The background of this area should be an image. Please use Change Background feature to change the background of this area.
(Can be found under DESIGN tab)
DEVOTIONS FOR MEN
How do you see your life? Does it sometimes feel like you are just going through the motions of the daily grind of shutting off getting up, going to work, coming home, and do it all over again the next day just so you can put food on the table and a roof over your head? Does your life seem like an endless series of problems, struggles and bills?
Maybe you’re basically content with life, with a great circle of friends and family, and a job you enjoy, but still feel as if you are missing something--just marking time and lacking a sense of greater purpose and significance.
Either way, we were meant for more. We were not created to live lives of quiet desperation and just pass time as we live our years on earth. God created us for a divine purpose, to play a role in his unfolding story. We are children of the King, and we were made for more.
Our lives are to be transformed in every way by the power of the gospel. Our stories become joined with God’s bigger story. And just as Peter could no longer simply return to his fishing nets after his encounter with Jesus, we cannot just return to life as we knew it before either.
The key to having a meaningful life is knowing where you are going and setting the right goals to get there. When you begin a race or a journey, you need to have a finish line or a destination in mind before you begin. The apostle Paul stated the goal like this: “Forgetting what is behind and straining toward what is ahead, I press on toward the goal to win the prize for which God has called me heavenward in Christ Jesus. All of us who are mature should take such a view of things. And if on some point you think differently, that too God will make clear to you. Only let us live up to what we have already attained.” (Philippians 3:13b-16).
“I have been crucified with Christ and I no longer live, but Christ lives in me.” (Galatians 2:20) What does this really mean in our lives? Some think that its application is more for ministers and missionaries. But what does it mean to one who has been and engineer, accountant, teacher, or any profession, or one wanting to enter into and be successful in some professional field?
The answer lies in the difference between ends and means. If one’s goal is simply to be successful in some profession, it’s the wrong goal. The goal of a “minister/missionary” and a professional should be the same: to follow Christ, live as Jesus lived, love as Jesus loves, and proclaim the good news of the kingdom of God as we are sent into the world as his ambassadors. Being an engineer, accountant, teacher, might just be a very good means to that end. If God’s kingdom mission is to demonstrate a transformed, flourishing way of living governed by God’s truth and God’s values, and we are called to go into the world to show others what this looks like, then it is important to show the world what a kingdom engineer, accountant, or teacher looks like.
There is no difference for the follower of Christ between the sacred and the secular. All work is sacred if it does not violate God’s laws and if it is offered in the service of building his kingdom.
When we speak of God’s calling on our lives, it is a calling away from our own agendas, a leaving behind of our hopes and dreams to embrace his hopes and dreams for our lives. It is a surrendering our purposes and priorities, and at the same time is a coming alive to God’s purposes and priorities. We may still be a professional of some sort, but we are now kingdom professionals. We are still husbands and fathers, but we are also kingdom husbands and fathers leading our family to take their place in God’s kingdom mission.
In what we call the “Beattitudes, ” Jesus packed a depth and wealth of meaning into short sentences that fulfilled (and filled full) the law and taught the virtues that would be characteristic of the lives of God’s people. Let’s consider Jesus’s words in Matthew 5:8: “Blessed are the pure in heart, for they will see God.”
Two words are important to capture the meaning of purity. First it means unmixed: no bad ingredients thrown in. And we might use the word sincere to describe a pure heart: one that is honest and genuine and has no little ugly places hidden within it that we don’t want others to see.
We struggle with authenticity because we fear rejection. Fear is the enemy of transparency. We don’t like our flaws, and we don’t expect anybody else to. So we work hard at putting up the most impressive front we can. We want the world to see us at our very best, because then people are more likely to accept and possibly even admire us.
Later in his “Sermon on the Mount,” Jesus gave some further comment on being authentic. He said, ““Be careful not to practice your righteousness in front of other to be seen by them. If you do, you will have no reward from your father in heaven (Matthew 6:1).” We live for an audience of One and live to please and receive our reward from Him. If we’re more concerned about impressing people and getting their favor, we shouldn’t look for any further commendation from God.
It’s so much easier to be one person than two and not create and sustain a false identity. We don’t need to hide our flaws, because his love is unconditional. Jesus calls us to live one life and live it out in the open. His reward for that purity of heart is a rich and fulfilling blessing in life.
Our Good, or God’s Good
Good and evil. Isn’t the difference apparent? Don’t we naturally have an inherent knowledge of what is right and wrong? We might tend to think so. In times past we tended to think that what was generally accepted as good must be aligned with God’s will.
In these times, however, things that were once considered bad are having a growing consensus of being good. God is no longer the acceptable authority of what is good. But to society’s peril, good is now relative and open to the individual to decide what is good.
Solomon realized the danger of rejecting God’s authority to define what’s good and right when he said, “There is a way that seems right to a man, but its end is the way of death” (Proverbs 14:12).
His will and plan for us are perfectly and completely good. But there is a counterfeit good that can keep you from embracing God’s best. Sadly, many of us unknowingly (and at times knowingly) have rejected God in pursuit of what seems apparently good.
Dedicated Christian men and women are not drawn to things that ate immoral, lewd, blatantly evil behaviors. Most are deceived by and drawn to behavior and things that seem okay, good, and right, but contrary to what is best for their lives.
Eve is the first example. It wasn’t the evil side of the tree of the knowledge of good and evil that Eve was drawn to. It was the good side. “When the woman saw that the tree was good for food, that it was pleasant to the eyes, and a tree desirable to make one wise, she took of its fruit and ate” (Genesis 3:6).
The author of Hebrews teaches us that the mature believers “have trained themselves to distinguish good from evil (5:14). The admonition of the tells us to aim for that maturity saying, “Do not be conformed to this world, but be transformed by the renewing of your mind, that you may prove what is that good and acceptable and perfect will of God” (Romans 12:2).
I recently came across an article on “Commitments.” However, the article was about how businesses depend upon the commitment of their employees. It was ironic, though, to see the parallel with how the church depends upon the commitment of its members. Look at these quotes and see if you see the similarity. And if commitment is necessary for businesses to thrive, how much more important is it for the church to thrive.
“Commitments are critical to leaders. When your people follow through with commitments, things go well. When they don’t, systems, processes and relationships suffer. . . The world is built on commitments. They are the glue that holds everything together, and keep people and organizations in a state of trust.
Unfortunately, there are cultural forces that minimize the importance of commitments, and can damage a company’s performance. “When an entitlement attitude is present, this is dismissed. The person may think, ‘I’ve got a lot to do, I can be excused from doing this as promised” . . . ‘ or ‘ It’s approximately what was promised, if not exactly.’”
“As people have more and more options and freedom with their time, and as guilt dissipates, people are trading in Sundays for what they think are better options.”
“Let us not give up meeting together, as some are in the habit of doing, but let us encourage one another—and all the more as you see the Day approaching” (Hebrews 10:25).