First Baptist Church
233 S. Main, Cedar Springs
“What is a real man? By the standards of today, a real man is someone who doesn’t exist except in the imaginations of those in Hollywood and the marketing industry. Supposedly a real man looks like an Adonis, acts macho, and always wins. In reality, a real man is defined not by what he looks like, but who he is! Real men for the most part do not look like the latest “hunk” of a movie star or sports legend. He may not have rippling muscles, or stand over six feet tall, he may not even have a full head of hair. Real men are comfortable in their skin and have made their share of mistakes, and will make more.”
The previous paragraph introduced part one of a three part series on “Real Men.” The first devotional dealt with “Becoming Men of Courage.” Today we will focus on “Becoming Men of Action!” Hollywood does know what film genres appeal to men—action films. It is because we tend to want to do or fix something about a given situation. And like fictional Tim Taylor from Home Improvement, the more explosions and power the better!
Biblically (1 Cor. 9:27 – 10:14) there are a number of principles that will help us become Men of Action in our homes, communities, and work places. There are four principles to keep in mind.
First, be aware of the danger of becoming a castaway. But I discipline my body and keep it under control, lest after preaching to others I myself should be disqualified (1 Cor. 9:27 ESV). The word “disqualified” is a word that means: failing the test; unqualified; worthless; useless; unworthy; disapproved. In other words, let’s live this life according to the rules—God’s rules—so that we don’t end the task and find we’ve been disqualified for rule infraction.
Second, let’s learn from our mistakes. “Those who don’t know history are doomed to repeat it” were the words of Edmund Burke, a member of the House of Commons in England during the Revolutionary War. Prophetic words, for each generation seems to adopt the philosophy of doing things their own way, only to repeat the mistakes of the past. We, too, can learn to avoid the mistakes of the past such as idolatry, immorality, infidelity, and disloyalty (1 Cor. 10:7-10).
Third, let’s avoid overconfidence. So, if you think you are standing firm, be careful that you don’t fall (1 Cor. 10:12 NIV). Have you ever watched as an athlete runs across the field of play and trips for no apparent reason? Overconfidence happens much more than one might think. We often do the routine things that perhaps we’ve done for years, and lo and behold, we mess it up! Distractions? Mind was elsewhere? Remember, self-confidence without Christ-consciousness is a prelude to disaster.
Fourth, deal victoriously with temptation. No temptation has overtaken you that is not common to man. God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it (1 Cor. 10:13 ESV). Temptation is not sin. We all deal with it (“common to man”). Note too, that as a child of God, we live in a controlled environment (“God is faithful, and he will not let you be tempted beyond your ability, but with the temptation he will also provide the way of escape, that you may be able to endure it”). I’m reminded over and over again that He has his hand on the thermostat and He knows how much heat I can stand.
So how should I deal with temptation? Glad you asked! I ran across the following list many years ago that I’ve refined and hope will be of help to you.
Reside in Christ. He is our only escape (Heb. 2:18). Rejoice by Faith. Do it by faith until you can do it with your whole heart (Jms. 1:2; Rom. 5:3). Remain consistent. Hang in there—you can do it—persevere (Jms. 1:12). Request ahead of time. We must prepare ahead of time, before the test starts (Mt. 6:13; 26:41). Retreat! For some things, the only course of action is to run (1 Cor. 10:14; 2 Tim. 2:22). Remove the means. Don’t set yourself up for failure. Get rid of those things, practices or places that trip you up (Rom. 13:14). Replace bad influences. (Prov. 13:20; Phil. 4:8). Refuse to take the low road. The low road is the path of convenience and compromise.
Keep in mind as you deal with temptation, it’s not based upon what you think you can bear, but upon what God knows you can handle! Hang in there my friend. You can make a difference for His Kingdom!