By Victor Knowles
It’s not your grandfather’s times anymore. Ravi Zacharias recently observed, “These days it’s not just that the line between right and wrong has been made unclear, today Christians are being asked by our culture to erase the lines and move the fences, and if that were not bad enough, we are being asked to join in the celebration cry by those who have thrown off the restraints religion had imposed upon them. It is not just that they ask we accept, but they now demand of us to celebrate it too.”
Taking a Stand
What are godly men to do in times like these? Stand. Stand for God. Stand our ground. “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes . . . so that when the day of evil comes, you may be able to stand your ground, and after you have done everything, to stand” (Ephesians 6:11, 14). Men of God must courageously stand for truth and righteousness in a culture that is demanding that we move the fences and even celebrate ungodly practices.
At the same time, men of God must always “speak the truth in love.” The city of Ephesus had a corrupt culture too. Christians were being battered and tossed about by the prevailing winds of a culture that was filled with cunning, crafty, and deceitful schemers. Paul wrote, “Instead, speaking the truth in love, we will grow to become in every respect the mature body of him who is the head, that is, Christ” (4:15). The message of Christ must still be defended, practiced, and presented in a winsome way.
Love and Unity
One of my favorite films is “Twelve Angry Men.” Henry Fonda and 11 other men did a powerful job of acting in a jury room filled with tension and tempers. But angry arguments and heated shouting matches are no way to reach people with the “glad tidings” of Jesus. Our Lord chose 12 men to be his apostles but he did not want them to be “twelve angry men.” He wanted them to be one so that the world might know that God had sent him to be their Savior too (John 17:21).
“My prayer is not that you take them out of the world but that you protect them from the evil one” (17:15). Leighton Ford says there are two great dangers we face in the church. One is imitation of the world and the other is isolation from the world. The key to this dilemma is insulation in the Word. That’s why Jesus prayed, “Sanctify them by the truth; your word is truth” (v. 17). God’s Word insulates us from evil so that we can effectively minister to others in our changing world.
Our culture is growing increasingly corrupt and coarse. Sadly, “it is what it is.” Christian men must remain in this culture, rejecting the idea of “world flight” and embracing the concept of being “salt and light.” The Message reads, “You’re here to be light, bringing out the God-colors in the world. God is not a secret to be kept. We’re going public with this, as public as a city on a hill” (Matthew 5:14, 15). The greatest need in our changing culture today is godly men who will rise to the occasion and set an example for others as good husbands, fathers, church members, and members of society.
The heart of the problem has always been the problem of the heart. Christ alone can change the heart. Men of God will gladly take on the mission of proclaiming his message and modeling his life.
Victor Knowles is founder and president of POEM (Peace on Earth Ministries), Joplin, Missouri.