Thursday, September 27, 2012

The Men We Ought To Be

"But you, man of God... pursue righteousness, godliness, faith, love, endurance, and gentleness." -1 Timothy 6:11

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The video below might have been specifically for the ladies, but I think men need to hear it as well! Take a look:

Too many times, especially in today's culture, we seem to be expected to lower our standards and settle for mediocrity; especially when it comes to dating and relationships.

Talking to men, and myself, for a second: we need to start stepping up to the plate when it comes to reflecting godly character in our lives and in our relationships. Fellow singles: are we making an effort to pursue the values listed in 1 Timothy 6:11? Those in relationships and marriages: are these values a part of your character and are you pursuing these values with your significant other?

Ladies: Do not settle for mediocrity. Make no mistake: We're not perfect and we never will be (Shocker, I know!), but if our lives are not reflecting the values in 1 Timothy 6:11, if we are not eagerly pursuing these things on a daily basis without you, we don't deserve to be with you.

And don't be afraid to call us out on it! Let's face it: men can be pretty clueless (Exhibit A: Me!), we are not mind readers (like Mel Gibson in What Women Want), and often times we don't realize we are in error until someone else points it out (we're stubborn like that). If we're messing up, say it (In love, of course!).

So, gentlemen, let's start pursuing what really matters. And ladies, don't demand anything less from us!


"The one who in faith gives oneself to the doing of God's will is righteous, doing righteousness, and reckoned righteous by God." - James 3:23

It's important to remember where righteousness comes from. It does not come from ourselves. On our own, we are not righteous. We cannot be righteous on our strength and ability. Our righteousness comes from having Christ in our lives. From seeking Him out. It's not something that is earned, but it is something that is given to us through faith in God.

We might be persecuted and ridiculed because we pursue righteousness. Count it as a blessing. Let us stand out from what culture says we should be (1 Peter 3:14).


"This is how we know we are in him: Whoever claims to live in him must live as Jesus did." - 1 John 2:5-6

According to the Holman Christian Dictionary, godliness is an attitude and style of life that acknowledges God's claims on human life and seeks to live in accordance with God's will.

Do we have respect for God and divinely ordained institutions? Do we love the church? Do we have a reverence for God and are we teachable? Are we seeking to become more like Christ on a daily basis?

It's important to be willing to learn, willing to be changed and to lay down our own pride, wisdom and understanding.


"I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me. The life I now live in the body, I live by faith in the Son of God, who loved me and gave himself for me." - Galatians 2:20

My treasure is in heaven. Not here. Are we living by faith and not by sight? Doubt is a part of life. We are all going to have doubts and there are going to be things that we are uncertain about.

But when push comes to shove, are we faithful? Do we remember the love that Christ has for us, that even when we didn't deserve it or earn it, he was faithful enough to take the cross in our place? Do we trust in the plan that God has for us? Not the plan of an easy life, but a full life lived with Him working in us, through us and for us?

Faith is not blind. It is anchored in the truth of God's word. In the truth of His promise.

"Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres." - 1 Corinthians 13:4-7

Do we truly seek to love people the way that God loves us? Are we pursuing love in our relationships? Without love, everything we do is worthless and empty.

If love does not motivate us to action, then it is all for nothing. In our relationships, we should be constantly striving to live out the love that God extended to us and continues to extend to us: a sacrificial love that overcomes all things. The two greatest commands we're given: love God, love people. Everything else flows from there.


"Consider it pure joy, my brothers and sisters, whenever you face trials of many kinds, because you know that the testing of your faith produces perseverance. Let perseverance finish its work so that you may be mature and complete, not lacking anything." - James 1:2-4

Life is hard. Relationships are hard. The best things in life usually aren't the easy things, but the stuff we have to work hard at.

When things get tough, do we flail on commitments and wither away or do we stand firm? Do we lean on God for help or do we try to tough it out on our own?

Time will test all of us. Endurance comes from being tested. Are we willing to go through it or take the easy way out? Let us be men that persevere and commit in our relationships.

"Be completely humble and gentle; be patient, bearing with one another in love." - Ephesians 4:2

One of the issues I have had to deal with in my own walk with Christ has been my anger. My impatience. My desire for perfection and success in competition. When I failed, I used to lash out at those around me. Looking back, I was not always gentle. I was not always kind.

Anger is one letter away form danger. It's dangerous. Don't be ruled by anger, but be gentle to others. Be kind. Men, let's treat everyone with respect, gentleness, and grace. Let's put the needs of others above ourselves.

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You know what the tricky thing is for us men when it comes to pursuing these values? It requires us to lay down our pride, and that can be a hard thing to do! In my own life, when I see a need or a problem, I want to be the one to fix it. I want to take the initiative. I want to take the first step. But really, the first step we need to take is one of surrender; acknowledging that I can't, but He can!

We are not righteous, godly, faithful, loving, enduring or gentle men on our own strength. All of these characteristics come as a result of allowing Christ to penetrate our lives and create in us a new heart and mind. These characteristics are counter-cultural and go against our own basic nature. In a "YOLO" society that encourages us to chase after short-term gratification and think of ourselves above others, it takes some pride swallowing to say "It's not about me."

To be 6/11 men means acknowledging God is first. That others come first. It requires us to lay it down and say "Jesus, I need to change and become more like You."

Let's take that first step.

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