What Does It Look Like?: Godly Men (part 2)

Alright, swinging back to where we left off–let’s take a deeper look at what it means to be a Godly man. Men, you will likely be very convicted by the next few blog posts, if you weren’t already by the first of this series.  But that’s okay–that conviction is a good thing. Let these words stir your heart. Take a good, hard look at yourself. Evaluate the qualities you possess and evaluate the qualities you could stand to work on. What you think and feel while you are reading this is between you and God. Don’t slip into defensive denial or over-compensation. Grow from the inside, out. And women, learn from these posts, as well. Evaluate these fundamentals. Evaluate what is important to you and the standard you hold yourself to.  We, as women, could save ourselves a WORLD of heartbreak and empty tears if we could be patient enough to step back and wait. Step back and learn discernment–study what a REAL MAN looks like.

I think this society is coming close to losing, if it hasn’t already completely lost, perspective of the true roles we are called to as men and women.  We live in a world that has taken Truth and distorted it entirely to fit convenience, personal opinion, and circumstance. We live in a world that has made it “okay” to bend the Word however we each see fit in order to “work” with our specific circumstance. In fact, we live in a world that has made it “okay” to ignore the Word completely. We live in a world that feeds off of the opinions and examples of other PEOPLE, rather than feeding off of the Truth and example of GOD. We need to go back to the heart of it all–we need to go back to the TRUTH. No bells and whistles, no exceptions and conditions, no reasons as to why or why not. We need to simplify life and go back to what God taught us was sufficient and good and pure. But, in order to understand our perfect roles, we first have to zoom in and dissect the individual components the profile of Godly men and women.

In Part 1 of this series, we looked at a few examples of great scripture in 1 Timothy and Titus that lay out the framework for what a Godly leader looks like.  We discussed, too, that men are called to leadership. There are no ifs, ands, or buts about it. I am not trying to downgrade women here (after all, I am a woman!), but I am clearly and explicitly stating that men hold the utmost responsibility in our world. A man is held to a standard of integrity, character, and responsibility in God’s eyes. How do we know this? Take a snippet from Adam and Eve, for example–the very first people on this planet.  First and foremost, Eve was literally created from Adam (Gen.2:23). And she was created specifically with the purpose of helping Adam (Gen. 2:18).  The Bible clearly states that woman was formed secondary to man, as a helper for man. Does it say that Eve was formed in order to properly lead Adam? No. Does it say that Eve was formed to compete with Adam for superiority? No. Does it say that Eve was formed to show Adam how it’s all done? No. The Word of God clearly, purely, and beautifully states that Eve was created to help Adam–woman was created for the betterment of man, to support man, to assist man. With that said, Genesis goes on to say that Satan tempted Eve to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil, the ONE TREE that Adam and Eve were instructed, by God, NOT to eat from.  After falling to temptation, Eve ate from the tree and gave the fruit to Adam and he ate it, as well. Why does this matter? What does this have to do with leadership? Eve is the one who made the ultimate mistake. Eve was weaker, she was easily tempted, and she was the one who was deceived. And she is the one who gave the fruit to Adam and led him to eat it. So really, Adam was just  follower in this situation. Want to know the kicker? When God called out to Adam and Eve after they had eaten from the tree, He specifically called out to the MAN (Gen. 3:9). The MAN was held responsible for both of their actions. Even though Eve was the first to eat, the MAN was called out by God for failing. It didn’t matter how it all played out, the MAN was intended to be the leader, and the MAN was ultimately held responsible.

Why do I tell you all of this? Because right there, from the beginning of time, was a simple and poignant example of the ways in which men and women were designed by God. Woman was made from man. Women were created to help men, not to lead them. Women are more vulnerable and susceptible to temptation and deception. Women are, by design, the weaker of the two. But men, don’t start pumping your chests and feeling high and mighty quite yet. This means that YOU bear even more responsibility and pressure and purpose than you can even imagine.  You were created to be leaders. You hold the assignment from our King to lead with integrity and character and passion and heart.  You have the responsibility to lead nations to Christ. You have the responsibility to lead Christ-centered friendships and relationships and marriages.  You have the responsibility to the added pressure of being the strongest. To many, that can likely seem like both a blessing and a curse. You may be wondering, how do I do it? How do I lead effectively? How do I lead as a Godly man and how does that leadership look different from what this society defines as leadership? How do I fill this role? In God’s eyes, you hold a noble position. As a leader, you take on a noble task. And with those words said, we are led back to 1 Timothy and Titus. I want to break down these two, simple scriptures into great detail because, as I said in the first part of this series, the provide amazing illustrations for what a Godly man looks like and is called to…

“Here is a trustworthy saying: Whoever aspires to be an overseer desires a noble task…

Boom. Right off the bat, the Bible is telling you that these following verses are trustworthy. That’s not a word to be taken lightly. This is the real deal. We are being called to takes these words with great weight. They are important, and they are True. All men should aspire to be leaders. As we just talked about, it is your position in your perfect design.  If you are willing to accept this responsibility, your heart is desiring a noble task. What, exactly, does noble mean? My good friend Miriam Webster says that the definition of noble is: having or showing high moral character such as courage, generosity, and honor. Are any of those words easy? Absolutely not. If it were easy to have high moral character, you wouldn’t see this society in such a state of filth. You wouldn’t see people glorifying fools and living in absolute sin. To have character requires taking the higher road, humbling yourself often, and recognizing the necessity of constant betterment and growth.  Being a Godly leader is NOT easy. It is a NOBLE task. A task of character, of courage, of honor. The Word of God is calling you step up and step out of your own tendencies and desires. The Word of God is calling you to be different.

2 Now the overseer is to be above reproach…

What does it mean to live above reproach? (I could write countless pages on this simple verse alone. Understand, for the sake of time, that all I am explaining is greatly simplified. I would challenge you to dig into the Word and grow in your understanding independently.) The word ‘reproach’ means blame, rebuke, disgrace, or shame. As Christians, we are all called to live above reproach. Afterall, that is what Jesus Christ did so perfectly. That is the example He set for us all.  Jesus lived over such reproach that, in His final days, when the Pharisees were trying to find any reason, whatsoever, to hang Him from the cross, they could find nothing.  If you read through the gospels, it is fascinating to see just how desperately the officials tried to find one single thing to pin on Him or use against Him. They couldn’t find a thing. Christ lived above such reproach that they eventually had to charge Him falsely with blasphemy because He truthfully told them He was the Son of God. Now is it possible for any of us to live as far above reproach as Jesus Christ? Absolutely not. Afterall, we are simply human. He was God. But we CAN strive to better ourselves and hold ourselves responsible for our actions and our words.  Let me hit you with a great, modern-day example of a guy that does a beautiful job of living above reproach.  Whether you’re a Tim Tebow fan or not, you cannot help but respect him for the example that he sets and the way that he lives his life.  Throughout his young life, throughout his college career, and now throughout his professional career, Tebow has done something that 99% of individuals can’t say for themselves–he has never given anyone a reason to say “I told you so.” or “I told you he would.” or “I knew he would, eventually…” The man was blessed with a platform bigger than any other college athlete has ever had, and with all the world waiting for him to fail or to slip up or to stumble, he proudly discipled. He remains conscious of every single decision he makes and every word that comes out of his mouth.  He lives with an enormous amount of worldly pressure, but he carries himself with that pressure alleviated by a gracious King.  That is something to respect. That is something you HAVE to admire.  Living above reproach is essentially “walking the walk” while your “talking the talk”.  Humbling yourself, at times, admitting your wrongs, and striving to purify your ways.  Men are called to live above shame, live above disgrace, live above blame. Be a MAN. Don’t give people ammunition to use against you by being your own biggest handicap.  Be accountable. Strive to live in truth.

(to be continued…check back in for the rest of 1 Timothy…)

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What Is Salvation? (part 2–man and man)

Wow! I have to start this blog post off with an apology. It seems like it has been forever since I have posted. Between soccer workouts and practice, school, studying for midterms, sports reporting for WAFB, preparing to move, bible studies, church, motivational speaking engagements, community service, and everything else that comes along with busy, everyday life, time has slipped by so quickly! So I am so sorry it’s been over a week…but let’s continue to dig into this awesome lesson. This part coming up is the BEST! J-E-S-U-S is about to light the place up! ūüôā

Alright, so in the last post we talked about the original sin. ¬†The very first sin that the very first man ever committed. Adam. And because of Adam’s sin, sin was born in man. Humans became sinful creatures. ¬†Every person born after that was born into sin and confined to a sinful human nature. ¬†Because of that one man’s sin, the one man was can all be traced back to, we are all impure and unrighteous. ¬†No way around it.

We then went on to talk about the rules God laid out for humans after that. ¬†The Old Testament of the Bible lays out all of these rules. ¬†They are extensive, difficult, and overwhelming. ¬†But God told the people who if they wanted a chance in heaven, they had to abide by these rules. ¬†Long story short, nobody could do it. Every single person failed. ¬†Because, as humans, we are sinful creatures, it is literally IMPOSSIBLE for anyone to live a perfect life. ¬†We all sin. And back then, they all sinned. ¬†As hard as they tried, they couldn’t follow all of the rules. So God fulfilled a promise that the earliest prophets had expressed in the Old Testament. He blessed us with a Messiah–a Savior. Here comes Jesus…

God recognized that it was impossible for any human being to live by the rules of the Old Testament. ¬†But He loves us, unconditionally. We are His creation. ¬†He grants us free will to choose, but He doesn’t want to see us all damned. He yearns to spend eternity with us. ¬†He yearns for us to come home to Him. ¬†So, He did the most amazing thing ever. ¬†He sent His Son, a human being, to Earth. Jesus Christ. Why? So that we could be shown forgiveness, taught, and saved. So that we could have an outlet to heaven and stand a chance of spending eternity with Him. Stick with me here and open your mind to understand this concept. Romans 5:12-19 explains exactly why a HUMAN BEING had to be born to teach us…

It says, “For just as through the DISOBEDIENCE of one man (Adam) the many were made sinners, so also through the OBEDIENCE of one man (Jesus) the many will be made righteous.”

BOOM! What a simple and awesome explanation. ¬†Do you understand? Adam was a HUMAN BEING that made a conscious choice to sin and to bring sin into the world. ¬†Because of that sin, Adam opened the door to Hell. He put all of us at risk. ¬†BUT, in order to negate Adam’s sin, God sent Jesus Christ, another HUMAN BEING to make a conscious choice to live perfectly and purely. And in doing so, He brought salvation into the world. Jesus opened the door to heaven. He showed us God’s grace. ¬†Since a human brought sin into the world, a human had to bring salvation into the world. ¬†That’s the only way we, as people, could be saved. Sure, God could have made it way easier. ¬†If He wanted, He could have started the world all over. ¬†He could have destroyed sin before it even existed. He could have cut us some slack and let us all into heaven anyways. God can literally do ANYTHING. ¬†But He wanted to grant us freedom. ¬†He wanted to give us the right to choose. ¬†He wanted us to have the option and to be drawn closer to His truth by recognizing both sides of things. ¬†He wanted us to have FAITH. Ah, so awesome.

So we see that Jesus Christ was the only way. Since sin was brought into the world by a man, God’s grace had to be shown to the world by a man. That was the only way we would be able to understand it all, and to be saved. We had to be taught by another human being. Wow. Okay, so what’s the big deal with Jesus? What did this man actually do? How did His actions grant us “salvation?”

(I promise I will post again ASAP!…This is the best part, so check back in soon!)

What Is Salvation? (part 1–the original sin)

We have talked all about our position in Christ and our condition in Christ. We have looked at a graph that depicts these two things, and we have talked about how we can grow in our conditions.  We have defined what righteousness is and we have found countless scriptures that illustrate this very topic. We have learned about the change that takes place within us when we believe in Jesus Christ, and we have studied why it is so very important that Christians strive to grow and to teach. But all the while, we have danced around the topic of salvation. What IS salvation? What does it mean to be saved? What does it look like? What is the significance of believing in Jesus Christ? What does His life even represent?

There are so so so many questions that surround the idea of salvation. ¬†There is so much confusion and misrepresentation in our world today, as well. So I want to start at the beginning and break it down, piece by piece. ¬†To reintroduce topics that are overlooked and to clarify points that are often left in the shadows. ¬†Ah! I LOVE this topic!! The salvation that is offered to EVERY SINGLE PERSON on this planet is so unbelievably beautiful, and SO unbelievably humbling. ¬†This is the bread and butter…this is the mac-daddy…this is the grand prize! Let’s take a look.

Okay, in order to understand why it is even necessary to care about what Jesus Christ did, we have to rewind allllllllll the way back to Adam and Eve. ¬†I am going to explain all of this in the simplest way possible, because I don’t want to throw anything over anybody’s head or drown this awesome message in excessive detail and historical overflow. (Plus, I am still learning about it all, as well!) But here is the deal…after God created the heavens and the Earth and all that is encompassed within that perfection, He created man. He created Adam, and eventually Eve, in His image. ¬†At this point, there was already an existence of evil. ¬†Satan had already defied God and descended to hell, so God had already acknowledged the right of free will. (That is, the ability for man to choose between right and wrong.) ¬†The book of Genesis describes of the perfection of this garden. Adam and Eve had all they could ever want and need there, and there was no existence of sin. They were simply instructed not to eat from the Tree of Knowledge of Good and Evil. ¬†Essentially, they were commanded not to disobey and sin against God. ¬†However, Satan appeared in the form of a serpent and tempted Eve to eat from the tree. ¬†In the truest¬†and simplest of terms, this was the first presentation of evil. And temptation. And deceit. ¬†Eve was drawn to sin through Satan and she then led Adam to eat from the tree and sin, as well.

BAM. There it was. In the instant that Adam, the FIRST man on this planet, sinned again God, everything changed. ¬†Sin was born in man. You see, every single person on this planet is a descendant from Adam and Eve. So think about it…Adam committed the first sin. Adam and Eve screwed up from the get-go and, therefore, every single person born from that line is embodied in sin. ¬†We are born into a world of sin and we are prone, as humans…as descendants from the very first sinner…to sin. ¬†We are all sinners because we are all human. ¬†Because of this original sin, every person born from that point on was doomed.

Well, crap…thanks a lot Adam. ¬†Thank a lot Eve. ¬†So now we stand no chance. ¬†Now we are all screwed because of that one man’s decision. ¬†An interesting concept, huh? That ANOTHER person’s sin could affect OUR salvation…(we will look at this in more detail later, and I will share with you the most earth-shaking realization I came to in my personal life with regards to this subject.) So there we were, a bunch of humans being bred from sin. A bunch of humans whose souls were fair game to Satan. Just imagine how upset God must have been…these beautiful humans he created hardly lasted a blip in time before they sinned! So what now? This is where the Old Testament takes shape. ¬†God understood that man had sinned. And that now, every man was born from that original sinner. ¬†So, he worked with us a little bit. ¬†Rather than damning every sinner to hell, He began to establish rules. ¬†This is what the Old Testament is full of…God set forth rules, communicated through divinely inspired prophets and other individuals, for the people of the Earth. ¬†He basically said, Okay, everybody, if you want to stand a chance to spend eternity with me, you have to follow these rules. ¬†Though you will never be completely pure, if you follow these rules, I’ll cut you some slack and you can strive to purify yourselves. (Those weren’t His exact words, haha, but work with me here. I’m trying to keep it simple :). )

The Old Testament of the Bible lays out what these rules were.  If you read throughout the Old Testament, the rules were insanely difficult for any human being to obey.  They were extensive and specific and very challenging.  And basically what the entire Old Testament explains is that nobody could do it. Every single person failed. Every single human being was incapable of following all of these rules and living a perfect life. So every single human being born as a descendent from Adam, a descendent of the original sin, was imperfect and sinful and flawed.

This is when God sat back and was like, Alright, time for plan B. Haha. There was a clear recognition that none of these people stood a chance. ¬†Because of this one man’s original sin, humans had wound themselves into a web of tangled sin and greed and lust and deceit and all that is unrighteous. ¬†Human beings were caught in Satan’s snare and stood absolutely no chance of achieving salvation. ¬†They all stood no chance of spending eternity with God. ¬†So what did God do?….Enter, Jesus.

(to be continued…this next part is great!)