“No weapon forged against you will prevail, and you will refute every tongue that accuses you. This is the heritage of the servants of the Lord, and this is their vindication from me,” declares the Lord.” ~Isaiah 54:17
Kingdom Men, we know the church is under persecution, that is not new. As we will discuss tomorrow, God’s children have been attacked by the liar Satan since the Garden of Eden. Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, undoubtedly a revered Kingdom Man and one of our nation’s greatest heroes, knew persecution and faced it in an uncommon way. History has recorded him as on the right side of grace and justice, and yet during his time in ministry, as an advocate and civil rights leader, many weapons were formed against him; one of which prevailed against his body. But his dream and his example forged ahead.
Dr. King embraced the times in which he lived. In his ”I’ve Been to the Mountaintop” speech, given just days before his assassination, he said that if he could live at any time in human history he would “ask the Almighty for just a few years in the second half of the 20th Century – ‘I will be happy.’” He knew that even in the midst of a troubled and sick nation marred by violence and waffling allies, that the demonstration of disciplined love would stand against the present darkness wielding clubs, fire hoses, bombs and nooses, and usher in justice.
Dr. King knew that resistance on its own was futile. Resistance would not lead to the peace he sought. It would lead to more violence, death and oppression. But resistance rooted in Truth, resistance anchored in Christ’s command “to love one another as He loved us” would show to the world the power of the Gospel to set the captives free.
As a Kingdom Man, Dr. King knew that he was created for that moment. Persecution was all around him, but he didn’t run from it, he leaned into it. He had a plan, a blueprint to weather the persecution. In 1960, he shared it with the women of Spelman College in his “Keep Moving from This Mountain” address. He encouraged those assembled to 1) Have a deep belief in their own dignity and value. 2) Make a determination to achieve excellence. 3) Commit to the eternal principles of beauty, love and justice.
These principles, anchored in the Gospel, allowed him to see the battlefield with clear eyes and sober mind. He was not surprised or dissuaded by the ugliness. He believed the report from his Commander, “Remember I told you: ‘A servant is not greater than his Master. If they persecuted Me, they will also persecute you’” (John 15:20 paraphrase). He was confident in his Savior’s promise, “Blessed are you when people insult you, persecute you and falsely say all kinds of evil against you because of me. Rejoice and be glad, because great is your reward in heaven,” (Matthew 5;11-12, paraphrase). He didn’t try to excuse it, or deny it. He saw it for what it was and praised the Lord that he got to wrestle and grapple with the problems of his day. He chose to use his watch to put the issues on the front burner while others sought to kick the can.
Daily Battle Order
Jesus told us that we will be persecuted. Like Dr. King, we should be sober minded and equipped for our day. Our posture shouldn’t be to fear the darkness of persecution but believe our Savior, be ready and ask persecution, “where have you been? I knew you were coming.” In America we tend to believe that one’s persecution is always a result of their bad behavior. Sometimes it is. But sometimes it’s a result of what our Lord told us was coming. It’s our job to lean in and be ready. Don’t wish it away. This is our moment.
But I know, somehow, that only when it is dark enough, can you see the stars. And I see God working in this period of the twentieth century in a way that men, in some strange way, are responding — something is happening in our world. ~Dr. Martin Luther King Jr, I’ve Been to the Mountaintop
Today as we celebrate Dr. King, read his “MountainTop” speech and watch the attached clip from “Keep Moving from this Mountain” for inspiration as you craft the blueprint for your Kingdom resistance.
I’ve Been to the Mountain Top
Keep Moving from This Mountain (clip)
Keep Moving from This Mountain (text)