Man of God Top 10 – #1 Love

The #1 thing that describes a man of God is love.  I’m sure you saw this coming, how could you not.  Love is everywhere in the Bible.  We are told that God is love and that we are made in the image of God, that we are to try to live our life like Jesus (who is God), so how could love not be one of the most important things for a man of God.

I come back to 1 Timothy 6:11 “But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.”  Pursue love.  In other words do everything in love.  Because if we do everything in love how can you go wrong? (Yes, I realize that statement is not entirely accurate or true but you get the idea)

When Jesus was asked what the most important commandment was he replied: ” ‘Love the Lord your God with all your heart and with all your soul and with all your mind.’  this is the first and greatest commandment.  And second is like it: ‘Love your neighbor as yourself.’  All the law and the Prophets and on these two commandments.”

Love with all your heart, with all your soul, and with all your mind.  God deserves this kind of love because he is God.  There is nothing that he hasn’t done or won’t do for the goodness of mankind, including punishing us, because he loves us.  We, men of God, should live each day with an awe inspiring view of God and the love that he has for us.  We should do everything with love in our hearts.  Loving our neighbor, co-worker, friend, family, complete stranger, orphan, widow, everyone just as Christ loved us.

And here is a kicker for you.  If you truly love someone would you not want them to know the God that you know, the God that loves them, the God that saves them?  How can you love someone and not share the Gospel with them?  It is all well and good to say that you love someone, to do everything in love, but what are you doing to show God’s love (and yours) for the people that you interact with?  The greatest thing that you can do in love is to share the gospel!

There you go men.  Love.  Do it!

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Man of God Top 10 – #2 Walks With God

When I think of an example of a man of God the best examples I can think of, besides Jesus, were the disciples.  They literally walked with God.  I know that we can’t physically walk with God, but we can walk with Him in other ways.  Walk with me now (ok, a little cheesy I know…).

If we want to walk with God it means actively engaging in some of the things that we have already talked about in this top 10 list.  First, we can’t walk with God if we are pursuing the things of the world.  It is hard enough to follow God without the distractions that are out there trying to pull us away from Him.  If you want to really walk with God then you have to make Him your priority.  This may mean giving up some of the things that you have been pursuing.  Don’t divide your attention, this is too important to only do part way.

If you are going to walk with God it will probably be useful to know what direction to walk in!  You are probably saying to yourself, “How am I supposed to know that, I haven’t seen any sign posts lately.”  To answer that I am going to ask you to do something that none of us guys are very good at (me included)… ask for directions!  It’s as simple as that!  If you want to know which direction God wants you to go pray for guidance and direction.

Whether you turn to the right or to the left, your ears will hear a voice behind you, saying, “This is the way; walk in it.”  Isaiah 30:21

Trust me, God will give you a sign.  Sometimes you may have to ask for the directions that come with the 2×4 (because let’s face it, we can be pretty slow some days!).

The road that God puts you on is not always going to be smooth.  Spend time in His word so that you will be equipped for those bumps and potholes along the way.  The word of God is an amazing tool, use it!

Finally, if you are truly going to walk with God then you have to trust Him.  You have to trust where he is taking you.  “And we know that in all things God works for the good of those who love him, who have been called according to his purpose.”   Romans 8:28  God has a good plan for you, trust Him and walk with him.

 

 

Man of God Top 10 – #3 Keeps the Word

“In the beginning was the Word and the Word was with God, and the Word was God.” John 1:1

I love this verse because it says so much with so few words.  The Word of God, a phrase that we hear all the time but that I think sometimes we take for granted.  The word of God is usually refering to the Bible, a book, but it is so much more!  John 1:1 refers to Jesus as the Word.  Everything God had taught his people, everything he would tell us in the Bible, was wrapped into Jesus.  Jesus was the ultimate man of God and if we want to be men of God we need to be like him.

The Bible is so much more than a book.  Yes, it has a cover and pages and words.  There are paragraphs, themes, stories and puncuation.  But, where the Bible is different from any other book is that it is the word or the living God!  Think about it for a minute.  God speaks to us through the Bible.  He can give you an answer to any question you might have through the Bible.  Everyone always asks for the answers to life’s questions…well here they are!

Being a man of God means keeping His word.  This is another multi-part commandment.  In order to keep the word, you have to know the word.  To know the word you have to spend time reading the word, memorizing the word, meditating on the word.  The great thing about God’s word is that you can read one passage this week, then read the same passage next week and God will reveal something completely new!

“All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.” 2 Timothy 3:16-17

That is a lot of stuff that one book can do!  Pay attention to verse 17, “…so that the man of God cay be thoroughly equipped for every good work.”  God gave us the scripture, His word, to equip men of God.  But you can’t be equipped if you don’t spend time in the word!

But there is more… “Do not merely listen to the word, and so deceive yourselves.  Do what it says.” James 1:22  So we can’t just read the word and study the word we have to live the word!  It is like the Jewish holy men in Jesus’ time.  They would  pride themselves in having the entire old testament memorized – WOW!  But when Jesus came he said that the did not know these men.  It is not enough to memorize bible verses so that you can regurgitate them at cocktail parties (interesting thought!), you have to truly live the word that God has given you.

So make reading the Bible part of your daily routine.  Read with a purpose, to come closer to God, to be thoroughly equipped for every good work.  Read with your wife, read with your children.  Show them that you are keeping the word of God and that it isn’t just words, that it is God speaking to us everyday.

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 – #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.

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!”