Stories of moral compromise fill the news, blogs, and social pages. A week seldom goes by without hearing about another family being torn from the seams due to a wayward man. As Christian men, we are called to be men of honor, not men of compromise. It's time we reset the standard of what it means to be a man.
Just a few generations ago, it was an extreme rarity for a man to walk away from his marriage vows and his children. Yet, today it is the norm. We have become men of compromise to the point our women and children expect it from us. Two questions come to mind as I write this:1. Why now?
2. What has changed?
I believe if we answer the second question, we will have the answer to the first one. What has changed in men within two generations to cause such a reoccurring and pervasive tragedy in our homes?
First things first, we know that it is not Christ that has changed. The power of the Holy Spirit within every believer is the same now as it was two generations ago. This is not to say we haven't greatly grieved and/or quenched the Holy Spirit. Yet, God is at work today as He was during the days of my great grandparents. His character is immutable.
"Set your minds on things that are above, not on things that are on earth." Colossians 3:2
As I survey the fallout around the families, this one verse keeps coming to mind. We have largely become a generation of men that have set our hearts and minds on the things of this world. However, God makes it clear in Scripture that we are to be "in" this world and not "of" it. To love the things of this world is to be an enemy of God (James 4:4, 1 John 2). When we set our minds on this world, we quickly become men of compromise.
God knows that where we set our minds (and hearts), our lives will quickly follow. As men, we know this biblical truism all too well. We will pursue what we love most. Our hearts and minds will produce the fuel, direction and boundaries that comprise our life passion and purpose. That is exactly why God calls us to set our hearts and minds on Him. He alone can make us men of honor.
If we cling, i.e. holdfast to Christ, He will holdfast to us. We see this principle expressed in John 15. To abide in Christ, will produce the fruit of Christ. However, if we let go of Christ, set our minds upon this world and not Him, we will become men of compromise. Apart from Christ, this is who we are. It's this simple. If we let go of Christ, we will grab a hold of what the world is offering us...and pornography and sexual impropriety are a mere step away.
I was recently reminded of the life story of a young man who inspired a generation of men to go beyond the norm of their day. His life truly exemplified our calling to be men of honor. While he never had the chance to marry or have children, I have no doubt that he would have been a great husband and father. He was a man of honor and his life still speaks to us today. Inscribed within the back cover of his Bible are these words.
The young man was William Borden (1887-1913). He was born into wealth and attended the most prestigious schools of his day. At the age of 16 years-old, his parents sent him on a trip around the world. As this young man witnessed the spiritual destitute of the Middle East and Asia, his heart became burdened for these lost people. He became convicted to become a missionary and to do something about it.
In the years that followed, this young man was used by God to be a catalyst to a spiritual revival on the campus of Yale University. One Yale student wrote of William, "He came to college far ahead, spiritually, of any of us. He had already given his heart in full surrender to Christ and had really done it. We who were his classmates learned to lean on him and fin in him a strength that was solid as a rock, just because of this settled purpose and consecration."
While at Yale, William penned these words within his personal journal:
"Say 'no' to self and 'yes' to Jesus every time."
After graduating from Yale, William went to Princeton Seminary. Upon concluding his studies at Princeton, he sailed for China to pursue his mission work. In order to minister to Muslims, William spent time in Egypt to study Arabic. While in Egypt, he contracted spinal meningitis and died a month later.
Even though this young man died at the age of 25, his life convictions are still impacting us today. He was a man of honor—because God made him to be that man.
A man that held nothing back—no reserves.
A man that would not give up—no retreat.
A man that pursed life with godly passion and purpose—no regrets.
As husbands and fathers, in Christ, we can go beyond the norm of our day. We can say no to this world and the compromises it offers. Like William Borden, we can embrace God's calling for our lives, hold fast to Christ and impact this generation for Him. By God's grace, we can be men of honor and reset the standard of men for our generation.
(William Borden material taken from Borden of Yale, Moody Press, Chicago)