Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery. Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have. For God has said, “I will never fail you. I will never forsake you.” ... Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do. — Hebrews 13:4-5, 7
In the early days of the Christian church, it was not uncommon for believers to suffer intense hardships, even martyrdom, for their faith. Roman emperors such as Diocletian became incensed with the burgeoning church and inflicted great pain, harm, cruelty, and death on defenseless followers of Jesus. But then Constantine became emperor and embraced Christianity in 312.
Very soon, Christians, instead of being a persecuted minority, became a decidedly mixed-bag majority. Dedication to Christ became watered-down and the church became corrupt.
The answer for many was to flee into the desert, where they became not only separated from the world but also from the worldliness of the church. They took three vows—poverty, chastity, and obedience—because they saw the abuse of money, sex, and power as the root problems in the church.
It has been said that time marches on but things never change. And to some extent that’s true! It is certainly a fact that problems in the modern church are usually related to the abuse of money, sex, and power—the same problems that appeared in the early days of the ascetics. But we should note that these were the problems confronting the writers of the New Testament as well.
“Give honor to marriage, and remain faithful to one another in marriage. God will surely judge people who are immoral and those who commit adultery” (Hebrews 13:4). This is a statement about the divinely ordained sanctity of marriage between a man and a woman and the sinfulness of sexual activity outside of marriage.
“Stay away from the love of money; be satisfied with what you have” (13:5). This is a warning against getting so absorbed with money and all that it can provide that you fall in love with getting it and spending it, hoarding it and wasting it.
“Remember your leaders who first taught you the word of God. Think of all the good that has come from their lives, and trust the Lord as they do” (13:7). This is not only an admonition to those who follow but also a challenge to those who exercise the power of leadership. They are to remember that the privilege of leadership is not to be abused but must be applied to provide direction and encouragement to others, so that they will grow in godliness through teaching by word and example.
As long as there are men, there will be money, sex, and power. As long as there are Christian men, there will be those who know how to use—not abuse—all three.
It is our calling to do so.
For further study: Hebrews 13:1-7
Content taken from The One Year Book of Devotions for Men by Stuart Briscoe. Copyright ©2000. Used by permission of Tyndale House Publishers. All rights reserved.