When I was a drug addict back in the day, lots of friends and family tried to tell me that I wasn’t looking healthy. They knew me well and must have seen something that I couldn’t. You see, when I looked at my reflection in the mirror, I thought I looked really good. I wore designer gear, so I must have looked cool, right?
I remember buying a £400 slim-fit Italian cut suit for a cousin’s wedding back in 1984. I wore it with a silk handkerchief that had four shaded squares—white, black, and two shades of grey—and black patent and suede shoes that finished off a look of total class. The suit was made to measure, so at the time of purchase, it hugged my body perfectly.
When I looked in the mirror, I saw a slim fit, cool look, and classy, busting-out style that would turn heads. What I didn’t see was the weight I had lost, which caused the made-to-measure suit not fit so well anymore. What I didn’t see was the four or five months of unshaven beard growth, the unkempt and uncut hair that had lost its shape and style, or the shell of a destroyed man who had once stood proud, well-respected and successful at showing off to the ladies.
I couldn’t hear what my friends and family were trying to tell me because the signal was blocked by the drugs, the lies, the delusions, and my foolish pride.
Earlier this year, while at J. John’s Conference for Evangelists, I experienced a real revelation when my car was broken into and several items were stolen. I discovered that the crooks had used a device that blocked the signal from my hand-held remote key, preventing me from locking the car and giving them opportunity to clean me out. They had blocked my signal.
I thought about it for a time, and then realised: sometimes we too block signals. God is trying to speak to us, but something blocks the signal. For me, it was once drugs, alcohol, women, wild parties, the fame game, and the celebrity lifestyle. Now, it might be pride, complacency, or hidden motives, but something blocks God’s signal from getting through.
After calling the police to report the robbery, which was how I learned about the signal blocking scheme, I was surprised to discover that many people were already aware of it. I felt really stupid, as I consider myself street savvy. There is even a gadget, a special wallet, that can prevent potential criminals from blocking your signal.
I thought about that too and was reminded of the armour of God mentioned in the Bible: ‘Therefore, take up the whole armour of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.‘
Kervin Julien is an evangelist who is part of North Point Church in Coventry. Kervin is also the leader of a homeless outreach project in Coventry.