Over the past few weeks, we’ve begun talking about how to Stand Out as a Man of God. We began with a look at the current “you do you” culture and what it means to follow Jesus instead. We looked at what it means to step up and not be a passive Christian, and last week Jeremy expounded on the vital need to be a man of prayer. All of these are requirements to Stand Out as a Man of God, and they all have something else in common.
In order to Stand Out, you need to have a real, active, intentional relationship with Christ.
Is Jesus your friend, or is He merely an acquaintance?
We all know the difference between the two. Acquaintances are those people we know. The people we enjoy being around, but we don’t really know them, or they us. The relationship is on the surface; there’s no real depth to it. These are the people we might hang out with at parties. Maybe they are friends of our friends.
Friends are different. Friends have real conversation about deep, meaningful things. Yes, it’s true, even men talk to each other about feelings, dreams, problems, obstacles and successes. Friends spend time together. One on one. They invest in each other. They want to be together. They go out of their way sometimes to help each other. True friendship requires commitment and sacrifice. And here’s a way to tell for sure:
You help real friends move.
Yep, I said it. Friends help friends move. It’s that kind of commitment. If you think about your friends, you know which ones would show up if you had to move. And you know which ones would suddenly have plans even before you tell them the date. Jesus is looking for those who will show up when He calls. Even if it’s not on Sunday morning.
In 2011, Kyle Idleman wrote a book called “Not A Fan”. In it, he challenged readers with the question “Are you a fan of Jesus or are you a follower?”. In the book, he explains why Jesus wants followers and not fans. In the same way, Jesus wants friends, not acquaintances. Jesus doesn’t want to be a friend of a friend. He doesn’t want to be the guy you just visit, with some other acquaintances, on Sunday mornings. He wants to be your friend. In fact, He wants to be your best friend. And He’s the best friend you’ll ever have. But He’s not going to force himself on you. The choice is yours.
Just like any other real relationship, being in relationship with Jesus requires commitment and sacrifice. It requires real, daily conversation through prayer. It’s a relationship that requires time. And it can require choosing Him over other friends, or even family members.
These commitments and sacrifices will reap benefits that no other relationship can give you. A real relationship with Christ isn’t just fun. It’s life saving. Being an acquaintance of Jesus won’t get you far. We see in Matthew Chapter 7 what Jesus will say to acquaintances:
21 “Not everyone who calls out to me, ‘Lord! Lord!’ will enter the Kingdom of Heaven. Only those who actually do the will of my Father in heaven will enter. 22 On judgment day many will say to me, ‘Lord! Lord! We prophesied in your name and cast out demons in your name and performed many miracles in your name.’ 23 But I will reply, ‘I never knew you. Get away from me, you who break God’s laws.’
On the other hand, if you enter into real relationship with Christ, you’ll hear vastly different words. Instead of “Get away from me,” true followers of Christ will hear him say “Well done, good and faithful servant. Come and share your master’s joy!” Matthew 25:23. That’s what I want to hear. Don’t you?
So, the question becomes, “Will you help Jesus move?”
Will you enter into real conversations with Him, give Him your time, and reject what this world wants of you, and help Him move? Will you Stand Out as a true friend and follower of Jesus. Then, and only then, can you call yourself a Man of God. The truth is, you can’t Stand Out without having a real, intentional relationship with Christ. When you begin to Stand Out as a Man of God, you begin to live for a purpose. You remain in constant conversation with Him, and the desires of His heart, become the desires of yours. You begin to see every conversation as an opportunity to share Him with others. You accept the Great Commission as your mission. And you help Him move.
He wants to use you to spread His message around the world. And He’s already designed you with specific gifts to do just that. The only thing you have to do is accept His invitation.
Is your relationship with him real? Can you call Jesus your friend? If not, here’s the good news. It can be real right now. The greatest part is that Jesus is already waiting. You don’t have to convince him to be your friend. He’s just waiting for you to accept the invitation. If you haven’t already, men, do it right now. Turn away from what the world claims to give you. Open your heart and mind to Jesus. Give him your time and talk to him. Begin your relationship with him today.
And join us in Standing Out as Men of God!