I’m not an athlete. In high school, I lettered in competitive public speaking. As a kid, my idea of a workout was changing extra channels on the remote. I was marathon watching television shows before Netflix marathons were invented. All of my years of non-athleticism culminated in a glorious moment when I stood in the path of Dave during a pickup football game behind the library one afternoon in college. Dave had been named the hardest hitting football player in the state of Michigan before coming to the small private college where we were playing ball. Dave took the ball and ran right up the middle. I planted my feet and stared Dave down as he charged at me. Several moments later I was on my back and Dave was somewhere downfield. I had pretty much no chance of stopping him because he was fit, strong, and an experienced football player. I wasn’t any of those things. There’s an important lesson here. I wasn’t prepared to stop Dave. Had I done the work to grow in stature and prepared for the momen,t I would certainly have done a better job of standing firm in the moment. As Alexander Graham Bell once said: “Before anything else, preparation is the key to success.”
Of course, this sports moment doesn’t matter much. However, the lesson behind the experience is worth learning. In his letter to the church in Ephesus, Paul describes the various gifts that believers receive from the Spirit in order to mature and prepare the church to stand firm in the faith. He explains that the various leadership roles, like pastors, teachers, and evangelists, are there to train the church. At its core, training the church involves training individuals to help them grow to spiritual maturity. The church and God’s people are to constantly train and grow to become solid and mature. When difficulty, temptation, persecution, hardship, or anything else come at us, we are to be prepared to plant our feet and stand our ground. This is the product of spiritual maturity. Which begs the question: What does this spiritual maturity look like? Paul answers the question in 4:13:
…till we all attain unto the unity of the faith, and of the knowledge of the Son of God, unto a full-grown man, unto the measure of the stature of the fulness of Christ…
Simply put, the church grows in its resemblance to and imitation of Christ. This is the goal. Jesus is the ultimate man, who all men should aim to resemble in their lives and lifestyles. His life and teachings are the model we’re to imitate. The job of teachers, preachers, and leaders is to help the people of God grow to be like Jesus by discipling them.
Paul goes on to explain that once this discipleship is completed:
…we may be no longer children, tossed to and fro and carried about with every wind of doctrine, by the sleight of men, in craftiness, after the wiles of error; but speaking truth in love, may grow up in all things into him, who is the head, even Christ… (4:14-15)
Paul’s letter focuses on causes of division and the need for believers to live righteously before God. For men, this means that living out our masculinity means becoming the kind of man who shows Jesus to others through his words and actions. Men should aim to act and speak like Jesus. They should be firm in doing so, not stumbling or inconsistent. This is no small task and cannot be accomplished alone. It requires that men who desire to grow to be like Christ to enter into the task of discipleship, or rather, training for Christ-like living. It is a daily, conscious effort to grow.
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Thank God for all the Christian men who know how to stand in the moment and really take Paul’s words to heart. You guys make the world go around for the rest of us.
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“Men should aim to act and speak like Jesus. They should be firm in doing so, not stumbling or inconsistent. This is no small task and cannot be accomplished alone.”
This indeed not only cannot be done alone…it MUST be done through faith in by total guidance by the Holy Spirit… I personally have found what Christians need to walk in the Spirit (Galatians 5:16) on a more or less continuous basis… Christians must seek to be filled with the Spirit (Ephesians 5:18-20), but this is easier said than done!! It boils down to 2 things…
1) Putting on the Lord Jesus Christ each and every morning through prayer and thanksgiving… Christ is called the armor of light in…Romans 13:12b-14… Therefore let us cast off the works of darkness, and let us put on the armor of light. 13 Let us walk properly, as in the day, not in revelry and drunkenness, not in lewdness and lust, not in strife and envy. 14 But put on the Lord Jesus Christ, and make no provision for the flesh, to fulfill its lusts. (NKJV)
This putting on the Lord Jesus Christ is done by putting on God’s Whole set of spiritual armor, that the Apostle Paul so eloquently pens in Ephesians 6:10-20… This 6 piece set of spiritual armor has to be put on by the believer… God tells us in His Word (the sword of the Spirit, and only offensive piece of God’s spiritual armor) what the other 5 pieces of spiritual armor are about, to defend us from Satan’s attacks and from our own carnal flesh…
Wearing God’s complete set of spiritual armor will indeed keep us from the attacks and temptations of Satan and his gang of demons… But the second thing we must do, to remain walking in sweet fellowship with the Lord, is to submit to God, and follow the lead of the Holy Spirit, when He gives us direction…
2) James 4:7-8… Therefore submit to God. Resist the devil and he will flee from you. 8 Draw near to God and He will draw near to you. Cleanse your hands, you sinners; and purify your hearts, you double-minded. (NKJV)
It took me 7 years and 2 days after God graced me with salvation…to finally give back control to the Holy Spirit… My God given peace and the fullness of joy (John 15:11) were gone… This refilling of the Holy Spirit occurred after I read preaching from REV. C.H. Spurgeon from 1859, titled “Grieving the Holy Spirit”, that can be found at this link…
http://www.spurgeon.org/sermons/0278.htm I would suggest everyone spend the time to read this important preaching…
Praise God for His presence and the full power of the Holy Spirit in my life !! May my personal testimony bring God the honor and praise He so richly deserves !!
For anyone interested in my personal testimony…my 12 days writing on God’s Whole set of spiritual armor… And/or my 10 days writing about how Christians can be filled to overflowing with the Holy Spirit on a more or less continuous basis…send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I will share my life changing experience with you…
Please understand that any boasting I make, is boasting in the power of God to give praise and glory to His name !!
Blessings in Christ, bruce