I was raised by a very stolid, demanding father. He worked hard with two calloused hands that supported his family and fed his children. He missed out on a lot of celebration and youthful activities with his two boys, yet what he lived by was a code of honor that he believed in. Hard work and honesty. It is what he instilled into us. My life lessons at the end of my adolescence could be summarized into two very uncompromising categories; do not lie and be committed to your word. This became our ‘stand’. A stand is something that defines you, that you are not willing to compromise on. Regardless, if it gets tough or tempting, you maintain that value…and THAT is called honor.
Being ‘fit for the Kingdom’ is in reference to Jesus Christ’s teaching and remark to His disciples that ‘anyone who puts his hand to the plow and looks back is not fit for the Kingdom of God. This is about commitment to your ‘stand’. His disciples’ stand was to follow Him and his teachings. Unfortunately, many make that stand, only to let go of the plow when they encounter a stump or some other metaphorical obstacle . Perhaps not even an obstacle but something more tempting and pleasurable than ‘plowing ground’.
We live in a time and society that seems to be more unfit for the Kingdom that ever. A man’s word no longer has meaning. Handshakes are cordial, yet empty gestures. Just this week, I’ve suffered very detrimental blows to my hope and joy at the hands of men who I had given some reliance to their word, because they chose to be dis-honoring to their word and commitment.
What do we do when such collateral damage has ill effects in our lives? It would be easy to eschew society as a lost cause and become bitter. Believe me, today I am very hurt and fighting my own bitterness. Jesus, however was speaking of a Kingdom not of this earth. Perhaps our answer lies not in man at all. When I think of the most honorable acts given by men, my mind drifts to those who sacrificed their lives for their country. Or, even to the smaller scale of a man who would dive on a live hand grenade to save the lives of his company, his friends. The Bible even speaks to such honor as an act of love saying, “Greater love has no man than this, that he would lay down his life for his friends.” Though a man would perhaps more easily give his life to those he loves, would he be so honorable to give his life to those who hate him? Jesus did. He willingly laid down his life FOR the people who took it. When I am wounded by a dishonorable human being, I look to the One who gave me His Word, and keeps His Word at ALL times.
Choose today to be a man (or woman) of honor. Stop and consider your ‘stand’. What are those character values that you are unwilling to compromise? When you decide that then you are ready to exercise honor. And THAT is called character. Being fit for the Kingdom is a mindset that forges more than physical fitness, but personal…hard working, commitment keeping fitness.