martin-luther-king-jrToday we observe the birthday of a great American, Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. It is clear the nation owes him a debt of gratitude for what his accomplishments in the realm of social justice and equality. However, I would like to speak briefly regarding Reverend Martin Luther King, Jr., the man of God.

Dr. King understood something the Body of Christ misses today: that if you want to change the social fabric of a nation, you must first change the hearts and minds of that nation. He understood that what plagued America was a spiritual problem and that it required a spiritual solution.

There were other civil rights pioneers that proffered solutions to racial inequalities. Booker T. Washington believed that social change would follow addressing economic disparities. W.E.B. DuBois believed the path to change lie in education and political empowerment. Rosa Parks and Bayard Rustin thought that embracing socialism was the means to that end. All of these efforts were doomed to fail because they addressed symptoms without treating the root cause.

Dr. King studied the successful employment nonviolent resistance of Mahatma Gandhi in the liberation of India. Mr. Gandhi, in turn, derived his strategy by studying the life and teaching of Jesus Christ. The Lord Jesus, while a King in command of the heavenly army, withstood insults, beatings and, ultimately, crucifixion without resistance of any kind. As a result, Jesus changed the entire world!

Today, the country (indeed, the world) is plagued with all manner of social ills. In spite of Dr. King’s efforts, racial inequality is still an issue. There are violent political disagreements. Proposed changes to the social order (e.g., homosexual “marriage”) threaten the very fabric of our nation. Hunger, poverty, and physical illness still pose serious problems. But, like Dr. King, we must come to the realization that the root of the problems are spiritual and, likewise, the change must be spiritual.

The reason why the Civil Rights Movement was successful is that it had the Church as its power-base. It was only when the Church and its leadership stepped up and stepped in that the Movement gained traction.  Similarly, it is high time that the Church steps up and asserts itself to impact the world with the will, culture and intent of the Kingdom of God. Dr. King understood the Church was the world’s spiritual trauma center and rehabilitation facility and sought to engage it to treat and correct social injustice.

Romans 8:19 declares that “For the earnest expectation of the creature waiteth for the manifestation of the sons of God.” In other words, the whole world is waiting for God’s people — the church — to stand up and speak out against the ailments of the world. Jesus, Himself, said it best:

For verily I say unto you , That whatsoever you shall say unto this mountain, Be thou removed, and be thou cast into the sea; and shall not doubt in his heart, but shall believe that these things which he saith shall come to pass; he shall have whatsoever he saith. (Mark 11:23)

The problem today is that we — the Body of Christ — are reluctant to speak up. But it is when we speak God’s Word to the situations of the day — then standing in faith that we have what we speak — that we begin to see change!

Dr. King was a mighty drum major for justice but, first, he was a mighty man of God. He understood the power of speaking to the mountain. Today, we need to pick up where he left off — see the problem and then SPEAK GOD’S WORD to the problem!

© 2012 – Derrick Day (