I planned to post something about my 1 year anniversary from resigning but a more pressing issues as arisen that I feel moved to address. I’ll save my other post for another day.
Like many of you, I have been grieved by what I’m seeing on the news and social media. Almost every morning I get an alert on my phone about another shooting, bombing, or senseless act of racism. Before I go to bed, there is another. When does it stop? Where does it end? The most recent police shooting has gotten me absolutely shaken. Last night I was in tears looking at my news feed on Facebook. My tears came from feeling helpless. How can I carry on and live my life like normal with stuff like this going on in my country to my people? Though these tragedies haven’t affected me directly, I know if I do nothing, it will only be a matter of time. I have a younger brother who is a young black man. When I see and hear about these young black men being killed by police or by each other it makes me think of him. That could have been him or one of his little friends. I say little friends because these aren’t mincing scary black men to me. They are the same little boys that like to ride bikes, play basketball, and run around wearing capes, just all grown up.
I had dinner with a friend last night and of course this topic came up. We both shared the sentiment that something has to be done. Something that will cause real change. During the civil rights movement, their strategies worked to produce tangible results. They marched to get the right to vote. They sat-in at lunch counters to earn the right to be served. But how do you fight for the right to live? Fighting police isn’t the answer because all police aren’t corrupt. Fighting white people isn’t the answer because all white people aren’t racist. We can’t fight to change laws because that won’t fix the problem either. The real enemy is a system (white privilege), a mindset (racism), a spirit (evil). As I was having this conversation with my friend, Ephesians 6 came to mind. To fight an unseen enemy you have to use unseen weapons.
A final word: Be strong in the Lord and in his mighty power. 11 Put on all of God’s armor so that you will be able to stand firm against all strategies of the devil. 12 For we are not fighting against flesh-and-blood enemies, but against evil rulers and authorities of the unseen world, against mighty powers in this dark world, and against evil spirits in the heavenly places. 13 Therefore, put on every piece of God’s armor so you will be able to resist the enemy in the time of evil. Then after the battle you will still be standing firm. 14 Stand your ground, putting on the belt of truth and the body armor of God’s righteousness. 15 For shoes, put on the peace that comes from the Good News so that you will be fully prepared. 16 In addition to all of these, hold up the shield of faith to stop the fiery arrows of the devil. 17 Put on salvation as your helmet, and take the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. 18 Pray in the Spirit at all times and on every occasion. Stay alert and be persistent in your prayers for all believers everywhere. Ephesians 6:10-18 NLT
I know some people believe the Bible is out dated and isn’t for today, so let me break this down for you. First of all, be strong in the Lord and His power. Like me, at times you may feel helpless, but find your strength in knowing the one who has ALL might and power in His hands. If you can’t do that first, the rest of your weapons are useless. Second, know your enemy. Know that we are not fighting flesh-and-blood (police and/or white people). The real fight is with the unseen kingdom of darkness. Stand your ground; don’t back down when people persecute you. Know the truth. Live a righteous life. I’m gonna pause there for minute because I believe this is where we miss it. Living a righteous life doesn’t simply mean be a law-abiding citizen. It means live a righteous life before God. Don’t measure your life by man’s standards. Don’t think you’re doing good because you’re “better” than the rest of your family, friends, co-workers, neighbors, etc. PSA: God does not grade on a curve! Let that sink in. You might want to study a little more and review your answers before you turn in that test.
Put on shoes of peace, meaning you should be spreading peace everywhere you go. Make an effort to spread peace [Romans 12:17-18]. Spread the Good News that Jesus died for all of our sins so we can be forgiven and escape the wrath of God. With that, came healing, deliverance, wealth, freedom, and the solution to every problem you could possibly have. Now that’s GOOD NEWS!!
Next, the shield of faith because when you get into a battle you will be fired upon. It’s your faith that will protect you. Faith in knowing that God is with you and fighting for you. Faith in knowing that the good guys always win. And when they don’t, know that the fight isn’t over yet.
Put on the helmet of salvation to protect your mind. You need that protection when doubt and hopelessness start to creep in. If you aren’t saved or not sure, we can fix that right now. If you confess with your mouth the Lord Jesus and believe in your heart that God has raised Him from the dead, you will be saved [Romans 10:9]. Now go find a church, get involved, get into the Word, and get discipled because you’re gonna need some training before you get into this fight.
Last but certainly not least, PRAY! 14 if My people [Christians; anyone claiming Jesus Christ as Lord and savior] who are called by My name will humble themselves, and pray and seek My face, and turn from their wicked ways [live a righteous life], then I will hear from heaven, and will forgive their sin and heal their land [2 Chronicles 7:14]. That means if we humble ourselves, live righteous lives, and pray, God will fix this mess for us.
After reading this you my be thinking, “How do I know all this will work? How do I know God will really fight this battle for us?” Because He hates what’s happening more than we do. God hates dishonest scales (double standards) [Proverbs 20:10] and He hates injustice. So why doesn’t He just do something? Why do I have to “get my life right” for Him to do something. I’m not the one out here killing people! Here’s the thing, when God steps into the fight it gets REAL! When God rights a wrong, He rights ALL wrong so you need to get right so you don’t get caught in the crossfire. He can’t step in if you’re in the way! It’s just like those action movies when the men on the ground are yelling over the radio for the sniper to take the shot but he won’t because it’s not a clean shot. He doesn’t want anyone to get hurt in the crossfire so He’ll wait for that clean shot. God is like that. Get out of the way so He can take a clean shot!
Paul probably didn’t know that we would be fighting this fight in 2016 but God did and therefore deemed it important to include Ephesians 6:10-18 in His holy word. At tragic times we tend to think, “Where is God? How could He let this happen?” But the truth is, it happened because He already gave us everything we need to overcome these situations [Ephesians 1:3]. If we don’t use the tools we are given or follow His instructions, whose fault is that? YOUR OWN! If you don’t believe all this God stuff, allow me to steal a line from TI, “Let me ask you something. Is you happy?”
Getting back to the weapon of prayer. Everyone can pray. On your knees is the safest and most powerful protest position. Maybe you’re a white person reading this and fear persecution if you march or protest; but you can pray. Maybe you’re a police officer and your buddies at the force are racist and you don’t want to be ostracized; PRAY. No one has to know that you’re praying. In fact that’s how Jesus instructed His Disciples to pray. 6 But you, when you pray, go into your room, and when you have shut your door, pray to your Father who is in the secret place; and your Father who sees in secret will reward you openly [Matthew 6:6].
So my people, I implore you, before you hit the streets hit your knees! I’m not saying do nothing because there is a time for action. I’m saying get your battle plans from the Lord. If He gives you instructions during that prayer time, and I believe He will for some of you, carry them out knowing God is with you. Who knows, the instructions He gave you may be the very reason you were born. You may be the answer. Like Ester, He may have put you here for such a time as this.