the most expensive cars or TV sets. We preferred reading books than watching TV programs. We preferred cooking at home than going to restaurants. That was more than 30 years ago…
Then the devil attacked. Our children made friends with other children from wealthy homes. They came back talking about the latest toys, computer games and expensive things they saw in their friends’ houses. Little by little, they started loving other homes more than ours. My husband and I became worried. We had two options: to stop our children visiting these homes where the parents were extravagant or to buy our own ‘big flat screen TV’, to compete with others. We choose the first option. We put boundaries on who our children should visit. That created anger in the hearts of our children. The devil made them believe that expensive things should be valued more than ‘cheap’ family love. This was very painful for all of us…
It was only after my husband and I became saved that we could start the process of healing and repairing the damage ‘the love of this world’ has done to our family. It was not easy because at that time our children were already grown. We started praying for healing, for deliverance, for a new vision of unity in the family with Christ as the Chief Cornerstone. We prayed daily (I mean every day) for our children, that they too may be saved. We prayed that we should be able, by the grace of God, to love them more now, as adults, than when they were little. The grace of God was working and the rainbow appeared on top of the flood.
God has blessed my husband and I with spiritual and material blessings beyond imagination. But even now, we are not extravagant in the things we choose to buy. We value our relationship and love more than what money can offer. Our children see this and they slowly learn to appreciate peace and joy in Christ more than material things. But the battle is not yet over. As pastors, we are parents to many spiritual children too. Our example is a light in the darkness to many. This light must continue to shine to the glory of God!
This is a great lesson I had to learn in a painful way: Materialism is a vicious demon. It can destroy families and marital relationships. I hate this demon! He is my enemy and I too I am his enemy! We can never ‘settle’! In Christ, our victory is sure! Christ is truly more than silver and gold! His gifts make many rich and they come without sorrow.
As a family, we are now much better. We are ‘a work in progress’ – as they say, but the light of God is already shining and the evil darkness can never quench it! This is our testimony! Glory to God for the unbeatable new life and unfailing love He has injected into our wounded family! We are now happy grandparents too! We now love Jesus more than money! We love ministry more than fashion! We love the grace of God more than the latest car! This is the work of the Holy Spirit in our hearts and in our family!! We freely and joyfully acknowledge that God has done it for us! Because we do the will of God, according to the Bible, we now ‘abide forever’! “We worship You, Lord ! Hallelujah!”
I use our testimony as a point of contact to encourage other families, couples and people, who struggle with the love for material things, the poison that destroys loving relationships! There is hope in Christ! Fast and pray! I claim healing, deliverance, restoration and victory in your lives! The name of Jesus is above every other name! Rejoice for what God has done and what He will do! It is well! Praise the Lord!