Is the image of man two sided?

It has been far too long since I posted anything so please bear with me as I work the kinks out!

I feel that there is a strong duplicity in the image of what a man is supposed to be.  The picture of a man that we so often see is one of strength, someone who is not afraid to fight, who is not a sissy.  On the extreme side the image that comes to mind is that of the ultimate fighting competitors.  It seems like the world almost tells you that if you can’t stand in a ring and go toe to toe with someone until one of you is bloody and gives up, you are not a real man.

On the other side is the image of a man that God gives us.

“Therefore, as God’s chosen people, holy and dearly loved, clothe yourselves ith compassion, kindless, humility, gentleness and patience.”  Col 3:12

“He has showed you, O man, what is good.  And what does the Lord require of you?  To act justly and to love mercy and to walk humbly with your God.” Micah 6:8

God does not tell us that we have to be a physical bad ass, but that we must act justly and kindly with love and humility.  He does tell us to fight, but not physically (necessarily), spiritually!

“But you, man of God, flee from all this, and pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance and gentleness.  Fight the good fight of the faith.”  1 Tim 3:11-12

We need to fight for God not by knocking people out, but by knocking out their fears and preconceptions of God so that we can help them find salvation.  Don’t forget that God will alway fight for you if you are following him faithfully (Ex 14:14, Deut 3:22, Neh 4:20).  I’m not saying that if someone was threatening my family I wouldn’t step in physically, but the act of physical fighting and toughness is not what defines us as men.  We are defined by our spiritual strength, our mental toughness to stay focused on God in a world that constantly tries to pull us away, and our devotion to God who fights for us every day.

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Don’t Shy Away from the Fight!

“If I profess with the loudest voice and clearest exposition every portion of the truth of God except precisely that little point which the world and the devil are at that moment attacking, I am not confessing Christ, however boldly I may be professing Christ.”

This quote, often attributed to Martin Luther, has a questionable origin (some background here) but the message is sound regardless of where it came from.  We have to be professing Christ in a relevant way.

If we, as Christian men (and all Christians for that matter) are not willing to step out in faith and support/defend/fight for the things of God; the things that we know to be right; then what are we doing?  If we are not willing to take a stand about relevant issues in the world today how are we fighting for Christ?  It is easy to sit in our church building or small group and talk about the issues facing our world today, about how un-Godly the world has become, about all of the problems out there and that if people would just follow Christ and trust God how much better the world would be.  But when we are faced with a situation in the real world; a potentially charged or confrontational situation with people that don’t share our beliefs or point of view; we back down.  Why?

I think it stems from the fact that many of us do not want to be labeled as a “conservative Christian” with all the stereotypes and pre-conceptions that go along with it.  We want to fit in with the crowd, not make waves, and hopefully someone will ask us to tell them about our faith so we can “spread the gospel”.  Let’s face it, how often does that happen… almost never!  I am the most guilty of this out of anyone I know.  I have been the classic chameleon, always trying to say or do the right thing so that I would fit in and be accepted.  That is a great way to make friends, but is it any way to impact them for God?  If we want to truly impact our community, our friends, our co-workers for Christ then we have to be bold.  We have to step out of our comfort zone and profess the gospel.

Paul had the right idea in Philippians; “I eagerly expect and hope that I will in no way be ashamed, but will have sufficient courage so that now as always Christ will be exhaulted in my body, whether by life or by death.”  Philippians 2:20.  Paul was in prison facing possible death for proclaiming Christ and he is asking for more courage to proclaim Christ!  I’m pretty sure that we aren’t going to be in danger of being stoned for speaking out about some hot topic in a Godly way.  That is the beauty of America, freedom of speech.  Yet it also leads to complacency.  Of course we can say what we want, but because we can we often don’t.  We aren’t faced with  possible imprisonment or death and so the stakes don’t feel that high, and if the stakes aren’t high enough then why should I put my comfort on the line?  But let me ask you this, what stakes could possibly be higher than someone’s eternal life?

“For God did not give us a spirit of timidity, but a spirit of power, of love and of self-discipline.”  2 Timothy 1:7

We don’t have any reason to be timid in speaking out for God.  Our God is stronger than any person, any movement, any other power and He will walk with us when we walk out in faith for Him.  “The Lord himself goes before you; he will never leave you nor forsake you.  Do not be afraid; do not be discouraged.”  Deuteronomy 31:8

Don’t be ashamed of your faith.  Don’t be afraid to support what God tells us is right.  Ask God for the courage to speak out for Him and do 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!