One of the invisible substances that gives us forward motion in life is legitimacy. Whether you’ve ever experienced it or not, our enemy attacks legitimacy at every opportunity, sometimes with frightening vigor. It doesn’t matter if you’re a seasoned adult, who has earned some relational authority in your life, or an innocent child, who has not yet developed a grid to process such an advanced adversity. For both unfortunately, once your legitimacy has been successfully neutralized, it is very difficult to regain. Intentionality is the hinge mechanism of legitimacy and can be observed across the entire spectrum of relational things. It’s present in the macro laws of nature; for example the intentionality of gravity holding things fast to the earth, as well as the micro laws of relationship that hold us fast to each other, such as honor and patience. I could write of such things exclusively for the rest of my life and not even scratch the surface of legitimacy.

I’ve come to realize through experience that the same holds true for land. It can be locked up as an unintended consequence of having been defiled, and as such it will yield neither strength nor peace for any sustained period of time, despite our best coaxing. While I’m not writing about such a thing as an expert, I am opening the topic as a first hand witness to such conditions. I have felt the blight of defilement in places that were glossed over with attractive features and experienced the unreciprocating hardness to my loving intentionality.

Jesus said, “In this world you will have trouble” and throughout most of my life I have bounced my generous share of difficult and/or gut-wrenching circumstances. There’s nothing special about me for that, but where those problems intersected with my very legitimacy, I stood by as more of a dumbfounded spectator, without a preconceived battle plans. Bruised and bloody was usually the result. But Jesus is also the ultimate ophthalmologist, with the rest of that verse emblazoned on his lab coat. “But be of good cheer, I have overcome the world.” Since roughly one-third of the world consists of land, its important to look at that verse with new lenses. See, its not necessarily troubles themselves which vex us, but the misalignment of relational issues in those troubles. I think sometimes Father wants us to fully understand a problem, and all of its nefarious, hidden tentacles, rather than grapple straight away for a solution to what we merely see above ground.

I have first-hand experience in the rip tides that flow under the calm surfaces of defiled land. Like the ocean’s rip tides, they nearly cost me my life. Stories for another day. Recently though, after several visits with the ultimate ophthalmologist and multiple lens changes, I became a little more aware of what “overcoming the world” was, and the walk-on part that I could accept in it. I had recently heard a favorite teacher mention a weak moment of ministering to someone with a difficult, long standing problem, which produced verifiable, sustained success. That struck me. Maybe it was the seemingly “weak” effort producing strong results, which reminded me of a Biblical spiritual principle. While I can’t recall the particular teaching this example was found in, the notion of it stuck in my craw over time.

So, when I faced down some defiled land recently, which was undeniably unyielding, having had its legitimacy defeated long ago, I decided to bring my own weakness to bear. I had never done anything like this before, but held tight to the example that was sticking with me. Who knows how to overcome land? Its seemingly so much bigger than us. In my spirit, I was dressed in a custom-tailored suit, bursting through the double doors of Heaven’s Supreme Court, with Jesus, the ultimate ophthalmologist, as my pro-bono attorney. In reality, I felt like I was kicking a brick wall as hard as I could with my bare feet. The words didn’t come naturally. Though not immediately apparent, my own “weak” effort was successful. The land is now free, having its legitimacy at least partially restored to it.

The invisible, forward-propelling substance of legitimacy in every aspect of our relational selves, is the gold we should be mining in others. It’s also the the deeper well we should dig on any piece of ground over which we have authority, which in spiritual principle, is any place on which the sole of our foot treads. See, the Gospel of Peace is all about legitimacy, and what our feet are to be shod with anyway.