“the running father”

I’m sure most Christians are familiar with the story of the Prodigal Son.  But my daughter told me about a Bible study she was in a couple of months ago where she learned in the Middle East it was referred to  as the story of The Running Father. It was not so much about a rebellious son repenting and coming to his right mind but instead the story was about the actions of a father. This intrigued me, so I began my own study on this concept (Luke 15:11-31). The following hopefully will bless those who want to see another take on this parable.

In Luke 15 before you even come to this story you have the shepherd that searches for the one lost sheep (4-7). Most sermons focus on the one lost sheep instead of the heart of the shepherd and His commitment to his sheep. It is revealed in verse 7, Jesus states the attitude of heaven is one which reflects the attitude and heart of our God, which was joy. The same with the woman who searches for the lost coin (8-10). Again, the emphasis needs to be on her heart and commitment in finding the coin. Here again it reflects the heart and attitude of heaven in verse 10, even the angels are rejoicing over the lost being found. 

Jesus is pointing to the heart of the Father in heaven. It’s about a shepherd and his dedication to search, not so much a lost sheep, or a dedicated woman to find, not so much a lost coin. These are the parables leading up to the prodigal son. The emphasis is on the attitude and heart of the one searching and not so much on what was lost. 

Now what is lost is important but really understanding the heart of the one searching and the attitude of heart toward what was lost is the emphasis. So looking at this third parable we should put the emphasis on understanding the attitude of the heart, and the commitment of the father. Also, to truly see this we need some insight into the culture of a Jewish community during this time period as well. 

Cultural Observations in a Jewish Community at this time. 

The Son:(12-19)

To ask for his inheritance was the same as saying his father was dead to Him. 

For the Father to give him what he asked for would mean putting into cash what would have been his share, of the land, livestock, business, etc..The father would have to act on the premise of how much would the son get if He were dead. The whole time the father is putting this share together it’s as if he were dead. As the Father does this it would have been heartbreaking to him. This would not have been an overnight transaction, it would have required a little time. This means there would have been tension throughout the family which the son’s action brought on all of them. The entire household would have known what was going on and most likely the community as well. This could not have been a task done in secret or overnight without others involved and knowing full well what was happening. It would have brought dishonor, embarrassment, and shame on not just the father but the family as well.

A Kezazah Ceremony) Hebrew: cutting off; It was the technical term used when a family severs its connection to a member of their family. It is where the family and community disown the individual.The whole community gathers to meet with the individual at the city gate, and the elders would break a large clay pot in front of him and say out loud for all to hear, “You are now cut off from your people!”  and then the community would totally reject him and sever all ties. It’s interesting that according to some historical accounts during the kezazah, if it was a child the father was not allowed to be present. However, the mother could attend and ask for mercy for the child, but not the father.

The son was old enough to know all of the implications that went with this, to his family, to his community, culture, traditions, he was turning his back to all of this. In a manner of speaking, he wanted absolutely nothing to do with any of them any longer. He wanted to be completely separated from His father, family, and community in which they lived. 

The wording here implies he left to live and eventually join himself to non Jewish people, which was forbidden for Jews. 

He obviously lived way above his means and making poor decisions which eventually cost him everything. He was, in our terms, flat busted broke, completely penniless. He goes from the stature of one who has money and influence to one who becomes a servant. This would have been very humiliating to him. During this time period It states he came to his senses, further stating he knew he sinned against God and his father and was not worthy to be a son but maybe a hired hand. He knew even the servants of his father’s house were treated better than his own life at that moment. His thinking is in the mindset of a servant, a hired hand. He is not thinking as son any more. His image has changed completely.

Now let’s pick up in scripture the response of the father. 

Luke 15:20-32

“But while he was still a long way off, his father saw him and was filled with compassion for him; he ran to his son, threw his arms around him and kissed him. 21 “The son said to him, ‘Father, I have sinned against heaven and against you. I am no longer worthy to be called your son.’ 22 “But the father said to his servants, ‘Quick! Bring the best robe and put it on him. Put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet. 23 Bring the fattened calf and kill it. Let’s have a feast and celebrate. 24 For this son of mine was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.’ So they began to celebrate. 25 “Meanwhile, the older son was in the field. When he came near the house, he heard music and dancing. 26 So he called one of the servants and asked him what was going on. 27 ‘Your brother has come,’ he replied, ‘and your father has killed the fattened calf because he has him back safe and sound.’ 28 “The older brother became angry and refused to go in. So his father went out and pleaded with him. 29 But he answered his father, ‘Look! All these years I’ve been slaving for you and never disobeyed your orders. Yet you never gave me even a young goat so I could celebrate with my friends. 30 But when this son of yours who has squandered your property with prostitutes comes home, you kill the fattened calf for him!’ 31 “‘My son,’ the father said, ‘you are always with me, and everything I have is yours. 32 But we had to celebrate and be glad, because this brother of yours was dead and is alive again; he was lost and is found.'” NIV

The Father:

A long way off:(20) He knew it was his son even at a long distance off. His son could not have looked the same yet the father knew it was his own. For him to react as he did it would have been already in his heart to do so if given the opportunity. There had to have been a hope that one day he would return, something he must have continually thought about. The point was he had never forgotten his son.

Filled with compassion:(20) (Compassion; to take action to relieve the suffering of another, compassion is the action of mercy. The word compassion is not just a feeling but is the action taken to lift and if possible take the suffering off of the one needing compassion.)

Instead of disdain or contempt it was the opposite reaction. This was the son who told his father you are dead to me and I want nothing to do with you anymore, yet the father was filled with compassion. Upon seeing His son he felt the condition of His son and wanted to relieve him of his suffering. The son feeling shame, humiliation, and embarrassment, truly at his lowest possible point as a human being received only compassion from His father. 

He ran to his son:(20) This small part of the parable was huge, in this culture and time period. It was seen as an undignified action for a person of his stature and influence in the community to run. Men of his status just did not run. To run required he lift up his garment and expose his legs. Men in his position have servants to do the running. However, him running to his son immediately reveals his heart. He knew how people would react to his son returning. But before anyone could condemn or reject his son, He got to him first. By running to his son he also drew attention to himself, taking the attention off his son and his condition. The father made sure by his actions the community could see plainly the position he had concerning his son making sure no one could say anything else. The father completely accepted his son`s return.

 The son is fully aware of what he should expect from his father. But instead sees his father running towards him. The son had to have thought the same as everyone else, why is He running toward me?  He knew he was not worthy to be a son but he could be a hired servant. The son didn’t even get all of his rehearsed speech out, his father hugged and kissed him which would have been a shock to the son as well as everyone else. The son knew how He treated his father, Yet his father acted as if it never happened. Instead he starts the process of restoring his son to his place as a son born into his family. To the father even though the son told him he was dead to Him, He was and always would be His son. The father only saw his son. The father shows He would have it no other way. The suffering this young man endured, even though self-inflicted, was instantly lifted off of him by his father. 

This is why in the thinking of Middle East culture it was titled “the Running Father ”. The focus is not so much on the son but on the father’s actions. Jesus was making the point of God the Father’s heart, how the Father in heaven sees us and how He responds to us when we come to Him. It’s hard to picture God the Father in heaven so excited to see us returning home that He would run toward us, yet this is the picture Jesus wants us to see. God sees us no other way but as his children. He sees Himself as our Father and us as His son or daughter. 

Quick, bring the best robe, put a ring on his finger and sandals on his feet.(22) The father instantly restored him to the status of a son, his son, making a distinction between a servant and his son. He obviously had to look disheveled and more like a servant. But the father never saw him any other way, but as his son. The robe instantly covers his son, gives him honor back and changes the condition he was found in, the ring signifies to all His identity and who he belongs to and belongs with, his authority and position in the family given back to Him.  The sandals give purpose to his path again, no longer a servant but a son, remember he had fallen to the place of a hired servant, now he is restored back to a son. The Father never once brings up the past, except to say He was dead but now alive, he was lost but now found.

The father throws a feast,(23-24)

He celebrates and displays publicly how he sees his son who just returned. He is overwhelmed with joy. Everyone from servants to the rest of the community would have known what was happening. Even more importantly, it would have revealed to everyone the position the father took concerning his son.

Through this parable Jesus is revealing how God sees all of us. He is painting a picture of His Father’s heart toward those who are lost. The minute we turn and start toward home He watches and sees us. Even a long way off He runs toward us. He doesn’t care what anybody else thinks. This is truly the definition of His grace. An unmerited love and favor which no man deserves but still receives from God. He never brings up the past mistakes. He doesn’t focus on who we were or what we have done but the focus is on how God the Father sees us and who we are to Him. He instantly restores us to our rightful and proper place in His family. He covers us, He gives back our dignity. He establishes us as one of His own with the position of one born into His family. His heart is ecstatic, and overwhelmed to see us come home. He is rejoicing, celebrating when we come home. All of heaven above reflects His attitude of celebration and joy. 

The Other Son:(25-32) 

Obviously the other son had a bad attitude. He probably felt justified to some extent. His focus was on what His brother had done and who he had become. However, this is not how the father saw things. Look at the father’s response to what this son says, and how he says it. The other son states he has slaved for his father, always obeying His father and yet never received a party with the fatted calf. He states his brother was wicked and not deserving. His focus was on the worth of who he had become. He saw only his brother’s past actions. This son thought he was better. He judged and looked down on his brother for his past actions. He thought His actions made him special to his father, he was different and not like his brother. 

This son did not know his father’s heart like he should have. Jesus points out that even though this son was not like the returning son, he still did not know who his father really was and his attitude and heart was wrong. 

The father corrects this son’s view of his brother. The father saw this son the same as he saw the returning son, no different. I think of how often Christians make condemning remarks, in the same way as the other son did, by feeling superior, “I’m not like them”. But by the fathers response we know this is not what he wanted from his son. He should have had the same heart and attitude of his father. This son should have been rejoicing, overwhelmed to see the return of his brother just like his father. Forgetting his past mistakes and seeing only as a brother restored back into the family.

This is a good place to look at our lives, especially if we have been walking with the father for any length of time. Do we still see ourselves by our past actions? Now that we are home and we have been serving God for sometime, what is our place and position? Do we see ourselves like the other son, quick to judge others by their past. Do we think since we have been serving God all these years we are better? 

To mature and grow and keep the same heart and attitude of our Heavenly Father is what Jesus is wanting us to see. This is what Jesus displayed through His life, death and resurrection. We are to continually have in our mind how joyful it is to see a returning son or daughter and that He sees us the same as He did when we returned home. We should encourage anyone to see themselves the way the Father sees them. This is how He always sees us, we are special but no more special than anyone else who has returned home. So what the father tells his other son is the mindset the Father wants all of us to have. 

My son(31)

We are completely totally accepted with God as one of His own. You are one of His children accepted just like He accepts Jesus. You must be secure in how He sees you. No one has a right to say anything else. This is our place and position with the Father. He put the best robe on us, put a ring on us, and sandals on our feet. We now have the right to see ourselves this way and should always see ourselves this way. God only sees a son, He only sees a daughter. He sees nothing else because He fully accepted you. Just because He rejoices when another son or daughter who returns home does not mean they are any more special then you. He sees us all the same and treats us all the same.  

You always have me(31)

We can always rely on Him being there with us and for us. He proved this with the son that was lost. He proved this with Jesus’ life, death and resurrection. The true question is, are we enjoying being with Him or is He still a distant Father? His position is for us to be with Him and  to enjoy every aspect of Him and His Father’s heart toward us. 

All I have is yours(31)

Everything of God’s is ours, He has never held anything back from us. All He has is ours. He shows no partiality but freely accepts us as a full family member with all the rights and privileges which come with our place with Him. 

When The Scales Have Fallen

When the Scales Have Fallen

A basic fundamental for any Christian who desires to be strong in the Lord is having a proper understanding of “God is with us” . To move from the spectator seats to being in the actual arena where the building of His Kingdom and the work of Jesus is being done, you must have a solid foundation of His omnipresence. If you have accepted Him into your life then you must believe He is there, He is with you. 

To help in the development of this concept, let’s look at Paul’s encounter with Jesus. 

Acts 9:1‭-‬12, ‬15‭-‬19

Meanwhile, Saul was still breathing out murderous threats against the Lord’s disciples. He went to the high priest and asked him for letters to the synagogues in Damascus, so that if he found any there who belonged to the Way, whether men or women, he might take them as prisoners to Jerusalem. As he neared Damascus on his journey, suddenly a light from heaven flashed around him. He fell to the ground and heard a voice say to him, “Saul, Saul, why do you persecute me?” “Who are you, Lord?” Saul asked. “I am Jesus, whom you are persecuting,” he replied. “Now get up and go into the city, and you will be told what you must do.” The men traveling with Saul stood there speechless; they heard the sound but did not see anyone. Saul got up from the ground, but when he opened his eyes he could see nothing. So they led him by the hand into Damascus. For three days he was blind, and did not eat or drink anything. 

Let’s notice first, Jesus knew Saul. He knew all about Saul. He knew everything Saul was doing and knew where to find him.  This would mean Jesus had to have been on the road to Damascus as well. In this encounter there was nothing hidden about Saul which Jesus did not already know. Again, He knew who Saul was, where he was, what he was doing and who he was doing it for, and who he was doing it to.  He saw all that was happening in the life of Saul.

Jesus spoke to Saul and he understood the words being spoken. This means Jesus had to have been there in order for Saul to hear. The other side of this story is Saul did not know who Jesus was, he was not aware of Him yet. Therefore, Jesus actually had to identify Himself to Saul. Even if Saul did not know it was Jesus, he was obviously aware of His presence at that moment. 

The men with Saul heard the sound but saw no one. Jesus chose not to identify Himself to them. What an amazing event which clearly shows the omnipresence of the Lord and what His presence is truly like. Now let’s look at part two of this story, Ananias. 

Acts 9:10-19

In Damascus there was a disciple named Ananias. The Lord called to him in a vision, “Ananias!” “Yes, Lord,” he answered. The Lord told him, “Go to the house of Judas on Straight Street and ask for a man from Tarsus named Saul, for he is praying. In a vision he has seen a man named Ananias come and place his hands on him to restore his sight.” “Lord,” Ananias answered, “I have heard many reports about this man and all the harm he has done to your holy people in Jerusalem. And he has come here with authority from the chief priests to arrest all who call on your name.” But the Lord said to Ananias, “Go! This man is my chosen instrument to proclaim my name to the Gentiles and their kings and to the people of Israel. I will show him how much he must suffer for my name.” Then Ananias went to the house and entered it. Placing his hands on Saul, he said, “Brother Saul, the Lord—Jesus, who appeared to you on the road as you were coming here—has sent me so that you may see again and be filled with the Holy Spirit.” Immediately, something like scales fell from Saul’s eyes, and he could see again. He got up and was baptized, and after taking some food, he regained his strength…. NIV

Jesus knew right where to find one of His disciples to do the work He needed done. Jesus knows where all His disciples are at any given moment. He also knows how He can use them, and what they are capable of doing for Him. 

Remember this word “moment”. 

Jesus called on Ananias to go and minister to Saul. Ananias knew the voice of the Lord and the moment Jesus called him, he answered. Obviously they had conversed before and he was familiar with the voice of Jesus, He didn’t have to identify Himself. Ananias instantly knew who was talking to him. For this to take place Jesus’ presence had to have been there with Ananias. Again, he knew who was speaking to him. They talked to each other and understood one another like any two people who knew each other twould be in a  normal conversation.

This encounter did not startle Ananias, nor did it seem strange or out of place to him but perfectly normal. So normal was this encounter Ananias was comfortable enough to respectfully question the Lord in what He was asking him to do. He was talking to the Lord the same as he would with anybody else.

 Again, Jesus knew everything about Ananias, who he was, where he was, and knew what He could count on from him at any given moment in time. Jesus even shared His plans and purposes for Saul’s life (Acts 9:15-16) with Ananias. The following scripture shows the heart of Jesus in wanting to share His plans with any of His disciples. 

John 15:15‭-‬16

I no longer call you servants, because a servant does not know his master’s business. Instead, I have called you friends, for everything that I learned from my Father I have made known to you. You did not choose me, but I chose you and appointed you so that you might go and bear fruit—fruit that will last—and so that whatever you ask in my name the Father will give you. NIV

Jesus knew Ananias and he knew Jesus. He was ready and willing to go and do for the Lord the “moment” he was asked. He was aware of the Lord’s presence, His voice, and what the Lord was asking of Him specifically. He knew what it meant to lay hands on Saul and ask for the Holy Spirit to come into his life. This was not a strange request for Ananias, he understood exactly what He was asked to do. This is also a great picture of what a trained disciple of Jesus looks like. 

This is the only mention of Ananias in the Bible, but what he did for the Lord in a moment of time went down as a powerful testimony in Saul’s life with Jesus. Two brief moments in time, two short encounters with Jesus literally affected the lives of millions throughout history. 

In examining the presence of Jesus, here is what this story reveals. 

Jesus had personal knowledge of these two men. He knew them, and everything about them. Jesus knew everything they were doing and where He could find them. Jesus knew how to communicate with them so that each one of them understood Him perfectly. Although Saul did not know it was Jesus, he still understood the words being spoken to him. Jesus also knew what each man was capable of doing and how to use them. 

For we are His workmanship [His own master work, a work of art], created in Christ Jesus [reborn from above–spiritually transformed, renewed, ready to be used] for good works, which God prepared [for us] beforehand [taking paths which He set], so that we would walk in them [living the good life which He prearranged and made ready for us]. Eph 2:10 AMP

So one knew Jesus personally and how to talk with Him, and one needed his eyes and ears opened. When the scales fell off of Saul’s eyes he could now physically and spiritually see. From that day forward he had a working knowledge of the presence of Jesus in His life.  

This is who Jesus is, this was not just a special one time occurance. This is how He would be present with anyone. He is the same yesterday, today, and forever (Heb.13:8).  If He was this way with Saul and Ananias then He can be this way with you. He knows everything about you. He knows right where you are physically, spiritually, and mentally. In every way possible, Jesus knows you. He knows what you are capable of doing so He knows how to use you. The real question is do you want to be used by the Lord? 

As these scriptures reveal to us Jesus was there, it is one of the attributes of the Lord, which is so powerful. He is the God who is here. Our understanding should always be that the Lord is present. He is not lost or away at the moment. He is not on vacation and should be back in a week or two. He is not gone, leaving you to hope He shows up. He is not distant, instead His presence is always here. So living in the moment with Jesus will be based on how aware our faith allows Him to be present. 

Therefore the Lord Himself will give you a sign: Behold, the virgin shall conceive and bear a Son, and shall call His name Immanuel. Isaiah 7:14 NKJV

But while he thought about these things, behold, an angel of the Lord appeared to him in a dream, saying, “Joseph, son of David, do not be afraid to take to you Mary your wife, for that which is conceived in her is of the Holy Spirit. And she will bring forth a Son, and you shall call His name Jesus, for He will save His people from their sins.” So all this was done that it might be fulfilled which was spoken by the Lord through the prophet, saying: “Behold, the virgin shall be with child, and bear a Son, and they shall call His name Immanuel,” which is translated, “God with us.” Matthew 1:20‭-‬23 NKJV

No matter the story in scriptures, if you examine them you will find these truths of God being present in what is happening, God is there. His ability to be there should not be in question nor should there be any doubt about His presence, but rather our ability to know and hear Him, and being fully aware of His presence. 

In the article titled “The Awareness Factor”, we mentioned the concept of our personal life space. This is the space where you and the Lord merge your spaces. With Ananias the spaces were already merged, the Lord was able to communicate freely with him and he with Jesus. He was able to give Ananias an assignment and knew he would carry it out for Him. This should be every Christian’s goal, to be this type of disciple for Jesus. Your personal space being so in tune with Jesus that you are one with Him (Jn.17:20-23). Being fully aware He is there, knowing who He is and what life with Him is all about. To truly have those, in the moment encounters with Jesus, we need to grow and mature in our awareness of Him with us. 

If you choose to stay immature, then you are going to miss those opportunities where He lives His life through you. They will just slip right by because you are more focused on your own personal space and not the two of you together. You are really centered on self, doing for yourself what you want, living your life and not really including the Lord all that much. This is what keeps us immature and dulls our awareness of His presence. You can be a good church goer, but still not fully allow Jesus to have His life working through you. Maybe like Saul you need to have the scales fall off from your spiritual eyes.  

Jesus wants you to have and enjoy life, He does this by merging His life with your life. He wants you to be one with Him. He wants you to experience His presence all the time. So start letting your faith center on Him and come alive to the awareness of His presence, and know He is Jesus, the “God who is here”, right here, right now with you. 

Hearing & Obeying

Jeremiah 13

13 This is what the Lord said to me: “Go and buy a linen belt and put it around your waist, but do not let it touch water.” 2 So I bought a belt, as the Lord directed, and put it around my waist.

3 Then the word of the Lord came to me a second time: 4 “Take the belt you bought and are wearing around your waist, and go now to Perath[a] and hide it there in a crevice in the rocks.” 5 So I went and hid it at Perath, as the Lord told me.

6 Many days later the Lord said to me, “Go now to Perath and get the belt I told you to hide there.” 7 So I went to Perath and dug up the belt and took it from the place where I had hidden it, but now it was ruined and completely useless.

8 Then the word of the Lord came to me: 9 “This is what the Lord says: ‘In the same way I will ruin the pride of Judah and the great pride of Jerusalem. 10 These wicked people, who refuse to listen to my words, who follow the stubbornness of their hearts and go after other gods to serve and worship them, will be like this belt—completely useless! 11 For as a belt is bound around the waist, so I bound all the people of Israel and all the people of Judah to me,’ declares the Lord, ‘to be my people for my renown and praise and honor. But they have not listened.’

“A call to listen intently on the Lord“

The Lord will speak to you in any situation if we can listen. Just as Jeremiah had a dynamic relationship with the Lord, God desires the same with us. What would be the outcome to Jeremiah if he ended just with the waistband? 

Ask yourself this, God tells you to go out and buy a car. It is not a question of finances or payment because you have enough faith to do what the Lord asked of you. It is not just any car but the finest car you can think of. Spotless all that the specs offer, everything that the dealer would throw at you, you take. God tells you, don’t wash this car because it has the finest polish on it and it just shines. So you go and get the car and you are driving around town. A week passes and then God tells you to go downtown to the worst part of town. Get out of the car, open the doors and walk away. At what point would you start to question what the Lord told you to do. If Jeremiah stopped at the wearing of the waistband he would have been just a guilty as Judah and Jerusalem, not only that but he would have declared the waistband more important than God. God gives us the Call to Listen to Him. What are the things in our lives that keep God’s word from coming in and what are we doing to overcome these things before they consume us?

We are the waistband of the Lord.

God desires that we adhere to Him just as a waistband adheres to the waist of a man. We are for the Lord. We are His praise, His Glory and His renown. Everything that we do should be a call to the weight and power of who God is. The waistband during this time was a symbol of wealth and prestige, it showed class and status. Jesus says “You are the light of the world, a city on a hill.” Jesus is the status and the class that is to be shown. It is important to remember that the most important part of evangelism is our relationship with the Lord. If we speak of repentance and salvation and don’t have the relationship with God, we are going to show whoever it is we speak to that it is ok to not listen to the Lord and thus become worthless to the call.

Stubbornness Kills the called.

What Jeremiah received in revelation was a wake up call to God’s chosen, You are to be a waistband for me but you did not listen and thus became worthless. And now I am going to release you to the very things that blinded you. You will walk thinking that you are in light but in darkness.

2 Timothy 4:3-4

But mark this: There will be terrible times in the last days. People will be lovers of themselves, lovers of money, boastful, proud, abusive, disobedient to their parents, ungrateful, unholy, without love, unforgiving, slanderous, without self-control, brutal, not lovers of the good, treacherous, rash, conceited, lovers of pleasure rather than lovers of God— having a form of godliness but denying its power. Have nothing to do with them.

They are the kind who worm their way into homes and gain control over weak-willed women, who are loaded down with sins and are swayed by all kinds of evil desires, always learning but never able to acknowledge the truth. Just as Jannes and Jambres opposed Moses, so also these men oppose the truth—men of depraved minds, who, as far as the faith is concerned, are rejected. But they will not get very far because, as in the case of those men, their folly will be clear to everyone.

Paul’s Charge to Timothy

You, however, know all about my teaching, my way of life, my purpose, faith, patience, love, endurance, persecutions, sufferings—what kinds of things happened to me in Antioch, Iconium and Lystra, the persecutions I endured. Yet the Lord rescued me from all of them. In fact, everyone who wants to live a godly life in Christ Jesus will be persecuted, while evil men and impostors will go from bad to worse, deceiving and being deceived. But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, and how from infancy you have known the holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 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.

So what is the call for us men today? It doesn’t change. We are to stand our ground and listen to the Lord no matter what the situation is. It may be a difficult request from God and it might not be, but the reward and the relationship that follows is the Kingdom of God. 

Real Men & Women Of God

Real Believers Know They Are Sent

Real Believers know that they are not just drifting in life. They are SENT by God to represent Him in this world. When examining the scriptures you will see that God the Father sent Jesus, Jesus sent the 12, then sent the 72. He then told the 120 to wait for power to go and be His witnesses, so He sent the 120. We see that they went out and represented Jesus with His message. Through the book of Acts there were nameless men and women sharing His message of hope, life, and salvation everywhere they went. Some of them were even establishing churches. My point is simply this, all Christians are SENT. They are to represent their King. They are to do this with excellence. They are to do this with all their heart. This is not a part -time gig of, “When I get time I will be His witness”. No, everywhere at all times, with all of what we have in time, energy and resources are we to represent Him. It’s all for Him, it’s all for our King. He is worthy of it all, the whole of us, all we have, all the time. And real Godly men and women live their lives in this way. They live their lives with this purpose and this purpose only. They live it out loud in front of the whole world to see. Worldly people want to say they are Christians, but live their lives in front of the world their way, on their time frame. Selfishness is really the purpose for which they live, thinking of self first. Giving it all to Jesus is just a phrase they like but don’t really live it full time. But real Godly men and women know their King and give Him their all. They give Him their best. Even if they are afraid they get over it and move ahead for Him. They deal with the fear and selfishness by representing Him because He is greater than their fears or momentary selfishness. They live this way on purpose. They are more concerned with what Jesus, their King thinks than what people around them think. So go out with this purpose in mind, I’m SENT by the King of all Kings, God Almighty, the Lord Jesus Christ. He gave it all so He is worthy of me giving it all. I am on this earth here and now to represent Jesus Christ. I will represent You, My King, out loud and out front with no reservations as to what man may think. Live His Life On Purpose.  

Real men and women of God own their lives.

Owning their lives, means, no excuses. They take full responsibility for their lives. They are not looking or trying to blame others. Real believers don’t see themselves as victims, but as overcomers. This doesn’t mean things always go according to plan. This doesn’t mean that there will not be times things happen that are beyond their control. There are times bad things happen, your fault, their fault, nobody’s fault, something happened that was not the way it should have happened. So what? Get over it and move on. Are you a victim? Even if you are the victim, how long are you going to stay one? Real men and women of God won’t live in a realm where everything has to be fair or they won’t move on because it would make them a victim. They go to God draw on His strength and ability and move on by looking to overcome the situation or obstacle.

Things that happen to us are not fair sometimes. Big deal! Get over it and move on. Our society has slowly moved to a mentality where everything has to be fair, or everyone is some type of victim. Nobody is ever at fault and in turn they don’t have to take responsibility for their lives. Let’s say it wasn’t fair or they are the victim, a person still must cope with it and move on or they will remain a victim and eventually die this way. It’s like they quit living any quality of life anymore. What happens to them becomes their life story and this is where they sit. 

But a man or women of God must go to God and pick themselves back up and get back in the game. God has so much more He wants to do with them and through them. A man or women of God can’t let setbacks, the hard knocks of life stop him. They must look to the future with the hope of God. However, often what we see in our culture today is the opposite. Because of what happened to them, they now believe they are entitled to sit around, circle attention around self, draw pity to self, whoa is me, poor me, they want everyone around them to see their situation is different. I think you get the picture. They think this gives them the right to be irresponsible. They now begin to make excuse after excuse and therefore never take true responsibility for their lives. I like what David said when confronted by Nathan, the prophet, about his sin, the sin David thought was hidden….wrong. David repents and says to God that against Him and Him only had he sinned.

It’s amazing how many believers today, blame their sin or inconsistencies of their lives on their circumstances, their special situations, their past, their parents, their childhood or whatever. It’s the internet, I was doing good until…, or my personal favorite, you just don’t understand. Real men and women of God don’t blame shift, or pull out some excuse to cover. Come on, we as believers need to break free of such nonsense and take full ownership of our lives. Take full responsibility for who we are and what we do. We are living for God not ourselves. If we are wrong then say so, if we are at fault then say so, say you’re sorry and mean it, and whenever its necessary, if possible, make it right. Show by words and actions that you are responsible for your life. Learn to get over things that don’t go right. Train yourself to move on, maybe we can’t change what just happened to us, but we don’t have to stay there either. Tell yourself I can change this by moving forward with God, I am not going to let what happen to me dictate who I will be tomorrow. I take responsibility for my life. If you find yourself starting to excuse or shift the blame off of yourself be quick to see where, and laugh at yourself for such nonsense. Own your life! With God there is always a tomorrow that has His love, goodness and favor working for us to move forward with Him into all that He has for us. Don’t excuse your life, OWN IT!

Real Men and Women of God are Dead to Self.

Real believers are dead to self. Jesus stated the two main requirements to follow Him was to deny self and pick up your cross. So for anyone who says they are following Jesus, these two ingredients should be visibly noticeable. Denying self means, you choose the path Jesus would choose. It’s not about what you want because self comes second to the will of Christ. Picking up your cross means you are choosing to remain dead to your will and your wants when these conflict in any way with what Jesus wants and what His will is for your life. So this is why I picked the term dead to self. Here is a short list of what this looks like.

A Dead Person Does Not have Any Rights:

I never saw a dead person exercising their rights to something. Think of how many people we meet who state they are Christians but are living large for themselves.They still have all their rights intact and following Jesus is a second thought. They exercise their rights first, then if it’s convenient they do something for God. They have never spent the time and taught themselves scripturally what it means to “deny self” and “pick up your cross”. They still have what they want and their will is still in charge. Self is who they are still following. Real men and women of God do not think this way. To follow Jesus, all rights were turned over to Christ, the minute they decided to follow Him. The only rights they have now are the rights which God gives them. All decisions now made are based upon this choice. The Bible reveals that Jesus gave up all of of His rights to do the will of His Father. He suffered and died because it was the path laid out for Him. That doesn’t seem fair now does it? Scripture states that He did it with joy. This is the example for us to follow when it comes to our rights. Real believers follow Jesus, and the only rights they have, and the only rights they need are the rights Jesus gives them.

A Dead Person Does Not Have Any Options:

I’ve never seen a person with any options. Christianity is not some kind of game show like Let’s make a deal. Well I don’t like the way God is dealing with me in this certain area, so I want door number two. We are suppose to be following, not leading or being dragged. We think that if we don’t like the way God is leading that we have a plan B. No, plan B is usually what you make up for yourself. When a leaf falls off a tree and into a stream, the leaf has no options but to go with the flow of the stream. Real men and women of God flow with the stream. In case you have not learned this yet, you’re dead to self so there is only plan A and you must flow by following. Remember, you’re dead to self. Plan A is always going to be God’s best for you even when it’s not comfortable or the way you wish it to be.

A Dead Person Can Not Voice Their Opinion

(Opinion:) a view or judgment formed about something, not necessarily based on fact or knowledge.

You hear this one all the time, “well in my opinion”. It’s funny, but whatever opinion a person has about whatever, when they are dead that opinion means nothing anymore.So often with this statement comes the attitude that the world is suppose to stop and agree wholeheartedly. It’s as if their opinion is the only one that counts. Your opinion is just that, your opinion. If you haven’t noticed, everyone has an opinion. My two year old granddaughter has an opinion. Our opinion should never be so lofty as to project that it is the only one that is right. Real believers speak the truth with conviction, the real weight that backs up the words, is God.  Now, I am not saying you don’t or can’t have an opinion. But I am saying, that when asked, it should be what the scriptures reveal, not our opinion.

A Dead Person Can Not Draw Attention To Themselves

Anything they could do for fame and glory is over. They can’t get any glory for themselves any longer, they’re dead. They are no longer self-seeking or self centered. They are no longer able to get that pat on the back, you know, the look at me and what I’ve done. They are not getting any self gratification anymore, because they are dead. Real men and women of God have made the decision that is no longer about themselves but about Jesus, their King and Lord. Its all for His glory. It is about drawing attention to Him and His life.

I believe the list could go on, but I wanted to address a greater issue about believers today who say they are living for God, but have also picked up their lives and are living for themselves. They live in a compromised state, or they still think its okay to be a little worldly, even carnal. Their commitment is to self first, simply because they don’t or won’t die to self and follow Jesus. They are giving their lives to God when its convenient, or when they get a chance, Jesus is really second, their life is first. But true believers, when they have made the decision to follow, give it all, and they never look back or go back to what they may have given up. They are in the King’s service, and loyal to Him, by denying themselves and picking up their cross, they follow Him. It is not always easy, there are going to be real trials and tests, the Bible tells us this. By keeping this position of death to self is what obviously makes this easier. As Christians who have picked up their cross, the decision has already been made. Throughout history real men and women of God, when push came to shove, they stayed with plan A. They remained faithful to Him to follow Him and Him only. I think the missionary Jim Elliot, who gave his life as a martyr serving indians of Ecuador, stated it best, “he is no fool who gives what he cannot keep to gain what he cannot lose”. As men and women of God may we have the same attitude of heart. We have decided our lives are fully for the Lord of Lords and King of Kings. We are dead to self but alive for Him and His service.