Living Stones Series: First Published in All Around Old Bridge Publication – June 2021
By Pastor Lloyd Pulley
Centuries ago, a pleasure-driven, sexualized culture prevailed in a major Grecian city in the Roman world called Corinth. This city was proverbial. To be "corinthian-ized" was to be given over to a promiscuous lifestyle and sensual pleasure-seeking, as even their worship consisted of State-promoted temple prostitution.
Ultimately every civilization driven by pleasure is already on the decline. The human energy and capital which could be focused on altruistic pursuits of family and charity dissipate when focused on every destructive form of pleasing oneself. Today this ancient city of Corinth is an archaeological site, a mere heap of ruins only frequented by curious tourists who note its mention in the Bible. The Apostle Paul spent three years with the Corinthian believers and later wrote two letters (in the Bible) to help them understand their eternal position and to teach them to put their gratification for pleasure in its God-given place.
Pleasure is a strong motivator. God-given sexual desire is intended to drive young adults to prepare their lives to be employable and marriageable, that they might contribute to the stability of society. Today the culture is saturated with cheap sexualization, prostitution, and pornography—all under the guise of "gratification." There are innumerable ways today by which a person can be self-satisfied without contributing anything worthwhile to society. The inevitable effect of this pleasure-seeking is the breakdown of family, which will eventually undermine society as a whole. This should be a chilling reminder to us in America, that unless we get a renewal from heaven we will end up in ruins as well.
God-given desires were meant to be channeled into family and the raising of children into mature adults. Gratification without any merit of earning it soon short-circuits any desire to even want to be married or raise children. The adage my grandmother used with her young granddaughters was crass but true: "Why buy the cow when you can get the milk for free?" In other words, why would a man commit to marriage and fidelity when he doesn’t have to wait for marriage to have sex?
Just consider all the sensual energy in a single person. Not dissipated on self, this energy becomes focused on one person, leading to a strong marital bond and self-discipline. When people sink down to the level of living for mere animal urges, only desiring to satiate their drives for food, sex, power, and authority, they miss the higher purposes in life!
We clearly see in Paul’s address to the Corinthians a call to true manhood and masculinity—something all but lost in today’s culture.
Paul told the believers in Corinth to "andrizomai," which literally means to "man up," "act like men" or "be brave." This biblical exhortation means more than the distorted culture accusing "toxic masculinity." For following this point, he concludes, "Let all that you do be done with love." (1 Corinthians 16:13-14) This takes determination, commitment, and strength—which you won’t find on the roadway to pleasure.
Many men today have become softened and cannot cope. Psychology Today described it well in an article a few years back entitled: "We are a Nation of Wimps." Search online for a picture of a 1905 playground—it will shock the average American! This was what the greatest generation played on and yet it was profoundly dangerous!
Compare that to today where we see how coddled a generation has become! A child rides a tricycle with a helmet. City parks have 12" thick cushioned play surfaces. Children are no longer allowed to play alone and any scrape, scratch, or bruise puts parents in a frenzy.
Hovering moms spritz sanitizer every ten minutes—and God forbid they let the kids play in the mud, much less taste it! Yet children in San Diego with such "care" fare much worse than those right across the border in Mexico! In San Diego there is an epidemic of childhood asthma and other diseases which are practically non-existent in Mexico.
Anxious parents pressure teachers for grades their children didn’t earn. In the competitive arena, everyone gets a "WAV" (We’re All Valuable) trophy instead of a "Most Valuable Player." Yet, it just might be that child is actually better than yours in that sport and not a victim of bias! Children today have been robbed of personal identity, meaning, and any sense of accomplishment.
The National Guard upholds the qualities of loyalty, respect, selfless service, honor, integrity, personal courage, and duty. Duty—a forgotten word! Are we raising boys to be men that they might learn to walk a woman to her car at night, and to protect and fiercely defend her honor? Today this would be construed as sexism.
To all of the men out there holding onto these values, thank you! To all the fathers choosing to take responsibility for their children, lessening the devastation of abortion, thank you! To all of the men choosing to discipline themselves, seeking purpose over pleasure, thank you!
Happy Father’s Day to those of you who get it and to those of you who don't –I am praying you will heed the words of Paul the Apostle to "andrizomai," or man up!