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Differentiate or Die
by Emmanuel Obu
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And further, by these, my son, be admonished: of making many books there is no end; and much study is a weariness of the flesh (Eccl.12:12).

Just looking at the above scripture on its face value one can miss a very crucial admonition of King Solomon to his son. One may perhaps feel there is a justification to live life without seeking to know and improving oneself. This, obviously, is not King Solomon’s assertion at all.

Many of us today resist change in our lives and we feel comfortable to hold on to the status quo. We are always willing to fight (where we think it is necessary) to defend “our territories”. We become so familiar with our turfs and we swear never to give it up even when letting go of it would produce something much more important. Sometimes we still want to wear that shirt even when we have obviously outgrown it; we still want to keep the sitting room the way it has always been even when know changing the arrangement could save up some space for us; we are still glued to the old habit even when we are aware it is killing us by the day; we love to stick to the old relationship even when it is not producing anything significant in our lives. Truth is, the average man is afraid of change!

The popular search engine, Google, recently wants to sign a deal with libraries, publishers and authors to have books scanned and digitized on the internet so that anyone anywhere could have access to books that might not be easily accessible to them. Finally, we could have access to such great libraries as the Alexandria Library where materials of Great Scholars have been archived! We would have access to over 10 million books, and still counting!

In my candid opinion the people that will benefit from such an arrangement are especially African students who do not have access to books. Many of us know how it was so difficult to study school and how miserable handouts were forced down our throats by sadists who blatantly told us that “handouts are not compulsory but mandatory”. Of course we had to buy those handouts anyway because the school library do not have enough books either. But unfortunately as laudable and good-intentioned as the Google project is it is meeting with a lot of resistance from some other people with special interest.

However, I must point it out that just because you acquire more knowledge doesn't mean you have changed. Change comes when you renew your mind with God's Word. You must be honest with yourself and confront the truth about what you need to change in your life. In order to succeed in life, change must be something you love, not just endure.

Change Begins With Renewing Your Mind (Romans 12:1, 2).
By renewing your mind, you will prove the perfect will of God for your life. Just because you are learning more, doesn't mean you are changing. Acquiring knowledge doesn't automatically renew your mind. Though Knowledge can provoke change, change comes when you apply and act on the knowledge you have. Of what use is a knowledge that is not good enough to produce a change in your life and circumstance?

So, to experience change in your life you have to begin from the point of renewing your mind. Your mind must agree to the need for change and must be willing to embrace it. Like Dr. John C. Maxwell will always reiterate “people don’t care how much you know till you show how much you care”. Our generation is not much tilted towards ‘know-how’ but ‘show-how’.

You Must Learn To Love Change (Proverbs 9:7-9).
A person with a rebellious, stagnant spirit reacts negatively when confronted with the truth about himself. One of the greatest turn-around for me in ministry happened to me when one of my spiritual mentors, Pastor Sunday Oliyide, said to me in the midst of a major crisis in ministry “you cannot be everything to everybody”. The statement was like a thunder strike, and it changed the expectations I allow people to place on me. This is the crux of my latest book, “What Should I Do For My Pastor?”

Don't despise hearing the truth. Engr. Femi Adebowale told me some years ago that “when you are confronted with the truth, take time to evaluate it and embrace the aspect of the truth that directly and truthfully addresses your situation. The remaining? Discard without hesitation”. That word of wisdom has also impacted my life so tremendously. I have learnt not to despise the truth because you will come back to find that it is indispensable.

The Biggest Change You Can Make Is Who You Spend Time With (Proverbs 13:20).
Anyone who isn't helping you fulfill your destiny is hurting you. Evaluate your relationships and friendships; and be willing to sever them if necessary. Embrace people who challenge and correct you (Ps.141:5). Be wise and embrace correction (Pro.12:1). Change won't happen if you refuse correction (Pro.10:8; 12:15; 6:23; 11:14; 13:1,18; 15:10,12,22; 15:31-33).

The Biggest Change You Can Make Is You.
Change must first take place in your heart. When your mind changes, your life changes.

Therefore, you must renew your thinking because when you change what's on the inside, the outside will follow suit (Mat.12:35). Your life is a manifestation of what is in you, therefore judge your heart. You can’t change anything around you till you have changed what’s in you.

Differentiate or die!

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