So far, we looked at rejecting passivity and now lets turn to an examination of accepting responsibility. There are many areas where we need to be responsible but one area that is common to all men is to guard our hearts. We must learn to take responsibility for all of our actions, activities and beliefs. This applies to even those things we fail to do. We are responsible to ourselves and to God for the way we live our lives. Guarding our hearts means we must guard our eyes and ears and watch what we allow to come into us for it will change us and take us places we do not want to go.
For men, we all face a daily battle of epic proportions concerning lust and guarding our eyes and our hearts. This is no simple task as we are assailed at every turn by images designed to enflame our lust and animal passions. The question is whether or not we will allow ourselves to be drawn and defiled in this way or not? This isn’t called ‘every man’s battle’ for no reason. The enemy of our souls knows exactly how much this hurts us and exactly how to entice us.
As with everything else, we have a choice. We can take the broad easy road that so many take, or we can hold ourselves to a higher standard by obeying God and His Word. Jesus said to look upon a woman with lust in our hearts was the same thing as committing adultery. We need to remember that every image we are presented with is someone’s daughter, sister or mother. Would we want lewd or graphic pictures of our daughters, sisters or mothers splashed across every page, for all to see? Every time we indulge lust, by looking at pornographic images, we create more demand for it. We are in effect paying others to exploit boys and girls, and men and women in a hideous and demeaning nightmare that will never end for everyone who is involved in it.
Let me ask a question: if you have a woman in your life right now, would you fight for her? Most men would immediately answer, “Of course I would.” Every man needs to fight this battle, and what bigger battle is there than to fight our own natural impulses that drive us to give in and behave like animals. What separates men from animals is the fact that we can choose to say no—I can choose to fight for the woman who might already be in my life, or if I don’t have one in my life, I can choose to fight to keep myself pure for one who will be in my life someday. Then, someday I can look in her eyes and say, “I have been fighting a very hard battle for you all my life, even before I met you and I have won that battle.”
Purity is not merely for women – it is for both sexes! Once images are burned into our minds, they are very hard to dislodge and evict. Choose the high road – abstain from every appearance of evil and from creating more demand for more evil. Remember our eyes are the windows of our soul so closely guard what you allow to enter in.
We also need to be wary of what we listen to as much of what the world listens to is trash. If the beat and lyrics cause you to wonder if it’s a good idea to listen, then it is probably not a good idea. That would be the Holy Spirit causing you to wonder. If the lyrics contain curses, foul language or create graphic images inconsistent with your identity in Jesus – then turn away from them and do not listen to it. We need to make a choice and choose not to pollute our minds, souls and spirits with things of the world. When you look critically at what you listen to, or watch and measure it against the Word of God, it is easy to see how we might be led astray or defiled by these things. So many abdicate and say its only fiction or its just a show – but, if it does contain seeds of evil – turn away!
If we are really responsible, we must watch where we spend our money. Do we just go through life oblivious to the needs of others or do we take an active role in every thing we do, everything we say and everything we advocate. If I make a purchase from a business and then discover that business is very vocal and active in pro-choice circles – I have a choice to make. Do I want any amount of the money I spend there used to take the life of innocents? Or, suppose the business advocates socialism or community activism or any other ism that I do not support – should I continue to make purchases from them? I believe we are stewards of what we have and that in reality all we have is a gift from God that He gives us so we can steward or manage it for His purposes. It is not my money because God owns all the gold and all the silver. Therefor, we are supposed to be very aware of where it is going and for what purposes it is being used for. In other words, does this purchase in any way advance the kingdom of God, or does it advance the kingdom of satan? Hard words – hard choices. Yes! But, we are in a battle – for life over death!
Another area of responsibility that is often overlooked is the persecuted church and our relationship to it. Since most of us in the west have never really known persecution much less abuse and torture we have no idea how hard it is for our brothers and sisters who are in dire circumstances for their faith. People, good people, are being persecuted the world over for their faith in Jesus Christ. We don’t hear about it very much because it is not warm and cozy, and it doesn’t tickle our ears. It is hard – very hard. Christians are subjected to cruel and unusual punishment and torture in many countries around the world. They suffer simply because they have faith in the Lord Jesus and try to share that faith with others. Most of them do not hate their persecutors, rather they pray for them to see the light and receive Jesus! Jesus told us:
Matthew 5:44 But I say to you, bless those who curse you, do good to those who who hate you, and pray for those who spitefully use you and persecute you.
What can we do to help the persecuted church when we are so far away from them? We can pray for them, and for those who persecute them. Pray that God would give them strength, courage and wisdom to endure, persevere and finish the course. Pray for the families of those persecuted as they are often left without any means of support and are denied help from any who would help them. Pray for those who abuse, persecute and torture Christians that God would soften their hearts and open their eyes to the truth of who Jesus is and their desperate need for Him. Pray that God would send Christians to them and their families so they would hear the truth and soften their heart. The persecuted church needs Bibles. One Bible is often broken up and given to different families so everyone can have some of the Word of God. We take the Bible for granted. For the persecuted church it is life indeed! If you have the means, send Bibles to the persecuted church.
We must not look away from suffering, from the plight of the poor or the dilemma of the lost. We are placed here – on earth – to further the cause of life and righteousness and to drive back the forces of darkness. Every day we will face choices that require us to think about our position and choose life or death. If we abstain from deciding, we choose death. We must not shirk our responsibility – we are responsible for our brothers and sisters down here on earth. We can make a difference every single day in the life of a person. We carry the light of the world inside us! We have the answer to every problem the world faces – His name is Jesus!
Father, please make us intimately aware of where we are and who we are. Please help us accept the responsibility you have bestowed upon us and run the race you set before us with determination and vigor. Help us to be light where darkness abounds. Help us to never forsake our brothers and sisters in chains! Help us to consider every action we take in light of eternity. And, Father, please help us to hold Jesus high every day so all people everywhere will be drawn to Him! In Jesus’ name I pray. Amen.