Suited Up For CERT

At times, all attempted means to resolve a situation are exhausted, leaving no other alternative than to suit up and deal with it. CERT has a definite purpose in corrections that demands specific equipment designed to help its members achieve the desired outcome of restoring order in an unpredictable condition.

Various circumstances can increase the likelihood, but a potential for riot is always present in the corrections environment. However, the greatest tumults aren’t always faced externally with the inmates, rather the chaos is often found on the battle ground of our heart. The devil uses the daily stress and chaos of the corrections environment to push and beat us back, pulling us to and fro different ways, sending us reeling back and forth in confusion and discord.

Suiting up with the armor of God isn’t a last resort, it is the first action to combat the internal riots we confront and contend against on a daily basis. Make an assessment of the current internal riot situations of depression, actions of fellow staff, verbal abuse, disputes, confrontations, envy, hatred, fatigue, responsibility, duty, or other mutiny that may be rising up in your heart.  We don’t back up in a riot, we push forward, continuing with force, even when it involves an individual that has proven to be hard to deal with.  Some internal riots are harder to face than others, and there are some battles we may dread fighting again, as we experience more resistance being put up from our flesh. 

Each piece of gear for a member of CERT has an important protective purpose, even though upon first examination and use, certain items may seem cumbersome and difficult to fight in, over time one grows accustomed to battling in it and experiencing the benefits, permanently fading any prior reluctance.  It would be dangerous to go into a riot scenario without all the gear on and fitted properly.  We have grown accustomed to trying to fight our spiritual battles without God’s armor on, lacking the protection that it affords, which may lead us to great injury.

God has made all the provision in His Word, we do not have to face the spiritual battles bare and exposed. The shield of faith quenches the fiery darts of the devil. Just as  CERT members suit up for the physical riot, making sure they have all of their equipment on and fitted properly, let’s determine to make full use of everything God has provided for our defense against the riots of our soul.

Ephesians 6:11-18 “Put on the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to stand against the wiles of the devil. For we wrestle not against flesh and blood, but against principalities, against powers, against the rulers of the darkness of this world, against spiritual wickedness in highplaces.Wherefore take unto you the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.Stand therefore, having your loins girt about with truth, and having on the breastplate of righteousness; And your feet shod with the preparation of the gospel of peace; Above all, taking the shield of faith, wherewith ye shall be able to quench all the fiery darts of the wicked. And take the helmet of salvation, and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God:Praying always with all prayer and supplication in the Spirit, and watching thereunto with all perseverance and supplication for all saints”

Learn to Do Well

Learning to do well does not come naturally to any of us, and we find that it is possible to resist instruction that goads us in that direction.  Some of us have had good teachers of truth and proper behavior, but really learning it involves measures of  God-dependent self-denial and application of the principles in our daily lives. Without personal application, we may have been taught to do well, but in effect, we haven’t really learned.

Isaiah 1:16-19“Wash you, make you clean; put away the evil of your doings from before mine eyes; cease to do evil; Learn to do well; seek judgment, relieve the oppressed, judge the fatherless, plead for the widow. Come now, and let us reason together, saith the Lord: though your sins be as scarlet, they shall be as white as snow; though they be red like crimson, they shall be as wool. If ye be willing and obedient, ye shall eat the good of the land:”

The corrections environment presents a need and a hindrance for us to learn to do well.  Ideally, officers should project distinctly different behavior, which supports the fulfilment of God’s design for us in Romans 13 as a minister of God for good. Various pressures and stark realities of our negative environment can serve as an impetus for sometimes faulty personal foundational philosophies that must be overcome in learning to do well.

Learning to do well is not going to make us a soft pushover.  In fact, a literal look at this admonition identifies the outcome of  being sound.  If something is sound it is founded in truth and cannot be overthrown or refuted.  Firmness and strength are embodied in soundness, which can help an officer recognize inmate manipulation more readily, and stimulate the courage to stand strong against it. 

Soundness of a squad comes from individually stable, tethered members, all learning and striving to do well. This promotes regard for fellow officers, unity, and promptness in execution of duties, minimizing self-serving actions.  It’s easier to be quick to run to a call for help that produces an exhilarating increase in our pulse, prompting us to action than it is to immediately rise in response to the mundane demands of our duty without waiting for an order. However, both extremes require that we learn to do well.

If ye be willing” is a qualification all of us can meet.  Hence, it is possible that any of us can escape the crowded category of the complacent and learn to do well as we seek the truth in God’s Word on a daily basis, while submitting to counsel from those who consistently openly demonstrate well-doing in their daily lives.  Such a pursuit involving communication and collaboration with God and others will reveal His constant willingness to work with us, guiding us into all truth and His perfect will.  On this path of doing and being right, we will find less internal turmoil and strife, leading to peace, allowing us to enter into the “good of the land” to feast on routine soundness in judgement, duty, and daily life.  2 Thessalonians 3:13 “But ye, brethren, be not weary in well doing.”

Will You Fight?

When I had completed the interview process at my department, the Captain who was interviewing me let me know I got the job.  Right away I thought of all the reasons I was not qualified and began to voice my hesitation.  The Captain looked at me and said, “Will you fight?”  I answered affirmatively, but not with intensity until the third time he posed the same question with emphasis.  At my third reply, he said, “You’ll have ample opportunity.” Indeed, the many battles continue in every realm–physical, mental, emotional, and spiritual.

The Psalmist David reveals that his heart is in the right place as he begins this Psalm 144 with praising God.  It is a good practice for us to learn to acknowledge and praise God in everything that takes place and in everything we are preparing to do.

God not only gives strength, He is strength.  It is a good thing to have strength.  Not everyone is equal in strength.  Strength comes from God—this makes it worthwhile.  Strength is no good without an ability and willingness to use it.  There are a lot of strong people that are not willing to fight—they have no desire.  Strength is no good unless it’s taught, trained, and used.

Corrections work necessitates that we not only fight in order to defend when attacked, but also that we be willing to go to the fight and not just fight, but prevail.  In corrections, we war every day—it’s a constant.   Our hands are taught and trained for the physical encounters, yet the spiritual battles outnumber the physical.  May our hands be trained to reach for the tools of war (the Bible) and our fingers to turn the pages. Psalm 144:1 “Blessed be the LORD my strength, which teacheth my hands to war, and my fingers to fight.”