Man of God Top 10 – #10 Flee from the World

What is a man of God?

God gives us an outline of what he wants us to be, and what he wants us to focus on as men of God.  I will try (in hopefully not to clumsy a way) to show you what this plan is for us.  I guarantee that I will not do justice to God’s desires for us and I will not be able to include all that God wants for men of God, but I will hopefully get you started.  If you want to know all God want for you; pray, get in the Word, and listen!

#10 – Men of God flee from the things of the world.

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

Here Paul is writing to Timothy, and to all Christian men, to build him up so that he can be strong and equipped to help the church, to lead, and to be a strong man of God.  This verse is directed at men of God and the first thing it tells us is to “…flee from all this…” (we’ll get to the pursuing part later, just be patient!).

Obviously we have to back up a little, flee from what?  In verses 3-10 Paul talks about men’s pursuit of money and false doctrine.  We all know the verse “For the love of money is a root of all kinds of evil.” 1 Tim 6:10.  We all know that there are more important things to life than getting more money.  But the world tells us that our life would be so much better if we just had [fill in the blank].  If we had more money, a bigger house, a nicer car, a boat, went on more vacations, whatever the thing is we need it because our life is not complete without it.  1 Tim 6:9 says it pretty clearly, “People who want to get rich fall into temptation and a trap and into many foolish and harmful desires that plunge men into ruin and destruction.”  Sounds fun huh.  Flee.

Another thing God tells us to flee from is sexual immorality (1 Corinthians 6:16).  On the surface this seems like a no-brainer.  Of course we would avoid immorality (sexual or otherwise), what man wouldn’t?  But again, the world steps in and bombards us with sexual images, slogans, and innuendos.  Sex sells just about everything these days and we run the real risk each day of becoming immune and numb to the fact that what we see in magazines and billboards encourages us towards sexually immoral thoughts and those can lead to actions.  Flee.

Flee from idolatry (1 Corinthians 10:14).  Again, easy right!?  We don’t generally make it a habit to bow down to a golden calf statue on our way out the door to work.  Our idols are much more subtle; money, cars, our job, our body, drugs…  Sometimes it is hard to see that we have put something like this on a pedestal, that we have put it before God.  Step back and look at the things that you spend your time in pursuit of.  Have you made an idol of something without realizing it?  Flee.

This all comes back to fleeing from the things of the world.  I’m not trying to say that you should lock yourself in your house or give away all your possessions and find a cave somewhere and live off the grid!  We have to be in the world but not of it (easier said than done, I know).  We have to be that light in the middle of a fallen city (wherever you live) that people see and can come to.  Don’t get distracted by the things that the world says are important, cool, or necessary.  Flee.  Focus on God (that’s where the pursuit part comes in later…), and the more you have your focus on the things of God, the less important and enticing the things of the world will seem.

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“I’m Not Called”…the ultimate Christian cop-out?

“That’s great for you, but I’m just not called…”  “I just don’t feel led to do that.”  “Some people just aren’t called to…”

Since my wife and I made the decisions to homeschool and to adopt we have heard these phrases more times than we can count.  People saying how great it is to adopt, or to stay home with our kids, but that they just couldn’t do it, they just aren’t “called”.

That phrase, “I’m not called.”, has become the ultimate excuse for any Christian who does not want to do something!  I realize that it is sometimes legitimate, that not everyone is called to do everything.  God does call specific people to do specific things; teaching, healing, evangelizing, etc.  However, there are also some things that He calls all Christians to do.

“Therefore go and make disciples of all nations, baptizing them in the name of the Father and of the Son and of the Holy Spirit and teaching them to obey everything I have commanded you.”  Matthew 28:18

“Religion that God our Father accepts as pure and faultless is this: to look after orphans and widows in their distress and to keep oneself from being polluted by the world.” James 1:27

These are two of the classic example of what Jesus is calling all Christians to do.  Yet when you ask someone what they are doing to spread the Word or to help orphans and widows you will undoubtedly hear, “I’m not called to missions.” or “I just don’t feel led to adopt.”  To these people I say, “Great!  But what are you doing to spread the Word and to help the orphans and widows?”

Spreading the Word of God does not mean that you have to give up everything you have and live in the jungle, or travel around the world preaching.  It means being bold in your workplace and when talking to your neighbors.  It means supporting missionaries and outreach programs.  It means talking to your friends about Jesus’ love for them, and not just your mutual love of football.

In the same vein, looking after orphans does not mean that everyone is in the position to adopt 10 kids.  But anyone can sponsor a child in need.  Anyone can pray for the more than 143 million orphans in the world (and this may be an old number).  Sometimes the only thing keeping a child from having a family is the cost of the adoption.  If every Christian pitched in some money to help cover these expenses how many more children would have a home?

My point is not to try and say that everyone is called to everything that God says is good, or to imply that I am doing everything right (far from it!).  My point is that before you take the easy way out of something by saying “I’m just not called.”, stop and think about it.  Have you actually prayed about that specifically to see if you are called?  Have you actually listened to what God is calling you to do?  Sometimes we aren’t “called” because to admit that would be to admit that we aren’t doing what we know God is asking us to do.   And sometimes God asks us to do some pretty hard things.

Just because something is hard, uncomfortable, expensive, or intimidating doesn’t mean that God isn’t equipping and calling you to do just that.

Men’s Group

There is something about a group of guys getting together; having coffee, eating lunch,playing golf, going for a hike, or just hanging out, that just lets us relax and be ourselves.  When we find a group of like-minded men that we can really talk to, bounce ideas off of, and get encouragement from, it is a great thing.

I strongly encourage you to find such a group of men.  If there is a group in your church that meets regularly see if you can join them.  If not, start your own!  Call a couple of the Christian men that you know and see if they want to get together for lunch once a week.  It is an easy thing and can be a great source of accountability and fellowship.

You can find a book to read through and discuss, work through books of the bible, or keep it free form and just talk about the things that you are going through in life, the challenges you are encountering, and where God has been taking you lately.

Now that you know how easy and encouraging is can be to get a men’s group together, what are you waiting for?  Get on the phone and call your buddies.  You no longer have any excuse!

Just a little encouragement…

In case you are doubting yourself lately or wondering if you are really capable of doing what God is calling you to do, here is a little morsel from 1John:

“I write you young men, because you are strong, and the work of God lives in you, and you have overcome the evil one.” 1John 2:16

John was writing this to various Gentile churches and to believers everywhere (yep, that means you!).  Don’t think for a second that you are not capable of whatever God is calling you to do.  You are equipped to do good works and are given everything you need, through Him, to accomplish the tasks He has set out for you.

So what are you waiting for?  Go out and do it!!

Challenge for the Day: Bring up God, Jesus, your faith, etc. in a conversation today with someone who doesn’t know Jesus (or you don’t know if they know Jesus).

Men of Courage

See if this sounds familiar…

You get up, make some coffee and grab your bible.  You read your typical chapter, think about it for a minute then move on.  You have a shower, some breakfast, kiss your wife and kids and head out the door to work.  On the way to work you rock out to some music, noticing that there is a lady on the side of the road who just hit a deer (people really should pay more attention when they drive, that’s the fourth deer you’ve seen hit this week).

You get to work and dive into your routine.  You get another cup of joe, grab a doughnut (mmmm…doughnuts!), talk to some co-workers (patiently standing there while the guy next to you complains, again, about something or another, your not really sure what your more focused on chocolate and sprinkles), and start to work on your daily list of tasks.

At lunch you grab a quick bite from the closest sandwich shop or reheat the leftovers from last nights dinner.  You run some quick errands, surf the internet for a few minutes and then dive back into the afternoon.

At 5:00 you shut things down and head home.  You crank up the music to help decompress from your day and roll down your windows (there is that deer from this morning…what a mess!).  You get home and kiss your wife and kids, have some dinner, play with the kids for an hour, read some stories, and talk about your day.

After tucking the kids in you sit back and watch some TV, read a book, and relax with your wife.  It was a long day and you deserve to just kick back for an hour before you do the dishes.  Then you get ready for bed, pray with your wife, kiss her goodnight and go to sleep (a little later than you wanted, but it’s ok because you can make an extra strong pot of coffee in the morning).

Sounds like a typical day.  You did what you were supposed to do, what you were expected to do.  You went to work, accomplished your tasks, came home to family time, read in your bible, etc.  But what did you really do today?!?  What did you do to further the kingdom of God?  What did you do to make a connection with someone, to show the love of Jesus through your actions?

“I didn’t really have any opportunity for that.” you say.  REALLY?  Did you stop and see if you could help the lady that just smashed her car into a deer?  Did you offer her a ride to work?  How about the complaining guy at your office, ever stop to really listen and see if you could encourage him?  Maybe he is going through some really tough times and if someone would just listen, truly listen, it would make all the difference in the world to him.

My point is not to make what we do every day insignificant, it’s not, far from it.  Providing for our families, doing our jobs well, spending time in the bible, reading to our kids, spending some down time with our wives, these are all important and necessary parts of being a man.  But God calls us to do more than this, to stand up in a world that has become self-centered and reward-oriented (what’s in it for me?) and be selfless, serving others without expectation of anything in return.

The new single by Casting Crowns, Courageous, is an awesome example of what men of God struggle with and should strive for every day.  Be warriors for God, pushing the edge of your comfort zone to do what is right in God’s eyes, not the world’s, every day.  Don’t sit on the sidelines, going through the motions of life, just checking off the boxes of the things you’re “supposed”to accomplish, really LIVE!

Colossians 3:23 says, “Whatever you do, work at it with all your heart, as working for the Lord, not for men…”.  Whatever you do… driving to work, talking to co-workers, doing your job, reading to your kids, all of it… do it for the Lord.  Do it full out, all in, no holding back!  My wife told me something once that she read that I really like: Remember that the goal of life is not to get to the end rested, relaxed and with a tan.  The goal is to come sliding in tattered, torn, bruised and bleeding; having given your all for God; and to say “Man, what a ride!”

A Real Man

I couldn’t think of a better way to start this than with the most real man I know, my father.

Skiing on the 4th of July with an amazing man...my dad!

My father is one of the hardest working, most honest, nicest men I know.  From him I have learned everything that has made me the man I am today.

But he does not know Christ.  He struggles with the idea that he is not good enough for God to save.  That he does not deserve what God has to give him.  He is wrong!  God died for us while we were still sinners so that we could know his love, and be with him in eternity.  He knew how bad we were, before we existed, and he died for us anyway.  Talk about love!

Encourage those you know and love to know God.  Show them the love that Jesus has for them.  Don’t let an opportunity to share the gospel, to show God’s love through your actions, or just to encourage someone, pass by.  You may not get another chance…