The Bible says for men to “stand firm in the faith.” What does that mean? Have you ever heard the phrase, “If you don’t stand for something you’ll fall for anything?” Men are falling for anything and everything and standing for almost nothing – and the collateral damage around us is sickening. It’s hard to believe that we can make a mess for so many just because we don’t stand firm, but it’s true.
So how do we stand firm? Here’s a start:
1. Stand firm by taking God’s Word SERIOUSLY and learning the responsibilities of following Christ. “…for now we really live, if you stand firm in the Lord.” 1 Thess. 3:8 Does “the Book” mean anything to you of relevance? The NFL rookie has to SLEEP with his playbook, because if he doesn’t recognize the play, he’s cut from the team. The builder always has the set of blueprints on his person – he builds a weird house without it. What makes us different? Men, get serious about God’s Word. Read it. Study it. Remember it.
2. Stand firm by listening to the spiritual JOURNEY of older men and learning from them. “…stand firm and hold to the traditions you were taught…” 2 Thess. 2:15 There’s a great cry today for mentors. Older men, who are you mentoring? Younger men, who are you asking questions of? Here’s what I don’t get – why would we not want to learn those lessons? Have lunch, or breakfast – with someone older than you. Learn. Get up some courage and ask a guy to talk to you.
3. Stand firm by having your own CONVICTIONS about Scriptural issues. “To his own master he will stand or fall; and he will stand, for the Lord is able to make him stand.” Romans 14:4 Do you know what you believe about stuff? While, “I believe what my preacher believes” is appreciated, it doesn’t do you much good on the battleground of the mind in spiritual conflict. YOU find out what YOU believe – and stand there.
4. Stand firm by having mature CONDUCT. “Only conduct yourselves in a manner worthy of the gospel of Christ…” Phil. 1:27 My greatest moment of spiritual growth as a young man was the day I saw myself in the “fool” of the book of Proverbs. I grew up a little that day, because the Bible convicted me of immature behavior. I stood a little taller after that – and gained a little more respect. You’re not a child. Act like a man.
We need to stand firm. The next generation is watching – and the present generation is looking for leaders. Stand firm!
I was in two rooms one night this past week. I went from one to the other. Both were amazing. Both were powerful. Both went hand-in-hand.
The “big room” I was in had many dozens of trainers and trainees heading out to share the Gospel with whomever God opened the door to. Each had areas of our community they were focusing on and each teams had prepared to go – depending on the Lord to give them grace and opportunity. We call this sending initiative, “Can We Talk?”
The “little room” I went to when we released those teams was set up with 20 chairs, all facing the same direction, and a TV screen. In this room, were the people who’d gathered to pray for those going out into the community. They were able to read real time “tweets” and texts of those who were in the neighborhood sharing Christ.
It was incredible. And powerful. And it went hand in hand. As one team got out of their car to visit, they asked (by tweeting) for prayer for the family whose porch they were about to walk onto – and the prayer team (who saw this information live on the TV screen) lifted the entire visit up at that moment and for that incredible reason. And we watched God work. I loved hearing people pray. Loved that each team knew prayer support was immediate and strong. Loved that the Lord was surely pleased that this group didn’t neglect a weighty and blessed part of it all.
I don’t know everything about prayer. In fact, I don’t know much about prayer. But I know this: God calls us to pray – and especially that we would pray for all men “to be saved and to come to the knowledge of the truth.” That doesn’t happen unless we GO. And it doesn’t happen unless we PRAY.
Want to join us? You can see our prayer “tweets” from anywhere when we visit, but it’ll be more amazing if you can do it with us in the “little room.”
See the prayer feed or get more information here: firsteuless.com/prayerpartners
We could be better men, but we’re not alert to what’s going on around us! We’re distracted, daydreaming, chasing after immature fantasies, or we are SLEEPING. In 1 Corinthians 16, Paul told men to “Be on the alert.” Be watchful. Be awake!
So what are we not alert to? What are we sleeping through, besides SportsCenter?
1. We’re not alert to what GOD IS DOING around us. Because we don’t pray, we’re pretty much unaware of the movement of the Spirit – and we miss much.
2. We’re not alert to the danger of PRIDE and TEMPTATION. The Bible says, “Let he who thinks he stands, take heed, lest he fall…” That’s a really good line. It points out the weak spot of most men – we’re PRIDEFUL. We think we’re invincible. We can handle stuff. Except when we don’t. Then it’s someone else’s fault, right? Truth is, we’re OVERCONFIDENT in our own strength. That’s a bad deal because it’s a lie. Get away from self-confidence, guys.
The very next verse, which is 1 Corinthians 10:13 says, “For there is no temptation that has overtaken you, but such as is common to man…” Temptation overcomes most of us when we are OVERWHELMED. We’re tired, disappointed, disillusioned, and bored. We’re overwhelmed with things like that and it can lead us to a place of compromise.
3. We’re not alert to Satan’s strategy to make us afraid to do the right thing. So we do the safe thing. We don’t take the risk to LOVE others. We don’t swallow pride and CONFESS our sin. We don’t step into LEADERSHIP because we might fail. Only a weak lion roars..and he’s hoping it’ll scare you. That’s the roar of our adversary.
4. We’re not alert to PROTECT ourselves and our family from spiritual attack. We’re gatekeepers, guys, so keep the bad stuff out of your life, and you’re halfway there to protecting your family. The enemy will attack your weakest link…whoever that is in your family, protect and pray for them!
There’s a battle and we’re often asleep. Paul says, “Wake up! Be on the alert!”
What keeps us from being “better men”?
That question has to be asked! Why are men not “better” than we are are at being leaders, husbands, fathers and friends?
The Bible contains an incredible challenge to men. The challenge is an example – Jesus Christ. The Perfect One. Amazingly, we are called to be like him. It was Paul who said, “Imitate me as I imitate Christ.” Simple, but simply impossible, too.
We need help. In the “Better Man” blog series, we’ll be looking at the immeasurable and sufficient Help we have in Christ. The Apostle said this:
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Corinthians 16:13-14
In this, we find reasons we’re NOT better men:
1) We are not alert to the wars around us. In case you didn’t notice, you’re in war. The battle for your mind, your words, your character, your actions, your time, focus and energy is a real war. It’s fought on the battlefield of work, church, community, and home – and most of us are unaware just how far from Christ we are in this battle. Be alert!
2) We lose consistency in our time with God and become detached. That line that says, “stand firm in the faith?” That’s about being consistent with your time in prayer, in the Word, and in spiritual disciplines. Like a soldier who never trains, we’re poor soldiers in the spiritual battle without spiritual discipline. If I’m not training, I’m setting my self up to fail as a man.
3) We don’t grow from immaturity to maturity and act like men. It’s pretty common to hear today that some men are still just boys. The “act like men” phrase has to do with your actions. Where do you spend your time, energy and passion? Is it manly? Or more like a boy? Don’t get me wrong – we should have fun, but fun with perspective. Act like men! Focus on what counts!
4) We’re too weak to resist temptation and sin. The “be strong” phrase is convicting! The idea is to be progressing from weakness to strength – again, like a soldier or an athlete, so that when temptation comes, we don’t give in.
5) Instead of acting in love, our actions are often selfish. “Let all that you do be done in love” is a huge admonition. Would your wife say you do that well? Your children? Those around you? When I’m not acting in love, the culprit is always SELF. That’s why I have to die to self daily – and so do you.
The good news? The “better man” you need to be is Christ. He’s Present. He’s Powerful. He’s indwelling every true believer. He’s available.
Ultimately, the way to be “better” is not by trying harder, or learning any “growth secrets” in life. We’re better when set aside our old self, and put on the new man that Christ Jesus provides in His power. Through salvation and the daily walk of faith and obedience, we become more and more like that Perfect Man.
Men are confused. In our culture, it’s self-inflicted wound. But even deeper, it’s a sin-inflicted wound. Adam was confused about his role, too.
Because men are confused, we often try to find ‘our own way’ to express manhood. It usually comes out pretty weird. Or worse, damaging to everyone around us. There’s a better way.
When I was 19 years old, a verse of Scripture was ingrained into my mind that has remained there since that time. It stands out today as a reminder that we can know what men are to be like, and we can act like men.
“Be on the alert, stand firm in the faith, act like men, be strong. Let all that you do be done in love.” 1 Cor. 16:13-14
As a young man, I wondered what this verse meant and how it would help me move toward mature manhood. Today, after being in that journey for a while, I want other men to know these truths. These words of the Apostle Paul make me want to be a better man. The example of Christ leads me to say to Him, “You make me want to be a better man. But I need Your help.”
Ed Stetzer has a great take on the phrase “act like men.” “Despite accepted cultural norms, acting like men doesn’t mean being macho, arrogant, overbearing, rude, or harsh. That’s immaturity and sin. Men are to love and serve through controlled strength. The power of godly men is wrought through the redemptive work of Christ in our hearts and lives. To be a man in our world– a biblical man– will look different than much of what passes for manhood in the world and even in contemporary Christian cultural expressions.”
If you’re in the DFW area, you can join us in the teaching series, “Challenges of Biblical Manhood” that we’ll be doing each Tuesday morning at 6:30 am and Wednesday evening at 6:30 pm at First Euless (beginning September 9).
If you’re not nearby, be sure to catch and share my “Better Man” blog series. Desire to be a better man.
My story is recurring, like a dream that never ends.
I often find myself in crowded places, like airports, sporting events, and on the extremely rare occasion – a mall. I drive on crowded highways next to people who are rushing in the same general physical direction I’m headed.
Problem is…most are headed in a very different direction spiritually. Most are lost, and I can’t tell them about life. I can’t stop the car next to me to share Christ on the side of the highway. I can’t interrupt people rushing toward their gate in the airport. I can’t stand on a stool in the mall and preach to crowds that run quickly the other way when someone actually does that. (I once experienced a subway ride in NYC, where a smelly man in a trench coat pulled out his Bible and started preaching loudly as the car emptied. That didn’t work out well.)
In my recurring story, the answer to the dilemma of how to share with the world who is unaware of a loving, saving Christ comes to me every time. For years, I had no answer to my burden. I just shared with those who’d let me share. But now I know the answer. In fact, this answer burns within me.
The answer is under our noses. It’s obvious if we’ll stop to look. It’s recorded in the Bible. It’s DOABLE.
The answer is: Train every person in our churches to share the Gospel confidently. Not just a few. Not just leaders. Everyone.
My story has a better ending today. That car next to me in a rush hour traffic jam? That guy will one day have a neighbor who is trained to share the Gospel, and who loves him enough to do it. Those people rushing to their gates in the airport? One day some co-worker or friend who has been equipped to share will lovingly tell them about Christ. The mall? Even they can have someone in their lives who has been equipped and challenged to share their faith.
“Can We Talk?” is not just about you. It’s not about church growth. It’s about the world – and our central mission in this world.
Want to know more? Go to www.firsteuless.com/canwetalk or click on the Resource button of this website.
A good word for church leaders of all kinds! Ed Stetzer, in his blog article, entitled, “Evangelism Is A Core Leadership Quality,” writes of this missing priority in so many lives of leaders. If we would lead, it must be in the direction of the Gospel. The entire article is found here:
Read the gist of it below:
“If we’re going to talk about the need for an evangelistic engagement and an evangelistic people, we have to be those who engage in evangelism. We have to be those who are sharing the Good News of Jesus Christ.
You can’t lead where you won’t go.
If you want giving people, be a giving leader. If you want a praying people, be a praying pastor. If you want an evangelistic congregation, be a pastor who is evangelistic. Don’t complain about your congregation, if you are not going to be passionate about sharing the truth with others in your own life. In regard to evangelism, you just can’t lead what you would live. You can’t lead them where you won’t go yourself.
We can spend our time trying to get people to believe a certain way, but what happens when another way is presented with more fervor? Instead, we should be passionate about proclaiming the Way, Jesus. He was evangelistic, and He is our example.
As leaders, we are an example to those around us. We should proclaim the truth with the goal that people will believe in and follow Christ. People need to not just hear our perspective on evangelism; they need to see our passion for it.
Evangelism needs to be a core leadership quality—modeled by pastors and leaders, but engaged in by all God’s people.”
“The greatest form of praise is the sound of consecrated feet seeking out the lost and helpless.”–Billy Graham
This is an incredible truth. Our praise to God intensifies when we bring others to Him! I love the phrase, “raving fans.” When we are raving fans of the Gospel, what does it compel us to do? We want others to know what WE know about Christ. And to do that well, we must be equipped to do it.
Tony Merida had a great tweet today: “A theology that doesn’t reflect a heartfelt compassion for unbelievers & a deep desire for their salvation is unbiblical. (Rom 9:1-3; 10:1)”
What’s your theology? Do you believe God is concerned about those who’ve never heard the Gospel before, and do you believe God wants us to tell them? That’s my heartfelt and deepest conviction.
All that – for this. Our church will be a church that takes the Gospel to those who haven’t heard…we call this focus,“Can We Talk?”
In 9 days we begin – but we need God’s army to rise up and say, “I believe that. I’ll be part of that team! Here am I; send me!”
I cannot wait to see what God has in store for our church and our community in these coming days – and a big part of it all is our witness. Are you ready to go? Whether you want to register as a trainer – or as one being trained – I encourage you to get online today and let us know.
The details are all there. Join us, and let us know you will!
Thoughts from John Meador and insights from God's Word.