The day of common decency, strong virtue and Godly morality has prevailed in our nation to yield the goodly heritage we have enjoyed. It is no coincidence that God’s hand of blessing and protection for America became more evident as men and women trusted him to build their lives, their families and this blessed land.

Samuel, the prophet and long-desired son of Hannah, wrote in his first book: “Moreover as for me, God forbid that I should sin against the Lord in ceasing to pray for you: but I will teach you the good and the right way: Only fear the Lord, and serve him in truth with all your heart: for consider how great things he hath done for you” (1 Samuel 1:23-24).

These words apply to America today just as fully as they did to Israel over 3,000 years ago. The implications are that the Lord’s way is good, right and true and that we are to fear Him reverently and loyally serve Him.

God has blessed our nation with abundance and prosperity, but that great day of decency, respect and virtue is darkening quickly through the sunset of honor and Biblical morality. The thick storm clouds of debauchery and decadence are blowing pervasively over our once-bright skies. The clear, fresh waters of right versus wrong and truth against falsehood are muddied by vain philosophies and situation ethics. Our healthy American air of freedom to work an honest day and to enjoy the privileges of our labor has been tainted by the smog of “entitlement” and outright unwillingness to work.

The sacred mindset of our “one true God” is now nearly replaced by the god of self and secular humanism in which mankind is king over all. Materialism and naturalism beam over the airwaves that whatever we think best, we should then do, without accountability.

The pagan mind has never known moral restraint, especially in the realm of human sexuality. We have become an embarrassment even to the dogs in this realm. For our children to be kept in innocence and simplicity as they are growing up is a challenge that most find frightening. We live in an electronic world of moral danger that is perverse and pervasive.

Departure from truth and distrust in the Word of God are taking the nutrients and vitality out of the rich soil of our religious freedom. Apostasy (moving away from Bible truth) is deepening every year in many churches. Popularity and “correctness” have sweetened the till for pastors and priests who hold too dearly their esteemed positions.

Compromise in Bible doctrine, Godly music and honest, holy living has carved gullies of erosion into the topography of our Christian landscape.

Of the few that get to church when the doors are open, a high percentage attend out of duty, tradition or to appease the conscience for another week. Worship and praise become a song and dance that some do for spiritual exercise to their own glory and not to God’s in too many instances. Immorality was the prevailing sin of the first-century Gentile world. The “new age morality” is simply a regurgitation of age-old sin that goes back hand in hand with mankind’s first day, and there is nothing new in it.

In spite of all this, Christians were expected then, and are now, to live lives of separation from worldly vices. It has always been a calling and challenge of supernatural proportion. We would be hopeless if we were to face the tsunami of godlessness without the strength of God as our fortress. The apostle Paul wrote in the first book to Corinth: “There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God is faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able” (verse 10:13a). We often are convinced that no one has ever had to face the trials and hardships that have come our way – poor, pitiful us!

Notice that the verse is not yet complete: “but (God) will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear it” (10:13b). To be on the losing side is to give in to your particular sin, trying to justify it, and protest that everyone else should accept, sanction and encourage the evil you have permitted into your life.

To win the battle, we need to exercise the privilege granted by God to become His child by faith in Jesus Christ. It is then that we will have the way that the sin may be escaped, and we have as our dearest friend the One who can give us the victory over ourselves.

Paul writes in Romans, chapter seven: “For to will is present with me; but how to perform that which is good I find not” (7:18). The greatest Christlike man of the New Testament had once faced the same sin and frailty that you and I face. Then, chapter eight begins with “no condemnation” for the child of God (verse one) and tells us in verse 18 that “the sufferings of this present time are not worthy to be compared with the glory which shall be revealed in us.”

Romans 8:28 reminds the child of God that all things in this world cannot be good, but “that all things work together for good to them that love God, to them who are the called according to his purpose.” He surely has a purpose for your life and for mine, and I want to be listening for the call to that purpose.

We are asked in verse 35: “Who shall separate us from the love of Christ?” The ending verses of this victorious chapter go on to list at least 17 broad areas of creation that will never separate Christ from the true child of God. The chapter takes us from “no condemnation” on His behalf to “no separation” from God as His child!

Although the small percentage of folks in this world who are God’s children are hopelessly outnumbered by those who are not, we still serve the God of hope. Upon that hope we must stand.

Ephesians 6:13 directs us to strengthen every fortress against the foes of decency and Christlikeness. It will take “the whole armour of God, that ye may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand.”

Where, and with whom, do we stand? Our decision to have the best outcome for our lives will result from choosing the best inputs. Those influences include: Christ my personal Savior, a Bible-believing church, friends that honor God, music and visuals that keep our minds on that which glorifies God and any other encouragement that will keep decency in its rightful place. Godspeed!

R.D. “Bob” Hottle is a retired schoolteacher, farmer and pastor of the Anchor Baptist Church.