By, Isam Itson III
How do we respond to the self righteousness, injustice, and immorality of our governing authorities, political opponents, and social power brokers? What do we do in response to the people who are mainly committed to being large and in charge no matter who they harm in the process? How do we deal with people in positions of power and influence who value their self interest more than the integrity and well being of their fellow citizens?
Ephesians 6:17, “and take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God,”
As stated in the previous article, we do not follow their example. We do not give in to the devilish temptation to take our lives into our own hands and slander them. As followers of Jesus Christ we stand shoulder to shoulder with each other covered by God’s love, grace, and faithfulness. Then, we address the challenges we face in life as if we believe God’s word is true, wise, righteous just, powerful, and adequate, for ourselves and others.
We don’t just shield ourselves and each other from self righteousness, injustice, abuse, and social chaos. We counter attack the forces of evil with the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God. We give ourselves completely and wholeheartedly to helping people help others, no matter what it costs us socially or materially. As followers of Jesus Christ we honor God’s love for the person right in front of us at our own expense.
The sword of the Roman foot soldier was a short sword. That means the soldiers could not use their sword effectively until their enemies were right in their face. They had to allow their enemies to get close before they could use it. All while maintaining their shield to shield formation. At the same time that we are each standing with God we are encouraging and supporting each other to stand with God as well. As a follower of Jesus Christ my resistance and counter attack against the slanderous attacks of the Devil helps your resistance and counter attack against the Devil.
The Holy Spirt sharpens and strengthens our understanding of God’s word. The Holy Spirit helps the members of the Church honor God’s word. What we call the Bible. The Bible is the record of the revelation of God as the creator and ruler of the cosmos. As people made in the image of God and as followers of Jesus Christ, we are royal representatives of God. Our lives are fulfilled in the fulfillment of God’s purposes and the praise of God’s glory.
When asked to name the greatest commandment in the Bible, Jesus said that the whole Bible was summarized in two commands; to love God with all of our heart, mind, and strength, and to love our neighbor as ourselves. When pressed to clarify who qualifies as our neighbor, Jesus told the story of the Good Samaritan in Luke 10:29-37. In that story Jesus identified the person that his audience viewed with suspicion and disgust as being a good neighbor to someone who was in need of immediate and inconvenient assistance.
Remember what the Apostle Paul wrote in Ephesians 6:12. The human in front of us is not the enemy. The person in front of us is made in the image of God. The person in front of us is someone for whom Christ died. We call them out for abusing their God given position of authority. We call them out for not honoring the well being of the people whom God has entrusted to their care. We call them out for treating people as dispensable. We call out their lack of commitment to honor God’s love for others. But we never deny their value to God. Given time the foolishness of their self-interest will reveal itself.
As followers of Jesus Christ we overcome and repay their evil with good. We focus through the chaos, confusion, and noise of social unrest.We embody the love and grace of God revealed in Jesus Christ. We redouble our personal efforts to help the people around us discover, cultivate, and contribute their unique, and irreplaceable blessing to humanity and the world in submission to God, through faith in Jesus Christ.
We set aside our self interest and serve God’s interests on behalf of others. We use the time, energy, and resources that God has blessed us with in order to bless others. We help our brothers and sisters in Christ honor the depth and breadth of God’s invincible love for the people in our local communities.
We stand in God’s love and we respond with God’s love. In 1 Corinthians 13:6 the Apostle Paul writes, that love does not delight in evil, but rejoices with the truth. We honor the truth of God’s love and personally represent the presence, power, and faithfulness of God to those who are perishing around us. This exposes the evil and cowardice of those who exploit the fear, need, and desperation of their fellow human beings.
Together, as followers of Jesus Christ, we stand with God on behalf of others, no matter what. The governing authorities and the spiritual powers that employ the slanderous accusations of the Devil for their selfish interest will ultimately come to nothing. The power and truth of God’s word will be revealed in the end.
1. How do you contribute to the well being of the people you encounter on a daily basis?
2. Like the Good Samaritan, how do you prepare yourself to use your time and energy to help people in desperate need?
3. How can you personally help a “needy” person become the Good Samaritan that God created all of us to be?