I’m sure that most of you, by now have heard about the release of the 1940 census records. It is interesting to consider the information revealed by these statistics. I was reading just recently that the records reveal some interesting things about our current society. One of the things that I was reading recentlywas that almost 40% of people in our culture don’t marry at all, as compared to some 4% in the 1940’s. I found this to be a most thought provoking piece of information.What does this tell us about ourselves as a society, and even more importantly what does it tell us about those of us who claim to follow Jesus, Christians! I can’t help but believe that we see a lot in this new (old) information. Why are almost half of adults not marrying? I see several things indicated in these statistics. First and foremost, to me, is the fact that we no longer hold marriage in “high esteem”. We no longer hold, if you would, a Biblical view of marriage. In Hebrews 13, it tells us that “marriage is honorable, and the bed undefiled; but aldulterers and whoremongers, God will judge.” So what’s the deal? As I see it we have adjusted our perspective away from the Biblical view; God established marriage and we have “un”established it. We no longer see the “immoral” in “immorality”, anything is acceptable if we just give it a new name. Premarital sex is now ‘exploring our own human sexuality’, and that , we say, can’t be done without experience. Extramarital sex is now ‘freedom of expression of our human sexuality’, who would expect anyone to be monogamous? We are moral, reasoning beings created in the image of God and able to make choices of right and wrong–and God set the standard–but we reap the consequences or blessings of those choices. It appears that we have become our own ‘gods’ and have changed God’s standard of Biblical morality for our own, skewed standard.If two people “love” each other it’s ok that they sleep together. That is no longer “adultry” but simply co-habiting. Checking out the merchandise before the purchase, so to speak. If one marriage parner becomes bored, lonely, discouraged or lusts after someone else, that’s ok too. Everyone is entitled to be “happy”. Even school teachers are no longer holding to the time-honored standard of not being involved sexually with their students. The headlines are glaring with new stories almost daily of this violaiton of decency and decorum. Why? Because our skewed standard has abandoned God’s original plan–and without that original plan we are adrift in a sea of confusion and hopelessness.So what is our hope? Praise God, our hope is Jesus Christ–who saves us from sin, transforms us into His image and prepares us for life in eternity with Him, if we but repent of our own sin and call on Him in faith, believing in His substitutionary (he took my place) death on the cross for my salvation and deliverance. That He also gives us the power through His indwelling Holy Spirit, (given to every true believer) to overcome sin and the work of sin in our lives. We are no longer bound by sin, even though we are still living within a body of flesh, in a broken and sinful world. As 1 John says ‘greater is He that is in us, than he that is in the world’… We can have victory and live HOLY, righteous lives by His grace, His power and through the understanding of, and devotion to His Word. Given that “all scripture is inspired by God, and is profitable for doctrine, for reproof, for correction and instruction in righteousness; that the man of God may be perfect (mature), thoroughly furnished unto every good work”, we CAN live victoriously.Our hope is an eternal hope–the hope of Jesus saving work and power. I am so grateful that He is at work in all things around us to shape and conform us into His image. He is taking all the junk in and around us and weeding, pruning and shaping us to be faithful servants. We can be faithful and ready to meet Him when He comes or calls us unto Himself. How are you doing in the “holy” catagory? We all come short but we all can keep pressing on. As Paul said in Philippians “forgetting that which is past……… I press toward to mark, of the high calling of God in Christ Jesus” and we can do that because 1 John 1:9 reminds us that “if we confess our sins, He is faithful and just to forgive us our sins, and to cleanse us from all unrighteousness”….Praise God we can walk in victory. It’s not perfection that we strive for but for excellence in God’s Spirit. “if we walk in the SPIRIT, (emphasis mine) we will not fulfill the lust of the flesh…” Ephesians ……. I pray that you will spend time in the word and prayer that you will know how to walk in His Spirit and find greater and greater success each day. It’s not that we won’t stumble and fall down but that we won’t STAY down.I thank God that He is in the saving and keeping business and if we will but yield to His leadership and prompting in our lives we will find better recognition of the enemies tactics, quicker responses to right and wrong and more earnest devotion to Him who calls and saves us. I pray that God will illumine our hearts and minds as we share His word and fellowship together.