“Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus.” (Philippians 3:13:14)
Especially in light of recent events, many of us are discouraged (and rightly so). Officers are fleeing our God-ordained profession at an alarming rate (retirements or just resigning). Filling vacancies is increasingly difficult. Especially over the last week, the attacks on us are coming like a flood.
So what are we to do? More importantly, how would God have us respond in light of these trying times? I want to bring you encouragement, hope, and biblical direction in the midst of the hatred, lies and attacks.
First, let me put a stamp on what we already know: We (police officers) are NOT “racists.” Do NOT buy into the lies. On the contrary, perhaps the one profession in America for whom black lives, brown lives and all lives truly matter is us, the American peace officer.
Second, we are NOT alone. God Himself has our “6” while leading us from the front. There are only two professions that are explicitly ORDAINED by God in the Bible: the pastorate (traditional “ministry”) and us – law enforcement (stay with me).
Thirdly, like pastors, ours is a God-given profession. Even as an unsaved “make believer,” I knew that I was CALLED to serve and protect despite not yet personally knowing the One who called me. So what then does it mean to be “called” into law enforcement?
Webster defines the word calling as “a strong inner impulse toward a particular course of action especially when accompanied by conviction of divine influence.” Does that describe you or the reason you’re serving? If not, may I respectfully suggest that it should be! And if it does not, perhaps you SHOULD be seeking another vocation.
As I’ve shared so often, law enforcement is specifically identified in Scripture. In fact, our very commission is identified as a form of “ministry”:
Let every soul be subject to the governing authorities. For there is no authority except from God, and the authorities that exist are appointed by God. Therefore whoever resists the authority resists the ordinance of God, and those who resist will bring judgment on themselves. For rulers are not a terror to good works, but to evil. Do you want to be unafraid of the authority? Do what is good, and you will have praise from the same. For he is God’s minister to you for good. But if you do evil, be afraid; for he does not bear the sword in vain; for he is God’s minister, an avenger to execute wrath on him who practices evil. (Romans 13:1-4)
Moreover, God provides specific direction — “marching orders” if you will — in His Word (the Bible) for those of us who have been called to serve in HIS profession of arms, including but by no means limited to:
Defend the cause of the weak and fatherless; maintain the rights of the poor and oppressed. Rescue the weak and needy; deliver them from the hand of the wicked. (Psalm 82:3-4)
Learn to do right; seek justice. Defend the oppressed. Take up the cause of the fatherless; plead the case of the widow. (Isaiah 1:17)
Then I heard the Lord asking, “Whom should I send as a messenger to this people? Who will go for us?” I said, “Here I am. Send me.” (Isaiah 6:8)
Taken in the context of the whole counsel of Scripture, it is also clear that while our profession is specifically ordained by God, serving honorably, effectively and righteously can ONLY be fully accomplished by serving under the power of the Holy Spirit (and not by our own strength). God is imploring us to repent of our sins and come into a right relationship with Him through Jesus Christ not only for our own salvation but also because He wants to empower us to serve in accordance with our high calling.
Serving in our God-ordained profession is in fact a special calling for those sheepdogs and shepherds (both God’s servant-warriors) willing to “stand in the gap” (Ezekiel 22:30) and run TO the sound of gunfire to defend the sheep we serve from the wolves who would otherwise feast on them with impunity? Is that you? If not, may I again humbly suggest you may very well be in the wrong profession and that perhaps you should be seeking God’s proper and unique purpose for your life. Serving in our God-ordained profession is in fact a special calling for those sheepdogs and shepherds (both God's servant-warriors) willing to stand in the gap – @thethinbluelife Click To Tweet
Let me share a bit more of what God has for us on this issue of a calling:
Speak up for those who cannot speak for themselves, for the rights of all who are destitute. Speak up and judge fairly; defend the rights of the poor and needy. (Proverbs 31:8-9)
He has shown you, O mortal, what is good.
And what does the Lord require of you?
To act justly and to love mercy
and to walk humbly with your God. (Micah 6:8)
Not that I have already obtained all this, or have already arrived at my goal, but I press on to take hold of that for which Christ Jesus took hold of me. Brothers and sisters, I do not consider myself yet to have taken hold of it. But one thing I do: Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. (Philippians 3:12-14)
Here’s the bottom line: if you are serving in law enforcement for any reason other than it is your true calling, then by all means seek something different. But if you are called, get to know the caller. Your service as a police officer needs the power, direction and protection of the Holy Spirit.
Brother or sister officer (current, former, or future), I would not and do not blame you for calling it a day (retirement, or seeking another job). And yes, some of us have physically reached the end of our time in uniform (while I continue to serve in law enforcement in a plain clothes capacity, I retired the uniform last fall after nearly 35 years).
But if you know the Lord and are still serving, pray and ask God to give you the strength to stay the course and finish strong in HIS timing. If you HAVEN’T accepted Jesus as Savior, don’t waste another minute before doing so. And for those of you who have just completed your service and are reaching retirement age, please continue to serve in one form or another: police training/teaching, church security, mentoring young officers, writing, ministry to our own, and more. Bottom line is that you’re needed — now more than ever. And if you need prayer or counsel, reach out – we’re here to serve.