As we enter yet another year I prayed asking God what He would have me say to you regarding 2009. He has given me a challenge to God’s men and the message is that God’s men must SHINE in 2009. I want to take a few moments and use the word “shine” as an acrostic to define this challenge.
Servanthood is a daily responsibility of God’s men. Jesus said “Not so with you. Instead, whoever wants to become great among you must be your servant, and whoever wants to be first must be slave to all. For even the Son of Man did not come to be served, but to serve, and give His life as a ransom for many.” Jesus gave his life for all even though there are those that to this day reject him. If we are to truly be God’s men then we are to follow the model given to us by His Son Jesus Christ. To be great in God’s eyes means you have to be a servant and not just to some but to all. The Greek word used in verse 44 is “doulas” which is literally defined as “slave” but in Biblical terms it is most commonly associated by “bondslave or bondservant. This is understood to mean that we are a slave or “bondslave” by choice and we are ultimately and wholly devoted to the master and disregard our own interest. In 2009 God’s men must be a servant to all.
Holiness is what we are called to display. The only way God’s men can achieve holiness is by the relationship we have with our Heavenly Father. The Greek word “hagios” means “set apart.” To be holy means to be set apart and it is not by what we do but what God accomplishes through us. To call a man holy is to say that he belongs to God and he is set apart to serve Him. 2 Corinthians 7:1 says “Since we have these promises, dear friends, let us purify ourselves from everything that contaminates body and spirit, perfecting holiness out of reverence for God.” We are made holy because we are dedicated to God and His service. 1 John 2:6 states it very clearly when it says “The one who says he abides in Him ought himself to walk in the same manner as He walked.”
Integrity is a critical characteristic. I have written on integrity on multiple occasions because it is such a critical characteristic for God’s men yet seems to be so lacking in the world around us. In Dr. Kenneth Boa’s article on integrity he states: “Perhaps a good word to think of is “consistency.” There must be consistency between what is inside and what is outside. God is totally consistent. His actions and behaviors always match his character and nature. And his goal for us is nothing less. Christ’s objective for his disciples is to make us disciplined people.” “Jesus Christ is the same yesterday and today and forever.” If we follow the model given us by Jesus Christ then we will display character that exudes integrity. When God says it you can believe it because He cannot lie. Hebrews 6:18 tells us “God did this so that, by two unchangeable things in which it is impossible for God to lie, we who have fled to take hold of the hope offered to us may be greatly encouraged.” God’s men must mean yes when they say yes and no when they say no and if a promise is made a promise is kept. In order for God’s men to give the world the hope it so desperately needs we must be men of Godly integrity.
Nothing can be accomplished without Christ. Jesus said “I am the vine; you are the branches. If a man remains in me and I in him, he will bear much fruit; apart from me you can do nothing.” Clearly God’s men must remain in Christ and by doing so we will glorify our Heavenly Father by bearing much fruit. While we may get discouraged and at times feel defeated, we have to remember that the God whom we serve and the fact that “nothing is impossible with God.” Paul gives us a good goal for life when he says “However, I consider my life worth nothing to me, if only I may finish the race and complete the task the Lord Jesus has given me—the task of testifying to the gospel of God’s grace.”
Eternity must be our daily focus. There are so many distractions in our world today. Men can easily become overwhelmed by the “here and now” which leads them away from an eternal focus. Jesus said “I tell you the truth, unless a kernel of wheat falls to the ground and dies, it remains only a single seed. But if it dies, it produces many seeds. The man who loves his life will lose it, while the man who hates his life in this world will keep it for eternal life. Whoever serves me must follow me; and where I am, my servant also will be. My Father will honor the one who serves me.” When Jesus makes the statement “the man who hates his life in this world” He is not using the word “hate” in the literal sense but is referring to a man refusing to hold to the world’s view of being autonomous and in control of his life. It is by giving up the notion of “self” that we actually preserve self for eternity and in the process allows us to impact the lives of other men by sharing the gospel. The bottom line is God is calling His men to be radically different from the world and it is this difference that can have the greatest impact on other men. By walking in total obedience to Him, we keep other distractions from gaining a foothold in our lives.
Brothers, I believe there is no greater time than now for God’s men to SHINE. Please understand, I am not at all pretending that this is easy to do but I firmly believe that God will not move in a tremendous way to restore our nation until His men accept the challenge and SHINE. We have heard the sermons and the prayers for God to bring a mighty revival to this nation and I believe if God is going to do this it must begin with God’s men. My heart’s desire is that we lift each other up in prayer and we take this challenge as a personal goal rather than an opportunity to judge other men. This is about each individual man’s daily walk with the Lord and should not be viewed as a license to condemn others. Will you accept the challenge and SHINE in 2009?