168 Hours To Stand Out in the Crowd

busy

I don’t have enough time.  I imagine there will be a sign over the gates of hell that reads “They didn’t have enough time.”  We are ruled by our schedules.  Work schedules, game schedules, meeting reminders, club meetings, dinner dates, time tables, regularly scheduled programs, sporting events.  Those are just a few of the things that dominate our daily lives.  We live in a society where anything is permissible. If it meets your needs then it is ok.  In a world where “you do you” is the marching orders it is no wonder that we do not have time for anything but me.  Each week we have 168 hours to accomplish all that is expected of us yet we can only spare 1 hour to say all of the “amens” and “thank you Jesus’s”.  This pervasive attitude has created what I think is the single greatest threat to the modern church, passive men of God.

What is a passive man of God?  He is a man who is spiritually passive at both home and church.  He doesn’t actively lead his family.  He is not intentionally teaching his children Biblical truth.  He shies away from showing love.  He is present but not engaged.  He does not accept his role as the primary discipler of his wife and children.  He would prefer that the church handle those issues.  He is spiritually lazy.  Reading his Bible is not a priority.  Spending time in the Word of God is unimportant.  He is fully invested in “you do you.”  His pursuits and priorities are focused on what makes him feel good.  They are focused on what gets him recognition.  He accepts or allows what happens or what others do, without an active response or resistance.  He may call himself a man of God but these are only words without substance.

Passive men of God is an oxymoron.  A true man of God by his very nature cannot be passive.  He is actively seeking the Lord in an attempt to be more like Him.  I know we have all heard that before.  The only thing that we have to do is be more like Christ.  So, what does that look like?

1. A man of God is righteous.

Isaiah 33:15-17 He who walks righteously and speaks uprightly, He who despises the gain of oppressions, Who gestures with his hands, refusing bribes, Who stops his ears from hearing of bloodshed, And shuts his eyes from seeing evil: He will dwell on high; His place of defense will be the fortress of rocks; Bread will be given him, His water will be sure. Your eyes will see the King in His beauty; They will see the land that is very far off.

 If you want to stand out as a man of God then be righteous.  A man of God is righteous in both word and deed.  He is honest in every facet of his life.  He is a man of integrity.     He guards his heart and his mind against evil.  He sets his sights on higher things.  A man of God is merciful, just, and humble. A righteous man understands that the Lord has already shown us mercy.  We are not destined to receive what we truly deserve.  He bows his head humbly knowing that someone has already “paid it forward.”

2. A man of God is both provider and protector.

1 Timothy 5:8 Anyone who does not provide for their relatives, and especially for their own household, has denied the faith and is worse than an unbeliever.

A man of God takes care of what is his.  Stand out by making sure that your family is protected from physical harm, psychological harm, sexual harm and spiritual harm.  It takes more than just putting food on the table, clothes on their backs, and a roof over their heads.  We are to protect their innocence.  Our families hearts are precious.  Everything flows from the heart.  If we allow evil into our homes then evil will find it’s way to our hearts.  What flows from our hearts determines the course of our lives.  When you become a husband or father that changes.  At that point what flows from our hearts determines the course of the lives of our family.  If we are passive in the protection of our families then the evil outside of our homes will find its way in.  Stop passively protecting your family.  Put limits on the phones and the internet.  Throw out that porn collection that you think no one knows about.  Be more than you think you are capable of by putting your faith in the Lord.  Stand out by protecting your family.

3. A man of God is Pastor, Teacher, and Worship Leader.

Deuteronomy 6:6-9  These commandments that I give you today are to be on your hearts. Impress them on your children. Talk about them when you sit at home and when you walk along the road, when you lie down and when you get up.  Tie them as symbols on your hands and bind them on your foreheads.  Write them on the doorframes of your houses and on your gates.

A man of God is the primary discipler in the life of his family.  We love our pastors.  The Lord has called them to personally deliver His message.  However, I will tell you right now that if your senior pastor has a larger impact on your family than you do then you have a serious problem.  If the youth or children’s pastor has a greater impact on the lives of your children then you have a problem.  The Lord has called us to be the pastors of our families.  It is our responsibility to write the message that encourages and equips our loved ones to take on a fallen world.  We have 168 hours to Stand Out each week.  If you factor in work, school, activities, and homework there isn’t much time left.  We can’t wait for Sunday to roll around.

In addition to being the pastor/teacher we need to be the worship leader.  Don’t forget, we are already trying to Stand Out as righteous men of God.  So, throw away your pride.  No one cares anyways.  Sing out.  Sing praise to Jesus.  Do it at home.  Do it in the car.  I would suggest that you not raise your hands if you are driving.  If you are in love with Jesus don’t be afraid to show it.  Praise the Lord with reckless abandon.  Let the world know and most importantly your family that you have been changed and you have no intention of returning to the man that you used to be.  Stand Out and praise him.

4. A man of God seeks wise counsel.

Proverbs 13:20  Walk with the wise and become wise, for a companion of fools suffers harm.

I have a news flash for you.  Men do not have all of the answers.  Shocking, I know.  I got something else even more disturbing.  No one actually believes that we have all of the answers.  Ok, here is a hard truth.  There may be someone in your life right now that is not helping you to become the man you want to.  If that is the case and you are not strong enough in your faith then he must go.  There will come a time when you can walk with non-believers and your faith will actually be strengthened.  If you are not there yet then you need to graciously move on.

Irregardless of where you are in your walk with Christ there will always be a need to seek out wise counsel.  It is really simple.  We need men of God to have community with.  Jeff Voth, in his book Cavetime, suggests that we need a band of brothers to help us live well. Men who understand and who excepts the truth that we do not know everything and embraces the idea of seeking out those wiser than ourselves to find those answers.  Men who will challenge us to find the better versions of ourselves through Christ Jesus.

5. A man of God is love.

1 John 4:8  Whoever does not love does not know God, because God is love.

The Bible has a lot to say about the topic of love.  There is not a more succinct view on the topic then 1 John 4:8.  It is pretty simple.  If you do not love than you do not know God.  Guys you are not too tough or masculine to show love.  I would counter that the opposite is true.  I recently had the opportunity to listen to Dr. Joaquin Molina speak at a conference.  During that message, through scripture, we found out that Jesus Christ was the perfect image of a man.  So, I tell you that if Christ is the example then showing love can’t be effeminate.  We are called to love anyone that we encounter.  Strangers should see something different when they look into our eyes.

In that same way we should love our wives like Christ loved the church.  Jacob loved Rachel so much that he spent seven years working to get her.  I am to love her in an unequaled way.  She should not have to compete for my attention.  It is his love for her that creates a need to protect her, if even from a disobedient child.  If you truly love her than you will be the man of God that you are called to be.  If you truly love her than you will stop giving away what is rightfully hers by watching pornography.  Stand Out and be love.  You will find that everyone will benefit.

I can’t solve any of your problems with just a blog.  What I can do is point you in the right direction.  We only have 168 hours each week to Stand Out for Christ, to be the man he has called us to be.  “You do you” can no longer be the marching orders.  We need to put self aside and be righteous men who are not afraid to provide more than just food for our families.  We need righteous men to protect them and teach them what it means to Stand Out.  We need righteous men who aren’t afraid to lead their families by presenting that consistent message.  We need guys who aren’t afraid to ask for help and who know how to love.  We only have 168 hours each week.  Don’t wait till Sunday.

Standing Out,

Jeremy

Psalm 128  Blessed are all who fear the Lordwho walk in obedience to him.  You will eat the fruit of your labor; blessings and prosperity will be yours.  Your wife will be like a fruitful vine within your house; your children will be like olive shoots around your table.  Yes, this will be the blessing for the man who fears the Lord May the Lord bless you from Zion; may you see the prosperity of Jerusalem all the days of your life.  May you live to see your children’s children—peace be on Israel.

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