Summary: The Man of God runs away from sin, & runs toward God. The Man of God handles opposition with kindness and gentleness. The Man of God studies the Scriptures continuously.
Video: “Slap Her!”
My favorite line in this video is when the child says why he won’t slap the girl. He says “Why? Because I’m a man!”.
What does it mean to be a man? What does it mean to be a man of God?
Ladies, the Bible has plenty to say about what it means to be a lady, and everything I say today applies to the ladies as well. Yet in the passage we’ll take a look at today, Paul is writing to Timothy, whom he calls his son. It is a personal letter from an old man to a young man. Today I’d like to take Paul’s position as an old man (whether I’d like to or not, I increasingly fit the bill). And I’d like to give words of advice to the next generation, you in the audience who are young men, finding and making your way in the world. Let’s read together:
2 Timothy 2: 20 In a large house there are articles not only of gold and silver, but also of wood and clay; some are for special purposes and some for common use. 21 Those who cleanse themselves from the latter will be instruments for special purposes, made holy, useful to the Master and prepared to do any good work. 22 Flee the evil desires of youth and pursue righteousness, faith, love and peace, along with those who call on the Lord out of a pure heart.
23 Don’t have anything to do with foolish and stupid arguments, because you know they produce quarrels. 24 And the Lord’s servant must not be quarrelsome but must be kind to everyone, able to teach, not resentful. 25 Opponents must be gently instructed, in the hope that God will grant them repentance leading them to a knowledge of the truth, 26 and that they will come to their senses and escape from the trap of the devil, who has taken them captive to do his will.
. . . 3 14 But as for you, continue in what you have learned and have become convinced of, because you know those from whom you learned it, 15 and how from infancy you have known the Holy Scriptures, which are able to make you wise for salvation through faith in Christ Jesus. 16 All Scripture is God-breathed and is useful for teaching, rebuking, correcting and training in righteousness, 17 so that the servant of God may be thoroughly equipped for every good work.
What does it mean to be a man? I’d suggest from this passage there are at least three things we can identify that mark the man of God.
1. The Man of God runs away from sin, & runs toward God.
2. The Man of God handles opposition with kindness and gentleness.
3. The Man of God studies the Scriptures continuously.
The Man of God runs away from sin, & runs toward God.
This does not mean that the man of God is, by nature, totally pure and holy. It means the man of God pursues holiness, like a Lover pursues the Beloved.
CS Lewis said
“God's claim is infinite and inexorable. You can refuse it: or you can begin to try to grant it. There is no middle way.” Learning in War
the claim God makes on us is the development of holiness, the pursuit of consistent improvement, the shunning of evil and the embracing of good.
Ben Franklin had a healthy perspective in this regard. Around the beginning of the year, his opinion is often quoted
“Be always at war with your vices, at peace with your neighbors and let each year find you a better man.” Ben Franklin
He actually established a system to help himself reach his stated goal “to reach moral perfection”. He made charts with a list of 13 virtues he had chosen to pursue. Each day, at the end of the day, he would put a mark next to a virtue he had somehow violated. His goal was to reduce the number of marks in a day over time. He never reached moral perfection, but his pursuit of moral perfection made him a better man.
One key to this pursuit is knowing what to run away from.
Paul tells Timothy to run away.
This may, at first brush, seem to be counter-intuitive advice to a man. Most of the advice we see for young men has something to do with standing your ground, or fighting even impossible odds. Why does Paul tell Timothy a man has to run away?
Paul says “flee the evil desires of youth”.
One of the graduates from New Life College told me his story.
He said when he was younger, before he came here to Bible college, he was caught in the net of pornography. His life was consumed with it. He had begun to fail in school, his social life was dwindling to nothing. He was distracted, always looking forward to the next session he would have in front of his computer. He sank so low he actually began to consider suicide. This young man, full of potential and possibilities, was contemplating taking his own life, because his mind had become dominated by this one sin.