This post brings no deep exposition of a passage or concept – only an admonition to the young men who might read this. I have had you on my heart for some time now, and so I am taking this opportunity to share a short word with you – an admonition. Guys: we need men not boys. Seriously. There is a huge shortage of men in our churches currently. Our culture is destroying the foundation of biblical manhood, and we have adopted it as our own. There are plenty of over grown boys that have a man’s body, but the maturity level of a middle schooler. Where are the men who will lead? Where are the men who have been equipped to lead? Where are the men who are passionate about the gospel? Where are the men who dig deep into the riches of God’s word and show themselves approved? Where are the men who walk by faith through grace in newness of life in Christ?
I am not here to give you a guilt trip. The Lord knows we have been given many a guilt trips that have produce nothing more than failed good intention. No. I am here to challenge you and myself in the grace of Christ Jesus – to quit you like men [1 Sam. 4:9]. However, I am also here to tell you: you can’t do it. Man at his best – in all his works – is vanity [Psalm 39; Ecc.].
Be consumed with Grace [Romans]
If you are to be the man of God, then you must know and understand grace. You must be growing in the grace of our Lord Jesus Christ. Understand the meat and heart of the gospel. My brothers, if you do not know of Grace then your attempts to be a man of God will be futile. I encourage you to jump into the book of Romans and stay there a while. Let each word and chapter soak in. Understand what the apostle Paul is teaching in regards to the wondrous work of Christ’s grace. Know that grace is not just the power to do God’s will, but it is Christ in you the hope of glory [Col.1]. His life lived through you – your life in exchange for His. As you have received Christ Jesus so walk ye in Him – by faith in His work done for you [Col. 2].
Study to show yourself approved [1 & 2 Timothy]
In order to grow in grace, one must study God’s word. All of life is to be enjoyed to the fullest for God’s glory but how often is time in the Word not a part of the equation? Our hearts are extremely good at blurring the lines between Christian liberty and plain futility. Don’t’ read this and go: “ok, what do I have to give up in order to do this?!” No. Just dig into God’s word. Spend some time there, brother. Don’t just read it; study it. Read books on it. Dig deep into the text that is before you in the scriptures. Ask other godly men what it means. Read men who have gone before you that have tried the scriptures and found them to be true. Become a theologian. You don’t have to be uber smart to do so. Just pursue Christ with all your heart, soul, mind and strength. Think about it. Let it soak into the very core of who you are. Give your strength to it. Let your heart be consumed by it. You will find that all of the sudden you desire more of it. The line between futility and freedom in Christ is no longer blurred, and you spend your days in pleasurable pursuit of Christ in EVERYTHING you do.
Paul challenged Timothy – a young pastor who was most likely in his twenties – with two letters. In those letters, he challenged him in his belief system that directly related to his character and leadership of others. Timothy had to study and fight the good fight of faith. Paul challenged him with what I like to call man language: study, fighting, and strong character. Let that man language soak deep into you. Grow in grace as you study. Be a modern day Timothy who was strong in the grace of Christ Jesus and entrusted to faithful men who are able to teach others also.
So, I close: we need men of grace not boys who play [1 Cor.13:11].
Check out what “Go” looks like for Tim!
Now that you know what Go looks like for Tim, What Will Go Look Like for You?
[This video is also available on Vimeo at: https://vimeo.com/44424317]
Passion4Chrsit 2012 | October 24-28 | Perrysville, Ohio
Registration opening May 1st
In the wake of yet another Father’s Day (my 29th), perhaps we should ponder the importance of a father’s place and the impact of a father’s love. Father’s Day is an emotional day for me as I bask in the appreciation of my own family and thank my Heavenly Father for the gifts that are mine. I cannot look upon the sons God has given me, and the blessed woman who bore them, without exulting in the love and grace of my God. This moves me to pray that God will keep us all in that love and grace.
As important as mothers are, it is significant that God is not a mother, but a father (feminist intrusions upon the person of God notwithstanding). There are, in this designation, some concepts that are critical to Biblical fatherhood and our understanding of the role and responsibility of a father (these concepts are not exhaustive, but I trust helpful).
#1: God as a father holds authority over His children, those who are His by creation and more specifically those who are His by redemption. Since God is the ultimate father, He holds ultimate authority or sovereignty over his children. He rules their lives.
Similarly, earthly fathers have authority over their children. Since they are not God, that authority is limited. They are not sovereign. But that does not diminish their authority. It does add to it serious responsibility and accountability to God.
#2: With this authority and responsibility comes pleasure: not the sensual kind that so quickly comes to mind, but pleasure of the heart; the pleasure of seeing the design of God fulfilled; the pleasure of seeing growth, maturity, authority and responsibility transfer to the next generation. God takes pleasure in His creation: “For your pleasure they exist and were created.” (Revelation 4:11)
And an earthly father takes pleasure in seeing the work of God in his own children. He takes pleasure in the gospel and gospel living being transferred to the next generation. So the pleasures of fatherhood, in particular Christian fatherhood, are similar to and analogous with the pleasures of God the Father.
#3: The third concept seen in God the Father that is crucial to Biblical fatherhood is love and devotion. I say love and devotion as one concept because of how they are related. God’s love and devotion to His children and His glory in their lives is everywhere apparent in Scripture. God is pleased to glorify Himself through the love He displays and lavishly bestows on His own (see Zephaniah 3:17). That love will always result in their god, no matter how hard or troubling things may seem (Romans 8:28 & 29 and 2 Corinthians 4:17 & 18). What father cannot relate to this love and devotion? The genuine love of a father moves him to do, not just the seemingly good or enjoyable things, but also the hard things, because he lives and acts with the future, indeed eternity, in view.
These three concepts are connoted, if not denoted, by our passage (1 Thessalonians 2:11 & 12) as Paul communicates with his children in the faith. “For you know how we exhorted and comforted and charged every one of you, as a father does his children, that you should walk worthy of God, who has called you unto His kingdom and glory.”
Mothers Day has come and gone. There has been a lot of attention and uproar over a comment made in the media by a liberal woman. She said, “Mitt Romney’s wife did not know how to work. She was only a stay at home mom!” The high calling of being a mom is beyond measure – one of the greatest callings a woman could possibly have. Over the years the occupation of being a stay at home mom has come under attack.
I did a devotional one time on being a mom. I read the following in Tough Job Raising Children by Della Efron:
“If you could tape a woman’s conversation during the day it would sound something like this: Don’t leave it there, take it up stairs, is that yours? Don’t hit your brother, I’m talking to you, just a minute please, can’t you see I’m talking? I said don’t interrupt, did you brush your teeth? What are you doing out of bed? Go back to bed! What do you mean there is nothing to do? Go outside, go read a book, turn it down, take a jacket, well take a sweater, take one anyway, get the toys out of the hall, get the toys off the stairs! Do you realize that could kill someone! Hurry up, hurry up – everyone is waiting, I’ll count to 10 and then we’re going without you! Did you go to the bathroom? If you don’t go we’re not going, what’s gong on back there? I said stop it, give me a kiss, make your bed, clean your room, set the table, I need you to set the table, don’t’ tell me it’s not your turn! Please move your chair into the table and sit up, just try a little, you don’t have to eat the whole thing; stop playing with it and eat it. Ask your father, when he comes home, we’ll see, calm down! Is that really the truth? I’m sorry that’s the way it is. Hi, honey, welcome home.”
This is funny, but the truth is it is real! As mothers, God is faithful in all the hustle of being a mom. As we train our children and nurture them, it’s a comforting thought as time ticks by that God gives us direction and strength to accomplish what we ourselves cannot do. Every moment with your child is building and molding their character. We are preparing them for life. “My times are in your hand.” (Ps. 31:15a) We journey with them. Sin in my life is revealed and the Lord molds and shapes my character. We have been called by God to chart our children’s course. You learn to know your child individually, like Christ knows us individually.
2 Peter 1:3 says, “According as His divine power has give all things that pertain to life and godliness through the knowledge of Him that has called us to glory and virtue.” Is being a full time mom is a job that prepare us and our children for life? You bet! Because we never worked outside the home, have we never known real work? Well, a mother is:
- A physician
- An interior decorator
- A cook
- A dietitian
- An expert at clothing repair
- A teacher
- A child psychologist
- A judge
- A purchasing agent
- A bookkeeper
- A repair man
- A taxi car driver
- An engineer
- A telephone operator
- A maid
- A janitor
- A gardener
- A just plain mom
Oh, the rewards far outweigh any struggle or hardship.
My Reward: My 30 year old son, Daniel, wrote a poem for me on Mother’s Day – I share it with you. And I am grateful my job was once “just a stay at home mom!”
From a moment that a child is conceived
Ignites a sovereign gift that is received
A gift only known by a mother’s heart
With no hesitation, committed to the part
How she cradles with care the child
Sleepless nights carried by a smile.
Love is given, unending selflessness
Wait of generations, guard carelessness
Clear is the task that lies ahead
A heart for Christ toiling to embed
Only the best is what she desires
The child plays, no notice conspires
A day grows ever more into a week
Weeks, months & a year they flee
Sacrifice is forgotten often overlooked
Investment merely in memory booked
Then dawns a day of pure understanding
Overdue gratitude with fore commanding
He is resigned to unpayable debt
A mother’s love given with no regret
As we observed earlier, love is not a static or inactive quality. It is more than a sentimental emotion. We who are children of God are not meant to be receptacles or containers of His love only. We are to be channels. God’s love is not mean to be contained. It is meant to overflow.
There is something of a progression in the verses of 1 John 4 beginning with verse 11.
Verse 11: “…if God so loved us, we ought also to love one another.”
Verse 12: “If we love one another, God dwells in us, and His love is perfected in us.”
Verse 16: “…and he that dwells in love dwells in God, and God in him.”
Verse 18: “There is no fear in love, but perfect love casts out fear…”
Verse 19: “We love Him, because He first loved us.”
Verse 20: “If a man say, I love God, and hates his brother, he is a liar…”
Verse 21: “And this commandment we have from Him, that he who loves God love his brother also.”
So the one who knows the love of God in his life, loves the people of God. He dwells in God and His love. He does not live in fear but in faith. And he or she cannot hate a brother or sister in Christ. The Apostle Paul tells us in Romans 5:5: “…the love of God has been shed abroad (poured out) in our hearts by the Holy Spirit who has been given to us.”
So what does this say to the people of God? Is it our aim to be channels of God’s love as husbands and fathers, wives and mothers, and as siblings? Can we as pastors and people, as brothers and sisters in Christ be constrained by the love of Christ (2 Corinthians 5:14) to not live unto ourselves but unto Christ and His body, the Church and to glorify Him by the love that we have for one another?