Short titles can often express volumes of truth, and this short title found in 1 Tim 6:11 is no exception, for herein lies the life that pleases God. There is the admittance that few fit this criteria. We hear of the man of the world, the man of business, the man of talent, the man of skill, the man of wealth, the man at sport. All these mark the quality of life, the aim, ambition and the aspirations in the human heart. These may have certain good qualities but, all together, they stand in contradistinction to "The man of God." The main distinction is summed up by the major contrast; one stands for this life only, the other for this life and the one to come. What business is to the man of business, sport to the man of sport, fame to the man of fame, God is to the man of God. The title is found in a number of places in our Bibles, but is not common. It is found concerning Moses, Samuel, David, the prophet from Judah, Elijah, Elisha, Shemaiah and Timothy. We are reminded of the statement, "there was a man sent from God whose name was John." It would be wonderful if we could be that man.
The title expresses;
a) Character. He is not yesterdays man of God, but he is always the "man of God." His "today" is the same as "yesterday." He exhibits a lifetime quality. He is known not only as a Christian, a good father, a good businessman, a good honest worker or a good citizen, but he carries the noblest name to be obtained, "man of God" wherever he is found. What a quality to possess. This is not a cloak he carries to the assembly meetings, this is carried everywhere he is found. It is an internal, moral quality that has an external dignity. He lives above the world, representing a heavenly country. "Known and read of all men" could well sum up this man of God. Character is what we carry into eternity, reputation is only in this life.
b) Conformity. This man is Godlike. He is God-possessed, God-directed, God-supported, God-supplied and God-controlled. He lives, talks and walks with God. God fills his soul, his mind and his heart. "And now I know that thou art a man of God, and that the word of the Lord in thy mouth is truth" (1 Kings 17:24). This was the acknowledgment of the widow woman concerning Elijah. This should be the coveted commendation of every true believer in Christ. When the man of God passes on to the glory he leaves a savour of Christ, a fragrance long remembered. This man is greatly missed when he is taken to the glory; missed beyond words to express! He carried Gods presence with him. This could be sensed, observed and felt. He exhibits conformity to God in contrast to conformity to the world.
c) Convictions. "Thus saith the Lord," is the forming of the convictions of the man of God. He listens to God and obeys Him. The word of God is his lifeline. He feeds upon it, he lives it and his heart and soul is saturated with it. It is his comfort in trial, strength in weakness, a bulwark in a dark world, and his pillow when the day is done. He is not interested in opinions or ideas for he rises higher than these. His sole authority is the Word of the Lord. This is the final court of appeal. Human relationships dont sway him and the bloodline doesnt change him. His convictions are deep-rooted in Divine revelation, the Word of God. He neither turns to the right hand (legalism) nor to the left hand (liberalism). He is not interested in making rules; his rule is the Word of God. Lord, we need men and women of this kind. This man is in demand! Short-listed!
d) Courage. The "man of God" is marked by courage, not cowardice. He is open and transparent. There is nothing secretive or devious about him. He is not a gossiper, a complainer, or a murmurer. He speaks the truth with grace. He is not a hard man, but a tender man, he speaks faithfully, but also feelingly. He can face a lion, a bear, or a giant and his greatest enemy is "the plague of his own heart." Therefore he pulls the beam out of his own eye before he extracts the splinter out of another. His courage springs from Mount Calvary, not Mount Sinai, thus he is not brash and never brags, but has a holy-boldness which is God given. He is marked by meekness, not weakness. This man of God can be counted upon when others flee; he is with the saints going in and going out. He is at the prayer meeting, Bible reading, gospel meeting etc. The assembly is priority, the saints his company and the book his authority. He stands firm when others falter. Can such an one be found?
e) Consistency. This man of God is the same through the week as he is on Lords day with the saints. He is not a "Mr. Facing both ways." He doesnt change with the wind or weather. He is not a fair-weather christian. He is not like a general who barks out commands but shuns carrying them out himself. This man is not a shooting star, disappearing into oblivion, nor does he commence with a blaze like the sun and then disappear like a lighted match. He begins with God and ends with God. He is always the "man of God." He readily acknowledges failure, but is known for his consistent life. He is warmhearted, tenderhearted and good-hearted. He has a shining countenance, not a whining countenance. He is quick to judge himself but slow to judge others.. He carries the most Godlike quality that can he adorned - "forgiveness." Consistency in this marks him all his life. He knows intimacy with God too well to carry a bitter, hard and callous spirit. Circumstances dont change him. This man would be an asset to every home, assembly, community and workplace.
f) Cost. The man of God weighs all in the Sanctuary scales, not worldly scales. To become this "man of God" he flees, follows and fights. He flees the temptation of monetary and moral evil. The covetous spirit of money making is not his goal. Fame and fortune are not in his vocabulary. He follows after righteousness. To do justly (with all men), to love mercy and walk humbly with God is his daily motto! Godliness is followed with all his heart. He has the consuming ambition to be like God. He is marked by faith that is simply dependence upon God. Whether in penury or plenty he never becomes a beggar on the one hand or independent of God on the other hand. The rainy days and the sunshine never move him; he remains the same "man of God," marked by trust. He pays the price! He buys the truth! He suffers for it, and even will go to martyrdom for it! He gauges all by the great price the Redeemer paid for him. Indeed because he cost Christ so much precious blood, he is willing to pay any price to be a man of God.
These three qualities are internal. The next three are external. Patience and meekness are expressed before others. He loves because he has been unconditionally loved. He has patience because God was patient with him, and he possesses the virtue of meekness and the gentleness of Christ. These are his outer garments of adornment. Excellent clothing! What high spiritual heights we would reach if these beautiful qualities were displayed in us. All six virtues were perfectly exemplified in our Master. Should these not be longed for by all His blood-bought followers? Love is active, patience is attitude, meekness in seen in dealing with others. This man of God distinguishes between standing for his own rights and contending for Gods rights. Finally, he does not fight with his neighbors, his foes or his friends. He is not contentious, but fights the good fight. He contends for faith in a faithless world.
g) Compensation. What are the rewards and recompense for the man of God? This man may have no halo around his head down here, but up there the Master whom he served will give him the "well done." The man of God never sought for power, position or popularity here, but will administer for God up there. This man of God is found in every walk of life.
What is the secret to be "a man of God?" The answer is the ALTAR. It is a life that is wholly yielded, totally consecrated and results in a life of communion with God. May this ambition fill our vision, that you and I will be "the man of God."
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"I am crucified with Christ" (Galatians 2:20)
Paul says "I have been crucified with Christ." He does not say "I have determined to imitate Jesus Christ," or, "I will endeavor to follow Him " but "I have been identified with Him in His death." When I come to such a moral decision and act upon it, then all that Christ wrought for me on the Cross is wrought in me. The free committal of myself to God gives the Holy Spirit the chance to impart to me the holiness of Jesus Christ.