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May 6, 2011

5 Ways to Man Up For God

If we are to be men of God, we need to follow the biblical standard given to us, and not let the world define what it is to be a man. When Paul wrote to the Corinthian church, he encouraged them with a great 5-point sermon (in only two sentences). This is great advice for any Christian, but I think especially for men as we try to figure out how to man up for God.

“Be on your guard; stand firm in the faith; be courageous; be strong. Do everything in love.” – 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
This sums up what it means to be a man of God so well that I’ve used it as the key verse for this ministry.
Five clear admonitions, but five challenging goals to actually achieve in practice. Let’s unpack these simple but wise directions for us.

1. Be on your guard. Other translations word this as, “Be watchful.” We need to be ever alert to many things in life which can bring harm to us and our families. We should be standing guard over our families, our friends, and our church. Godly men in leadership should be the first ones to notice heresy, false teaching, legalism, or the world’s ungodly influence in the church. We need to guard ourselves against temptation. Jesus also tells us to be ready for his return, to “be on guard, keep awake. For you do not know when the time will come.”

2. Stand firm in your faith. Men should have a strong backbone, especially when it comes to our faith. There may be wisdom in compromise, in some situations, but not in matters of faith. My greatest disappointments in life came in large part from my failures to stand firm when I should have. I wish I had considered these words by Robert Cooper,
“It’s easy to act as if you are a weathervane, always changing your beliefs and words, trying to please everyone around you. But we were born to be lighthouses, not weathervanes.
The apostle Paul again instructs us, this time in Ephesians 6:12-14
“For we do not wrestle against flesh and blood, but against the rulers, against the authorities, against the cosmic powers over this present darkness, against the spiritual forces of evil in the heavenly places. Therefore take up the whole armor of God, that you may be able to withstand in the evil day, and having done all, to stand firm.
3. Be courageous. Interestingly, the ESV translates this phrase as “act like men.” Men are called to have courage, to be brave. This doesn’t mean fearless, but rather to have the courage to move forward and do what’s needed even in the midst of fearful situations. We’re told in Joshua 1:9 to “be strong and courageous. Do not be frightened, and do not be dismayed, for the Lord your God is with you wherever you go." When a man has the Lord with him, he can have the confidence to say “that with full courage now as always Christ will be honored in my body, whether by life or by death. For to me to live is Christ, and to die is gain.

4. Be strong. A man’s strength can be an asset or a deficit, depending on how he uses it and from where he derives it. Many men focus too much on their physical strength even to the point of idolatry and some so-called men even abuse others through their advantages in strength. But a true man of God finds his strength in the Lord and is not just physically strong, but emotionally and spiritually as well. Remember, “it is God who arms me with strength and keeps my way secure” because “the name of the Lord is a strong tower; the righteous man runs into it and is safe.”

5. Do everything in love. It doesn’t matter if a man is strong, brave, and watchful if he doesn’t act out of love. In fact, for many of us men, when we get all pumped full of courage, boldness, and strength, the first thing that gets sacrificed can be our love towards others. It’s good to remember that “love is patient and kind; love does not envy or boast; it is not arrogant or rude. It does not insist on its own way.” Men are called to lead, to teach, and in some cases to rule. In these roles we sometimes forget to be patient and kind with others. We must be careful not to be arrogant and insist on our own way.
“So now faith, hope, and love abide, these three; but the greatest of these is love.”

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