Man of God Top 10 – #5 Prayerful

A man of God is prayerful.

I have mentioned it a few times now, prayer.  Ephesians 6:18 and 1 Thessalonians 5:17 tell us to pray about everything, all the time, in all situations (heck, Jonah prayed while inside a fish!).  It doesn’t matter that you don’t have all the fancy lingo, or that you don’t pray in a specific format; there are no rules!  Just pray.

Jesus did give us some guidelines for our prayer in Mathew 6:5-13.  These are not rules about how and what to pray but rather he is showing us what the true purpose of prayer is.  He says not to pray to be seen by men (6:5).  The purpose of prayer is not to prove that you are a christian or to exalt yourself as a prayerful man.  Prayer is to talk to God.  To worship God.  To thank God for all that he has done for you and to ask for guidance and help in your life.  Jesus tell us to pray in secret (6:6) so that it is just between you and God, your family and God, or a body of worshippers and God.  Prayer is not to be a public spectacle.

And don’t think that a prayer has to be drawn out and long to be good – no babbling! (6:7)  The best prayer is the one that is from the heart.  It could be as simple as “Thank you God!”.  I often get caught in the thought that what I have to say to God is not important enough to bother him with.  Wrong!  God wants to hear our prayers.  Jesus died so that we would be able to have that direct line of communication with God.  If you don’t know what to pray just start talking to God.  Remember, this whole christian “thing” is about a relationship with God.  When you are in a relationship with someone you talk to them right?

Pray with your families.  Husbands, pray with your wives.  One of the best ways to ensure a lasting and strong marriage is to pray together.  Fathers, pray with your kids.  What better way to show them that God is an integral part of your family’s life than to pray all the time and about all things.

Men of God are the spiritual leaders of the family.  Lead in prayer!

Man of God Top 10 – #6 Faithful

Faithful: steadfast in affliction or allegiance; firm in adherence to promises or in observance of duty.

Men of God are faithful.  First and foremost, faithful to God.  We should be steadfast in our allegiance to God.  God is faithful to us, no matter what, even though we don’t deserve it.  How much more does God deserve our faithfulness.

Men of God are faithful in prayer.  “Be joyful in hope, patient in affliction, faithful in prayer.” Romans 12:12  We should be firm in our daily prayers.  Pray for everything, don’t ask for everything, pray.  When you have a decision to make, pray.  When you are feeling down, sick, stagnant; pray.  When you are driving, eating, or doing anything that doesn’t require your full attention; pray.  “Pray in the Spirit on all occasions with all kinds of prayers.” Ephesians 6:18  “Pray continually” 1 Thessalonians 5:17

Men of God are faithful to their wives and families.  God has made you the head of your family, act like it.  Be steadfast in you allegiance to your family and firm in observance of your duty to them.   Be faithful to your wives, don’t go looking for someone else and don’t let problems go unresolved, talk (I know that is hard for some of us guys, but just do it!).  Be faithful to your children.  They need a father who is strong, who will show them the way to live.

Be faithful out there men.  Don’t get distracted by something else that is easy or appealing, but stay strong and faithful to following God, praying in all things, and to your family.

The Problem with Christians Today.

My wife read a passage to me last night from the book Eat Pray Love by Elizabeth Gilbert (the book is supposed to be really good, the movie just so-so).  The passage summed up what is basically wrong with Christians today.  It said:

“I want to have a lasting experience of God…Sometimes I feel like I understand the divinity of this world, but then I lose it because I get distracted by my petty desires and fears.  I want to be with God all the time.  But I don’t want to be a monk, or totally give up worldly pleasures.  I guess what I want to learn is how to live in this world and enjoy its delights, but also devote myself to God.”

That is a slippery slope!  I don’t think that you have to live like a pauper and shun all the things of the world, but I know that you can’t necessarily have your cake and eat it too.  You can’t have the all pleasures of the world, and be fully devoted to Christ.  You can’t have two masters.

Just a quick post for today, but we will come back to this topic.  For now think about this; are you devoting your life completely to God, or are you trying to pick and chose some of the worldly delights and add them into your relationship with God?

Man of God Top 10 – #7 Gentle/Humble

Being a man is not about being rough and tough.  Real men are strong, and at the same time gentle.  Real men are confident, while still being humble.

“…I urge you to live a life worthy of the calling you have received.  Be completely humble and gentle…”  Ephesians 4:2

As men of God we are called to a higher standard.  We cannot be the bullies and the tough guys on the playground anymore.  We have to step out of that sterotype and show the world that real men are gentle.  Jesus tells us that we will be known by our fruits; those being love, joy , peace, patience, kindness, goodness, faithfulness, gentleness and self-control. (Gal 5:22-23)  Don’t hide your gentle side, or only let it out in your home.  “Let your gentleness be evident to all.”  Philippians 4:5

Too many men think that they have to be proud and arrogant, to show that they are in total control and that they can do it all.  Without God, we can do nothing; but through God all things are possible.  Remember that it isn’t you that is responsible for the good things in your life; God makes it all possible.   Be humble, show God the respect he deserves by not taking credit for the things that he does.

Go out and show the world what a real man is; humble and gentle.  A real man of God!

Bored?

Do you ever have those times when it is just not exciting to be a Christian?  When you don’t feel like you are getting anything out of reading the Bible?  Does this mean that you are doing something wrong?  Shouldn’t you be on fire for God all the time?

The answer is no, and yes…

Think back to last Wednesday.  Do you remember what you had for lunch?  No!  Ok, how about what you had for dinner two weeks ago Thursday?  Still nothing!  Even though you can’t remember what you ate for every meal of every day, that food still nourished and strengthened your body.  It is the same with God’s word and with being a Christian.  We may not remember everything that we read in the Bible.  We may have days when it feels like we are just going through the motions, when there is no spark, no epiphany, no fireworks; days when being a Christian is kind of boring.  Let’s face it, the world throws out a lot of things that seem like they would be way more fun than walking the straight line and following Christ.

Shouldn’t we be living each day with the same high that we had when we first came to Christ?  When we truly felt like we were on fire for God and nothing could distract us?  That would be nice wouldn’t it!  But the truth is that you can’t live every day of your life pumped up on adrenalin, it would kill you!!  We have to pace ourselves, and it is in these down times when your true character comes out.

Just like those meals that you can’t remember, those daily bible readings that seem insignificant are feeding you, strengthening you, bringing you closer to God.  The main thing is to just keep doing it.  Keep reading in the Word everyday.  Keep living your life for Christ no matter how boring it seems.  Do not start looking for fullfillment or excitement outside of God, He is right beside you, everyday, and He is the one that will provide every good thing for you.

Even soldiers in a war aren’t actively engaged in battle every minute of everyday.  Much of their time is spent planning, preparing, maintaining their tools and their bodies so that when the time comes for them to fight they are ready.  Do the same in your walk with Christ.  When there are down times, prepare yourself for the coming battles.  Pray, read in the word, focus on God and what he is doing in your life.

The excitement will come, will will you be ready for it?

Man of God Top 10 – #8 Fight

There is something about men that makes us think that we can solve problems with our fists.  While I don’t think that this is exactly the best method, God does tell us to fight.  Not our fellow man, but to “Fight the good fight of faith.” 1 Timothy 6:12

A strong man of God is in a fight everyday.  Not a physical one that may result in a black eye or bloody nose, but a spiritual fight that can influence eternity.  I am talking about spiritual warfare, and it is real.  Satan is out there everyday fighting against God and against God’s people.  The last thing that he wants is for the men of God to step up and start fighting the good fight of faith because he knows that he will lose.  We know that the end of the battle has already been determined, our side wins!  But in the process there will be many casualties.  There are no innocent bystanders in this fight.  Everyone has to make a decision; with God, or against God; there is no middle ground.

As men of God we need to stand on the front lines and show the world that we are not afraid to fight for God.  Show that we are not afraid to get a little beat up for what we know is right.

I know that I would be willing to fight anyone who threatened my family, and I’m sure you would do the same.  But will you take the same stance when someone is threatening God, threatening the church?  These threats come in many forms but they all work to undermine God’s message, to turn people away from faith.

We know that no one can harm God (obviously!) but they can harm his children.  Go out and fight the good fight of faith today.  Fight for God’s children as though they were your own.  Go out and be a strong man of God!

Man of God Top 10 – #9 Pursue God

Alright, I told you we would get to the pursuing part didn’t I (aren’t you glad you came back?).

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”  1 Timothy 6:11

I love this because God, through Paul, is giving us this dual directive; flee and pursue.  What he is really doing is pointing us in the right direction for our lives.  It is like saying, walk out of the dark room and into the light of day.

There is a lot in this verse, and we will cover more of it in some of the top 10 to come.  Right now let’s focus on the pursuing part.  This is all about pursuing God, pursuing the things of God that he has set out for us.  These are the things that will set us apart as men of God!  How great is it that God gives us one verse that lines it out for us, like marching orders for men of God.  I will add one more pursuit to this list, peace (Psalm 34:14, 1 Peter 3:11).

So what does God mean by pursue?  The definition of pursue is: to find or employ measures to obtain or accomplish; to proceed along; to engage in.  All of these parts of the definition are what God is asking us to do here.  Find a way to accomplish these things in our life, proceed along the path that God has set out for us by pursuing these things, and engage yourself in the pursuit of these things.

For those of you that hunt, especially bow hunters, it’s like when you are stalking a bull elk.  You know what your goal is, you can hear the elk bugling and making noise, and you are completely focused on the hunt.  Every one of your senses is on high alert; eyes, nose, ears all working overtime.  The adrenaline is kicked in and you can think of nothing else but the thing that you are pursuing.

That is what God is talking about here.  This is not an academic exercise where you go to the library, do some research on these words and concepts, find out their Greek origins and meanings so that you can regurgitate them at some bible study later.  Come on!  Really pursue these with everything you are!  Everyday!  This is what God wants his men to be like.

Look at the list, really look at it and think about what it would be like if more men were to spend their time pursuing these things, instead of the things of the world.  I can think of nothing greater for my sons than if they were to earnestly pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, gentleness, and peace.  Obviously we have obligations and thing that have to get done; work, chores, taking care of our families, balancing the checkbook, education, etc.  But how many of these things could you fit into one of those pursuits?  How many of those things could you be doing with an eye toward pursuing God and how many lives could you touch for Jesus in the process?

Men, your mission today and everyday: Pursue God!