Lust

Unlike other sins, lust commits severe violence against one’s self, others, and God. Lust is a distortion of a good desire.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

The grocery store checkout may be one of the most spiritually dangerous places on earth. A wall of magazines adorned with images surround you.

In addition, sexually explicit and suggestive movies, media, social media, advertisements, books, magazines, school ‘sexual health’ curriculum, strip clubs, drag queen shows for children, cultivate and feed lust.

The cover of Cosmopolitan magazine coveys a powerful message about identity and conjures up illicit thoughts. Like mainlining heroin, the image of a scantily-dressed woman rides base emotions, bypasses natural defenses of reason, logic, and moral sensibilities directly into the imagination. Once there, the image of the Cosmo woman takes on a life of its own – playing with powerful desires within us.

In the mind of a teenage boy, an image can conjure up sexual appetites that God made for good purposes. But lust takes hold, distorting and degrading the woman’s image. A boy learns to objectify a lovely creature made in God’s image. Mind you, no one has to teach a boy how to lust or objectify others. It comes ‘naturally’ to him.

Illicit thoughts pulse through the mind. A narrative is created in the imagination and eventually gets expressed through behavior. Behavior reinforces the narrative and a destructive cycle ensues. The sinful narrative can shape a person’s life… Yes, it’s all in the imagination. But, it does not stay there. At some point it will be externalized.

Lust is a blatantly obvious universal sin – if people are honest with themselves. Unlike other sins, lust commits severe violence against one’s self, others, and God.

As an aside. In the mind of a teenage girl, the Cosmo woman’s image conveys messages as well. The first, is the girl will never be ‘good enough’ to be like the woman on the magazine. Second, the girl begins to feel like she must become like the woman on the magazine. Finally, the girl may decide that the woman on the magazine is what boys want – so she decides to pursue becoming like the image.

The truth of “I’m created in the image of God – fearfully and wonderfully made” is replaced with a false identity – a lie takes hold of a young girl’s imagination and heart. It reshapes her life if left unaddressed. She lusts after the image for different reasons… She wants to ‘become like’ the airbrushed Cosmo woman. Again, the imagination builds a narrative and often destructive behavior follows.

But, let me re-focus on boys and men since I am a man and I’ve been a boy, I know this domain best.

In objectifying girls, the boy’s lust transforms the girl from an image-bearer into a thing to be obsessed over, possessed, and used for his pleasure… then, to be disposed of.

Ask any man what he had for lunch last Wednesday. He will have to think about it for a moment… He probably won’t remember.

Ask any man about the first time he viewed pornography… He can tell you IMMEDIATELY. He can describe the place, time, and setting.

Ask any man about the woman he first viewed through pornography. He knows nothing about her other than how her image made him feel and how he responded. 40 or 50 years later, her image haunts him.

The average age that a boy is exposed to pornographic material is 8 years old.

At 88 years old, he will still remember the first time he was exposed to it.

Lust is powerful.
Lust is prideful.
Lust is hateful.
Lust is deadly.

Lust is a distortion of a good desire.

God gave men and women desires for one another that are good. However, due to the Fall, sin caused those desires to become disordered and destructive. This is why Lust is one of the ‘Seven Deadly Sins.’

Epithymia(Greek) Desire, longing, coveting, craving, lusting…
Notice the negative connotation – a notion of craving for something that does not belong to you (coveting). (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

Within the richness of the Greek language, Lust carries powerful characteristics of desire and longing for a specific object. The word, ‘concupiscence‘ is used – denoting a passion of lust, evil desire, an indwelling sin. It emerges from the ‘inside’ when an image or event is experienced from the outside. In other words, when boys are exposed to an image of the naked body of a women, it gives rise to an internal desire (response). When virtues are not fully developed, there is no guardian at the gates of the imagination to protect against lust invading the mind and heart.

Epithymia is connected to another Greek word, orexis. The idea here is “reaching or grasping toward the object of desire to attain fulfillment” which one wants to possess. (Vine’s Expository Dictionary of New Testament Words)

Three things come to mind when connecting epithymia and orexis.

The First comes in Genesis 3 when Eve is tempted by the serpent in the garden to eat of the fruit from the tree of the knowledge of good and evil. The temptation and lie is that she will become “like God.” But wait, she was already like God – made in His Image, sharing in the fullness of communion with God and Adam. Was the first sin the first bite of the fruit? I think not. It was their “grasping at” the gift God had already given… Adam and Eve already had everything they could ever need from God. They were in perfect fellowship and peace. Man fell because he attempted to grasp and possess the gift of God. We do this today.

The Second comes from Genesis 15 where God promises Abram (Abraham) a son. Instead of waiting for God to deliver on His promised gift of an heir, Abraham and his wife, Sarai (Sarah) grasp for the gift to possess it for themselves.

The Third image comes to mind from Tolkien’s “Lord of the Rings“. The pursuit of the Ring in order to possess its power brings out the worst in every character – even the benevolent and valiant have imagined attaining the ring. Possession often brings about destruction of the possessor and the world around him. There is a deep hatred of the ring and anyone who may possess it – unless you are the one possessing it – but then you hate it too.

Lust militates against authentic love.

While love recognizes others as image-bearers, lust turns a person to be loved and respected into an object to be used and rejected. When this occurs, we begin to hate the object – who a person God created in his image. Eventually, lust will destroy its host with self-hatred and shame that began with curiosity, self-love, and self-pleasure. All that is left is an empty shell of a human – a prisoner of his own desires – a slave who is left groping in the darkness for the illusive object of his desire.

The words of Gollum (Lord of the Rings) echo;

“We wants it (the Ring), we needs it. Must have the precious.”

“Precious, precious, precious!” Gollum cried. “My Precious! O my Precious!” And with that, even as his eyes were lifted up to gloat on his prize, he stepped too far, toppled, wavered for a moment on the brink, and then with a shriek he fell. Out of the depths came his last wail “precious”, and he was gone.”
– J.R.R. Tolkien, The Return of the King (Lord of the Rings)

How can we have victory over lust?

First, we must ‘turn on the light switch.’ Like other sins, lust is isolating. It happens in the darkness. When we ‘turn on the light‘, we are doing two things. 1) We acknowledge the sin. 2) We realize we’re not alone. The dark room is filled with others. All it takes is one person to flip the switch and many others are able to see as well. Furthermore, when someone is freed from a habitual sin, he or she is able to help others get free as well. God uses people. Free people free people.

“We who are strong have an obligation to bear with the failings of the weak, and not to please ourselves. Let each of us please his neighbor for his good, to build him up.” – Romans 15:1-2

Below is a link to a post on Repentance (the only starting place).

Second, as those who have asked for forgiveness and have been redeemed by the blood of Christ are robed in Christ’s righteousness before the Father (called ‘imputed righteousness‘). In other words, through the death, burial, and resurrection of Jesus Christ and faith in Him, we are declared ‘not guilty’. We are saved from the penalty of our sin, we are being saved from the power of sin, and eventually we will be saved from the presence of sin. That includes lust. By the virtue of the indwelling Holy Spirit, we have power over sin (albeit imperfect during our life in this fallen world).

“For His divine power has granted to us everything pertaining to life and godliness, through the true knowledge of Him who called us by His own glory and excellence. Through these He has granted to us His precious and magnificent promises, so that by them you may become partakers of the divine nature, having escaped the corruption that is in the world on account of lust (epithymia).” – 2 Peter 1:3-4

Finally, (Christian) we must realize that when we do sin (and we will sin), we will experience the grace gift of conviction that brings that sin into the light – where it can be acknowledged and forgiven (forever).

“There is therefore now no condemnation for those who are in Christ Jesus.” – Romans 8:1

Reflect on this passage and pray it becomes a growing reality in your daily life:

“Finally, brothers, whatever is true, whatever is honorable, whatever is just, whatever is pure, whatever is lovely, whatever is commendable, if there is any excellence, if there is anything worthy of praise, think about these things.” – Philippians 4:8

Resources:

Bondage Breaker by Neil Anderson

Repentance by Lance Cashion 

 

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Repentance

We must recover the Doctrine of Repentance and raise it to its rightful place – God’s grace-filled gift to sinful man.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

The Doctrine of Repentance may be one of the least understood essential Christian doctrines.

Most (myself included) have grown up with an incomplete understanding of repentance. In addition, true repentance has been lost in the modern evangelical church. It has sunk beneath the waves of our cultural environment of emotionalism, biblical illiteracy, theological confusion, and therapeutic self-referencing doxologies.

The solution is to recover repentance and raise it from the depths of darkness and bring it to its fullest glorious light. Therefore, we turn to the Puritan, Thomas Watson to help salvage the heavenly vessel called “Repentance.”

I credit Virgil Walker and Darrell Harrison from the Just Thinking Podcast (Episode 120) for inspiring the following post.

The section below contains an extensive quotation from Thomas Watson’s “Repentance.” I have selected specific sections to highlight each of Watson’s points in order to condense his 121 page book into a blog post. I highly recommend reading “Repentance” in its entirety. It will profit you greatly.  [Link to the full work provided below this post]

“Repentance is a grace of God’s Spirit whereby a sinner is inwardly humbled and visibly reformed. For a further amplification, know that repentance is a spiritual medicine made up of six special ingredients:

1. Sight of sin
2. Sorrow for sin
3. Confession of sin
4. Shame for sin
5. Hatred for sin
6. Turning from sin

If any one is left out it loses its virtue. (p.18)

1. Sight of sin (p.18-19)

A man must first recognize and consider what his sin is, and know the plague of his heart before he can be duly humbled for it… . Sin must first be seen before it can be wept for. Hence I infer that where there is no sight of sin, there can be no repentance.

2. Sorrow for sin (p.19-27)

This sorrow for sin is not superficial: it is a holy agony. It is called in scripture a breaking of the heart: ‘The sacrifices of God are a broken and a contrite heart’ (Psalm 51:17); and a rending of the heart: ‘Rend your heart’ (Joel 2:13).

3. Confession of sin (p.28-37)

Confession is self-accusing: ‘Lo, I  have sinned’ (2 Sam. 24:17)… But true confession drops from the lips as myrrh from the tree or honey from the comb, freely. o have sinned against heaven, and before thee’ (Luke 15:8) – the prodigal charged himself with sin before his father charged him with it… Confession gives vent to a troubled heart. Confession purges out sin. Confession of sin makes way for pardon.

Where a person has fallen into scandalous sin and by it has been an occasion of offense to some and of falling to others, he ought to make a solemn and open acknowledgement of his sin, that his repentance may be as visible as his scandal (2 Cor. 2:6-7).

Where a man has confessed his sin to God, yet still his conscience is burdened, and he can have no ease in his mind, it is very requisite that he should confess his sins to some prudent, pious friend, who may advise him and speak a word in due season (James 5:16).

Where any man has slandered another and by clipping his good name has made it weigh lighter, he is bound to make confession. How can this reconciliation be effected but by confessing the injury? Till this is done, God will accept none of your services. Do not think the holiness of the altar will privilege you; your praying and hearing are in vain till you have appeased your brother’s anger by confessing your fault to him.

4. Shame for sin (p.39-44)

Blushing is the color of virtue. When the heart has been made black with sin, grace makes the face red with blushing… Every sin makes us guilty, and guilt usually breeds shame.

Be assured, the more we are ashamed of sin now, the less we shall be ashamed at Christ’s coming. If the sins of the godly be mentioned at the day of judgment, it will not be to shame them, but to magnify the riches of God’s grace in pardoning them.

5. Hatred for sin (p.45-52)

A true penitent is a sin-loather. If a man loathe that which makes his stomach sick, much more will he loathe that which makes his conscience sick… We are never more precious in God’s eyes than when we are lepers in our own.

Sound repentance begins in the love of God and ends in the hatred of sin.

Compare sin with hell, and you shall see that sin is worse. Torment has its emphasis in hell, yet nothing there is as bad as sin. Hell is of God’s making, but sin is none of his making. Sin is the devil’s creature.

Look upon sin in the issue and consequence, and it will appear hateful.

By sin we have lost the image of God, wherein did consist both our sanctity and our majesty.

We should hate sin infinitely more than ever we loved it.

6. Turning from sin (p.52-58)

Weeping and turning are put together (Joel 2:12). After the cloud of sorrow has dropped in tears, the firmament of the soul is clearer: ‘Repent, and turn yourselves from your idols; and turn away your faces from all your abominations’ (Ezek. 14:6). This turning from sin is called a forsaking of sin (Isaiah 55:7)…

There is a change wrought in the heart. The flinty heart has become fleshly. Satan would have Christ prove his deity by turning stones into bread. Christ has wrought a far greater miracle in making stones become flesh. In repentance Christ turns a heart of stone into flesh.

There is a change wrought in the life. Turning from sin is so visible that others may discern it. Therefore it is called a change from darkness to light (Eph: 8).

It must be a turning from sin upon a spiritual ground A man may restrain the acts of sin, yet not turn from sin in a right manner. Acts of sin may be restrained out of fear or design, but a true penitent turns from sin out of a religious principle, namely, love to God.

It must be such a turning from sin as turns unto God This is in the text, ‘that they should repent and turn to God’ (Acts 2:37). Turning from sin is like pulling the arrow out of the wound; turning to God is like pouring in the balm…

To return to sin gives the devil more power over a man than ever. When a man turns from sin, the devil seems to be cast out of him, but when he returns to sin, the devil enters into his house again and takes possession, and ‘the last state of that man is worse than the first’ (Matt. 12:45).

If we turn from our sins to God, God is not advantaged by it. It is only we ourselves who reap the benefit. In this case self-love should prevail with us: ‘If thou be wise, thou shalt be wise for thyself (Proverbs 9:12).

If we turn to God, he will turn to us.

If any one (of the six) is left out, repentance loses its virtue.” (1)

In other words, counterfeit or incomplete repentance is an exercise in futility and worthless. We must recover the doctrine of repentance and raise it to its rightful place – God’s grace-filled gift to sinful man.

Oh, how I need forgiveness for my vein and fleshly repentance!

“Repent therefore, and turn back, that your sins may be blotted out.”
– Acts 3:19

Ken Boa provides a Prayer for Forgiveness – “I return to You, Lord. For You have torn me, but You will heal me. You have injured me but You will bind up my wounds. After two days You will revive me. On the third day You will raise me up so that I can live before You. Amen.”(2)

“Come, let us return to the LORD.
For He has torn us to pieces,
but He will heal us;
He has wounded us,
but He will bind up our wounds.
After two days He will revive us;
on the third day He will raise us up,
that we may live in His presence.”
– Hosea 6:1-2

New Mercies!

“The steadfast love of the Lord never ceases;
his mercies never come to an end;
they are new every morning;
great is your faithfulness.”
– Lamentations 3:22–23

He is Faithful!

“If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us our sins and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness.”
– 1 John 1:9

If you don’t know Jesus Christ, I have good news (The Gospel) – Call on Him!

“For “everyone who calls on the name of the Lord will be saved.””
– Romans 10:13

“For I am not ashamed of the gospel, for it is the power of God for salvation to everyone who believes…”
– Romans 1:16

Daily habit of the Christian life and fellowship with God.

Christians will continue to sin.
We should repent of our sin.
Do Christians confess our sin to be accepted by God?
By no means! We have already accepted when we place our trust in Christ for Salvation.
We confess our sin to remove barriers to our fellowship with God – and with one another (when necessary).
Through repentance, we draw close to the heart of our Heavenly Father… He draws close to us (James 4:8).

Make it a habit; Repent and believe the Gospel every day.

Footnotes:
1. Thomas Watson – Repentance

2. Ken Boa – Prayer for Forgiveness

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

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Taming Politics

Politics should not be an idol nor something to be ignored.

Politics should be stewarded with thankfulness.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Political thinking does not arise in a vacuum, nor do our politics stay neatly within the walls we erect around them…

On the contrary, political convictions emerge from our deep underlying assumptions about reality, life, and what we believe about the world we inhabit. While political possibilities shift, biblical truth does not – neither should our convictions.

 

Some treat politics as a worldview – this is wrong. Politics is incapable of answering the bigger questions of life and existence (origin, meaning, identity, morality, destiny). In other words, politics is too small to function as a comprehensive worldview.

On the other hand, some believe politics has no place within a Christian worldview or mitigate its importance – this is also wrong. If a worldview is incapable of containing politics, that worldview is too small.

Only a full-orbed Kingdom vision is capable of not only containing but taming and shaping our politics. For the Christian, our politics should flow from deeply held truths about God, His reality, His creation, His commands, and our responsibility. We must ground our politics in the Word of God, obey His commands, and reflect on the implications of scripture upon our cultural moment.

Politics properly understood impacts individuals made in the image of God with intrinsic value and worth. Because politics involves people we are commanded to love regardless of their political positions – we have a responsibility to properly steward politics. A good gardener would no more allow weeds and pests to infest his gardens than Christians ought to allow harmful ideas and bad policies to infest the way we govern a society comprised of image-bearers – our neighbors.

“You shall love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind… And “You shall love your neighbor as yourself.” (Matthew 22:37-39 ESV)

Can we truly claim to love God and love our neighbors while allowing evil and destructive policies to harm our neighbors who are created in God’s image?

Someone said that “politics has sucked the air out of the room” in our social discourse. I agree!  However, I will take it a bit further…  Politics IS the room and the door is locked.

I believe the Church is the only institution on the planet that possesses the only key to unlock the door. But it will require the recovery of an integrated Kingdom vision where we live under the rule and reign of Jesus Christ – declaring the Lordship of Christ over all things… even political things.

Politics should not be an idol nor something to be ignored. Politics should be stewarded with thankfulness.

 

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How Then Shall We Vote?

For the Christian, there will be political implications of our Biblical worldview. What we believe about God, ourselves, others, and His creation will shape our politics and how we vote.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

In America, we fail to realize people around the globe would die to have their voice heard politically or be able to vote in a legitimate election.

They don’t possess the opportunity and freedom to run for office or vote. In America, we need to remember this fact… We can vote. We should vote. How then shall we vote?

When it comes to political engagement, some Christians will try to convince you to remain silent or shame you for speaking up.

Why? Because they believe being ‘political’ is somehow antithetical to the Gospel. As if the infinite Gospel of the Kingdom is too small to contain politics.

Have you noticed these pietistic holier-than-thous are the ones who’s social media feeds and conversations are brimming with under-informed political commentary and flimsy theological arguments? Have you noticed how they subtly shame others?

They claim Christians are to be ‘apolitical’ (non-political). But they attempt to persuade others by making political statements and taking political postures themselves. It is intriguing that these pietistic pundits tend to lean left politically. If you lean left, that’s fine with me but don’t cloak it in Christian garb. Don’t cloak the right in Christian platitudes either.

Some have developed an allergy to certain personalities. So, they vote for more ‘tame’ personalities that don’t upset their sensibilities. They are too fearful, shallow, and shortsighted to think through the long term implications of their vote.

Do they believe the Gospel is too delicate to withstand the storms of politics?

Recently, I had a conversation with a fellow Christian friend who stated that one of his biggest fears was to be labeled a Christian Nationalist. Christian Nationalism is a loaded term and carries negative connotations. My response to my friend was, “what do you mean by Christian Nationalism?” After all, several definitions exist. He lacked a coherent response. Obviously, he had not thought deeply about the issue. His position was emotionally based in his fear and a need to be accepted. No one likes to be called names or rejected. Even though that is exactly what Jesus promises in Scripture (see John 18:15-25, Matthew 5:11-12).

In the final analysis, my friend was incapable of properly articulating much less understanding one of his biggest fears. That’s a problem. Meanwhile, his social media posts over the last two years are filled with poorly formed political and theological arguments of why Christians ought not to be political or vote for certain candidates who he finds distasteful. He posts articles and books from pastors and Christian leaders who support his chosen political position. Unbeknownst to him, the non-Christian world has already labeled him a Christian Nationalist. My friend is walking into the very snare he’s trying desperately to avoid.

The holier-than-thous’ defense is usually some form of Tone-policing. I’ve written about this here

Hey, look at me, I’m not one of them” is not an effective strategy to reach lost people. The unbelieving world doesn’t care. They hate you, your Bible, and your God. No amount of virtue signaling is going to change that. So, get over it and return to biblical fidelity, a bold public witness, and a faith that is undefiled by the world. (It wouldn’t hurt to apologize to the people you’ve shamed).

Dear Christian, if your worldview isn’t big enough to contain politics, then your worldview is too small.

As Christians, our politics and how we vote must be formed and shaped by a biblical vision of the world and grounded in truth. The Bible doesn’t tell us who to vote for. However, the Bible does tell us how to vote. The Bible provides moral laws and principles to guide our politics and inform our vote. John Stonestreet once said, “The Bible isn’t a book to be looked at, but a lens to be looked through.” In addition, we must understand our cultural moment.

We ask the questions; What is our current situation or cultural moment? And what does the Bible have to say about it?

For the Christian, there will be political implications that flow from a Biblical worldview. What we believe about God, ourselves, others, and creation will shape our politics and how we vote. Our theology should direct our vote.

A few thoughts…

Why vote?

Authority – America is different from other nations. From a governance standpoint, our government is not the authority. “We the people” are the authority. With that in mind, go and read Romans 13. Question the Romans 13 sermons that were used during the COVID lockouts to justify closing churches, keeping you silent, and subservient. God’s Word is our ultimate authority.

Opportunity – As I said, In America, we fail to realize that Christian brothers and sisters around the globe would die to have their voice heard politically or be able to vote in a legitimate election. Honor your brethren in closed countries by stewarding your privilege well in your nation.

Stewardship – All Americans and particularly Christians have the privilege and responsibility to vote and influence politics. We Christians vote according to biblical principles. Again, our government structure is unique. In His providence and mercy, God has given us a voice and influence to steward in the political realm. The purpose of government is to promote righteousness for the good of the people and government (read Proverbs). If we refuse to steward the gift God has given us, we will lose the gift.

That said, we run afoul when we place politics or politicians at the center of our lives. Do not enthrone a politician over and above Christ. Instead, proclaim the Lordship of Christ over politicians and political realm allowing His Word to guide you.

“But even if you should suffer for what is right, you are blessed. “Do not fear what they fear; do not be shaken.” But in your hearts sanctify Christ as Lord…”

– 1 Peter 3:14-15a

How to vote?

Wisdom – Fear of the Lord leads to wisdom and life. The fear of man sets a snare. Pray for wisdom and seek it in Proverbs and Ecclesiastes.

Directionally – Personally, I vote direction. This helps me from getting caught up in personalities, propaganda, and pandering. What direction does the platform point the nation? Does it lead to righteousness, human flourishing, prosperity, and protection for the most vulnerable? What are the logical conclusions and moral outcomes of a candidate’s or party’s chosen platform and direction?

God’s Commands and Principles – For starters, one can use the Ten Commandments as a guide. Perhaps begin with what type of platform should we NOT vote for and move on from there.

Human Life – I’m not a single issue voter but I am a single issue voter in the first instance. If a politician or platform or party does not protect human life in the womb, I could care less about their great economic policies. It’s a matter of first principles. If they get human life wrong, God doesn’t care about their economic or foreign policy or tone.

Character – Remember, you are voting for sinners just like you. The problem we have when discerning the character of a candidate is the accuracy of our understanding. The media deliberately distorts our perception of how people really are. We are limited. This is where we need to pay attention to platform for the future and pray for discernment.

Purpose – Government is designed to restrain evil and promote good. That is its ultimate purpose. In America, we have checks and balances to restrain government from becoming evil and tyrannical. That is why it is important to understand the purpose of government and then vote purposefully.

Our conscience is a guard, not a guide.

In other words, our conscience is designed to alert us when we are tempted to sin or help convict us when we do sin. It is a guard and is not our authority. When we try to use our conscience as our guide in making decisions, we are actually listening to emotions. Emotions can lead us in the wrong direction. God’s Word is our guide. It is our authority.

What we believe about God, ourselves, others, and creation will shape our politics and how we vote.

Now, go vote biblically, soberly, thankfully, and righteously as if God is watching. Because He is.

Related:

iVoterGuide: https://ivoterguide.com/

My Posts on politics and culture:

https://revolutionofman.org/politics-is-downstream-from-culture/

https://revolutionofman.org/the-christians-role-culture-politics-and-government-part-two/

https://revolutionofman.org/should-the-church-get-involved-in-politics/

https://revolutionofman.org/christian-tradition-of-resistance-against-tyranny/

 

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No Time for Weak Men

Men, we find ourselves in this civilizational moment facing a pivotal decision. Will we allow this scourge of abuse and exploitation against women, children and the vulnerable to continue unabated? Or, will we recover who we are created to be?

 

Is a real man safe? “Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

Weak men are dangerous men.

Someone once said, “Hard times create strong men, strong men create good times, good times create weak men, weak men create hard times.” Easy living, loose morality and affluence have led to a decadent culture.

America has arrived at a civilizational moment, a crisis point, and it is no time for weak men. As men we’ve bought the idea that passivity and weakness are virtues. This idea is shaped by movies we watch, music we listen to, games we play, and how men have been taught to view their role in society.

Someone will say, “It sounds like you are advocating for violent men or toxic masculinity.” If you mean abusive, terrible, evil men? Absolutely not! Nor am I referring to a man’s physical strength or capabilities to commit violence. I am referring to men who demonstrate moral strength and virtue. Let’s call this type, “Good Men.” Good men protect against evil men. Good men who display moral courage are the antidote to weak men and men who demonstrate ‘toxic masculinity.’

Unfortunately, we live in a fallen world where good men at times must resort to violence in order to defend against evil. That is reality. That is the reason why we have military, police, security guards, etc.

Morally weak men

Morally weak men are like doorways that allow evil into homes and societies. Moral passivity and weakness are detrimental to the vulnerable, women, children, the elderly, families, and civilizations.

Since the 1960s men have been portrayed as predators or witless oafs. Many pathologies exist, including radical feminism, secular humanism, and the rejection of objective morality. Pornography has lured men into sexual fantasy just as violent life-like video games have lured men into pseudo-conquest. Sexually explicit and violent music lyrics catechize generations of boys to believe exploitation, violence, and personal pleasure define what it means to be a man. Set within the modern social environment of psychologized expressive individualism… boys grow up lacking necessary skills required to successfully fulfill their vital responsibilities of manhood. In other words, boys physically mature into adult males who don’t possess moral courage and virtue. They do not know how to be men.

A distorted vision of manhood eventually leads to decadence and destruction. The tyrants and monsters of human history were all weak men. History reveals weak men always prey upon the most vulnerable.

Don’t confuse physical strength, wealth, celebrity, or political power with moral fortitude. Hitler, Stalin, and other ‘strong men’ were in fact extremely weak. Bullies are weak and insecure cowards. Thus, weak men are dangerous because they commit evil against vulnerable people. Unfortunately, at times good men have also been known to allow evil to be perpetrated against the weak.

It has been said, “For evil men to accomplish their purpose it is only necessary that good men should do nothing.” (Unknown). This is true of Hitler’s Holocaust against 6 millions Jews. Good men stood aside while evil men abused, tortured and murdered the weak. It is true today as ‘nice guys’ and dare I say some ‘good Christian men’ stand aside while women and children are abused and exploited.

“Like a muddied spring or a polluted fountain is a righteous man who gives way before the wicked.”
Proverbs 25:26

We are witnessing good men fleeing the moral battlefield – allowing women and children to be exposed to the onslaught of the enemy.

Drag queen strip shows in schools, boys claiming to be girls competing in girls’ sports, chemical sterilization, medical mutilation, the rise of pedophilia, sexual grooming of children in schools and on social media are a few of the atrocities men are allowing to occur. Thus, men become accomplices to such evils by refusing to speak up or otherwise defend the vulnerable.

When I survey the cultural moment in America, I observe bold women standing up for themselves and children against evil. However, very few men are entering the moral fray. There is a strange silence. Where are the men? Where are the defenders? Where are the ranks of courageous men who belong to the armies of the living God?

Have we forgotten who we are as men?

How can we (men) who claim to “love our neighbors” who are made in God’s image allow those same neighbors to be harmed?

Men are called to be good and formidable enemies of evil. Men should be capable of appropriate violence for the protection and defense of the defenseless and weak. At the same time, promoting what is good, true and right. We are to pray, reason, having sharp minds and warm hearts. We are to use our voice to speak against the spirit of the age that is destroying lives and robbing our progeny of a future.

The devil kills in the womb if not actively resisted. He slyly attempts to destroy the future fertility of society by ensuring the children of today are rendered incapable of following God’s admonishment, “be fruitful and multiply and fill the earth” (Genesis 1:28a). The devil would love nothing more than to sterilize a generation thus robbing the future of human flourishing.

In his novel, “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe,” C.S. Lewis writes about a conversation between a little girl named Susan, and Mr. and Mrs. Beaver. The protagonist and star of the book is Aslan the Lion. He is all powerful and benevolent. He is king over the entire land. Little Susan has never seen or met Aslan the Lion. As you can imagine, she is a bit scared of meeting such a powerful being. Susan asks Mr. and Mrs. Beaver about Aslan.

[Mr. Beaver said], “Aslan is a lion–the Lion, the great Lion.”
“Ooh!” said Susan, “I’d thought he was a man. Is he–quite safe? I shall feel rather nervous about meeting a lion.”
“That you will, dearie, and no mistake,” said Mrs. Beaver. “If there’s anyone who can appear before Aslan without their knees knocking, they’re either braver than most or else just silly.”
“Then he isn’t safe?” asked Lucy.
“Safe?” said Mr. Beaver. “Don’t you hear what Mrs. Beaver tells you? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe (He’s a lion). But he’s good.”

Men are created for greatness but are fallen in sin. However, a lost man can be redeemed in Christ. He can be made an heir of the King and put on mission. Men are capable of great violence and strength. But, men are to be disciplined and self-controlled. Men are to be like sheathed sword – under the control of God’s spirit.

Meekness is not weakness
The Bible refers to this ‘controlled strength’ as meekness. “Biblical meekness (Greek, “praýs”) is not weakness but rather refers to exercising God’s strength under His control – i.e. demonstrating power without undue harshness.” It is a blend of gentleness and strength. (Strong’s Concordance 4239)

The same father who must hold his baby daughter with gentleness and care must also be willing and able to physically defend that same baby girl from someone who intends to harm her. To allow a child to be molested or harmed would be evil.

Fear of man is Satan’s primary snare for weak men.

“The fear of man lays a snare, but whoever trusts in the LORD is safe.”
Proverbs 29:25

The Puritan, John Flavel writes the following in his book “Triumphing Over Sinful Fear“, I’m going to quote him at length.

“Fear drives people out of their proper station, out of their proper place and duty and into Satan’s ground… When troubles and dangers come to a height, fear begins to work at a height too. The critical hour is when fear is high and faith is low, temptation is strong and resistance is weak. Satan knocks at the door and fear opens it, yielding up the soul to him, unless special assistance arrives from heaven.

As long as we can profess religion without any great hazard to life, liberty, or estate, we show much zeal in the ways of godliness. But when it comes to resisting unto blood, few will assert it openly.”

Flavel goes on to say something very germane to our modern context, “The first retreat is usually made from a free and open to a closed and concealed practice of religion.” In other words, fear causes good men to become weak men who then privatize their faith, limiting it to inside the home and church.

He continues, “We fail to open our windows to show that we do not care who knows we worship God (Daniel 6:10). Instead, we hide our principles and practices with all the art and care imaginable. We seek to escape danger by letting go of our profession. If the inquest continues and this refuge can no longer protect us, then we give some open sign of compliance with false worship (i.e. virtue signaling). We do it in order to avoid being marked out for ruin. Then, fear says, “Give a little more ground and retreat to the next security. We comply externally with what we know is forbidden, hoping God will be merciful to us as long as we keep our hearts for Him.” (Flavel, John – Triumphing Over Sinful Fear 1682)

If the fear of controversy or criticism or cancelling or offending spiritually dead people keep you from speaking truth and defending the weak, Repent! Repent of your sinful fear of man. Join me in this hour of repentance.

In conclusion, men, we find ourselves in this civilizational moment facing a pivotal decision. Will we allow this scourge of abuse and exploitation to continue unabated? Or, will we recover who we are created to be?

Is a real man safe? Who said anything about safe? ’Course he isn’t safe. But he’s good.”

Men are called to be formidable and good. Men are called to serve God’s purposes in their generation.

“The wicked flee when no one pursues, but the righteous are bold as a lion.”
Proverbs 28:1

Be the kind of man others would want by their side in battle!

 

Related: Revolution of Man Podcast: Ep. 2 Cancelling Women and Girls

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Leaders are Readers – Books I’ve Read Since January 1, 2022

There are no ‘experts’, there are only expert learners. It doesn’t matter whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old, there is always something new to learn.

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

One of the best ways to become a better leader is to read voraciously and widely.

Why? Because leaders are readers. Not only does reading widely help you learn new skills and qualities of leadership, reading and learning keep you HUMBLE. When you think you’ve somehow ‘arrived’ in your respective domain of vocation or station in life… think again! That’s hubris. “Hubris born of success” is first mark of decline in an organization or team (see Jim Collins’ ‘How the Mighty Fall‘).

There are no ‘experts’, there are only expert learners. It doesn’t matter whether you are 10 years old or 100 years old, there is always something new to learn. Learning keeps your brain active. Healthy curiosity and learning are life giving.

On January 1, 2022 when I set a goal to read 13 books in one year. In the spirit of learning, below is the list of books I’ve read so far. Please note, perhaps you, like me have learning challenges (dyslexia, ADHD, etc)? That’s okay! I read very slowly. Sometimes I must re-read entire books. In a future post, I’ll share some tricks I use in my reading journey.

1. Our Bodies Tell God’s Story: Discovering the Divine Plan for Love, Sex, and Gender – Christopher West

2. Carpe Diem Redeemed: Seizing the Day, Discerning the Times – Os Guinness

3. The Kingdom Unleashed: How Jesus’ 1st-Century Kingdom Values Are Transforming Thousands of Cultures and Awakening His Church – Jerry Trousdale & Dr. Glenn Sunshine

4. Another Gospel?: A Lifelong Christian Seeks Truth in Response to Progressive Christianity – Alisa Childers

5. Art and the Bible – Francis Schaeffer

6. Culture Making: Recovering Our Creative Calling – Andy Crouch

7. The Stress Effect: Why Smart Leaders Make Dumb Decisions–And What to Do About It – Henry L. Thompson

8. The Lord of the Rings (Part 2) Tale of the Two Towers – JRR Tolkien

9. QBQ! The Question Behind the Question: Practicing Personal Accountability at Work and in Life – John G. Miller (note: I read this once per year)

10. Hinge Moments: Making the Most of Life’s Transitions – Michael Lindsey

11. The Dust of Death: The Sixties Counterculture and How It Changed America Forever – Os Guinness

Currently reading: Dominion – How the Christian Revolution Remade the World – Tom Holland

In addition, I read my Bible almost every day. I use a devotional reading plan and I read a Proverb daily (there are 31 Proverbs). I also read Psalms and Ecclesiastes often. I have an ESV Reader’s Bible that contains no verses, no references, and no chapters – enabling me to read huge sections of scripture without feeling like I’m chasing rabbit trails. It is a joy!

What books are you reading?

Please share your insights by commenting below this post.

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