I wrote the following post on jesusblokes.com, but thought I’d share it here as well.
I had an opportunity to challenge and encourage fellow brothers at our annual camp (for men) this morning and this is an extended version of what I shared with them, from the Word of God, the Book of Life, the Bible.
My prayer was that the Lord would give me key Scripture verses and a simple way of sharing it with the men gathered, so that they could then study God’s Word further (in their own time) and be corrected/challenged/encouraged by the Holy Spirit, as applicable to each man.
This world, society today, has many definitions, ideas and interpretations concerning men. It constantly redefines men and what men should look like, act like and think like and what their role is or ought to be. New age ideas and spiritual movements not centered on the Word of God or Jesus Christ is becoming popular as each day passes. Any religion or faith or idea that removes personal accountability and responsibility for one’s own wrong and mistakes (sin) and offers a faux spirituality to satisfy one’s own ego and false sense of security, is easy to swallow and follow! We have all heard of people who make statements like this.
Oh yeah, I believe in God and all that, but I think every religion is right and all paths lead to God. No one religion is superior or the right one. I basically believe that all good people will go to Heaven!
What utter nonsense! Such religions, faiths and spiritual movements lead people nowhere but into further despair and separation from the One true God!
Brothers, as men, we have a special charge and responsibility from God the Father. We are to lead our families, our communities and our nation by being living testimonies for Jesus Christ, by being authentic men who follow Jesus Christ!
So, what does it take to be an authentic man in Jesus Christ?
An authentic man in Jesus Christ is one who will acknowledge, accept and agree with the Word of God wholeheartedly and is willing to follow the example of Jesus Christ in everyday life, under the leadership of the Holy Spirit!
In the Bible, in 2 Timothy 3:16-17, it is written:
All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, so that the man of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
Let us now look into the Word of God and learn what it takes to be an authentic man!
An authentic man has a right attitude and understanding of his sin. [1 John 1:8-10]
If you want to be a real/authentic man in Jesus Christ, you must realize or recognize is that as a Christian, you will still sin!
This does not give us the license to sin. I am also not talking about habitual sin (engaging in the same sin continually). A person who is engaging in habitual sin, does not have a genuine & active relationship with Jesus Christ. If he did, then through the power of the Holy Spirit, he would be able to break the hold of this sin over his life. I have only touched on the surface of this topic, but in no way am I minimizing the reality, difficulty and impact of habitual sin. If you would like to understand or further discuss the topic, please use the contact us form.
So, God’s Word says Christians will sin. God says that if we say we are without sin, we are lying, we don’t have a relationship with Jesus and are also declaring that God is a liar! So brothers, daily confess to God everything that you have thought, said or done, that you know is against God. Why? Because the LORD promises that He’ll forgive us and cleanse us if we do!
As the Holy Spirit transforms us more and more into the image of Jesus Christ, we will sin less and less. WHEN we sin, God calls us to confess, repent and continue pursuing our relationship with Jesus Christ.
An authentic man is careful about what he takes in with his eyes. [Luke 11:34-35]
There’s a lot of temptations around us, be it on billboards, magazines and especially on TV and in movies. In fact, I would say that the world has minimized a number of sins through the help of mass media. These days, it is not uncommon to see shows revolving around single parents, condoning divorce even when the reasons are trivial, pushing homosexual relationships/marriages to the forefront, idolizing sexual debauchery and promiscuity, glorifying gambling and loose living and the list goes on and on. Men, even the sports shows that you watch have coarse language and crude jokes that are slowly but surely having an effect on you.
What we take in or allow in to our minds and hearts through our eyes (and ears!), can have a lasting impact.
So, if you want to be a real/authentic man in Jesus Christ, you will not only acknowledge that a lot of stuff is bad, you will also have a desire to remove it from your lives, EVEN if it’s your favorite TV show or book or movie or whatever!
An authentic man seeks after the right possessions. [Luke 12:15-21]
Why do you work hard? What are you working for? Is it material possessions like a bigger house or a better car or the desire to take luxurious vacations or have the latest gadgets and so on?
Jesus said no one can serve both God and money. There is no way around it brothers and you would be a fool to think that you are the exception.
If you put in a lot of hard work and spend long hours at your work place or in your business, even if your desire is to do good for your family and secure their future, the truth is it’s not what God wants of us! Work as much as you need to, but don’t go overboard.
God challenges us to be rich towards Him! A man who spends time with his wife and children, serves God in and outside of his Church, makes an effort to bless/encourage and challenge others, is faithful with in his tithes and offerings and is daily striving to be like Jesus Christ (by studying the Word & engaging in prayer), such a man is being rich towards God!
Don’t let greed and a desire for material possessions cause you to stray away from Jesus Christ.
An authentic man studies the Bible and meditate on God’s Word. [Joshua 1:8-9]
If you say you are a Christian, that is a follower of Jesus Christ, attending Church one day a week, attending small groups/life groups weekly, tithing regularly and serving occasionally, DOES NOT make you the kind of Christian God wants you to be.
Don’t take me wrong. Everything I have listed above is good and pleasing to the Lord, but that is just the surface of what it means to be a Christian.
The LORD wants us to study and meditate on His Word daily. When Joshua was about to take over from Moses, this was God’s instruction to Joshua. Study my Word, meditate on it day and night, then everything will be all right Joshua. You will be prosperous and successful in everything. Wow! What a promise! Why would we want anything less for ourselves?
What does it mean to study/meditate on God’s Word? Studying or meditating simply means that as we read each verse, chapter and book of the Bible, we ask the Holy Spirit to help us understand what God is trying to tell us/teach us and then apply it into our own lives.
If you don’t know where or how to start studying the Word of God, just begin with the Gospels of Matthew, Mark, Luke and John. Start with the New Testament and then dive into the Old Testament. The Bible is not just the New Testament, nor should you think that the Old Testament is no longer relevant.
So brothers, I encourage all of you to start studying the Word of God, not merely reading through it.
An authentic man chooses to be joyful, engage in constant conversation with God & have a thankful attitude [1 Thessalonians 5;17-18]
Happiness and joy are not the same thing.
Happiness is the immediate (and almost always, short-lived) response to an external event, situation or circumstance that we are involved in.
Joy on the other hand surpasses happiness in that it is not a quick short-lived response, but more an ongoing attitude that finds it’s origin in God Himself! Jesus Himself is our joy! No matter what has happened or is happening or will happen to us, we can be certain that Jesus loves us and that we are right with God (provided we have a genuine relationship with Jesus Christ!). This should give us joy that no one can take away from us. No one can rob this joy because it is not based on anything tangible, but in the person of Jesus Christ!
As men of Christ, if we understand what it means to be joyful in Jesus Christ, can you imagine how it would transform our relationships with our wives and children and how it would impact our workplaces and communities and the nation as a whole?
Prayer is not a ritualistic act, but a privilege we have as followers of Jesus Christ. You can’t be a real/authentic Christian and not have a prayer life. To me, prayer is just constant conversation/interaction with God. It’s a well balanced time of sharing (not merely requests or complaints!) and listening. I must admit that quite often, I do more sharing than listening, but I know the LORD is working on that with me.
As you go through your day, I challenge all of you men to engage with Jesus deliberately. Get Jesus involved in your conversations with your wife, your dealings with your children, at work, with colleagues/the boss/customers and everywhere else in between. You would have to experience it to believe what this constant engaging with God will do in/to your life and those of others around you!
Thankfulness does not come naturally to us. We must choose to be thankful. All of us can easily come up with a lists of things we don’t have or things that are wrong with us or things that we wish were different and so on. But, if we were to stop and think about it, we could all easily come up with a long list of things that we are thankful and grateful to God for.
Being thankful is not a one time act, but a state of being. When we go about our day with a thankful heart and attitude, always acknowledging honestly to God those things that are wrong in our life or we need help with or need fixing (through prayer), our outward countenance will be noticeably different, ending up with a deep impact on our spiritual, physical and relational well being!
An authentic man is determined to fellowship in Church and with other men of God. [Hebrews 10:25]
If you don’t believe in being a part of Church fellowship, then according to Scriptures, you are not a real/authentic Christian! Fellowship with other believers is not an option or a casual suggestion or a low, but a choice that every Jesus follower must make for themselves!
If you think you can do it all alone and don’t need anyone else to encourage you or challenge you or sharpen you or keep you in check, then you are sadly and seriously mistaken!
The Holy Spirit works in the Church but also works through the Church. The Holy Spirit works in us as men, but can also work through each one of us to challenge and encourage each other and continue to the transformation work that Jesus began in us when we placed our trust and faith in Him!
An authentic man loves God and loves others. [Luke 10:27]
If you don’t love Jesus/God and love others the same way, you are not a real/authentic Christian! If you think that it is not very manly to love, then you don’t know what it means to be a man.
Jesus was more man than any of us men could ever be, yet He loved us so much that He died for us! Jesus was a man’s man and yet the Bible says that He wept outside of Lazarus’ tomb, even though He knew He was about to raise Him from the dead.
Jesus challenges us men to love our wives, our children, our families, our Church, our community and each other with the same love that He has for us.
We can’t do this on our own, but with the Holy Spirit working in us, all things are possible!
Are you willing to love Jesus and love others, just like Jesus loves you? If you want to be a real/authentic Christian man, there is no other way to love!
An authentic man serves God and serves others as a result of his genuine faith in and love for Jesus Christ. [James 2:14-25]
Don’t do anything for the sake of doing something. Don’t do anything to get noticed. Don’t do anything so that people will praise you and think highly of you. Don’t do anything because you want to be satisfied.
If you serve people (be it in Church or outside) for any of the reasons above, your heart and attitude is not in the right place and you are far from being a real/authentic Christian!
If you do ANYTHING, do it because you want to express your love for Jesus and others!
The deeds that you do should be a result of the Holy Spirit leading you to express your faith in and love for Jesus Christ.
Serve Jesus and serve others because you desire to bring a smile to God the Father. Serve Jesus and serve others because you want to make Jesus smile. Do EVERYTHING you do so that Jesus will be glorified and people will be blessed.
If you don’t have time to serve or don’t have a desire to serve, then you need to stop and get a handle on your life, your time and your priorities!
You CANNOT be a real/authentic Christian if you are not serving God and serving others, in one way or another, as the Holy Spirit leads you.
An authentic man seeks rest in Jesus Christ, not anyone or anything else. [Matthew 11:28]
Everyone gets tired and worn out. Every man gets tired and worn out. Some men are able to handle more than others, but the reality is that we all need rest!
Where do you find your rest? In what do you find your rest? In whom do you find your rest?
If your answer to any of the questions above is anything or anyone other than Jesus, then you are not a real/authentic Christian man.
Yes, the same Jesus who shows us how to be a real/authentic Christian man, is also our rest when we get weary and tired from living life!
Rather than chasing after smoking, alcohol, drugs, women or loose living of any kind that leads to more problems than solutions, Jesus calls us to come to Him just as we are!
Jesus promises to give us rest and strengthen us to continue on the journey, to help us remain on the straight and narrow path, so that we can finish the race well!
If you want to be a real/authentic Christian man, then you must seek rest and comfort in Jesus alone!
In Hebrews 13:5, God promises us:
Never will I leave you; never will I forsake you.
Memorize Scripture verses so that when your flesh, the world and the devil himself comes after you, the Holy Spirit can strengthen you to keep going and help you grow as a real/authentic Christian man!
Are you willing to step out in faith, to trust Jesus, to crucify your idea of what it means to be a man and let the Holy Spirit of God make you the real/authentic Christian man God has called you to be?
Thank Sri 🙂
For I know the plans I have for you,” declares the Lord, “plans to prosper you and not to harm you, plans to give you hope and a future. Jeremiah 29:11