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Our true colors

BY LT. COLONEL DEBORA BELL – 

Recently, I learned a basic scientific fact: You do not know the true color of a leaf until autumn, when nature signals the tree to stop producing chlorophyll–it’s the chlorophyll that makes the leaves appear to be green.

We do not have very many trees in Southern California that stop piping chlorophyll to their leaves, enabling us to find out their “true color.” Those trees that do change seem color challenged when compared to the vibrant leaves found in the mountains and New England. Perhaps the leaves of those trees have such a variety of color to make up for the trials and tribulations of colder weather!

There is an obvious parable here for us to explore. We have many influences in our lives that shape us. Genetically, we inherit our “looks” and most of our health tendencies. Environment helps develop our survival instincts. Parents, teachers, friends, co-workers, the media, and other exposure to people contribute to the development of our personalities.

 

We will demonstrate our unswerving love for God…by helping the helpless, offering hope to the hopeless, and bringing healing to the hurting in Christ’s name

Our true colors are the values and opinions that we hold deeply. We may appear faithfully “true blue” to those around us until we are challenged by trials and tribulations. We may even think ourselves passionately on fire for God until we run into a blizzard of opposition. It is when our comfort zone is threatened that we discover how much we are willing to sacrifice for the sake of the kingdom. Challenges, trials and tribulations expose our true colors as people and as an organization.

The red, yellow and blue of our flag were chosen to remind us of our mission and purpose as an organization. It should not come as a surprise to know that these are the three basic colors in the visible color spectrum.

The Salvation Army is a group called to stick to the basics. We are a salvation people and a holiness people. God raised us up to be about the business of salvation, receiving the gift ourselves and working to help others receive it. God raised up The Salvation Army to allow the fire of the Holy Spirit to burn in us and through us to change the world. God raised up The Salvation Army to be his ambassadors to the world. Since God is holy, he expects to find us holy. The red blood of our Lord and Savior purchased us. The yellow fire of the Holy Spirit purifies us. The holy love of God represented by the blue sustains us. That is the ideal for us, but is it the reality?

People–flesh and blood human beings–are the major components of an organization, a church or a body of believers. In other words, you and I are The Salvation Army. We are they. When The Salvation Army responded to the events of September 11, 2001, we became agents of hope when America needed hope. Because we were agents of hope the eyes of our true enemy, Evil, became focused on us. I know that sounds a little like the twilight zone, but we are involved in a spiritual battle.

We Christians know the author of Evil is Satan. Satan is not omnipresent (everywhere) but his agents of evil are everywhere. Evil uses people. Evil used people to bring about the events of 9/11. God is the Author of goodness. God uses people. People who reached out to bring goodness and order to chaos were God’s greatest weapons against the attack. We, the people of The Salvation Army can expect our true enemy to try to attack us both as individuals and as an organization. We can also expect God to defend us, but the spiritual battle is not pretty. Evil will use every trick in the book. It will attack from within and attack from without. Expect trials and tribulations. Many have already come. Other surprises await us. Our true colors will be exposed to the world.

Pray that we are found true blue when the day of trial arrives again. The true color of every individual soldier, adherent, and officer is significant to the whole organization. Individual choices to be anything less than the people God calls us to be pollute the whole organization. Let us be found faithfully true to the colors and our true colors will come shining through.

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