We are finishing up our first week here in Africa and some of us have made an interesting observation about the people here. They are obsessed with credentials. Any one of them is very quick to tell you where they went to school or how qualified they are to do whatever it is they are doing. And they LOVE certificates. We gave each one of the teachers in our seminar a little completion certificate and their smiles nearly split their faces. I remember giving some of the students of our friends' ESL classes a completion certificate as well, with the same reaction.

I couldn't help but see the parallels between this and their religious views. The people here are nearly all Muslim, a religion of works. In your life, your good must outweigh you bad by a significant portion, and if Allah is in a good mood the day you die, you will get to go to heaven. Their religion is entirely based on credentials. Everything they do must be legitimized so that it "counts" to Allah.

How joyous it is to be free from pursuing legitimacy. Paul says it best in Philippians 3:4-8: "If anyone else thinks he has reason for confidence in the flesh, I have more...But whatever gain I had, I counted as loss for the sake of Christ."

Paul was a Hebrew of Hebrews. Circumcized on the eighth day, blameless under the law, he says. He had credentials. Trained under the yoke of Gamaliel, (still) one of the most revered rabbis in Jewish history. Paul had it all.

And yet, he counted it as loss for the sake of Christ. Loss! All of that time he spent pursuing those credentials were wasted because it could have been time spent pursuing Christ.

Christ is our credential. Without Him, we could never stand before God. But with Him, we can stand before God blameless, clothed in the righteousness of Christ.

Sola Christo.



06/28/2012 22:17

Love to you both - it's so encouraging to read how God is using you in your journey. Also it is a blessing to be able to know exactly how to pray for you and those you are serving. Praying, love you both so very much!


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    About the Author

    I am a follower of Jesus Christ. I am a husband to Rachel. I am a student at The Southern Baptist Theological Seminary. I worship at Erlanger Baptist Church in Erlanger, KY.


    June 2012
    May 2012