Class 2: The Main Thing (Part 2)
As we begin, here are some more quick “Just Do It” action points that you can apply to your life today and that will help you stay alive as a young black man in America. These tips from the National Black Police Association tell you what to do if you are stopped by the police while walking:
The police may ask for your name if you have been properly detained; you can be arrested in some states for refusing to give it. If you reasonably fear that your name is incriminating, you can claim the right to remain silent, which may be a defense in case you are arrested anyway. It’s not a crime to refuse to answer questions, but refusing to answer might make the police suspicious about you.
Police may “pat-down” your outer-clothing – if, they suspect a concealed weapon. Don’t physically resist, but make it clear that you don’t consent to any further search. Ask if you are under arrest. If you are, you have a right to know why. Don’t bad-mouth the police officer or offer resistance, even if you believe what is happening is unreasonable. That could lead to your arrest.
Most of the problems you may encounter with the police can be avoided. Remember, the police may think they have reason (probable cause) to stop you and ask questions. At this time, you should collect your thoughts and remain calm. Whether or not you are detained or arrested may just depend on how calm and prepared you are at this time. Think carefully about your words, movement, body language, and emotions. Don’t get into an argument with the police. Remember, anything you say or do can be used against you.
We will continue with more of these practical action points in our next class.
Today, we are going to continue with study one from Letters to Young Black Men titled, The Main Thing.
Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
As we begin this class, also consider these words from David N. Dinkins: “The greatest riches of our community are not material but moral.”
Let’s begin by reading a portion from Letters to Young Black Men:
I realize that talking about things spiritual is not popular these days, and it may not be what you wish to talk about at this time. I recall, when I was a child and got sick with what they called the “whooping cough” or some type of flu or cold, my dear grandmother Beaman and/or my great-grandmother Breedlove would give me something that I didn’t like — but needed. It was called “Castor Oil”. Dear Y.B.M., you may not like all that I am talking with you about, or you may not be interested in what I am talking with you about, but being that I have gone the way that you are going, I can say firmly and lovingly that you need it! Before we talk about things that may seemingly be of more interest to you, we must put the horse before the cart. We must put first things first.
Now, please pull out your printed book study guide or your digital study guide as we pick up where we left off in our first class.
Please make sure you understand the following principles:
- Your spiritual life, your relationship with God, should be your number one priority in this life.
- No, it is not your health, your wealth, or even your education.
Read these verses and note what they say about the relationship between our physical health and our spiritual life.
- I Timothy 4:8-9 says, “For bodily exercise profiteth little: but godliness is profitable unto all things, having promise of the life that now is, and of that which is to come. This is a faithful saying and worthy of all acceptation.”
While maintaining healthy, disciplined physical habits positively affects several aspects of life, maintaining healthy, disciplined spiritual habits affects every area of life. When we seek after godliness and faithfulness everything else falls into place.
- I Corinthians 6:19-20 says, “What? know ye not that your body is the temple of the Holy Ghost which is in you, which ye have of God, and ye are not your own? For ye are bought with a price: therefore glorify God in your body, and in your spirit, which are God’s.”
There is nothing wrong with desiring health and striving to keep our bodies in the best physical condition. For, our bodies are the very temple in which the Holy Spirit dwells, and, thus, we should naturally desire to provide Him a suitable place. However, when we seek after health for our own glorification and place this attainment of physical well-being above our spiritual well-being we lose sight of Who our bodies truly belong to.
- So, how do we balance our desire to remain healthy with our desire to be godly?
We must realize our bodies are not our own. Rather, they were created by God for God’s purposes. Jesus also has bought us with His blood. So, we should attempt to treat our bodies well, because obviously they are highly valued by the Lord. However, we should not strive for health and physical strength merely as a means to receive the praise of man. Rather, we should seek after health so that God can use us to our maximum capacity, for His purposes and for His glory.
- Proverbs 11:4 says, “Riches profit not in the day of wrath: but righteousness delivereth from death.”
Even though money seems to be the answer to everything on this earth, in reality it is the answer to nothing. As we have already discussed, our physical existence is short and our spiritual existence is eternal. When this physical body dies, our monetary gains also cease to exist. When Jesus Christ returns to take His children home, He will not ask who has the greatest possessions. Rather, He will look favorably upon those followers who have demonstrated lives of righteousness — meaning lives of purity, service, and love.
- Matthew 6:19-21 says, “Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also.”
Again, the Bible asserts that material wealth is ultimately worthless and a pure heart is invaluable. Whereas earthly possessions can be destroyed, a man’s integrity cannot be shaken.
- So, according to these verses why is your spiritual life much more valuable than wealth?
For one, “our” possessions are not even ours in the first place. Just like with health, God blesses some with wealth so that His purposes may be fulfilled. Ultimately, though, material things perish while spiritual things are eternal.
We will continue our study on “The Main Thing” in our next class.
In closing, as I shared with you earlier, Tony Dungy, the first black coach to win the Super Bowl and the host of NBC’s Sunday Night Football said, “You are never going to get anywhere in sports or in life until you become convinced of the truth of the gospel of Jesus Christ. You may become a professional athlete or have fame and nice cars and nice houses and a lot of money, but what you’ll find is that all of that stuff goes away pretty quickly. You have to understand that Christ died for our sins, and that He died not just to be our Savior but so that He could be the center of our lives.”
Now, like many of you, I grew up in a very religious and church-going family, and during that time, I often heard the phrase “Being Saved.” Now, much of what church people said “being saved” was I now know is wrong according to the Bible. I wrote an article about it titled “On ‘Being Saved’ in Black America” which is available for you to read free of charge on our website, gospellightsociety.com. Right now, I want to share with you briefly what the Bible says “being saved” really is.
First, understand that you need to be saved because you are a sinner. Romans 3:23 says, “For all have sinned, and come short of the glory of God.” Second, understand that a horrible punishment — eternal Hell — awaits those who are not saved. In Matthew 25:41, Jesus Christ said that God will say to those who are not saved, “depart from me ye cursed into everlasting fire prepared for the devil and his angels.” Third, realize that God loves you very much and wants to save you from Hell. John 3:16 says, “For God so loved the world that He gave His only begotten Son, that whosoever believeth in Him should not perish, but have everlasting life.” If you want to be saved from Hell and be guaranteed a home in Heaven, simply believe in Jesus Christ, that He died, was buried, and rose from the dead for your sins, and then call upon Him in prayer and ask Him to save your soul. And believe me, He will. Romans 10:9-13 says, “That if thou shalt confess with thy mouth the Lord Jesus, and shalt believe in thine heart that God hath raised Him from the dead, thou shalt be saved. For whosoever shall call upon the name of the Lord shall be saved.” That is the most important decision you will ever make.
If the Lord tarries His coming and we live, I’ll see you for our next class.