“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong” (1 Corinthians 16:13). There is a need in our world for men who are willing to stand up for what is right and be leaders in the face of great obstacles. Unfortunately, our society no longer looks upon valiant men the way it used to. We do not appreciate heroes, but instead praise pacifists. We do not honor strong men in the home, but laud husbands who allow their wives and children to run the show without argument. In the corporate world, the man who often gets ahead is the one who is sniveling, corrupt, and greedy. We need mighty men of valor:
“Now these are the heads of the mighty men whom David had, who gave him strong support in his kingdom… They took their stand in the midst of the plot and defended it” (1 Chronicles 11:10,14). When the time came to defend David and what was right, these mighty men jumped in with all their hearts. Notice that they gave their king “strong support” – they did not waffle or waver as many men do in the heat of decision time, but gave their devotion to David without reservation. “In ancient times Homer, Virgil, and even the inspired chronicles of Israel celebrated the deeds of mighty men of valor, who possessed the stamina to fight from sunup to sundown and slay their ten thousands” (World Magazine, 5-22-2004, p. 47). We need big men in our world, not based on physical size or strength. Our world suffers from a lack of men who are big in faith, big in principle, big in love, and big in compassion. Rather than being stifled or puny, the ideal man is one who takes action, even when he gets no credit for it. What I would like to do with the lesson today is examine some of the key concepts related to being a mighty man. Too many of us, unfortunately, our more aptly described as men of “might” – as in, “I might change”, “I might stand up for that”, “I might go to church tomorrow.”
Spiritual Snooze Button
For a lot of men, it is tempting to fall into habits and become blind to the spiritual chaos surrounding them. This is often manifested in households that are in complete disarray: After a hard day of work, the husband wants nothing more than to sit in his chair and ignore the world around him. Many children grow up never knowing their fathers, because so many men prefer indifferent distance to hands-on participation in the family. Men hide in the garage, they hide in television, they run from their families to bars, they use sports as an escape, they run to adultery because it often has “no strings attached.” In a very true sense, a lot of men have ignored the problems around them in favor of snoozing their lives away. Instead of buckling down and changing the world, they just close their eyes and leave it alone. There are some very common phrases associated with “spiritual snooze buttons”:
When we are not focused on Godly things, or accomplishing meaningful growth, we are what the Bible calls “drifting away” (Hebrews 2:1). How do you like the sound of that? Would any of us want our lives to be described as “adrift”? “And they may come to their senses and escape from the snare of the devil, having been held captive by him to do his will” (2 Timothy 2:26). When we allow ourselves to just wander through life or respond passively to situations, we are letting Satan have his way with us. That is the kind of target he loves most! “…To open their eyes so that they may turn from darkness to light and from the dominion of Satan to God…” (Acts 26:18). Christian men need to be admonished to keep their eyes open and wake up from the spiritual daze that grips them. “Awaken from sleep; for now salvation is nearer to us than when we first believed” (Romans 13:11). And also see 1 Thessalonians 5:6, “So let us not sleep as others do, but let us be alert and sober.” See the wake up calls around you, men:
Strong men have vision. They look to the future, anticipate needs, plan for inevitable pitfalls, and chart a course that will lead the church, their families, and their souls to glory. Having visions means looking ahead instead of always looking back at the past. “Brethren, I do not regard myself as having laid hold of it yet; but one thing I do: forgetting what lies behind and reaching forward to what lies ahead, I press on toward the goal for the prize of the upward call of God in Christ Jesus” (Philippians 3:13-14). We have to admit that problems in life will occur: marriages will hit bumps, children will get into trouble, jobs will be lost, church members will lose faith at times, etc. But the truly wise man does not spend his time worrying about all of the mistakes he has made, or the people who have sinned against him. Rather, he devotes his time to spiritual growth to ensure that the mistakes do not happen again. Not only that, but he keeps his focus on a goal, whether physical or spiritual:
Qualities of a Mighty Man
The truly valiant man lives by some high standards. The real question that each of us needs to ask is how great of a man do we want to be. If you want to settle for mediocre, then you will have to answer to God for not living up to the potential that He expects of all of us. Some pillars of manhood:
He is the head – Men are given the command from God to rule and lead his family (Genesis 18:19), to be the head of the wife (Ephesians 5:23). They are to be the elders (1 Timothy 3:1-2, 1 Peter 5:1-3), deacons, and preachers (“with all authority” in Titus 2:15).
A man is under orders – It is a very neat concept to realize that men are under orders, like warriors. We have some very grave responsibilities which ought not be taken lightly. We have orders from God to lead our families, shepherd the church, teach our children, and be bread winners. Like a soldier with a mission, we need to see that the spiritual welfare of many depends on our ability to carry out orders with haste and bravery.
Warrior – “Fight the good fight of faith” (2 Timothy 6:12). “For God has not given us a spirit of timidity, but of power and love and discipline” (2 Timothy 1:7). Also see Titus 1:9, 2 Timothy 2:3,9, 1 Timothy 1:3. “A warrior is a protector. Whether he’s stepping on intruding bugs or checking out the sounds that go ‘bump’ in the night. Whether he’s confronting a habitually abusive Little League coach or shining a flashlight into a spooky basement. Whether he is shoveling snow or helping women and children into the last life boat on the Titanic. Men stand tallest when they are protecting and defending. A warrior is one who possesses high moral standards, and holds to high principles. He is willing to live by them, stand for them, spend himself for them, and if necessary die for them” (Tender Warrior, Weber, p. 41).
Friend – Men ought to be devoted friends, sensitive to the needs of others (Romans 12:9-16). But a true friend will also have the courage to rebuke when necessary (Proverbs 27:6).
Staying Power – Many men in our culture lack staying power. They do not stick with things the way that women often do. “One-third of American children are not living with their natural fathers. Over fifteen million kids are growing up in homes without any father. Seventy percent of men in prison grew up without a father. It used to be, “women and children first”, but now it has become “me first”. In contrast, godly men stand by their promises” (“Mighty Men of Valor”, Dunagan, www.beavertonchurchofchrist.net). But real men stay:
“Love is patient, love is kind, and is not jealous… love bears all things, believes all things, hopes all things, endures all things” (1 Corinthians 13:4,7). Act like men! Real men never give up on self-improvement. They never give up on focusing on heaven (Philippians 3:14). So will you be the same man every day for the rest of your life without growing? Or will you be one of the valiant, mighty men who took their stand against the plot and defended David against his enemies (1 Chronicles 10:11,14)?