Farmers in Mozambique Africa plant chili pepper to keep elephants off their property. Otherwise, the hungry animals trample their fields and eat up their vegetables. Farmers know elephants dislike chili pepper plants and will stay far away from them. To keep us humans from destroying ourselves, God gave us a twofold remedy: It was originally revealed to ancient Israel and reaffirmed by Jesus the Christ. We read in Matthew Chapter 22 where Jesus was asked to identify the most important of God’s laws. He said, “‘You must love the Lord your God with all your heart, all your soul, and all your mind.’ This is the first and greatest commandment. A second is equally important: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’” Today the out-of-control bodily cravings, the urge to accumulate stuff, and the itch to control others all stem breaking these two laws. The only remedy is a new heart, a new birth, which only God can give. God’s presence within us is how we change our behavior. Change comes when we by faith accept God’s offer of salvation through His Son and receive the gift of His Spirit. By submitting to Him we gain the strength to say “no” to evil and “yes” to things that give us true fulfillment and benefits society.

Dr. Melvin E. Banks, Sr. is the founder and chairman of UMI (Urban Ministries, Inc.). Under his direction, UMI has grown to be a leading publisher of Christian education resources for churches in the African American community. Read More

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