April 21, 2008

Monday Morning Message - Gaurd the Gates

Yes, the Monday Morning Message is being posted on a Wednesday...for those of you eagerly awaiting this post I apologize for the wait.

In late 214 b.c. or early 213 b.c. the Roman general Marcellus laid siege to the city of Syracuse. Armed with three legions totaling over 25,000 men, 100 warships, and great numbers of siege engines Marcellus approached the unbreached walls of Syracuse with confidence that this would be a short ordeal. It seemed that Marcellus had calculated everything correctly except for the variable of one man named Archimedes.

Archimedes who was described by Livy as 'that unrivalled observer of the heaven and the stars, even more remarkable as the inventor and engineer of artillery and engines of war' had prepared the city with ingenious anti-siege machines. The Romans were stymied in every attempt by land and sea by these marvelous machines, some of which would literally lift a Roman ship out of the water, shake it, and throw it to its demise against the cliff wall of the port city. What was to be a short endeavor took on an ominous character of desperation leading Plutarch to comment that "The Romans seemed to be fighting against the gods." It seemed the Romans were to be thwarted in their effort to take this prize city until an overture from one of the city leaders of Syracuse changed everything.

One of the three prefects of Syracuse, Moeriscus by name, offered to betray the city for a price. During a diversionary attack by the Romans, which only emboldened the defenders as they saw the futility of the Roman efforts, Moeriscus opened the gates of the city and allowed the attackers to enter uncontested.

I believe much the same thing is happening in many lives today. People with high standards of morality and purity in their lives are allowing their strength to be compromised and, in many cases, defeated because they've not set guards at the gates of their lives. Proverbs 4:23 states "Keep your heart will all vigilance, for from it flow the springs of life." It doesn't take much poison to ruin a spring, no matter how strong and fresh it is. Once it is polluted it is useless until it cleaned up. We need to actively and aggressively guard the gates of our hearts. Particularly in the areas of what we see and hear.

Job shared with his friends that he had made a covenant with his eyes to not look lustfully on a young woman (Job 31:1). He was guarding the gates of his life because he knew how easily sin could trip, ensnare and, ultimately, enslave him. Job also knew that sin never made good on it's promises. It may be sweet for a season but it always ends with an unsatisfying flavor. We would do well to emulate Job's wise course of action and set a guard over the gates of our lives.

It is amazing to see what was once relegated to the back streets of our cities now parading down main street. Pornography, thanks to the availability, affordability, and anonymity of the internet, has unleashed a sexual beast that threatens the very fabric of society. If you have some time browse through the report given to the U.S. Senate Committee on Judiciary concerning Pornography's Impact On Marriage and the Family. To say it is a sobering evaluation
would be a serious understatement. Unless we guard the gates we will discover not only our lives being deeply affected but we will also see the very society which we treasure being torn apart. de Tocqueville said it well, "If America ceases to be good, America will cease to be great."

Have we let the enemy in through the gates?

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