Barry Black is the acclaimed chaplain of the US Senate. As significant as his ministry is, he recently told the Christian Broadcasting Network that there are lawmakers who “dwarf him spiritually.” For example, “We have one senator who has led thirteen African heads of state to Christ.” He would not name the senator but noted that many others are making a difference for Jesus as well.
Now consider this Time magazine headline: “Why Miranda Kerr and Evan Spiegel Aren’t Having Sex Before Marriage.” The model and Snapchat CEO became engaged last July after dating for over a year. But they are waiting to have sex until they get married. “My partner is very traditional,” Kerr explains.
A senator wins thirteen African leaders to Christ and the secular media ignores him. A famous couple chooses to be biblical about sexuality and their virtue makes headlines. What does this juxtaposition say about us?
Janet and I were in Austin last weekend. We ate breakfast at the Carillon, a restaurant on the main entrance to the University of Texas campus. There we found a series of quotations inscribed on arches supporting the roof of the restaurant. This statement by Stephen Austin, the “Father of Texas,” especially struck me: “A nation can only be free, happy and great in proportion to the virtue and intelligence of its people.” Note the order on a campus famed for its academic standards: virtue before intelligence.
Sadly, our culture seems not to agree.
According to Gallup, the number of Americans who accept same-sex marriage, having a baby outside of marriage, sex between unmarried people, cloning humans, and polygamy are all at record highs. Not surprisingly, 73 percent of Americans say our moral values have declined.
In Exodus 1, two midwives refused the pharaoh’s order to kill baby Hebrew boys. Reading the story, I was struck by the fact that the two women were named while the pharaoh was not. By defying his order, Shiphrah and Puah made an impact on eternity surpassing that of the most powerful man on earth. From their obedience came the Jewish nation that would have been exterminated if they had not been so courageously virtuous.
In Jeremiah 6, the Lord laments concerning his people, “From the least to the greatest of them, everyone is greedy for unjust gain; and from prophet to priest, everyone deals falsely” (v. 13). This metaphor is especially striking: “Were they ashamed when they committed abomination? No, they were not at all ashamed; they did not know how to blush” (v. 15). Could he say the same of our culture today?
What should we do? “Stand by the roads, and look, and ask for the ancient paths, where the good way is; and walk in it, and find rest for your souls” (v. 16). Reject the novel for the virtuous, the popular for the godly.
Do this now and you will be “like a man building a house, who dug deep and laid the foundation on the rock. And when the flood arose, the stream broke against that house and could not shake it, because it had been well built” (Luke 6:48). The time to lay the foundation is before the storm strikes.
In short, choose virtue before you need virtue. The culture may not agree, but the Lord will be honored. Which matters more to you?