Have the benefits of your transformed life caused the memories of your previous lifestyle to fade? Do you remember what you once were before Jesus Christ and His Holy Spirit entered your life? Can you recall the darkness before you experienced the light? As you see the lost around you, are you aware that apart from God’s grace, you’d be lost too ‘ right there amongst them?
Men, you should never wallow in, or be a slave to, your past. But, don’t ever forget where you came from, and how you were brought to where you are now. Paul told Titus: ‘Once we, too, were foolish and disobedient. We were misled by others and became slaves to many wicked desires and evil pleasures. Our lives were full of evil and envy’But then God our Savior showed us His kindness and love. He saved us, not because of the good things we did, but because of His mercy. He washed away our sins and gave us a new life through the Holy Spirit.’
You’ve lived in sin. Your heart was acquainted with pain, hopelessness, and spiritual confusion. Remember, you were saved because of the love and kindness of God’period. You didn’t save yourself. And you weren’t saved because you were good, or because your life was so resplendent that God was put in your debt.
Don’t ever forget this, guys. It will keep you humble and it will give you hope for others.
Men, Jesus Christ is first and foremost the object of our faith. He’s also our primary example of what the life of faith looks like.
For instance, consider Christ’s humility’particularly the way He relinquished His will to the Father. Philippians chapter two says our attitude should be the same as His. Though He was truly God, He didn’t demand or cling to His rights as God. Instead, He made Himself as nothing. In His incarnation and life on earth, He took the humble position of a suffering servant. He lived in perfect obedience, yet died a criminal’s death on a cross.
And because of this humility, the Father raised Christ from death to sit at His right hand’a position of absolute honor, glory, and power.
But whatever you do, don’t miss the progression: Jesus’ humiliation preceded and precipitated His exaltation. Humility was a key element in Jesus’ life as He accomplished the Father’s will for fallen humanity.
If we’re to surrender to God and His will for us, we need to be humble as well. Jesus didn’t pray solely for His own will. He humbly prayed for His Father’s will to be done. We, too, ought to pray, ‘Father, I want your will, not mine.’ Men, this is the mark of humility and the beginning of real spiritual renewal.
As men, we’re called to speak into chaos. But our words must be both wise and well placed in order to offer any aspect of redemption. Consider Job’s friends. When tragedy struck, they were simply incredible. For seven days they were present with Job’comforting and grieving with him.
But when they began offering counsel, the situation soured. I think the foolishness of Job’s friends were expressed in four faces, and I think these four faces of folly still tempt us today. See if you can resonate with them.
Face Number One:Personal suffering always has a clear reason. Job’s friends were convinced that if somebody’s life is messed up, then there’s a clearly identifiable cause close at hand. After all, trouble doesn’t come out of nowhere.
Face Number Two:Good guys always prosper. Job’s friends were sure that, if you walked with God, you’d receive your just rewards in this life.
Face Number Three:Bad guys always roast. Job’s friends believed evil always meets judgment in this life.
Face Number Four:If you’re suffering, it’s because you’ve sinned. Job’s friends had ideas about suffering that caused them to needlessly kick Job when he was down.
Men, do you have a friend who’s suffering? If so, take care that your words bring comfort to the situation. Don’t let the example of Job’s friends scare you into silence. Just keep in mind that your best guess as to the reason for your friend’s suffering may well be wide of the mark.