"The wise are cautious and avoid danger; fools plunge ahead with reckless confidence" - Proverbs 14:16, NIV).
Once the Rev Billy Graham was invited out to have lunch with then US first lady, Hillary Clinton. He surprised most when word came back- "Billy Graham" does not meet any member of the opposite sex alone"! A compromise was only reached after it was agreed the meeting would take place in an open public building.
What some were not aware is that back in 1948 Billy Graham and four other male co-workers had adopted the Modesto manifesto where they resolved to "avoid any situation that would have even the appearance of compromise or suspicion". Although he led a highly public life where he was very much under constant scrutiny it has been noted by all that Graham was never linked to any moral scandal.
Former US Vice President, Mike Pence, equally shared the same principles. In March 2017, The Washington Post noted that Vice President Mike Pence never eats alone with a woman other than his wife, Karen, and that he won't attend events featuring alcohol without her by his side. This caused some discussion of what became known as the "Pence rule"!
There might be those who would view these two gentlemen as stiff absolutes. After all, there is also no Biblical injunctions forbidding opposite sex meeting. However, when one becomes aware of the temptations that those in leadership face, where on occasions even the mighty fall, this might only be simple wise caution, to do one well in the Christian life.
Ephesians 5:15 says, "Therefore be careful how you walk, not as unwise men but as wise.." In every life sometimes it helps to have some guiding principles, which clearly we see, served well these two leaders.
Prayer for today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I pray that you guide me in my walk with you and that I avoid such situations where the enemy can easily cause me to go astray.
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“I have fought the good fight, I have finished the race, and I have remained faithful” – ( 2 Timothy 4:7).
Fighting may be looked at as a non-desirable way of life, especially by those who are pacifists. In fact, throughout Christian history there are many who have literally taken Jesus’s admonition of “turn the other cheek” in Mathew 5:39, to mean nonresistance in the face of attack. The fact that Jesus rebuked the Apostle Peter for drawing a sword against his captors ( Mathew 26:52), means giving in to those who attack them, as a sign of humility.
Yes, of course there are moments where Christians must practice that humility and give in to those who attack them well remembering His word, “It is mine to avenge; I will repay, says the Lord” ( Romans 12:19). However, that said, Believers in Christ would be mistaken to imagine that they must not fight for their faith, whenever under attack. For in reality, the faith of believers is under constant attack from Satan, who comes to “kill and destroy” ( John 10:1).
Faced with this, Paul went at great length to advise Christians to “Put on the full armor of God, so that you can take your stand against the devil’s schemes” ( Ephesians 6:11). To ward of constant attacks by the enemy Paul challenged us to “Stand firm then, with the belt of truth buckled around your waist, with the breastplate of righteousness in place, and with your feet fitted with the readiness that comes from the gospel of peace. In addition to all this, take up the shield of faith, with which you can extinguish all the flaming arrows of the evil one. Take the helmet of salvation and the sword of the Spirit, which is the word of God” ( vv 14-17).
Paul is telling us that if you think that ours is a walk over faith where you are not going to fight back against the attacks of the enemy you are very mistaken. Fight we must, and hold our ground. The devil respects that! And when all is done, we can then gladly say, “we have fought the good fight, finished the race” and thank God Almighty we are free at last!
Prayer today: Lord Father God of Abraham, maker of heaven and earth, today I rise ready to resist the attacks of the enemy, by wearing the full of armor of God, and with the sword of the Spirit, fight back to victory, this I pray in Jesus’ name!