Lucia's Blog: BE STRONG, ACT LIKE MEN!
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Isaiah 55:8-9

Isaiah 55:8-9

Saturday, June 20, 2015

BE STRONG, ACT LIKE MEN!

"Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong.  Let all that you do be done in love."
I Corinthians 16:13-14


I am not ashamed to say that without Adam, there would not have been Eve. Let us applaud the worthy men who have accepted the great work of fathering children and being a father and husband to their children. Fatherhood belongs in marriage and the home that stands for a lifetime. Fathers, grandfathers, and great-grandfathers: nothing can take their places.

This coming Sunday many will be observing Father's Day and honoring their fathers.  I would like to give tribute to all of those godly men who try so hard to be the men that God would want them to be, especially my husband and my brothers in Christ.  With this in mind, let me begin by asking, "What is a godly dad and what does he do?"  "How important or vital is a godly husband and father in the home?"  Let us read what Scripture says about that:
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.... So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself."  (Ephesians 5:25-28).
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (Ephesians 6:4).

For our men to be good husbands, fathers, active leaders in the church and lights that shine brightly in this world of darkness, it is crucial that they start "acting like men."  They must cast aside our culture's deceiving messages, stereotypical roles, and values, for God's principles of righteousness and His divinely defined roles.  They must submit to His principles of righteousness, allowing Him to rule in their hearts to motivate them to godliness and manliness.  They must focus their minds on spiritual things, (Col. 3:1-4).  Heaven must be their primary goal. That goal demands a total commitment to the Lord.  They must be faithful no matter how high the cost they might have to pay in life.  Our Lord and Savior Jesus Christ, as well as many other heroes of faith, have left excellent examples for our men to follow.  Consider the apostle Paul who, though standing alone in defense of the Gospel, continued to stand, (2 Tim. 4:16).  Remember brothers, that you belong to the Lord, for He has bought you with a price.  He shed His blood to purchase you from the slavery of sin, (1 Peter 1:18-19).  So, you must no longer live as you please, but do the Lord's will, (Matt. 16:24; 7:21).  You must not, under any circumstance, stop serving the Lord faithfully, for your attitude must be like that of the apostle Paul, "press on."  (Phil. 3:12-15).  You must live godly, be mature in Christ, do the good works, teach, encourage, and correct others in both word and deed, (Titus 2:14; Eph. 2:10).  I don't see any other way you, as a man of God, can be of any value to your Lord!  Why not start giving yourself to the Lord in service to Him and those around you?  Why not become the man that God wants you to be?  Why not spend more time studying and meditating on God's Sacred Book to learn and develop righteous and godly habits?  Learn what you must do to be a godly man of God, for you must keep your heart open and tender to God's instructions.  Seek God's counsel when you face doubts and concerns.  Be determined to be different from the world and consecrate yourself to God alone, for it is the only way to do God's will and be in harmony with His Teachings.

Sadly most men, young and old, have few principles of righteousness and have very little interest in those things that are spiritual and profitable to their faith.  They are interested in walking the easiest path to pleasure, for their affections are set on everything that is worldly and ungodly.  They have no hope and nothing to look forward to after deathThey are already dead in their sins.  But for you Christian men, you have the life of our Lord Jesus Christ living in you so that you can faithfully serve Him and become more like Him.  That must be your greatest goal in life!

Brothers, remember that "manliness" or being "manly" is an essential quality for men, especially husbands.  To be "manly," a man must be brave and courageous.  Husbands, you must be ready to shoulder your responsibility as heads of your household even in times of adversity and problems in life.  You must not surrender, for you must act like a man to be rewarded in this life and in the life to come, with eternal blessings.  Moreover, you must fulfill your God-giving obligations to your children to bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord, (Eph. 6:1-4).  You must also show them the way that they must go to please their Creator and be saved, (Prov. 22:6).  May the Lord give you the wisdom to love your children and do what is right before God!


I.   ACCORDING TO GOD, WHAT IS A MAN?

God defines a man much more different than the world does.  He shows in Ezekiel 22:30 the qualities of a man of God.  He wants men who will "make up the hedge."  Men who will take a stand for righteousness in the midst of so much darkness.  He wants men who will "stand in the gap."  Men who are willing to fight for what is right no matter the cost.  He is looking for godliness in men more than manly appearanceHe wants men to go far beyond appearances, for He wants men to be fashioned in His likeness.  In Ezekiel 22:30, God sought for men who were more than just physically strong.  Sadly, He didn't find the men He was looking for, because He was looking for godly men It is time for our older men, our fathers, to start teaching, training and defining what a man of God is and to start setting godly character, the high standards of Scripture, as goals for our young men to reach toward. Our God still wants to find men who are willing to be used by Him, but our older men, fathers, and leaders, must train them up to be spiritually strong so that they may be men of God.  This training must instill the characteristics, commands, and duties of a "godly man."
"And I sought for a man among them, that should build up the wall, and stand in the gap before me for the land, that I should not destroy it; but I found none."  (Ezekiel 22:30).
  • Four Areas Men Must Develop to Become Godly Men: 
    1. Spiritual:   The command is given by our Lord to be "strong" in Corinthians 16:13.  It does not refer to having physical muscles.  It means to be spiritually strong, strong in their faith and in their character of Jesus Christ.  That character or Spirit of Christ to help them control their mind (mental and emotional) and his body (physically). 
    2. Mental:  God demands all men to have a "sound mind" in 2 Timothy 1:7.  To use it to think clearly, to commit to love the Truth and to be the best servant in His vineyard. 
    3. Emotional:  God's Word instructs all men, especially the young to know how to express his emotions.  They must train their minds to be like Christ's mind.  Their emotions must be trained to be under His control according to the Word of God, (Philippians 2:5).
    4. Physical:  Taking care of their body so that it is physically fit to be used by God.  They must exercise the body to control it and bring it under the discipline of his mind.  They must learn to train their body to be strong, durable and coordinated, (1Timothy 4:8).  And though our text states that "bodily training is of some value," there is some value in consistent physical activity of some kind as long as such activities do not become excessively important to them.  Thus, it is good for men to train their bodies to be strong, durable and well coordinated. 

God in Ezekiel 22:30 found no man that He could use for His glory.  Our God is still seeking for men who are willing to be His men of valor and honor.  The towns and cities in our country are lacking spiritually strong men to teach the whole counsel of God. There are not enough godly men who are interested in the high calling of God to be preachers, teachers, and elders.

There is a critical need of men,
  1. That would go into the fields and labor for God and His kingdom.  
  2. That would be fathers who are spiritual leaders in their homes. 
  3. Who would put God first in the lives of those whom God has entrusted to him, his family. 
  4. Who would teach and worship our God in their homes every second of their lives with family devotions, praying and counsel. 
  5. Who would live a committed life for our Lord and Savior bearing good fruit in order to shine his light in this world of darkness.   
  6. Who would be leaders of their home in word and in deed without any hypocrisy.   
  7. Who would not abandon their God-ordained role as head of their home.
  8. That would be like Abraham, godly fathers, the right kind of man; the image of a godly father.
  9. That would practice love and joy in the lives of his children.   
  10. That would be godly fathers that still want to remain pure in a society of so much darkness.   
  11. That would seek to practice pure speech.   
  12. That would avoid everything harmful in order to not pollute his home.   

Sadly, we live in a culture where Dad is Mr. Mom due to a lack of godly leadership, perhaps divorce or even same-sex marriage.  It is very important for the man who professes to be a Christian to understand and apply godly principles in his life and be aware of what God through His everlasting Word expects and demands of him as a father and husband.   In our culture, there is no consistent training in the area of godly Christian manhood for our young men or boys.  They are not being taught by their fathers and leaders the meaning of Christian manhood and how to develop godly character in them.  Satan has been working hard and has well organized his training for our young men.  His evil training has saturated our present society, including the Lord's church so that our young men cannot escape it completely.  Satan has effectively succeeded in fighting all that is Christian manhood.  Consider how Satan has saturated our present culture:
  1. He has deceived many of our men with his empty philosophies that lead to nothing more than the destruction of the home.   
  2. His evil training has come through Hollywood T.V. shows, movies, books, magazines, the internet, newspapers, etc.
  3. Through the worldly influence of so-called Christian friends, those who are not walking upright. 
  4. Through unbelieving acquaintances and worldly men in positions of influence. 
  5. So often through poor parental example.  

II.   OUR YOUNG MEN NEED GODLY MEN TO MENTOR THEM:

Indeed, our young men need godly men in their life.  They need godly mature men to teach them by example godly attitudes, speech, and conduct.  The most important man in their life must be their father.  As they get older, there will be other men that they will listen to, watch and spend time with to develop godliness and manlinessMen whom they can follow as an example of manhood and who are walking as faithful servants of God, (Phil. 3:17).  They must also learn to walk away from those who are not walking righteously but sinfully, in rebellion toward God, (2 Thess. 3:6).

It is critical that our young men learn in an organized manner the practical details of spiritual warfare.  They need to be taught by their fathers and leaders all the Bible applications, foundations and principles so that they can apply them to themselves.  Because of their position of leadership, the Lord demands that men, fathers, and leaders train our young boys in godly character and responsibilities.  Each of our boys has a specific job or specific position in the Lord's serviceIt means that our young men must aim to become men of God:  a man who is fit and well prepared to be used by God according to His divine plan.  We must train our boys to be spiritually strong men of God: men who are prepared to invest their time, character and talents in the Lord's work; in whatever area of service to which God directs them.  We must acknowledge that character building is of the Lord.  It is our Lord who raises up men of valor to serve Him!  Our Lord through His revealed Word can develop in them good and godly habits that produce godly manhood.  It is about time that our men get right with our God, that they may give their lives as a living sacrifice to our Lord, that they may let the Lord use them for His glory and most importantly start acting like real men of God, like men!  I assure you the Lord will provide through His Word a plan to prepare them.  He provides what is necessary to refine and strengthen the character in a young's man life.

It is crucial for our older men, those to whom God have been given the duty or responsibility of training our young men, to instill the character of Jesus and shape the heart of our young men in their life. God's definition of a man goes beyond the physical characteristics that the world uses to define a man. It is often contrary to the speech, attitudes, and behavior that the world expects to find in a man.
  1. Our young desperately need men who reflect godly character (a life filled with the fruits of the Spirit, Gal. 5:22) and commitment to the Lord.
  2. Men who are faithful to God with their talents, time and money.  
  3. Men who accept that God's ways are higher than theirs, for such men recognize God's absolute authority in their life, (Phil. 2:12).  
  4. Men who are willingly obedient to God's commands and counsel, without arguing, complaining or making bargains.  
  5. Men who accept discipline and correction from God and others without complaining, getting angry or feeling sorry for themselves.  
  6. Men committed to God show their love to Him through obedience to Him and His Words.  
  7. Men who are humble and fear God, for they respect His authority in their life.

Our young men must be taught to submit to the voice of authority, (Hebrews 13:17).  To submit means to surrender, to give up resistance and to yield in both attitude and behavior to the will of another person rather than grudging obedienceOur young must learn to give up their own desires without fighting, complaining or arguing with those who are in authority over them.  They must be disciplined or chastised so that they might follow God's standards and principles and develop good and godly habits while they are still young.  Chastisement will teach them obedience to God and His wisdom.  It will drive foolishness out of them and train them to be more sober-minded, (Prov. 22:15; Titus 2:6).  Likewise, chastisement will teach them the fear of God and help them to build a tender conscience for right and wrong.  The more one is taught through correction and discipline, the more he will be conscious of that which is righteous, for it strengthens our faith to better understand God's ways.

Sadly, Isaiah 3:12 applies equally to the condition of our families, the church, and our Christians today. Our boys are not being taught all that is necessary to build godly character in them.  They are not being taught in the areas that they need to develop into a man of God, manhood.
"As for my people, children are their oppressors, and women rule over them. O my people, they that lead thee cause thee to err, and destroy the way of thy paths."  (Isaiah 3:12).

Before I start with the characteristics of what makes a real man, a "godly man," I would like to start with the definition of what godliness is and what it means to be godly.  To be godly means to be devout; that is, to be a Cornelius as in Acts 10 or an Abraham.  Such a man does that which is well pleasing to God.  Godliness is a fear or reverence toward God.
"And to man He said, ‘Behold, the fear of the Lord, that is wisdom; and to depart from evil is understanding.'"  (Job 28:28).
"Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love."  (1 Corinthians 16:13-14).

III.   CHARACTERISTICS OF A GODLY MAN:   (1 Corinthians 16:13-14)

Let us analyze in depth what a "godly man" would look like.
  1. He would be a man "on the alert."  He is aware that he has to watch with intense vigilance his own soul and the souls of those whom he loves in order to protect them.  He will be watchful and careful. He knows that we are engaged in a spiritual war against a crafty and dangerous enemy. 
  2. He is to "stand firm in the faith."  He knows that he can succeed in standing firm only if he completely surrenders to God obeying Him with all of his heart, soul, and mind.  He surrenders to God's wisdom and not to earthly wisdom. 
  3. "Act like men."  He shows himself as a real man in Christ.  He labors intensely to show himself worthy of God, courageous in his steadfastness and his judgment.  He will not compromise his principles as cowards do.   
  4. "Be strong."  He is strong.  His eyes are fixed on Jesus and he will not release his grip.  He trusts in His God with all of his strength, heart, soul, and mind. 
  5. "Let all that you do be done in love."  He knows that all that he does in word and deed must be done in a spirit of love toward God and toward his neighbor.  He shines his light before all men. 
1 Corinthians 16:13-14 is crystal clear about how men are to behave before God.
    1. They are to behave like real men. 
    2. They are to be responsible. 
    3. They are to be grounded in their faith. 
    4. They are to show strength in every area of their life. 
    5. They are to do all things in the spirit of Christian love.   
In 1 Timothy 4:7 the apostle Paul speaks to Timothy regarding spiritual discipline as personal urgency.  "Train yourself for godliness."  The word "train" in our context comes from the word "gummos," which means "naked" and is the same word from which we derive our English word "gymnasium."  The Greeks participated in traditional athletic contests without clothing, so as not to be burdened or encumbered.  Thus, the word "train" originally carried the meaning, "to exercise naked."  In the New Testament, it refers to exercise and training in general (the sweat of a good workout).  It is like Paul was saying, "gymnasticize (exercise, work out, train) your self for the purpose of godliness."  In a few words, Paul is calling for some spiritual sweat!  Just as athletes discarded everything that could possibly burden them, so must we get rid of every encumbrance, association, bad habit and tendency that impedes godliness.  Brothers, for you to excel, you must strip yourselves down to a lean, spiritual nakedness.
"Therefore, since we are surrounded by so great a cloud of witnesses, let us also lay aside every weight, and sin which clings so closely, and let us run with endurance the race that is set before us."  (Hebrews 12:1).  
Men, you will never get anywhere spiritually without a conscious and strenuous divestment of those things that hold you back!  So, examine your hearts and ask yourselves, "What are those things that are weighing me down?  God calls you to discipline.  God's discipline demands that you throw it off.  Are you man enough to train yourself for godliness and direct all of your energy toward it?  Remember Paul's words,
"Every athlete exercises self-control in all things. They do it to receive a perishable wreath, but we an imperishable. 26 So I do not run aimlessly; I do not box as one beating the air. 27 But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified."  (1 Cor. 9:25-27).  
Paul is talking about intense labor, energetic sweat, strenuous toil, agony and endeavor to be godly!  A godly and successful Christian life demands sweat!  No manliness no maturity!  No discipline no discipleship!  No sweat no sanctification and holiness!
  • Stand Firm:
Men are called to stand firm or stand fast in their faith, be on the alert, act like men, be strong and do everything in love.  To stand firm or stand fast is a military term meaning to "hold your position." There is no room for retreating.  The Greek word is stēkō which reminds us of driving a stake into the ground.  The term “Stand firm or stand fast” is used several times in the Bible.  "Be watchful, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong."  (1 Corinthians 16:13).  Today, many fail to stand firm and keep the faith. Men must  be on guard, alert and be watchful against those things which cause them to want to retreatAll Christians are commanded to stand firm to be saved, (Matthew 24:13).  So, what are some reasons that many fail to stand firm?
    • Pride:  
What is so bad about pride? Shouldn’t we take pride, in some things? Well, the pride I’m talking about is described here: "In the pride of his face the wicked does not seek him; all his thoughts are, 'There is no God.'"  (Psalm 10:4).  A proud man thinks so much of himself that he does not think of God. This is haughty pride which is the opposite of the spirit of humility that God seeks: “Blessed are the poor in spirit: for theirs is the kingdom of heaven” (Matthew 5:3). The “poor in spirit” are those who recognize their utter spiritual bankruptcy and their inability to come to God except for God’s mercy and grace. The proud, on the other hand, are so blinded by their pride that they think they have no need of God or, worse, that God should accept them as they are because they deserve His acceptance rather than admitting and acknowledging their poverty of soul.  

In 1 Corinthians 1:31, the Corinthian church had many problems, and most of them were the result of pride. Paul dealt with these problems separately in chapter 13. “Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud.” (1 Corinthians 13:4).   The word translated “proud” comes from a Greek word meaning to “puff up” or “blow up.” The phrase “having a big head” communicates the same idea. To be puffed up is to have an inflated opinion or ego of oneself.  Pride cannot coexist with godly love. Christian love is not proud or focused on self. Jesus Christ is our example, for He did everything in love, (1 Corinthians 16:14).  "Greater love has no one than this, that someone lay down his life for his friends."  (John 15:13).  What does this have to do with standing firm? "Pride goes before destruction, and a haughty spirit before a fall."  (Proverbs 16:18).   If we do not rely on our faith, we are headed for a fall. “Be on your guard!”
    • Pain:  
God calls men to stand firm in their faith and be strong even in the midst of pain, (2 Cor. 4:8-9, 16-17).  Paul lists several types of pain:  mental, physical, emotional, and spiritual.  Men must stand firm in their faith when pain and suffering come instead of retreating and resign.  They must be strong for their family and those whom God has charged that they care for.  They must fix their eyes not on what is seen but on what is unseen and think of the reward so that they can stand firm.  Moreover, a man of God, will rely on his faith toward God and stand firm in times of unhappiness and happiness.  They have learned to control their passions (feelings and emotions), for they stand firm, abounding in the work of the Lord as their main passion.  The word “passion” means to suffer, to undergo evils, to be afflicted as in the passion (suffering) of  Christ. “To whom also he shewed himself alive after his passion (suffering) by many infallible proofs...” (Acts 1:3).  Passion means strong emotions and feelings. Anything that is worthwhile will involve some suffering, some affliction and some passion (feelings and emotions).
    • False Teaching:  
A man of God will stand firm in the faith against false teaching. He will "continue in the faith, stable and steadfast, not shifting from the hope of the gospel."  (Colossians 1:23).

    • Sexual Immorality:  

He will likewise flee from sexual immorality and will honor God with his body.  He will not give into any temptation that will cause him to sin and fail to stand firm until the end,  (1 Corinthians 5:1, 2; 1 Corinthians 6:18-20).  He recognizes that sin will take him farther than he wants to go and keep him longer than he wants to stay and cost him more than he would want to pay.  He will remain faithful to God's principles of righteousness with tooth and claw until the end!
  • Discipline:
    • God wants men to be disciplined in purity.  
He does not want men who are desensitized to sin and our culture's acceptable indulgence, for such men are primed for a fall!
    • He is also calling for men to be disciplined for marriage. 
They must fix their minds on Jesus and love their wife with a sacrificial love, just as Christ loved the church and gave himself up for her, (Ephesians 5:25).  God has already addressed the love of a husband as modeled by the love that Christ has for His bride, the church. There is no better example than the love of our Father in heaven toward us, His children.
"Husbands, love your wives, just as Christ also loved the church and gave Himself up for her.... So husbands ought also to love their own wives as their own bodies. He who loves his own wife loves himself."  (Ephesians 5:25-28).
    • God also wants men to be disciplined for fatherhood.  
Men as fathers, you must sweat in your fatherly workout, for you have the obligation to bring your children up in the training and instruction of the Lord, (Eph. 6:4).  Men, as fathers you have that power!
"Fathers, do not provoke your children to anger, but bring them up in the discipline and instruction of the Lord."  (Ephesians 6:4).
    • Men, if you want to be godly men, you must discipline your mind and have the mind of Christ.  

That is, you must think, talk and act like Christ.  You must put into practice the exhortation given in Philippians 4:8A godly mind does not refuse discipline but acknowledges that he must put off anything that will hinder godliness.  Remember, you can never have a godly mind without reading and studying the Scriptures regularly.  When you fill yourself with God's Word, your life can be transformed into the image of GodYou must meditate on God's Law day and night, (Psalm 1:2).  You cannot progress without learning them thoroughly, as memorizing them and making them a part of your everyday life. 
    • You must also discipline yourself in prayer, for the Enemy approaches with fiery barrages. 
You must reach up and reposition your helmet and carefully test the edge of your sword and slip it back into your scabbard.  A good and brave soldier falls to his knees in deep, profound petitionary prayer, for he obeys God's instructions to take up all in prayer, (Eph. 6:18).
    • You must discipline yourself in worship and praise toward God. 
Not only on Sundays but every minute of your life.
    • Integrity must be part of your daily discipline.  
Truth and integrity are vital to your walk with God.  Integrity is one of the greatest needs in the church today.  The church desperately needs men of integrity, for our lost world longs for freedom from dishonesty.  Thus, you must model honesty and integrity.  A godly man keeps his word.  He will never promise to do something he does not intend to do or follow through with.  He does not conveniently forget what he has promised.  Faithfulness, one of the fruits of the Spirit, (Gal. 5:22) is the trademark of a godly man.  The Scriptures speak of this man of integrity as one who "keeps his oath even when it hurts."  "He is unique"  "Many a man claims to have unfailing love, but a faithful man who can find?"  (Prov. 20:6).  Indeed, integrity is a rare beauty!
    • A godly man disciplines his tongue.  
He knows the destructive power of the tongue, (James 3:3-6).  The tongue has inflammatory power in human relationships.  James says that those who misuse their tongue are guilty of spiritual arson.  For it corrupts the whole person, sets the whole course of his life on fire.
    • He also disciplines himself to work with enthusiasm, wholeheartedness, and excellence.  
He also focuses on Jesus, for he runs with perseverance the race marked out for him.  He does not grow weary and lose heart.  He disciplines himself to be a good leader in the church and embraces it with wisdom.  Men, you must sweat like Joshua if you want to improve your leadership abilities.
    • A godly man disciplines himself to reach out to the lost and win souls to the glory of God.  
He has a heart filled with love, so he is willing to go the extra mile to reach out to those souls lost in sin.  Our Lord Jesus longs for your heart to beat with His!


CONCLUSION:

If you men of God do all this, you will be effective fathers, husbands, leaders in the church and shining lights to a world dying because of sin.   This ought to motivate you to godliness and manliness!  

In today's world and even in the church, a disciplined Christian is an exception, not the rule.  This applies to both men and women.  We cannot justify ourselves claiming that this has always been the case, for it has not!  Our nation and the church are in desperate need of real men and you must choose to be that man!  The kind of man that will make a difference in this life because he disciplines himself to serve His Creator.  Fathers, the presence or absence of spiritual discipline can bless or damn your children and grandchildren.  Thus, spiritual discipline blesses the world you live in and the world to come.  So are you willing to sweat?  Are you willing to enter the gymnasium of godly discipline?  Will you strip away those things that are holding you back?  Will you allow the Word of God to discipline you?  Are you willing to sweat with pain that you might receive great gain?  You see, God is looking for a few great, real and good men that will allow Him to train and discipline them!

Thanks be to God for every godly man and father who is sincerely seeking to lead their children, especially his boys in the direction of heaven.  May his tribe increase for the glory of God and His kingdom.

May the Lord help our brothers in Christ to be godly men and to fulfill the great need that godliness provides and demands.

HAPPY FATHER'S DAY TO ALL!

Luci