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Beloved: Grace and Peace

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Grace to you, and peace, from God our Father and the Lord Jesus Christ. I have been meditating on what it means to be a man. The Holy Spirit, speaking through the Apostle Paul, tells us, "Watch ye, stand fast in the faith, quit you like men, be strong. Let all your things be done with charity" (1 Corinthians 16:13-14). The old English
Grace to you.
Ekklesia,
- a series compilation
quit
means act
like, conduct yourself as a man.
Charity
is the Greek word
agape
or God's love.
Did you know that Paul wasn't the only one who used this expression? 1 Samuel 4:8-9 records the Philistine's cry when they saw the Ark of the LORD brought into the camp, "Woe unto us! who shall deliver us out of the hand of these mighty Gods? these
are
the Gods that smote the Egyptians with all the plagues in the wilderness. Be strong, and quit yourselves like men, O ye Philistines, that ye be not servants unto the Hebrews, as they have been to you: quit yourselves like men, and fight."
Do you suppose Paul and the Philistine had the same idea in mind? Both said "be strong", and both said "quit you like men." The Philistine said act like men and fight. Paul said act like a man and let all things be done in love. I think they meant something different.
In Psalm 15, David asks who shall abide in the Lord's tabernacle. The answer is, "
He
that
sweareth to
his own
hurt, and changeth not" (Psalms 15:4c). Acting like a man
means keeping promises even when it costs us more than we thought.
Paul tells Timothy, "But if any provide not for his own, and especially for those of his own house, he hath denied the faith, and is worse than an infidel" (1 Timothy 5:8). The man who does not take care of his wife and children or of his aged parents denies the faith and is worse than an infidel (perhaps a Philistine).
I have seen the phrase which says the only difference between a man and a boy is the size of his toys. Paul teaches us that this should not be. "When I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child: but when I became a man, I put away childish things" (1 Corinthians 13:11). Acting like a man means speaking like a man, understanding as a man, thinking as a man, and putting away childish words, understandings, thoughts and things.
Through all our trials, I keep assuring my wife that I am with her for better, for worse, in sickness and in health, for richer or poorer, until God through death parts us. Being a man doesn't come easy. But the other option is no option at all.
Proverbs 20:6-7 tells us, "Most men will proclaim every one his own goodness: but a faithful man who can find? The just
man
walketh in his integrity: his children
are
blessed after him." I read this Proverb to my girls and explained that every man wants respect so we are all tempted to boast about how good we are or how good we are able to do something. But the one who deserves respect is the faithful man. The faithful man is just and walks in integrity. What he says, he does. This man's children are blessed after him. I advised my daughters to look for a faithful, just man who walks in integrity and to do it for their sakes and for the sake of their children.
The Philistine is talking about being violent men, but David prayed to be delivered from the violent man and Psalm 140:11 tells us, "Let not an evil speaker be established in the earth: evil shall hunt the violent man to overthrown
him
." A man characterized by
violence is to be avoided because, "A violent man enticeth his neighbor, and leadeth him into the way
that is
not good" (Proverbs 16:29).
Returning to the positive, the final book tells us about those who will be with the Lord when He comes: ". . . for he is Lord of lords, and King of kings: and they that are with him
are
called, and chosen, and faithful" (Revelation 17:14). We who belong to Jesus
are called and chosen and faithful. May He make us each faithful and fill us with integrity.
We have been looking at what God calls a man to be. In a single word, it is faithful. Here are some verses to remind us who He is and what He says.
Deuteronomy 7:9 tells us, "Know therefore that the LORD thy God, he is God, the faithful God, which keepeth covenant and mercy with them that love him and keep his commandments to a thousand generations;". Paul reminds us in 1 Corinthians 1:9: "God
is
faithful, by whom ye were called unto the fellowship of his Son Jesus Christ
our Lord."
Paul goes on and tells us, "There hath no temptation taken you but such as is common to man: but God
is
faithful, who will not suffer you to be tempted above that ye are able;
but will with the temptation also make a way to escape, that ye may be able to bear
it
(1 Corinthians 10:13).
Isaiah records for us, "Thus saith the LORD, the Redeemer of Israel,
and
his Holy One,
to him whom man despiseth, to him whom the nation abhorreth, to a servant of rulers, Kings shall see and arise, princes also shall worship, because of the LORD that is faithful,
and
the Holy One of Israel, and he shall choose thee" (Isaiah 49:7).
The writer of Hebrews encourages us, "Let us hold fast the profession of
our
faith
without wavering; (for he
is
faithful that promised;) (Hebrews 10:23). John assures us,
"If we confess our sins, he is faithful and just to forgive us
our
sins, and to cleanse us
from all unrighteousness" (1 John 1:9).
Finally, Paul blesses us and reminds us, "And the very God of peace sanctify you wholly; and
I pray God
your whole spirit and soul and body be preserved blameless
unto the coming of our Lord Jesus Christ. Faithful
is
he that calleth you, who also will do
it
" (1 Thessalonians 5:23-24).
"