On a recent list compiled of two hundred forty cities in the United States with a population of 100,000 or more, New York City ranked 222nd in crime, falling into the same category as small towns in California and Florida. Crime in New York City started to fall in the 1990s, but has continued to fall since that time, even though the city of often stereotyped as being a city of rampant crime. Those looking at the trend have concluded that the reason for the dramatic change was due to the impact zones created by the New York City Police Department. The department would double the number of officers in neighborhoods where crimes were being committed and the crime rate would start to drop almost immediately. There were three reasons: prevention (anticipation), resolution (solved) and relocation (displacement).
We often struggle from day to day because we continue to move in the same circles in the same patterns. As Albert Einstein said, “Insanity is doing the same thing over and over again while expecting a different outcome.” Change is needed if progress is desired.
The people that the prophet Jeremiah addressed didn’t get to a point of nearly total corruption overnight. The Old Testament deals, primarily, with the prospects of everyday living; not always the most exciting topic. The stories that Jesus told were of everyday things in the lives of everyday people. It was how to prevent behavior that would bring poor results. The Bible is full of instruction that alerts us to potential problem areas. Prevention is seeing them for what they are and doing something about them in the early stages.
Biblical precepts fully operative in our lives not only helps us in the area of prevention, but will even go so far as to help us resolve problems that are taking place already. Ephesians 6:13 tells us to take on the whole armor of God so that we will be able to withstand and stand in the evil day. Someone that takes on the whole armor of God solves many problems before they ever arrive. When the enemy sees someone that is this resolved, peace results, because whether the enemy backs off or tests us, peace will ultimately be affirmed. Taking on the armor that God supplies (salvation, righteousness, faith, truth) solves many potential problems before they ever start to become a problem.
The NYPD used a computerized map of the city to record the locations of crimes in real time, as they were being reported. Often, they occurred in a consistent two or three block area of a zone. Officials say they soon realized that by injecting an increased number of police officers into that area, those committing the crimes would simply be displaced, disrupting social systems that are linked to persistent criminal activity.
Displacement is a great system spiritually. This means that we start inserting the things of God into our lives so completely and absolutely that anything that doesn’t agree with His character is moved out. We don’t have time, energy, money or interest in that which is contrary to Godly character anymore. That is an impact zone; a zone in which the appropriate is injected to displace the inappropriate.
When God has the type of impact in our lives that He desires we will lose our desire for anything that isn’t in line with Who He is. Prevention, resolution and relocation all become possible, plausible and even inevitable. God can bring about such change or else He wouldn’t ask, “Wilt thou not be made clean?” (Jeremiah 13:27)
People struggle in their spirit because they haven’t allowed God to establish an impact zone in various areas of their lives. God can and will establish impact zones of prevention, resolution and relocation if that is what we want. We must answer the question, “Wilt thou not be made clean?” God may even ask us, “When shall it once be?” Make your answer, “Right now.”
Dr. M. Hildon Guy is President of the University of Christian Studies and Seminary and is a Board Member of Love INC, in Eagle River, Alaska. (www.universityofcss.org)