My heart has gone and goes out to the young black males especially that believe our people have suffered long enough and that white authority--most outwardly represented by the police--must be stood up to; respect for their black person insisted upon. Tragically, too many in history and our times have not lived to report that this posture turned out positive for him. While saying this is not to commend those that have abused their authority or devalue human dignity, nevertheless, our sons must accept all authority originates from and is granted by God with the expectation it is to be respected. He holds any of us sinful mortals wielding authority accountable (Romans 13:1-7)!
While I humbly confess to still not having mastered the ways of the Lord in this myself, my born again soul assents to them as righteous and what pleases Him. Thus, as it concerns submission to sinful mortal authority for example, as did Christ my Lord and every aspiring strong man of God in His image through history,1 it is done without regarding oneself as inferior or robbed of dignity, but honoring God who ordained authority no matter how inferior in station, ugly in attitude or behavior or unworthy in merit the authority figure(s) or is not Christ the Son of God? Even so, one can speak up calmly to evil in strength under control as Christ also exemplified (Matthew 26:47-56; John 18:1-11).2
Knowing the foregoing, I am all the more appreciative of the black aspiring strong men of God in the image of Christ from slavery that have endured great evil against themselves in conscious humble submission. This space is limited, but as the Lord has led, I am pleased to be able to post this edited 2010 Commentary to at least acknowledge, honor and hold up such men from my community as examples for all of us that must stand for Christ in the current and worsening evil days we live in. As well, I joyfully continue to fulfill the mission of this Ministry’s From Slavery To Victory Education Project in its 25th year!
Originally Published June 2010
On the nineteenth of this month black Americans will celebrate the 145th anniversary of the day Texas slaves heard about Abraham Lincoln's signing of the Emancipation Proclamation some two years earlier on January 1, 1863. For the last sixteen years in another work of our parent Ministry called The From Slavery To Victory Education Project, we have tried to inform especially black Americans of our incredible spiritual legacy created in the caldron of our suffering. The story of aspiring black American strong men of God is not the least portion of that legacy and should be an inspiration to all men, but especially our own sons.
Before just only scratching the surface of the story of aspiring black American strong men of God in the image of Jesus Christ, we must first properly link it to the larger story of all of them God has forged in this New Testament era. Indeed, Jewish men who fifty days earlier had been found huddled together in fear for their lives, stood to face the same crowds that had chanted against their Master, “Crucify Him,” (John 19:5-7, NKJV). In holy fire and languages previously unknown, on the “Day of Pentecost” they with the women present declared “the wonderful works of God” before them (Acts 2:1-13, NKJV). Then, one of the men, Peter, who had even denied three times that he knew his Lord, boldly preached His resurrection from the dead (Acts 2:14-36)!
Empowered with strength from on High, the apostles of Jesus Christ mightily proclaimed the Gospel about Him throughout the Roman Empire. They did so with a relentless passion to please God and do His will regardless of the cost. History and tradition tell us most of these men paid for their zeal with their lives! In fact, the first place to look for evidence of aspiring strong men of God throughout this New Testament era is the trail of blood left by the martyrs. While not every aspiring strong man of God since the 1st century has been a martyr, all would have suffered in some measure as part of His overarching purpose to conform them to the image of Christ (Romans 8:29; Hebrews 5:8-9, 12:1-11; 1 Peter 2:18-25).
God in His sovereignty chose to shape willing men taken from the tribes of West Africa into the image of His Son through the refining fire of slavery and bitter trials. In the New World far from their land of origin, He humbled proud black men through forced labor (Psalm 107:10-16). Those that called to Him for deliverance had their souls saved and gratefully waited in hope for Him to unshackle their bodies as it occurred first at the end of the Civil War, then finally, among Texas slaves. But their trials continued. They were severely tried through Jim Crow segregation, racially motivated discrimination and other oppressive acts of terror and murder through the mid-20th century.
At that time, in the spirit of European church reformers from centuries past, black churchmen and supporting godly women led by men like Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. rose up to peacefully protest our nation's comfortable mistreatment of its black citizens. They suffered arrest, violent opposition and even martyrdom as they marched to highlight and seek relief from America's legally sanctioned oppression of blacks. The walls of oppression began to tumble one by one as the nation's conscience could no longer bear to see the morally indefensible mistreatment of its citizens due exclusively to the color of their skin and the hate filled, ugly side of violently enforcing it.
The names of the Christian black men from slavery through the Civil Rights Movement that willfully chose to suffer in order to please God and do His will while waiting on His intervention are many and not widely known. The few that are well known such as Booker T. Washington, also made peaceful assaults on the status quo by working to improve the lot of their people through education and enterprise. A great number wore "Reverend" in front of their names such as Aaron Johnson of North Carolina and John Perkins of Mississippi. Today, in sports, Tony Dungy and Lovie Smith stand out as longsuffering victors in Christ. All of these Christian black men are inspiring role models for any man that will aspire to be a strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ!
1 To learn more about what is involved in becoming a strong man of God in the image of Jesus Christ, get a print copy or digital download of my book, The Strong Man
Of God: Back To Basics, at major internet booksellers such as Amazon, Barnes & Noble, ChristianBooks.com and Apple (digital only). You can also get the book in
either format in the Strong Man Store.
2 The four Gospels of the New Testament clearly show that while being direct, penetrating, truthful and prophetic, the Lord Jesus never insulted, cursed angrily at or
threatened those that arrested, falsely accused, tried and carried out His crucifixion. Also, His words became fewer and expressed concern for others as He made His
way to the cross in total submission to His Father’s will (Matthew 26:36-46; Luke 23:26-43; John 19:25-27). Foretelling His disciples would face similar circumstances,
He gave instructions right down to words to speak that emulated how He handled His experience (Mark 13:11-13).
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