Being God’s Man

The world cries out against weak men, because it stands or falls by their strength. Truly, the battle for the world is fought in the hearts of Christian men.

The world’s answer to the weak effeminate is “cowboy up, be your own man.” Agreed, an important aspect of manhood is the ability to stand on your own two feet; when the world is against you, to stand as Athanasius did, one man against the world.

But men are never to be autonomous–operating solely by their own law, under no one else’s authority. The Christian man is to be God’s man–quite literally His servant or slave. Like a soldier under his commanding officer. Keeping his body and mind under his own authority, but subjecting everything to Christ. How can you expect to bring your sphere of influence under the feet of Christ if you yourself are not so subjected?

My answer, and Paul’s answer in Romans 8 & 9 is this: humble yourself, and be God’s man. And when you humble yourself, God will exalt you; when you rest in His provision, he will give you the desires of your heart. Will not the God who gave us reconciliation through the gift of His Son, and who owns the cattle on every hill, be sure to abundantly bless us as we trust in Him?

And that’s a true man: self controlled, under the subjection of Christ, and willing to do the work of God even if it means opposing the entire world for the name of Jesus.

God’s Delight in Saving

God delights in saving; it’s part of His character. Sometimes, that’s why hard things come–not because of what we’ve done or have to learn, but for the illustration of God’s delight in deliverance.

There was a man born blind in Jesus’ day, and His disciples asked, “Rabbi, who sinned, this man or his parents, that he was born blind?” (John 9) The answer Jesus gives sheds light: “It was not that this man sinned, or his parents, but that the works of God might be displayed in him.” Why was this man born blind? Why did he stumble around in the dark, helpless and probably making a living by begging? We know he was “of age”–at least 13–but that his parents were both still alive. Why didn’t God spare this son of Israel, and give him a healthy body so that he could work and further the kingdom? What must seem a mystery up to the day of the miracle becomes delightfully obvious when Jesus touches the young man’s eyes. His blindness was for God’s glory! The hardness of sin and disease was in his eyes so that Jesus could show His love in deliverance!

Joseph was repeatedly scorned, abused, and had his life drastically changed, again and again. Sitting in prison, falsely accused, Joseph must have questioned why. After all, hadn’t he followed God’s commands? Hadn’t fled evil and done what was right, even under adverse circumstances? But God showed Himself mighty in saving Joseph from the pit, and made Joseph a type of Christ when He provided salvation through Joseph for the family of Israel. Wouldn’t it have been simple for God to keep the famine away from Cannan, and there to be plenty of food? Of course God could have made Abraham’s descendants into a great nation where they were at, and avoided the exodus from Egypt, the trials in the desert, and even the conquest of the Jordan. But that’s not the point.

God arranges history for the good of those who trust in Him. He does it because He loves us, and to demonstrate His glory. History is full of the delight of God’s salvation, and how wonderfully he has rescued us. As David has it,

The LORD is my rock and my fortress and my deliverer, my God, my rock, in whom I take refuge, my shield, and the horn of my salvation, my stronghold. (Psalm 18)

Euphemizing the name of God

God is holy and perfect. He has placed His name upon us who are in Christ, and His Holy Spirit indwells us.  In keeping with His Holiness, He demands that we treat His name with sacred honor.

How careful are you with the name of God? How cautious are you to refer to His character? Are His punishments or rewards a light thing for you? Too often I catch myself using expletives I’ve heard in the world without a thought to their context. Many different euphemisms have been created for the Name of our Lord Jesus Christ–from jeepers creepers to lord-y. It seems like everything related to the triumph of God has been twisted into a curse–from the Blood of Christ, to calls of damnation (making light of God’s justice), to degrading anything holy and pure. In fact, I’m hard pressed to arrive at a common cures that does not explicitly degrade God, His righteousness, His church, or Christianity. By referencing the holy in a common or crass situation, we degrade the holy. Instead, the name of God should be used to make holy what is common–and for that to happen it must be held in reverence.

Perhaps, Christian men, it’s time to rethink our use of expletives entirely. What’s the point? Loosing self control and uttering a stream of words that makes the holy crass is certainly not an example of strength. Perhaps the opposite is true. Maybe silence is the stronger sign of courage when you’re in a tough spot. Oh, I know it’s hard–I’m trying to quit myself. But Christ’s strength is with us to do what is right.

Perhaps we should also rethink our callousness to swearing in our media consumption. Aside from it’s immediate offense to God, and even if you never speak a word of what you hear, do those phrases lodge themselves in your mind? God, who observes our thought process, also commands us to be pure of heart. (Mind.)