Overcoming evil, bias, and discrimination
Every child of God defeats this evil world, and we achieve this victory through our faith. – 1 John 5:4
1 John 2:12-17
12 I am writing to you, who are God’s children, because your sins have been forgiven through Jesus.
13 I am writing to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ, who existed from the beginning. I am writing to you who are young in the faith because you have won your battle with the evil one.
14 I have written to you who are God’s children because you know the Father. I have written to you who are mature in the faith because you know Christ . . .. I have written to you who are young in the faith because you are strong. God’s word lives in your hearts, and you have won your battle with the evil one.
15 Do not love this world nor the things it offers you, for when you love the world, you do not have the love of the Father in you.
16 For the world offers only a craving for physical pleasure, a craving for everything we see, and pride in our achievements and possessions. These are not from the Father but are from this world.
17 And this world is fading away, along with everything that people crave. But anyone who does what pleases God will live forever.
Igor Stravinsky was a Russian-born Jewish composer whose work transformed musical thought and sensibility in the 20th century. Two of his more notable works were The Firebird (1910) and The Rite of Spring (1913) which incited a riot upon its premiere. Stravinsky was a revolutionary force who brought something radically new to classical music. He created music with constantly changing rhythms, metric imbalances, and drastically dissonant harmonies. He immigrated from Russia to Paris in 1920. He fled Paris and immigrated to the United States in 1939 to avoid the Nazi juggernaut in Europe. Stravinsky contributed to the rise of classical modernism.
Stephanie Dabney’s gift for movement transcended boundaries. As a principal ballerina for the Dance Theater of Harlem (DTH), she regularly wowed audiences and critics – but never more than when she performed The Firebird. She was the first Black ballerina to dance the title role in the Stravinsky ballet. Her soaring, passionate portrayal of a fictitious red bird who protects a prince from evil vaulted her to fame.
One New York Times critic called her “the most incandescent Firebird imaginable,” adding, “one knew that this was a wild bird.” Mikhail Gorbachev’s wife, Raisa told the company’s artistic director, “she was wonderful as if created for this role.”
Dabney started dancing at age 4, but “being Black limited her opportunities, even in school recitals” (nytimes.com). In 1975, when she was 16, she joined the company of the Dance Theater of Harlem. She danced the part of The Firebird in the opening ceremonies for the 1984 Summer Olympics in Los Angeles.
The Firebird, though, was always part of her. She said, “This is a role where you get to really dance and be the music. It pushes you and fills your insides, and it makes your emotions come out.”
Both Stravinsky and Dabney were the victims of intense discrimination and prejudice. However, they were overcomers. Innovative magnificent music and superlative performances were born of bias and inequity.
John 16:33 In the world, you have tribulation, but take courage; I have overcome the world.
Children of the King are called upon to be overcomers.
REFLECT & PRAY
Belief and trust in the Father are not so much taught as it is caught.
Father life is filled with tribulation and adversity. Strengthen me to be an overcomer. Let my inner red bird sore like an eagle.
John 14:27 Peace I leave with you; My peace I give to you; not as the world gives do I give to you. Do not let your heart be troubled, nor let it be fearful.
The peace that the Lord Jesus Christ offers is unique and far different from that commonly available to us in the world. In the world, the best we can hope for is the absence of open hostility and warfare. In the Old Testament, the Hebrew word for peace is shalom. It is not merely the absence of war but a sense of completeness, fulfillment, well-being, ease, unaffectedness, success, wholeness, and even prosperity.
Shalom encompasses that which makes for humanity’s highest good. There is but one source of ultimate peace in the world, the peace of God. The Father actualizes His peace within our lives as we do His will.
The peace the Lord Jesus Christ provides “surpasses all understanding” (Philippians 4:7) because it has a supernatural source in the heart of Christ Himself. His peace keeps us from fear and worry because it brings us straight to Him (Stanley).
John 14:1 Don’t let your hearts be troubled. Trust in God, and trust also in me.
John 16:33 These things I have spoken to you, so that in Me you may have peace. In the world, you have tribulation but take courage; I have overcome the world.
How do children of the King face and overcome the everyday, ubiquitous trials by fire that we face in this present age?
1 Peter 4:12-19
12 Dear friends, don’t be surprised at the fiery trials you are going through, as if something strange were happening to you.
13 Instead, be very glad – for these trials make you partners with Christ in his suffering, so that you will have the wonderful joy of seeing his glory when it is revealed to all the world.
14 So be happy when you are insulted for being a Christian, for then the glorious Spirit of God rests upon you.
16 But it is no shame to suffer for being a Christian. Praise God for the privilege of being called by his name!
19 So if you are suffering in a manner that pleases God, keep on doing what is right, and trust your lives to the God who created you, for he will never fail you.
In the first century, “In the nature of things, persecution must have been a much more daunting experience for Gentiles than it was for Jews. The average Gentile had little experience with it, but the Jews have always been the most persecuted people on earth. . .. It is never easy to be a Christian. The Christian life brings its own loneliness, its own unpopularity, its own problems, its own sacrifices, and its own persecutions. It is, therefore, good to have certain great principles in our minds” (Barclay).
2 Consider it all joy, my brothers and sisters when you encounter various trials.
3 You know that the testing of your faith produces endurance.
Trials challenge our faith. They are designed to produce spiritual maturity. The Greek word translated as testing is dokimion. Dokimion is used here to evaluate the genuineness and strength of our faith (cf. 1 Peter 1:7). It is not intended to cause you to fail. But instead, to demonstrate that our faith is genuine and effective. The intended result is perseverance, “a life of faithful endurance amid troubles and afflictions” (ESV notes).
Hebrews 10:36 Patient endurance is what you need now, so that you will continue to do God’s will. Then you will receive all that he has promised.
© Dr. H 2022