I am a white 22-year-old male from a small town in South Georgia..Cordele, Georgia. Cordele is an interesting place. The town is divided by a railroad track. On one side is populated by predominantly white people, and black people mainly populate the other side. On the “black” side of town is where the “projects” are, and many of my white peers and people older than me called it “the bad side of town.” From a young age, I didn’t understand racial divide or realize what a huge issue it was. As I grew older and came to Christ and saw how few black people went to the First Baptist Church, I attended I began to see that the most segregated time of the week was on Sunday morning. This bothers me severely.  Our schools are multicultural, where we shop is multicultural, the TV shows we watch are multicultural, but our churches are not.

Over the past few years, there has been a rising of what is called the “Black Lives Matter” movement. Where there have been many events of police brutality towards black people this movement has become very prevalent to bring attention to just one of the racial problems we seem to have in our country.

As the news broadcasted story after story of young black men being murdered, I saw a humongous divide arise among white people and black people. I saw in our country a divide created that made me so angry at what our world had become. I saw so many Christians find more importance in picking a side of the divide instead of picking to unite in love. I struggled with this because the majority of the white people I knew seemed to find reasons to excuse the actions of police instead of seeking to find reasons to share the hurt of those who were hurting. Since when is “being right” more important than comforting those who hurt? Maybe the world around us is falling apart, and the world is dividing us so that the church of Jesus Christ can be the anomaly that stands up and says: “WHAT THE WORLD SEEKS TO DIVIDE, JESUS LOOKS TO UNITE.”

Galatians 6:2 writes: “Bear one another’s burdens, and so fulfill the law of Christ.”

I pray that I am a man that seeks to bear the burdens of those who hurt. I believe that Jesus emulated and was the human example of carrying the burdens of all people. Bearing the burden’s of Whites, Blacks, Asians, Hispanics, Middle Easterners, and any and every race there is.

I have had Black Lives Matter explained to me like this. Imagine you are walking in your neighborhood, and there is one house on fire, and you say “All Houses Matter”… yeah, that’s true, but are you still going to choose to let that one house burn down? I don’t think so. Black Lives Matter . . .because they do to Jesus. The church must quit ignoring the racial issues in our communities. Yes, it will be uncomfortable, and there will be awkward moments, but this has to happen for there to be a change in the world we live in. So let us as followers of Jesus quit looking to be right and looking to win arguments and simply look to unite in love and Jesus. It is when we do this that the world will see that the church and Jesus are for the healing of hurting hearts, and the healing of those that are broke and those that don’t understand what’s going on in this crazy world we live in. So yes Black Lives Matter, because they do to Jesus, and they should to you too. Quit looking to be right and instead look to unite in a love that is so much greater than we can ever understand.  A love that brings understanding to our unique cultural differences and a love that brings together people in a way only Jesus can. A love that created all people differently to glorify God in many different ways.

Anxiety is described as a feeling of worry, nervousness, or unease, typically about an imminent event or something with an uncertain outcome.  All people in some way deal with anxiety. For some, it is more severe than others.  At the root of anxiety is the fear of the uncertainty and the unknown. Inside of the concept of uncertainty is the lack of control on behalf of the person dealing with anxiousness.

Paul writes on anxiety in Philippians 4:6-9 saying:

Rejoice in the Lord always; again I will say, rejoice. Let your reasonableness be known to everyone. The Lord is at hand; do not be anxious about anything, but in everything by prayer and supplication with thanksgiving let your requests be made known to God. And the peace of God, which surpasses all understanding, will guard your hearts and your minds in Christ Jesus.
Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.

I believe that in dealing with anxiety and stress, there are a few ideas that hold direct relation to the stress in our lives.

1.  The thing you find the most joy in is often what you are most devoted to.

Meaning that what you are passionate about and what you care about will be what you spend the most time on. Our time and devotion will go towards school, jobs, family, relationships and etc. While these things are not bad, they often can be the things that we are most devoted to. Why do we devote time to these things? Because they directly affect US.

2. What you are most devoted to will be what you worry about.

How often have the things that you become involved with create stress in your life? I know for myself that I had had plenty of times when all my devotion and time was invested in numerous things that I had become stressed out and anxious about the outcomes of numerous things. Often what we are most devoted to will be the fuel to our stress and anxiety.

The reason I mention Joy and Devotion in relation to anxiety is that as we read these verses in Philippians 4:6-9 the first thing that Paul says is “Rejoice in the Lord, Again I say Rejoice.” So the question I raise is: If what we find the most joy in is usually what we are most devoted to what will our lives and our anxiety look like if our joy is shifted from ourselves to the Lord? I believe that we get to this place by using the instructions that Paul gives in being in prayer, in thanks, and thinking of the goodness and the mercy of Christ. I encourage you to read these verses in Philippians and take the time to think about the things that you are most devoted to and how they may be sources of stress in your life. When you begin to struggle with the need to satisfy your devotions remember these verses and this statement that I find helpful “Less Devotion to me is Greater Devotion to He.” Christ is worth your devotion. God saw loved you to send a Savior to you He deserves your full attention and full devotion. Look to finding full devotion and satisfaction in rejoicing in the Lord as a source of aid and healing to the stresses and anxieties of your life.